how long does an home inspection take?

How Long Does a Home Inspection Take?

If you’re in the process of buying a home, then a home inspection is probably in your future. And if you’re new to the home-buying process, we bet you’ve got some questions, such as: 


    • How long does a home inspection take?

    • How long is a home inspection good for?

    • What happens during a home inspection?

    • Are home inspections required?

    • What does the home inspection process look like?

    • Is the buyer or seller required to be present during a home inspection?

    • When will you get the results back? What form will they come back in?

At Stephens Real Estate, we understand the importance of thoroughly understanding the home inspection process. In this blog post, we’ll answer some of the most common questions about home inspections, including those listed above.

How Long Does a Home Inspection Take?

As a first-time home buyer, one of the first questions you’ll likely have is, “how long is this going to take, anyway?”

The duration of a home inspection can vary depending on the property’s size, age, and condition, as well as the experience and thoroughness of the inspector. In general, a standard home inspection can take 2 to 4 hours to complete. However, larger or more complex homes may require more time, while smaller or newer homes may take less time.

It’s important to note that even though the inspection time is only a few hours, the entire inspection process could take as long as a few weeks. Examples of situations that may cause a longer home inspection process include, but are not limited to:


    • Scheduling conflicts: If the inspector is busy or the seller is not available for the inspection, it may take some time to schedule a convenient time for the inspection.

    • The size and complexity of the property: If the property is large or has complex systems or features, it may take longer to complete the inspection.

    • Additional inspections: If the inspector identifies issues that require further inspection, such as a specialized inspection for the roof or the foundation, it may take longer to complete the inspection process.

    • Negotiations between the buyer and seller: If the inspection report identifies issues with the property, the buyer and seller may need to negotiate repairs or other concessions, which can take some time to resolve.

    • Review of the inspection report: After the inspection is completed, the buyer may need to review the inspection report with their real estate agent or attorney, which can also take some time.

The inspector may also need time to write up their report and address any questions or concerns you may have after the inspection. Therefore, you should schedule the inspection well in advance of any important deadlines or closing dates to allow for any necessary follow-up.

How Long is a Home Inspection Good For?

Another common question we get from homebuyers is, “how long is a home inspection good for?” 

While there is no set expiration date for a home inspection, it’s important to remember that the home inspection report is a snapshot of the property’s condition at the time of the inspection, so it doesn’t necessarily have an expiration date. However, it’s important to keep in mind that the condition of the property can change over time, so the report may become less accurate as time goes by.

For example, if the inspection report noted that the roof was in good condition at the time of the inspection, but a storm damaged the roof a few months later, the report would no longer accurately reflect the condition of the roof.

That being said, some home inspection companies offer a warranty or guarantee on their inspections, but the specific terms and length of the warranty can vary between companies.

One common type of warranty is a “limited structural and mechanical warranty,” which typically lasts 90 days from the inspection date. This type of warranty may cover certain issues that arise with the home’s major systems (such as the electrical, plumbing, and HVAC systems) or structural components (such as the roof, foundation, and walls) during the warranty period.

However, it’s important to read the warranty carefully and understand what it does and does not cover. Some warranties may have exclusions or limitations that could limit their usefulness, and some may require additional fees or conditions to be met in order to be valid.

It’s also important to note that not all home inspection companies offer warranties, so it’s worth asking about this when you’re choosing a company to conduct your inspection. Ultimately, the most important factor in choosing a home inspector is their qualifications, experience, and reputation, rather than any specific warranty or guarantee they may offer.

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What Happens During a Home Inspection?

Often, home buyers are curious about what the home inspection process looks like. While no two inspectors are the same, an inspector’s job is to thoroughly evaluate the property’s condition and identify any potential issues or areas of concern. The exact process may vary depending on the inspector and the property, but here are some of the key steps typically involved:


    • Exterior inspection: The inspector will evaluate the condition of the exterior of the home, including the roof, gutters, siding, foundation, and grading. They may also inspect any decks, patios, or other outdoor structures.

    • Interior inspection: The inspector will evaluate the condition of the interior of the home, including the walls, ceilings, floors, windows, doors, and stairs. They will also evaluate the condition of the home’s major systems, such as the electrical, plumbing, and HVAC systems.

    • Attic and crawl space inspection: The inspector may also access the attic and/or crawl spaces to inspect the insulation, ventilation, and any other components located in those areas.

    • Testing: The inspector may test various components of the home, such as the electrical outlets, plumbing fixtures, and HVAC systems, to ensure they are functioning properly.

    • Report: After the inspection, the inspector will provide a detailed report of their findings, including any issues or concerns identified during the inspection. The report may also include recommendations for repairs or further evaluation by a specialist.

Overall, a home inspection is designed to help identify any potential issues with the property and provide the buyer with a better understanding of the condition of the home they are considering purchasing.

Are You Required to Attend The Inspection?

Another source of anxiety first-time home buyers face is the uncertainty of whether they need to be present for the home inspection or not. As a buyer, you are not required to be present, but it is highly recommended. Being present during the inspection can allow you to ask questions, see any issues first-hand, and better understand the property’s condition.

