How Long Should a Home Inspection Take?

Benjamin Hammond
Benjamin Hammond

This is a very good question and one that most buyers do not ask.


As a home inspector I can tell you most inspections should take around 2 to 3 hours at the site. There are variables that affect the time an inspection will take.

  1. Size of the home.
  1. Number of systems to be inspected, one or multiple HVAC systems, number of electrical main and sub panels, number of water heaters, wells, water softeners and filters, pools and spas, and multiple kitchens will all add to the inspection time.
  1. Condition and age of the property.
  1. Access to areas to be inspected, crawl space and attic for example.
  1. Weather conditions, rain, snow or extreme heat can slow the inspection time.
  1. State requirements for a home inspection.
  1. The amount of question the client has during the inspection. I always recommend the client have a list of questions ready for the inspector about the property. The inspector can then address those specific questions or investigate that area further. It is the inspector’s job to make sure all the clients question have been addressed and have covered any concerns they may have about the property.

Several of the associations of home inspectors have been discussing this over the last year. There are many opinions about drafting rules about the depth and length of time an inspection should take. Most are in agreement a one hour inspection can not be a thorough inspection. If it is not a thorough inspection is it a good inspection?

Completing the written report also adds an hour or two, including research, marking pictures and proof reading the report. A home is a huge investment and you should expect a good return on your investment. If you do not have all the facts up front it reduces your ability to negotiate the sale price and could cost you more in repairs later.

A home is not just what it appears to be on the surface. It consists of many complex components including structural framing, physical components electrical, plumbing, heating and air conditioning systems. When considering a home for purchase, you may be able to settle for minor cosmetic repairs, but you need to make sure that everything beneath the surface is in shape. This is why an extensive home inspection is both valuable and necessary.

Should I be present at the inspection?

Yes. Magnolia encourages realtors to recommend that all clients attend the inspection. ┬áThis eliminates any possible miscommunication and gives an opportunity to provide better customer service addressing concerns that might be otherwise forgotten about. This inspection will provide you with greater insight on the condition of the home. It’s a good idea to schedule it during daylight hours. And you are encouraged to ask questions. This will allow you to be fully informed about the home and feel confident about your decisions. Also be sure that your home inspection report will include a detailed written report as well as a checklist. A checklist alone may be void of detail and may not provide all the information that you need.


About The Author Benjamin HammondBenjamin Hammond has been in the construction industry for over 20 years and has personally completed over 3,000 home inspections in Nashville & Middle Tennessee. His team at Magnolia Home Inspections, is a trusted local resource providing consulting services for new construction builders, remodel contractors and property managers today as well as residential home buyers.


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