How Long do Home Inspections Take?

Getting a home inspection is some of the smartest money you can spend in the homebuying process. As a seller, you can help incentivize buyers to close more quickly and confidently by having a pre-purchase inspection. As a buyer, you can save yourself a step if the home you’re looking at purchasing already has an inspection done, or you can verify the results by getting your inspection done independently. Whatever path you take, you’ll feel secure in the knowledge that an experienced professional has assessed the condition and quality of the essential systems in the home you’re going to purchase and has provided you with a report detailing anything you might need to be aware of.

How long do home inspections take? 

The amount of time that a home inspection takes will vary greatly depending on what kind of property you’re having inspected. If you’re looking at having a one-bedroom condo inspected, you can expect that your home inspector will be there for an hour and a half to two hours. On the flip side, if the home you’re looking at purchasing is a six-bedroom detached home with four bathrooms, an outdoor pool, and a wraparound deck, you can expect that your inspection will take upwards of five hours or more.

The good news is that if your inspection timeline is longer than you were anticipating, you don’t need to be there while your home inspector is working. You can be, and most inspectors will be accommodating if you would like to be there during the process, but it’s not a requirement.

The home inspection timeline

The timeline for the entire home inspection process from start to finish varies greatly depending on your location and the inspector that you choose to go with. Home inspections aren’t mandatory, and the decision on which inspector or company to hire is entirely up to you.

You might find in specific locations that there are fewer inspectors, and therefore there is more of a wait to have an inspection done. If you know you’re going to want a home inspection at the outset of your buying journey, it’s a great idea to connect with and vet your home inspector beforehand. This will let you make a decision without pressure, as well as get an idea of your chosen home inspector’s schedule.

Once you schedule your inspection, you can expect that it will take between an hour and a half for smaller dwellings to half a day or upwards for larger properties.

Following your inspection, your home inspector will provide you with a very detailed and thorough report of all of the aspects of your home that are part of the inspection. The turnaround time on these reports can be almost immediately if your home inspector uses mobile software on a smartphone or tablet. It can take some time after the inspection if your inspector is putting the report together by hand. This is a great question to ask when you’re initially vetting and choosing your inspector.

If the purchase of the property you have your eye on is contingent upon the results of an inspection, you’ll need to clarify with your realtor how long you have after receiving the results of the inspection to make a decision and get back to the seller. This is specific to each real estate transaction, so there isn’t a standard amount of time.

What happens after a home inspection?

Generally speaking, as a home buyer, you will be requesting an inspection to verify you actually want to purchase the home and that there aren’t any hidden issues that would cause you to walk away. Just because your home inspector detects an issue doesn’t mean you can’t proceed with the purchase. Instead, it gives you negotiating power to return to the seller and request that the problem is fixed before the purchase or that an adequate amount is taken off the purchase price.

In the best-case scenario, you have a home inspection done and find that there aren’t any major areas for concern. This is still money well spent, giving you peace of mind while setting a benchmark in case any issues pop up in the future. If something significant presents itself during your home inspection, you’re armed with the knowledge and negotiating power to move forward confidently. Either way, home inspections are a win-win.