As a seller, you are not required to be present during the home inspection, but it is generally a good idea to make yourself available to answer any questions the inspector may have. This can help ensure the inspection goes smoothly and any issues are identified and addressed quickly.

If you cannot attend the inspection, you can still receive a detailed report from the inspector outlining any issues identified during the inspection. However, being present is typically the best way to understand the property’s condition and ensure that any issues are fully understood and addressed.

What is the Home Inspection Process Like?

Often, first-time home buyers are nervous about the inspection process because they don’t know what to expect. Luckily, we have the information to help put your mind at ease.

The home inspection process typically follows a standardized set of steps, although the specific process may vary depending on the inspector and the property being inspected. Here’s a general outline of what you can expect during the home inspection process:


    • Choose an inspector: You can find a qualified home inspector through a variety of sources, such as referrals from your Stephens agent, online directories, or professional organizations.

    • Schedule the inspection: Once you have chosen an inspector, you will need to schedule the inspection at a time that is convenient for you and the seller.

    • Attend the inspection: The buyer is typically present during the home inspection, although this is not required. The inspector will thoroughly examine the property, taking notes and photographs as needed.

    • Receive the report: After the inspection is complete, the inspector will provide a detailed report of their findings. This report may include photos, diagrams, and other information to help illustrate any issues that were identified during the inspection.

    • Review the report: You should review the report carefully to understand any issues that were identified and what, if anything, needs to be done to address them. Consider consulting with a specialist (such as a roofer or electrician) to get more information about specific issues.

    • Negotiate repairs: Based on the inspection report findings, you may need to negotiate repairs with the seller before closing. The seller may agree to make repairs or offer a credit to cover the cost of the repairs.

    • Close the deal: Once any necessary repairs or negotiations have been completed, you can proceed with the closing process and finalize the purchase of the property.

Overall, the home inspection process is designed to help buyers make informed decisions about the properties they are considering purchasing and identify any potential issues that may need to be addressed before the sale.

Who Schedules the Inspection?

Typically, the buyer or buyer agent is responsible for scheduling a home inspection. As the buyer, you will need to choose a qualified home inspector and coordinate with the seller to schedule a convenient time for the inspection to take place.

In some cases, your real estate agent may be able to help you coordinate the inspection by providing recommendations for qualified inspectors and communicating with the seller’s agent to arrange a time for the inspection. However, as the buyer, it is ultimately up to you to ensure that the inspection is scheduled and that all parties are informed of the time and date.

It’s important to schedule the home inspection as soon as possible after the purchase contract is signed. This will allow you to identify any potential issues with the property and negotiate repairs or other concessions with the seller before the sale is finalized.

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Are Home Inspections Required?

In most cases, home inspections are not required by law, but they are highly recommended, especially for those who are buying a home.

Some lenders may require a home inspection as a mortgage loan condition, but this is relatively rare. In general, home inspections are optional, but they are an important part of the home-buying process because they can provide valuable information about the condition of the property and help buyers make informed decisions.

It’s worth noting that some states or municipalities may require certain types of inspections, such as a termite inspection or a radon test, as part of the real estate transaction. It’s important to research the local regulations in your area to ensure that you comply with any requirements.

Even if a home inspection is not required, it’s a good idea to have one done by a qualified inspector, as it can help identify potential issues with the property that may not be immediately visible to the buyer. This can help the buyer decide whether to proceed with the purchase and negotiate any necessary repairs or other concessions with the seller.

When Do You Get The Results Back?

As a buyer, waiting for the inspection results to come back can be nerve-wracking. Let us be the first to tell you not to worry. While the timing and format of the home inspection report can vary depending on the inspector and the circumstances of the inspection, in general, you can expect to receive the inspection report within one or two days of the inspection. Some inspectors can even file their reports and get the necessary approval electronically, allowing them to deliver the report to your agent on-site directly after the inspection.

The format of the report can also vary depending on the inspector. A home inspection report typically includes a detailed written summary of the inspector’s findings and any relevant photographs, diagrams, or other documentation. Some inspectors may also provide a separate checklist or summary of issues that were identified during the inspection.

In some cases, the inspector may provide a verbal summary of their findings immediately after the inspection, followed by a more detailed written report at a later time. This can allow the buyer to address any pressing issues identified during the inspection and to begin negotiating repairs or other concessions with the seller.

Overall, the goal of the inspection report is to provide a comprehensive overview of the condition of the property, including any issues that were identified during the inspection, so that you, as the buyer, can make an informed decision about whether to proceed with the purchase and negotiate any necessary repairs or other concessions with the seller.

Your Dream Home Awaits

At Stephens Real Estate, we are committed to helping you make informed decisions about your home purchase. Our experienced team is here to guide you through the home inspection process and answer any questions you may have. If you’re ready to schedule a home inspection or would like more information, don’t hesitate to contact us. We’re here to help you find your dream home.

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