I often hear from clients, that their agents have told them that the inspection will take about “X” amount of time. These time “estimates” often have no basis in reality other than perhaps what the agent is used to. I have heard these estimates range from a “couple of hours” to “three or four” hours. I have never heard of an agent stating that the client should expect the inspection to take 5 or 6 hours.
I am not sure why this is, but it does not seem to matter what size the house is, how many mechanical systems the house has, or how complicated the design of the house is. There seems to be the general perception that 2-1/2 to 3-1/2 should be more than adequate. It is almost as if anything less or anything more is not “normal.”
The absolute bottom line is that they “take whatever they take.”
Now I realize this open-ended time frame interferes with prematurely scheduled “other events,” but is that my fault? Am I to keep a “make believe” deadline because of other people’s schedules that I have no control over? It can be stressful when about ½-way through the inspection the agent is already asking how much longer it is going to take. When this happens, I can guarantee that it is not an agent that I have worked with before. They all typically know that it takes whatever it takes.
When I book an inspection I do everything I can to assess what I am getting into so that not only can I price the inspection accurately but so that I can get a sense of how long it is going to take me. I would say that for the vast majority of homes, I can inspect them in less than 4 hours. However when they get up into the 5 to 6 thousand square foot range, with huge crawl spaces, multiple attics, multiple HVAC units, or 3 or 4 overhead garage doors & their openers to test, it can eat up a lot of time.
I find it interesting that I have never had a client that wondered why the inspection was taking so long.
Charles Buell, Real Estate Inspections in Seattle
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WA State, Home Inspector Advisory Licensing Board