How long does it take to inspect a home?

I am trying to get some information on how long it would take an inspector to fully inspect a single family home that is built in the 1920. The home is about 1400 SF, 3 BR, 2 Baths, gas furnace/water heater, two stories with full basement and 1 car garage.



2 1/2 to 3 hours should do it unless something special about this house

2 1/2 to 4 hours depending on many factors. If he did it in less than 1 1/2 hours, he would have performed the minimal requirement for doing home inspection (sampling of windows, outlets, viewed roof from ground, inspected attic from access hole only).

Why do you ask?

Long time ago I used to think about how long an inspection took. Now I never even consider that important. AS someone said, “I can do it fast or I can do it right. Which do you prefer?” Ive done some very old, small houses that took most of the day due to the large number of issues. Took almost as long to write the report to my satisfaction. Without too many problems or issues figure on 2-4 hours. With problems and a small crawl space add an hour or so. I generally just say it takes as long as it takes.

Each house is unique and the time to inspect it properly will vary with its general condition, age, and any upgrades/additions that have been added to it.

Bank on at least 2 hours minimum with a possiblity for a lot more. I wouldn’t book another inspection for that day just in case the inspection might take more time.

Homes older than 1950 or so take me longer, I would guess a minimum of three hours for me to do it. Maybe longer.

Usually takes me 3 1/2 - 4 hours, and thats with my wife helping me. That includes going over report with client on site and a ready to take home binder report for the client. If I’m by myself, which doesn’t happen very often…5 hours.

I would typically take 3-4 hours for the house you described. Could be a bit longer if we found more than its share of problems.

p.s. John, did you ever live in Windsor Ontario by any chance?

Even though I just got in the PROFESSIONAL(certified) inspections (was doing REO’s and BPO’s @ first) i would say that it depends on the size of the home and of course the issues, you could have a perfect home that ia breeze to inspect and another thats just well you know…but for the simple answer no shorter 2 1/2hrs

On that size home, 2 ½ to 3 ½ hours is pretty typical for me. But it all depends on whether or not the house (in question) has been maintained or not over the years. I’ve had a few homes (under 2,000 sq. ft.) where it took me close to four hours to complete due to many defective items throughout the home.

Most people take care of their homes, but there are some people (for some strange reason) that do enjoy living in squalor.

30 Mins Tops, thats about how long it would take to walk around look at a few things and type in the report D12 required for replacement.

On a serious side, I would book it for either the morning or the after noon appoint ment, so half the day would be afforded to the inspection and report is completed at home if needed or done on site if no real bad issue’s arise.

I recently did a 58 year old home that had gone through many owners over the years with additions and “upgrades” over the course of time. These kinds of houses can be very challenging as they often will “tell a story” and if you take your time you can unravel much of that story. This is important for a couple of reasons; you need to be able to convey to your customer what has transpired and piece together how past “improvements” may very well be the cause of some of the existing and persistant problems typically found on older homes. What some past owner did almost always has an impact and in this particular case exacerbated a serious problem of water intrusion. Each an every attempt they tried to correct or “live with” the problem caused more serious issues to “accumulate”. With older homes I set aside the entire day because I never know what I will find and by the end of the inspection your brain can go on overload with the amount of information you will now have to put into a report that makes sense, protects your customer and finally limits your liability while still putting everything into perspective. What you may think is a minor issue may be monumental to the buyer and vice verse. It is a fine line to walk at times. Main thing I can say is take your time, do it right even if it means telling the client it may take some additional time to put together the report. Ive never had one yet get upset because I wanted to be thorough.

Typically for me it would take 3 hours and 13 minutes and 12 seconds.

But seriously, it would take 3 hours and 13 minutes! :slight_smile:

Many things need to be factored in…But I tell customers on average a home should take 3 hours.

Exactly. Whatever it takes to do the job. Some inspectors move faster than others, think faster than others, write faster than others. Things can be found or missed by both fast and slow inspectors. Bottom line is to just to do your best.

Thank you all for the inputs. I asked the question because I am setting an appointment with the inspector to inspect a home. I just want set enough time aside so the inspector can do complete job.

Why not ask your inspector. DUH!


It would depend on many other factors, as well, e.g., lots of deferred maintenance or, although built in 1920, recently remodeled. Vacant or occupied? Occupied takes longer because I don’t want to knock over that priceless Chinese vase from the Ming Dynasty (that would send my GL rates skyrocketing).

When my Clients as that question, my standard response is:

“It generally takes me about 1½ hours for every 1,000 square feet. However, if also depends on how many notes I have to make. If there are a lot of problems, longer. If it’s a brand new home, shorter. It will take longer to inspect an occupied home than a vacant home since I have to make more notes about what is and is not accessible or visible.”

Not necessarily. One has to take into consideration the conditions at the time of the inspection.

I did a house about the size of the one in question all by myself (it was a holiday, so my other inspectors were off), but it took about 30 minutes. Water, gas, and electricity were not on. Every room was full of stacks and stacks of magazines, floor to ceiling. We’ll presume in this case that the house in question here was not the extreme example but that’s why it’s probably not good to go making summary statements without knowing all the facts. And, of course, when one cannot do even the minimal requirement, document, document, document.

By the way, on the one I did, my Client was very, very happy with my report. I was incredulous! Huh? Well, he was a property investor, and the only reason why he was getting a home inspection was to satisfy his Realtor because the Realtor wanted third-party documentation of the condition of the property. The property investor didn’t care. He was going to tear down the house and build a 4,000-SF house on a .75-acre property overlooking the Pacific Ocean on the west side and overlooking Sorrento Valley on the east side.

I always take the opportunity to market and make sure they know that we are all about them!

"How long the inspection will take depends on you, since we will stay until your last question is answered to your satisfaction.

In general, a home that size (say 1500 SF) should take about 1.5 - 2 hours, but you may have a lot of questions and I will not limit you and rush off to another appointment, so it may take 2.5 hours. Other times I have had clients who are not as curious, and the inspection was shorter. But this is all about you and making sure you feel comfortable with your home."