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How Long Does A Home Inspection Take?

Thumb Home Inspection conducting a Home Inspection in St. Clair, Michigan.
(Photo by Getty Images)

Understanding Home Inspections: A Comprehensive Overview

The realm of home inspections is a vast and intricate one. While each property is unique, and every Home Inspector brings their individual methodology, certain foundational principles and practices guide the industry.

The Typical Inspection Process

A standard home inspection, particularly for properties around the 1500 sq. ft. mark, is expected to last roughly three hours. However, this duration is not set in stone. Discovering more intricate problems or areas of concern demands a more thorough exploration, resulting in extended hours. Documenting every deficiency or safety hazard is crucial for both the homeowner and the inspector. This documentation often involves detailed note-taking and capturing photographic evidence to ensure a comprehensive report is provided post-inspection.

In an ideal scenario, the focus of the inspection extends far beyond the minimum requirements set by professional bodies. Take, for instance, the guidelines provided by the InterNACHI standards of practice. While the regulation might technically require the examination of only one electrical receptacle in a representative set, dedicated inspectors often strive for a more exhaustive evaluation. They aim to scrutinize almost every outlet in the house. However, real-world scenarios, such as the occupancy of the home and existing plugged devices, might restrict this thoroughness.

Determining Factors in Inspection Duration

It's intuitive to assume that the size of a property significantly influences the length of its inspection. A larger home would naturally demand more time. Yet, it's not merely about square footage. Houses that are bigger often come equipped with more components – multiple electrical panels, several heating units, and possibly more than one cooling system. Each of these components presents potential pitfalls and areas of concern. For instance, the more extensive the plumbing or the electrical system, the higher the chances of encountering a deficiency.

Furthermore, it's crucial for homeowners to recognize that a standard home inspection is designed to provide a snapshot of the property's current state. It's a quick yet thorough look rather than an exhaustive deep dive into every minor detail of the house's components.

Specialized Services and Their Duration

Beyond the scope of a basic inspection lie various specialized services that an inspector might offer. Each of these services adds layers of complexity and can extend the duration of the inspection.

For instance, a mold inspection necessitates a more in-depth look into particular home components, especially areas prone to moisture, like the HVAC and plumbing systems. The presence of mold can elongate the inspection time significantly. Similarly, sewer line inspections might vary in duration based on the health of the system. Blockages, breaks, or roots infiltrating the sewer line can lead to longer inspection times as they require more attention to detail.

Conversely, some specialized services can be relatively quick and straightforward. Radon testing, for example, mainly involves placing a tester in a specified home area for a set duration.


Home inspections, while guided by industry standards, are subject to variability due to the nature of the property, the diligence of the inspector, and any additional services requested. Being aware of what to expect can help homeowners prepare adequately and ensure their property is thoroughly and correctly inspected.


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