Many people ask us how long the inspection should take. Generally, the answer is 2-3 hours depending on a few factors. You can tell a lot about the quality of the inspector from his or her average inspection time.
How Much is enough?
At the minimum, a home inspection should take enough time for the home inspector to accomplish the following tasks:
- Communicate with the client and answer any questions they may have
- Document his/her findings in the report
- Inspect the components and systems as required by their Standards of Practice (SOP)
The SOPs define the duties and responsibilities of a home inspector. Everyone should know their home inspector’s SOPs if required through state licensing. Click here to check your state’s licensing requirements and find their SOPs.
How Much is Too Much?
As with any profession, there are home inspectors who inspect too little, too much, and just enough. When a home inspector is taking more than the necessary time to compete the home inspection, one reason could be they’re over-inspecting and detailing far too much information about the home. Too much information usually involves fancy technology measuring information not really related to the home inspection. When shopping for a home inspector and looking at their sample reports, watch out for:
- Excessive pictures from every angle of every room.
- Thermal images of every floor and wall surface throughout the home
- Amperage draw or voltage drop tests of the air conditioner
- Long, drawn out paragraphs filled with compound sentences describing various systems and components.
- Advertising bragging how they use a drone to inspect the roof every time (a ladder is much faster)
There are other circumstances affecting the length of any home inspection, of course, and far too many to list in a brief blog. For example, we’ve trained a lot of retirees to become home inspectors over the years who may be aging and simply walking a little slower than a 27 year-old doing 3 inspections per day.
Generally, a good rule of thumb is a qualified and knowledgeable inspector focused on the right systems, components, and conditions can perform the inspection at a pace of about 1 hour per every 1,000 square feet of livable space. Anything less and you won’t be getting the home inspection you should. Anything more and you’re likely getting a lot more information, but will find it to be less than useful in making a more informed purchase decision.
When shopping for a home inspector, and they say they take more or less time than average, just ask them why. A competent home inspector will respond confidently without making excuses.