One of the most frequent questions people ask when scheduling a home inspection is about how long the inspection process takes to complete. The simple answer is that most home inspections take between two and four hours, but a number of factors come into play.

How Long Should a Home Inspection Take?

Inspecting even a small home is a big job. The home inspector has a long list of mechanical and structural components to evaluate, including the roof, foundation, drainage, exterior walls, windows, doors, chimney, patios, decks, driveways, walkways, attics, electrical systems, cooling systems, heating systems, and much more.

Additionally, properties vary in size and composition. The larger the home, the longer the inspection will take, with a good rule of thumb being that for every 1,000 square feet, the inspector should spend about one hour. So, my 2,850 square foot home should take roughly three hours to inspect. The presence of certain items, like a pool, spa, or outbuildings will add to the inspection time.

Finally, older or historic homes may take longer to inspect, particularly if the home has undergone extensive renovations, which can lead to complicating factors, like hybrid electrical and plumbing systems. Homes that haven’t been well-maintained can also take longer, as the inspector simply has more notes and pictures to take to fully represent the home’s condition.

Home Inspection Tips for Buyers

The home inspection is an important event in your home-buying journey, and it’s a good idea to be present. Why? While you may have been in the home before (often several times), the home inspection gives you an opportunity to spend several uninterrupted hours getting to know the property better. You can look more openly at its condition and begin seeing yourself living there — perhaps thinking about where furniture will go, what colors you may paint each room, or where you’ll hang your favorite pieces of art.

You can also ask questions of your home inspector and real estate agent (if present). Keep in mind, however, that the inspector needs to be highly-focused during the process to reduce the chance of missing any issues. You don’t want to distract him with questions during the inspection process, so you may decide not to be in the home the entire time. We usually recommend buyers be there toward the end of the inspection when the inspector can give them a preview of his findings before he delivers the full report, showing you defects visually where possible, explaining the nature of any issues, and providing advice on how to best address them.

For more information about what to expect during a home inspection, we hope you’ll take a moment to read our post about what happens before, during, and after this crucial milestone.

Home Inspection Tips for Sellers

A home inspection gives your potential buyers an opportunity to further visualize themselves in their new home. They can ask questions, see what the inspector is seeing, and gain a better understanding of the house’s condition and character. When a seller is present during this important time, buyers may feel more like guests. So, we recommend leaving the property early, making sure to arrange for pet sitting and childcare elsewhere during the home inspection. Plan to be away until the process is complete to give your buyers time and space to become comfortable with this important decision.

For more information about how you can make your home inspection-ready, make sure to check out our comprehensive home seller’s pre-inspection checklist.

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