After countless days viewing homes online and then seeing them in person, you have finally found the home you have been looking for! This is great! After you sign the contract, the next step is the home inspection. Now while a home inspection is not required, it is highly recommended. You want to make sure you are buying a home that will be safe for you and your loved ones.
I know you are a busy person and want to know, how long does a home inspection take? Well, it varies from an hour to a few hours and the average is 2 hours.
However, it actually depends on a lot! Let’s take a look at what a home inspection is, types of inspections for insurance, and why some inspections take a longer/shorter amount of time.
1. What is a Home Inspection?
A home inspection is an examination of the condition of a property in areas such as structure and safety. It is conducted by a certified and experienced home inspector who has met the qualifications of the state in which he/she lives in and follows the practices set forth by the American Society of Home Inspectors (ASHI).
ASHI’s best practices are for each home inspector to examine the following areas and to create a report for the buyer. The report is based on recommendations for systems and components that need to be corrected. The areas the home inspector will check are:
- Insulation and ventilation
- Fireplace (where applicable)
2. What Are Some Add-On Services for Insurance?
In addition to the areas listed above, one inspection you can pay to have is a 4-point inspection. Insurance companies will require this if you are buying a home that is 30 years old or older. Sometimes homes as young as 10 years old require this too. This type of inspection covers a limited scope of A/C, roof, electrical, and plumbing. The price is about $50-100.
Wind mitigation is an inspection that involves checking the home’s wind-resistant features. This is especially important in states that experience hurricanes and many states give huge discounts for this type of inspection.
Protecting your family and valuables is something you can’t put a price tag on so this is definitely worth the cost and the time. This type of inspection is about $50-$100 as well.
Wood Destroying Organisms
A home that has a wood frame or concrete block would benefit from this type of inspection. Many homeowners may also have a Termite Protection on the home they are selling and this is a win-win if they do. This hopefully means that an inspector has been out regularly to the home to check for these organisms.
The cost for pest inspection can range from $75-$200 with an average of around $95. If the home inspection company you hired doesn’t do these add on services, they can probably refer you to a company who does.
There are additional add-on inspections that may be needed, depending on findings in the home such as:
- Mold Inspections
- Asbestos Inspections
- Water Testing
- Sewer Scope Inspections
- Radon Testing
3. Why Some Home Inspections Take Longer or Shorter Time
An experienced inspector should be thorough but also be well versed where the areas of inspection are in and outside of a home. As with all homes, the layout varies from one house to another.
Factors that can make an inspection take longer are:
1. Large home and only one inspector
A larger home takes time to navigate the square footage and with one inspector will take a longer time. However, if there are two inspectors, the time is cut in half, no matter the size of the home.
2. Poor condition of a home
A home that is in poor condition can create obstacles for the inspector. If there is water coming through a ceiling, frayed wires, wires hanging down in random places, rooms under construction, or walls falling in, it will take a home inspector time to navigate and evaluate the condition. Ultimately, the more issues that come up, the longer it will take.
3. An older home
An older home may have a lot of issues such as an outdated FPE panel or old water heater to name a few. Additionally, homes that are 75 years old or older have their own problems that need to be looked into and can add an hour to the length of the inspection
4. Crawl spaces are blocked
Having too much “stuff” in the home that blocks crawl spaces or areas the inspector needs to evaluate will cause the inspection to take longer. In order to alleviate this problem, take a look in these areas before the inspection and make sure they are clear.
5. Storms may limit accessibility to the outside
The weather outside can make the completion of a home inspection difficult. The HVAC, roof, and foundation areas will need to be accessed, but not during a storm. Now, if it is storming, it will take time to make sure the weather system has passed or part of the inspection may need to be rescheduled.
6. Questions the inspector has for the seller / buyer and vice versa
While waiting for the inspection day to arrive, jot down questions you may have for both the seller and the inspector. Don’t stress about this as it is okay if you don’t know all your questions ahead of time.
During the inspection, you may have additional questions and it will be up to you if you want to ask them or contact the inspector later. If you are pressed for time, this will be the best way to communicate.
7. Requirements for add-ons by the insurance company
Insurance companies may ask for add-on inspections. These inspections include mold, wind mitigation, 4-point inspection, asbestos etc. as mentioned above.
While waiting for the inspection day, find out from the insurance company the required add-on inspections and communicate this to the company. The inspector will appreciate this information and it will allow him/her to bring the proper tools needed and save you time.
Factors that can make the inspection shorter
1. Smaller space to inspect
The smaller spaces and square footage, like a condo, allow an experienced inspector to do a thorough, quicker, and efficient job. The smaller the space, the less time the inspection checklist takes to go through
2. Two inspectors on the job
Many companies are using two inspectors to team up and split the checklist. In fact, two inspectors can cover more area in half the amount of time than one and the second set of eyes is great if there are questions.
3. Accessibility to areas that are on the checklist
An inspector will need access to areas on the checklist he/she brings to the inspection. Prepare for this by making sure nothing is blocking doors, the electrical panel, etc. Additionally, pets need to be somewhere out of the way or off the property.
In conclusion, people often debate whether a home inspection is necessary and it sure is! A home inspection is worth a few hours of your time to make sure you are purchasing a property that is safe and right for you and your family.
Lastly, research your insurance company’s requirements so you know which add on services you need before your inspector arrives. This will save you time and money if you do your research ahead of time.
Do you have an upcoming home inspection and have questions about the process or the amount of time it takes? Drop us a line below and we would love to help!