Here’s a closer look at what a home inspection is, and how long it typically takes.
What Is a Home Inspection, and How Long Does It Take?
During the home inspection, a licensed professional examines the home to assess its condition.
“A thorough home inspection of an average-sized home takes a professional home inspector roughly two to three hours to complete,” says Andrei Jablokow, owner of a WIN Home Inspection franchise in Lansdale, Pennsylvania. “Larger, older, or distressed homes often take longer to inspect.”
The inspector will report in detail any damage, flaws, or safety hazards they find in a written document.
Why do I need a home inspection?
If the inspection uncovers problems with the home, the buyer can ask the seller before closing for compensation, such as reducing the purchase price, or making repairs before closing day. If you have a home inspection contingency, you also can cancel the deal without penalty.
“Homebuyers use a home inspection to make an informed decision on the home they are looking to purchase, and gain peace of mind on such a valuable investment,” Jablokow says.
When does the home inspection happen?
The home usually is inspected one to two weeks after you and the seller sign the purchase and sale agreement.
Who conducts a home inspection?
The home inspection is conducted by a licensed and trained inspector. Since the buyer typically pays for the inspection, you’ll decide which inspector to use. You can ask your real estate agent for recommendations on qualified and affordable inspectors.
What does the inspection cover?
The inspection covers both the interior and exterior of the home, including the structure and foundation, major appliances, windows, doors, walls, ceilings, the roof, and gutters. The inspector also will test the electrical, plumbing, heating, cooling, and ventilation systems.
Home Inspection Timeline
You’ll want to schedule the inspection as soon as possible after signing the purchase and sale agreement so you have time to address any problems it may turn up before closing. Here are the steps to take.
Schedule the inspection
Once you choose an inspector, you’ll want to get the inspection appointment on the books as soon as possible. You don’t want to wait to schedule an inspector, only to find they’re all booked up.
In advance of the appointment, it’s a good idea to prepare questions to ask while the inspector is on site.
Attend the inspection
The inspection typically takes two to three hours, though the exact duration will depend on the size of the home. As you might imagine, larger homes take longer to inspect.
You’ll want to be present for the home inspection so you can follow along, ask questions, and let the inspector know about any additional information.
Review the inspection report
After the home inspection is complete, the inspector will collect their findings in a report. Expect to receive the final report one to three days after the inspection — though it could take as long as a week.
The inspection report will be a thorough account that often includes photos for reference. The report will draw your attention to any problems or concerns that may need to be addressed. Read the report carefully, and ask questions if anything is unclear.
Factors Affecting the Inspection Timeline
Here are some factors that might affect your home inspection timeline:
- The size of the home.
- The condition of the home.
- The number of major systems.
- The foundation type.
- The inspector’s level of experience.
- Weather conditions.
Here are answers to some common questions about home inspections.