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When you buy a new home, you’re likely wondering how long does a home inspection take? If you’re buying a new home, one of the most important things to get done is a home inspection. Home inspections take different amounts of time depending on the age of the home and the size. How long a home inspection takes also varies depending on what you ask for or if you have specific home inspection requests. Whether you’ve purchased a new home build or a resale home, home inspections are incredibly important. You can follow our guide on what to look for with a home inspection, and how long a home inspection takes to fully inspect the home.

What is a Home Inspection?

A home inspection is where the buyer of a home hires an independent inspector to ensure that a home meets the minimum health, safety, and mechanical requirements, as well as inform the buyer of any potential risks or issues. 

Home inspections happen at different times depending on if the home is a resale home or a new construction home. If the home is a resale home, the home inspection occurs after the buyer has made an offer, but before the sale is finalized. If some major issues arise with the resale home, the buyer has the option to revoke their offer, request a lower price, or request that repairs are made as part of the sale. When you’re performing a home inspection for your new construction home, this is usually done a few days before your final walk-through with your builder. You can also arrange for a home inspector to inspect the home before drywall covers up all the plumbing and electrical, but the required plumbing and electrical inspections are often enough.

How Long Do Home Inspections Take?

Home inspections do not take a significant amount of time. Usually a home inspection can be complete in two hours, but the time a home inspection can take varies.

There are many factors that can influence the length of the inspection, such as:

Home Size

The larger the home, the longer the home inspection takes. If there is a finished basement, you will have an additional floor to fully inspect where the walls are covered over. If your home has multiple heating or cooling systems, that will also impact the home inspection speed. Your inspector should inspect every part of the home, so home size will impact inspection time.

Home Age

If the home is older, the inspector will often spend more time with the home inspection. Older homes, especially homes built before the 80s, may not be built with the same building codes required today. Certain building materials that used to be used in home builds, such as lead paint and asbestos, are now known to be poisonous. If your home was built in a time where those materials were used, the inspector will take extra care to inspect the home for anything that could cause health and safety risks.

If the Inspector Finds Issues

If the home inspector finds items of concern during the inspection, that will increase the length of the home inspection process. The more issues that arise, the longer the inspection will take. The state of the house greatly impacts the home inspection speed.

What does a Home Inspection Cover

Home inspections cover the general state of the home and whether or not the home poses any health or safety risks to the buyers. The main items an inspection will look for are:

  • If there are any structural issues (cracked foundation, rotting structural beams)
  • The state of the roof (how old it is, if there’s any damage)
  • Pests (whether there is damage or mess due to pest infestations)
  • Plumbing issues (state of the pipes, connections, rust and other damage)
  • Water damage (if there have been any leaks or floods causing rot or damage)
  • State of the electrical (if there’s any damage, frayed wires, risk of fire)
  • HVAC system (age and state of the furnace and air systems)
  • State of the Attic (insulation quality, damage)

Do You Need a Home Inspection?

Typically, you are not required by law to get a home inspection. However, choosing to not pay for a home inspection can cause a lot of issues in the future. Not getting a home inspection means forgoing your right to withdraw a home offer, and withdrawing your ability to get things fixed prior to moving in. When it comes to new construction homes, it is wise to get a home inspection done before a final walkthrough as you will know ahead of time if there are any deficiencies. Deficiencies are far easier to fix before you live in the home.

Should You Attend the Inspection?

People from either party are welcome to be present during a home inspection, but it is very important that you, the buyer, are present during the home inspection. It is important that you are able to hear what the inspector has to say and write your own notes. An inspector will not ad cosmetic issues into their report (for example, flaking paint or scratches on the floors), so it is good for you to attend the inspection to take care of those items. You should always attend the home inspection as the buyer, because you should be as informed as possible about your new home.

Home inspections cost between $400 and $700, and they are definitely worth the investment. They do not take very long, and they can provide you with a significant amount of peace of mind, and help you move into your new home completely informed of the state of your home.

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