How long does a home inspection take – Setting your expectations correctly

How long does a home inspection take? Some might say, as long as it needs to.

Whether you’re a seasoned homeowner or a first-time buyer, you will never go wrong by conducting a home inspection prior to finalizing your purchase. Although in competitive markets it has become increasingly common to waive a home inspection, the reality is that this is a foolish practice.

A home inspection will normally take anywhere from 2.5 hours up to 5 hours depending on the size of the property. Ordinarily, home inspections done by Sound Choice Home Inspections take about 3 hours on average.

How is the time used during an inspection?

Three hours for an inspection is actually quite quick when you consider the value of the information that you’ll be receiving and the many different components of the home that will be examined.

Typically, home inspections are broken up into about four main sections.

1. Inspecting the exterior and the roof

While they certainly do not HAVE to, an inspection of a home ordinarily start with the outside of the home and move inward.

Your inspector will begin by doing a walkaround of the home to get a feel for everything that needs to be inspected, any special quirks or anomalies about the home, and make a game plan for the inspection ahead.

The roof is typically the final portion of the “outside” inspection, and at Sound Choice Home Inspections, we’ll always provide you with a verbal report afterward to make note of anything that we’re seeing that may be worth paying attention to.

Things to look at on the exterior and roof of the home:

  • Condition and age of the siding
  • Any evidence of foundational issues 
  • Age of the roof and if replacement will be needed
  • Evidence of rodent activity from the outside

An inspection of the exterior of the home can often (but not always) set the tone for how well the home performs on the rest of the inspection.

Total time taken: About 1 hour on average

2. Inspecting the interior and the attic

An interior inspection of your home will involve an examination with the same level of care as the exterior, but with a focus on critical indoor utilities and appliances.

We put the home under a sort of utility “stress test” to see how well the water pressure holds up under maximal usage, check electrical outlets for GFIC protection, and look for evidence of maintenance issues in every room of the house.

Usually, the attic is the last part of the “interior” inspection, and then your inspector will give you a briefing on what has been found throughout the interior of the home, along with any recommended maintenance.

These are typical things that we look for when inspecting the interior of the home.

  • Age of appliances, hot water tank age and condition
  • If there is a gas fireplace, safety mechanisms in place
  • Water pressure test
  • GFIC protection on every electrical outlet
  • Evidence of pest activity in the attic
  • Insulation issues

Total time taken: About 1.5 hours on average

3. The crawlspace

This leads us to the final section of the home inspection, which is the crawl space. Often feared as the place that “nobody wants to go” the crawl space is the last major box of health to check off for your new home purchase.

When getting into the crawl space, your inspector will make sure to suit up with the proper protective gear to make sure that they don’t bring any dust, dirt, or other fun “souvenirs” back from the crawl space.

Common issues to screen for in the crawl space:

  • Evidence of rodent or pest activity
  • Health and lifespan of insulation
  • Evidence of water damage or mold

Total time taken: About 30 minutes on average.

Take the time to have a home inspection

When you think about the number of years that you may plan to spend in a home, you can see why taking about 3 hours to so for an inspection is time well-spent.

Having an inspection gets you intimately acquainted with the property that you’ll be occupying, and (if you have an inspection contingency) also gives you an option to back away if there’s something that’s a dealbreaker for you.

As an expert home inspector in the Pacific Northwest, Dave Woodward will be able to coach you through your home inspection to ensure you’re making a sound choice! You can check here for pricing and more information. We’d love to help you with your next home inspection.