Home Buying in Denver>Question Details

Lauren Adkis…, Home Buyer in Aurora, CO

How long does a home inspection generally take?

Asked by Lauren Adkison, Aurora, CO Thu Feb 26, 2009

Help the community by answering this question:


This is a very good question and one that most buyers do not ask. As a home inspector I can tell you most inspections should take 2 to 3 hours at the site. There are variables that effect the time an inspection will take.

1. Size of the home
2. Number of systems to be inspected, one or multiple HVAC systems, number of electrical main and sub panels, number of water heaters, wells, water softeners and filters, pools and spas, and multiple kitchens will all add to the inspection time.
3. Condition and age of the property
4. Access to areas to be inspected, crawl space and attic for example.
5. Weather conditions, rain, snow or extreme heat can slow the inspection time.
6. State requirements for a home inspection.
7. The amount of question the client has during the inspection. I always recommend the client have a list of questions for the inspector about the property. The inspector can then address those specific questions or investigate that area further. It is the inspectors job to make sure all the clients question have been addressed and have covered any concerns they may have about the property.

Several of the associations of home inspectors have been discussing this over the last year. There are many opinions about drafting rules about the depth and length of time an inspection should take. Most are in agreement a one hour inspection can not be a thorough inspection. If it is not a thorough inspection is it a good inspection?

An average report will take me 3 to 5 hours to complete including research, marking pictures and proof reading the report. A home is a huge investment and you should expect a good return on your investment. If you do not have all the facts up front it reduces your ability to negotiate the sale price and could cost you more in repairs later.

Frank Carr, Owner/Inspector
First Choice Home Inspections
(386) 624-3893

We believe that consumers have the right to expect the highest standards of thoroughness, fairness and effectiveness from their home inspector and that is exactly what we provide.
4 votes Thank Flag Link Fri Jun 21, 2013
Maybe the thread should read, "As a home inspector, how long does your home inspection take?"

Some may agree while others not but, there is nothing general about inspecting a home or building. and that includes time.
This is not about time analyzes.

Lauren, I concur with Frank.
I average 2.5 to 3.5 at the residence and reports can take 3 to 5 hours.

Why do times vary when the standards of practices so closely resemble one another?
The Inspecting efforts. No more, no less.

Best regards.
Flag Fri Mar 20, 2015
Home buyer:
After reading the previous 6 responses, none of them addressed the basics of an inspection. Inspections are available in 3 sizes, and each size has a different timeframe for completion. The first is a low level, kind of gloss over routine which besides being the least expensive ($150-175) is also the fastest at about 1-1.5 hours for the average home. A mid-range inspection, at $225-295, is much more thorough and runs around 2.5 hours. This is usually adequate unless there are structural issues or concerns which brings us to the third type. This is performed by a structural engineer, is the most thorough, and will take at least 3 hours at an average cost of $300-400. Feel free to contact me for more information.

Tim Klein
Metro Brokers - The Realty Werks
3 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Mar 3, 2009
I respectfully would never recommend any home inspector that offers such stacked system. A gloss over inspection would be a disservice to the consumer and a waste of money. A home purchase might be the most expensive investment you will ever make, and you would want the most thorough inspection there is to protect your investment. No one wants to buy a money pit! I would also suggest changing your real estate agent if one would ever suggest such a thing or tell you a home inspection or radon is not necessary and just a waste of money.
Flag Fri Jan 29, 2016
I would not recommend any home buyer consider such an inspection as a gloss over! This sounds like one of the cheap fly by night home inspectors that give the industry a bad name. When a home owner is considering a purchase the first and foremost thing I think they should consider is: Is the home safe? All profession home inspection association have home inspection standards and list times for an appropriate home inspection as 1 hour per thousand square feet and 1 hour for system components. That means the minimum time required for a 2000 sq ft home is 3 hours. If you are getting a home inspection in 1 hour, what is the inspector skipping? Is he opening and checking the electrical panel? Did he miss hazardous electrical wiring? I could not sleep at night if I ever performed a 1 or even 2 hour inspection knowing that I am putting a families life and investment in jeopardy. How can you sleep recommending such an inspection to your clients?
Flag Mon Jan 5, 2015
It depends on the inspector, size of house, and types of inspections ordered. A general inspection on a 3 bed 2 bath house will take about 3-4 hours. You could add time to this by ordering a termite inspection, septic inspection, radon inspection etc...
3 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Feb 26, 2009
General rule of thumb here is the longer the better and always make sure you are present.
2 votes Thank Flag Link Fri Jun 21, 2013
All of these are Great answers. The Inspector most of my Buyer's use, seems to take from 2 to 3 hours on most homes. We're usually in homes up to 3000 square feet. If the Buyer is a first time buyer and wants to know everything about their new home, the inspector shows them everything and I do mean everything. Some Buyer's have lots of questions and the inspector will take his time and answer them thoroughly. Now and then some people have to work during the inspection, so without interuptions,it goes a little quicker. You're paying for it, it's a big investment, take your time and ask a lot of questions.

