One question I am often asked is how long will the home inspection take? How long the home inspection will take depends on numerous variables.
Size, pool and foundation type
The most obvious variable is how large the property is. If the home has a swimming pool that can add anywhere from twenty to forty five minutes to the inspection time. A crawlspace foundation will add considerably more time versus a slab foundation.
Electric, water heater, and heating and cooling systems
Another variable is how many systems does the home have. A typical home has one electric panel, one heating and air-conditioning system and one water heater. On larger homes it’s not unusual to see 2, 3 or even 4 of each system. On occasions, a smaller home may also have multiple systems. Each additional system adds additional time to the home inspection. Also if some systems are not easily accessible, this can also add time.
Vacant or furnished?
A vacant home takes less time because the inspector can go from window to window and outlet to outlet. A furnished home takes additional time because the inspector has to walk around beds, couches, chairs and other furniture.
Who is attending?
As an inspector, I like it when the client attends the inspection because then I can explain things as I go and there is less chance of a mis-understanding when reading the report. However, depending on the interaction, this can add time the inspection. When the client continuously ask questions about issues noted in a different room than the inspector is inspecting, this can distract the inspector and add considerable time to the inspection. I have seen this add an additional hour to the inspection. A seller who is present and wants to explain why everything is the way it is also add considerable time to the inspection.
Some attics have low ceiling height, are blocked by duct work, or have so much insulation that there is no room to walk. Some attics have plenty room to walk around in. Other attics have just enough room to slowly crawl around the house. This is a variable that cannot easily be predicted before hand, but will alter how long the inspection will take.
If the home contains a jet tub (often called a whirlpool tub), add at least 20 minutes, it not more to the inspection time. Jet tubs have to be filled so the water to above the highest jet to be tested. The access panel has to viewed, which may be hidden or at the exterior and possibly require a ladder to access. The motor has to be check for ground fault protection. The tub has to be checked for leaks while running the motor and again when the water is drained from the tub.
Number of issues found
The more issues found in a home the more the inspector has to document. Some issues may not be obvious and require additional time to investigate on-site. Quite simply the more issues found, the longer the inspection will take.
All of these variables put together can alter how long the inspection takes, and most of these can not be predicted beforehand. The inspection may take less time then the inspector predicted, or may take considerably more time than predicted.
In general, a home inspection can last 2 to 4 hours, though larger or more complicated homes may take longer.