Certified & Licensed Home Inspectors for your Residential Properties & Commercial Buildings

Buying a home is your largest investment and the process itself can be a large expense and time consuming. You don’t want any surprises like a leaky roof, faulty wiring or insufficient plumbing to appear after closing day. That’s why a home inspection prior to purchasing is so important- you want to learn as much as possible about the history and state of the property you are purchasing and the home you’re investing in. 

If items are found that are in need of repair, often those repairs can be negotiated to a point with the seller of the home to make both parties satisfied. In today’s real estate market, you don’t want anything in the home inspection report to slow down your closing time and you want your offer to be as strong as possible, so you might find yourself asking, “How long does the home inspection process take?” and “Will it make my offer appear weaker or stronger than others on the table?” A home inspection is a typical condition of many real estate contracts and the number one thing for a buyer to keep in mind before making a final decision in many cases. The process of a home inspection doesn’t take long from start to finish, but several factors can affect the length of time it takes for an inspection to be completed on a given house.

One of our inspectors taking some extra time to investigate the condition of an electrical panel.

As a general rule of thumb, a home inspection will take 2-3 hours for a roughly 2,000-square foot home. You should expect to add 30 minutes for each additional 500 square feet. 

After the on-site home inspection is complete, receiving the report back from the inspector can take anywhere from 24- 48 hours. However, advancements in technology and programs have greatly reduced the turnaround time for full reports from days past when it took much longer on average to get to closing…

How Long Does a Home Inspection Take?

Less Time Than it Used To Before Technology!


Many other factors can affect the inspection time of a home. Let’s take a look at some of the most common issues:

The Age of the Home

Older homes with older or out-of-date wiring and plumbing, for example, may take more time to inspect to ensure they are safe and in good working order. Dated plumbing and electrical systems require more extensive examinations by the inspector. A few examples include fuse boxes instead of modern breaker panels and rusted, old cast iron pipes instead of new plastic PVC pipes found in modern homes. If the home is more than 75 years old, expect to add at least 1 additional hour to the inspection time. 

The Size of the Home

The bigger the home is, the more time it will take to thoroughly inspect all aspects of the house for possible issues and defects. Average homes are typically 1,500- 2,000 square feet and take approximately 2-3 hours to inspect. For each additional 500 square feet, add 30 minutes. 

The Condition of the Home

A newly-built home that is well constructed and subject to local building code inspections throughout the construction process will not take long at all to inspect. A vacant home will not take as long as an occupied home as attic spaces, closets, basements, foundation and roofs will be easier to access and free of clutter. Pro tip: If you’re the seller, be sure to walk through your home and remove any furniture or stored items that may prevent the inspector from seeing these spaces.

The Number of Systems in the Home

Larger homes and homes with basements and multiple floors may have several heating and air conditioning units and water heaters. Having more equipment in the home will automatically add additional time to a home inspection. 

What Type of Foundation the Home Has

Homes with crawl spaces and basements will take longer to inspect and check for leaks and imperfections. You should expect to add at least 30 additional minutes for homes with these types of foundations versus a slab foundation.

Weather Conditions

Rain and other types of precipitation can affect the length of home inspections or even delay them. If it’s raining or even snowing, it can affect the inspector’s ability to check and inspect roofs, windows, doors, chimneys, siding and other exterior fixtures around the house. In the case of severe weather, to ensure safety for all parties in the real estate transaction, it may be necessary to reschedule completely to a calmer day.

Some Additional Factors Include The Following:

The Home Inspector’s Experience 

Ideally your home inspector will be someone seasoned and experienced. At Timberline Inspections, all of our inspectors are licensed and insured. We are also proud Certified Professional Inspectors through the International Association of Certified Home Inspectors. Again, your home is your largest investment, and you want someone trustworthy and experienced performing your inspection and making recommendations.

Answering Buyer, Agent and Homeowner Questions 

We love for our clients to come to the inspection, ask questions about the house and learn all about their new home. We understand this is a huge purchase and buyers often have questions and want peace of mind. However, the inspector does need time to perform the job with minimal disruption, so we recommend coming in the last hour or so as to not drastically lengthen the time of the home inspection. 

What Should I Expect After the Inspection?

While this is not an all-inclusive list, it should give you an idea of different factors with your home that could affect the length of your home inspection. After the on-site inspection is complete, the inspector will take time to compile a full inspection report. Advances in technology have greatly decreased the turnaround time for inspectors to return reports. Time-consuming methods of digital photo importing and cutting and pasting into Microsoft Word have been replaced with apps on iPads that can all but essentially automate the report building process. A turnaround time of 24-48 hours is common practice to receive the full report.

Working with an agent?

If you are working through the home-buying process with a real estate agent, he or she will be able to walk you through the report and advise on next steps. If there are issues, repairs or suggestions made in the report, communicating and negotiating them with the home sellers and listing agent will be handled at this step of the process.

We take great pride in being trusted with your home, your largest investment. At Timberline Home Inspections, our team of three is standing by and ready to assist in your home inspection in the Montgomery or Birmingham metro areas. We are proud to be a Veteran-owned business with many years of experience in the industry. Contact us online to schedule your home inspection, or give us a call at 205-545-2050.