Best of luck with your inspection, ask a lot of questions! :)

2 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Feb 26, 2009
For a 3 to 4 bedroom, 3 bath home of around 2,000-3000 sq ft it is going to take a thorough inspector 3 hours approximately and longer if issues arise.
Linda Alexande
Prestige Real Estate Group,LLC
1 vote Thank Flag Link Thu Feb 26, 2009
Anywhere from about 2 hours to a full day, depending on the scope of the inspection and the size of the house.

Chuck Strauss
1 vote Thank Flag Link Thu Feb 26, 2009
Home inspections definitely differ based on numerous things. First and foremost, the price of the inspection. Often, you get what you pay for. Talk to the inspector before you schedule them, about what exactly they are going to be looking at. Will they look at the roof? What about the electrical, plumbing, exterior of the house. What about the furnace? Etc. etc. Ask them in advance to see how thorough they are. Another major factor in inspection time is the size of the property. If it's a 800 square foot condo, the inspection could be done in 1.5 hours. If it's a 2,300 square foot house, it could take 3 hours. But generally, an inspection would take 2-3 hours. I work with this company here in the Denver area, and they are very professional, and do an excellent job! http://call2inspect.net/ Best regards, Josh Perkins, Your Castle Real Estate, Denver, CO, 720-985-6834
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Feb 12, 2014
If it doesnt take 2-3 hours, its not thourough. This is the amount I take for most of the home building stock being sold. Even if it is a new property the list to inspect is the same so these still take time. Plan on a whole day for large estates and possible one hour, short reinspections of items asked to be corrected.

I give a brief summary at the end of an inspection verbally and guaruntee a maximum 24hour turnaround on the final digital report.
Web Reference: http://Levelhi.com
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sat Feb 1, 2014

I have worked with several inspectors and the average time frame has been 2-3 hours. A good inspector will start at the roof and go from there through all of the aspects of the home. My inspectors take photos of any items in the home that are of concern and explain to my buyers how much of a problem it is and what will need to be done. By the time they get to inspect the furnace and finish up it usually is about 2 hours and then they finishe up the reports and paperwork. Hope that helps.

Robert McGuire
Your Castle Realestate
0 votes Thank Flag Link Fri Jun 21, 2013
First, in Colorado there is not set standard for home inspections so it really depends on who you ask. That said, as a professional home inspector in Colorado doing inspections based on the American Society of Home Inspectors (ASHI) Standard of Practice, for me it will primarily depend on the total size of the home and the age.

I recommend asking any perspective home inspector for thier estimate of time based on the home you are considering.

Also, I have a blog post here on Trulia that lists criteria in choosing a qualifed home inspector. The same list is on bottom of my home page http://(www.id-inspections.com) as a printable worksheet to compare perspective home inspectors.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Dec 1, 2009
An experienced inspector has a routine that without distractions can be done effectively within a two hour period. This would include, testing all appliances, roof and attic inspection, HVAC, foundation, electrical box & outlets, windows etc.

I have one that is able to include a termite inspection with this process (for one fee)and never takes longer than two hours.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Feb 26, 2009

The previous answers are all correct. I would also take into consideration the age of the home as well. However, I always advise my buyers to be more concerned with the quality of the inspection rather than the time it takes to complete.

Recently I had a buyer who chose not to utilize an inspector that I had recommended but found her own inspector, who in the beginning appeared cheaper. Unfortunately, once at the home she learned there was an additional charge for the inspector to include photos so in the end she ended up paying more.

If you are looking for a recommendation on a great home inspector give me a call. I will refer you to the best!

Good luck,

John Keene
Keller Williams
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Feb 26, 2009
Be wary of inspections - when I have questioned their reports, they consistently fall back on "it's just our opinions..." Find out how experienced the inspectors are (real evidence; training; etc.) about the key inspection categories...
Flag Tue Sep 22, 2015
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