The house buying process is both exciting and nerve-wracking. You'll more than likely spend a lot of time looking for a house that will suit your needs and be within your budget. Depending on where you live, you might have a lot of options or the market might be limited. At some point, you'll need to have a home inspection. When that happens, you might ask: how long does a home inspection take?
How Long Does a Home Inspection Take?
On average, a good home inspector will spend at least 2 or 3 hours checking out the house. This could take longer depending on the size of the house or how easy it is to access the parts of the home they need to inspect.
Some other factors that could impact how long the home inspection takes includes the age and condition of the property, weather conditions, if there are any state laws and regulations pertaining to inspections, and how many questions the buyer has about the property.
What Is a Home Inspection?
After you've asked how long does a home inspection take, you may be wondering exactly what a home inspection is. In essence, this is the phase in the home buying process where a licensed home inspector goes into the home and looks for issues. These include problems with the structure, electrical, or mechanical components of the home.
The goal of the home inspection is to protect the buyers. It will let them know if there are any noticeable problems that they might not have noticed. The process is non-invasive, and the inspector won't cause any damage while they go through and check out the home.
Things the Inspector Looks for
When the inspector heads to the home, there are certain things they will look for, and this will have an impact on the question: how long does a home inspection take? They will check out the structural integrity to ensure that there aren't any issues there. An inspector will also look at the electrical system, the plumbing, heating and cooling system, roofing, windows and doors, the foundation, basement, attic, and insulation.
Most home inspectors won't check out things such as wells, septic tanks, or pools. If these are an area of concern you have before buying the house, you'll have to call in other inspectors who specialize in these areas to have them looked at.
Do Inspectors Look for Mold and Pests?
Most inspectors don't look for mold or pests while they are doing their inspection. However, if they happen to notice visual signs of either, they will probably mention it in their report. If you specifically want these items searched for, you'll need to call in other experts who will look specifically for these issues.
Are Home Inspections Necessary?
In most states, home inspections are not required by law. If you decide you want a house and you don't want to have it inspected, you have this option. However, it can be a really good idea to ensure that there aren't major problems with the home before you buy. If there is a major flaw with the house that the seller isn't willing to fix and you don't want to deal with the cost, this is a way you can back out of the contract and look for another home.
Does the House Have to Be Inspected to Get a Loan?
If you're like most people, you are probably taking out a loan to buy your house. In addition to wondering how long does a home inspection take, you might be asking if they are necessary to get money from a financial institution. Most lenders do not require you to get a home inspected before they will give you the money. It's required that the house get appraised, but it doesn't necessarily need inspected.
How Is the Home Inspection Process Conducted?
In general, once you determine that you want to get a home inspected, the inspector will show up to the house on the determined day and time and check things out. This will include walking around the outside of the house, going inside the home, checking out the various systems, and climbing onto the roof, into the attic, and going through the basement to look for any issues.
Once they have completed their inspection, they will put together a report, which will be provided to you and perhaps your real estate agent. From there, you will be able to see what issues they found and determine if they are something you can live with or something you want the sellers to fix.
Can a House Fail Inspection?
Houses cannot fail an inspection because the purpose of this process is just to find issues. The inspector is not going in looking to pass or fail the house. They are simply recording what they find and presenting that information to you.
An inspection is different than an appraisal, which is conducted to determine market value. It's possible that these issues and problems could reduce the value of the home, but that's not the job of the inspector to determine.
Do You Have to Be Present for the Inspection?
As the buyer, it's totally up to you if you want to be present when the inspector does their job. This will give you a chance to walk through with them and ask any questions you might have. You may also decide if you want your real estate agent there, as well. However, you don't have to be present if you don't want to.
Are the Sellers Present?
More often than not, even though it's the seller's house, they are not home during an inspection. They have every right to be there if they so choose, but most sellers decide to stay out of the way and let the inspector do their job.
What Do You Do If Issues Are Found?
The chances of something being wrong with the house is pretty high. No house is perfect, so there will be flaws. When this occurs, as the buyer, you have to determine which issues you are willing to live with and/or fix yourself and those that you want the seller to fix.
Large issues such as out-of-date HVAC systems or problems with the electrical and plumbing are probably things you should asked to get fixed. Any problem that impacts the proper function of the house or poses a safety issue should be corrected. If there is mold, this may also be something that you want the seller to take care of.
Usually, after the inspection, you and your real estate agent will draft another offer/contract that outlines what you want the sellers to fix. They have the opportunity to agree to fixing the problems, or they can reject your offer. This is all part of the negotiation of the sale, and no one has to do anything that they don't want to.
Who Pays for the Inspection?
After you ask how long does a home inspection take, you are probably wondering who pays for the inspection. Since this is a process that protects the buyer, you will be paying. Since you are paying for this service, the sellers usually don't get a copy of the report. The only way they know about repairs is through the list of things that need to be fixed that you give them.
How Much Does an Inspection Cost?
Where you live and who you get to inspect the house will determine the cost, as will the size of the home. On average, a home inspection will cost between $200 and $400, but it can also be more or less.
This payment is not something that you can add to your closing costs or your loan. It is generally needed before you get to those final steps of the home buying process. However, the investment is well worth it to ensure that you don't get a home with a lot of problems that will end up costing you in the future.
How Do You Find an Inspector?
Finding a qualified home inspector usually isn't a challenge. Your real estate agent should be able to recommend one, or you can do a search online. It's recommended that you find an inspector that is a member of a professional organization, such as the ASHI or the NAHI. This ensures you are getting a quality inspector who is up to date on the rules and regulations and will do a thorough and complete job of looking at the house.
Buying a house is a major investment, and it's something you will have for a long time. You want to make sure that you are getting your money's worth. An inspection will help you determine if there are major issues with a home before you buy. They aren't required by law, but they are a good idea before purchasing.
If there are problems that can be corrected, you might have the seller take care of them. Should there be more issues with the house than you are willing to deal with, you can walk away and find something else.