OH WOW. It takes that long?
That’s a response sometimes I get when I tell a client that ill be at the property about 3-4 hours. I think there’s a misconception when it comes to home inspections that we’re rushing through the house, checking off boxes on a clip board, trying to get in and on to the next job. That may have been the standard in the ‘olden days’ but not anymore.
Now obviously it depends on the size of the house but other factors may add to the inspection time like the age of the house or the condition the previous owners left it in. Regardless of the square footage there are typically over 500 components in the average home and that takes time to properly look over. Lets dive into that a little more.
What’s the Size of the House Being Inspected?
Generally, I can thoroughly inspect a 1500-2000 square foot house in good condition in 2 to 3 hours. You can add an estimate of 30 minutes for every 500 square feet above that. It’s not uncommon for a home that’s 3500 square feet to take 4 to 5 hours to inspect due to the size and number of systems present.
What’s the Condition of the House Being Inspected?
The house’s condition is probably the most significant factor that affects how long it takes to inspect a house.
A property that has numerous defects to documents can easily add an hour or more to the inspection time.
I’ve inspected 2000 square foot houses in generally good condition in 2 hours, and I’ve also inspected similar homes in horrible condition in 4 hours.
What’s the Age of the House Being Inspected?
The house’s age also bears how long it takes. Older homes, particularly those 100 years old and older, have their own set of problems. Dated electrical systems are most common but here are some other examples I find with very old homes:
- Rusted cast-iron piping and PVC piping improperly connected.
- Galvanized piping connected with other types of piping like copper, CPVC, PVC, or Pex piping.
- Improper structure repairs to floors, walls, or ceilings.
How Many Mechanical Systems does the House have?
Larger homes often have multiple HVAC systems, water heaters, and many appliances. Larger homes will also usually have detached structures such as swimming pools, garages, outdoor kitchens, etc., which add to the inspection time.
It is not uncommon for homes in the 4000 square foot range to have three heating and cooling systems, two electrical panel boxes, and two water heater systems.
The Home Inspection Report and Delivery
Years ago, it wasn’t uncommon for an inspection report to take days to be delivered after the site visit. The days of snapping pictures, downloading photos, resizing, editing, and writing the inspection report in Microsoft Word are over for the most part.
Today’s technology allows me to complete 90% of the inspection report on site. So when you see me walking through the house on my phone, I’m not scrolling through TikTok videos, I’m taking pictures and documenting deficiencies as I go.
The way I approach a home inspection is to act as if were a home that I was purchasing personally. So yea, after circling around the exterior three times, walking the roof, getting in the attic, checking the electric panel, infrared scans, opening all the windows, running every pluming fixture… you see where I’m going with this… it can hit the 3 hour mark easily.
The duration of the inspection is dependent upon 2 key factors: size and condition of the home. A 600 square foot condo might only take 2 hours while a 10,000 square foot home could take an entire day. It is safe to assume that the average single family home will take about 3–4 hours.
At Homestead Property Inspections, I only book one full home inspection per day. What that does is allow me to dedicate my whole day to that one inspection without being rushed. Which in turn allows me to provide my clients with the highest quality, thorough home inspection.
I have sample reports from previous inspections on my website along with lots of other useful information about the home inspection process so CHECK IT OUT.
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