“How long will this inspection take?”
It’s a question that home inspectors get all the time, and (unless you’re a really crappy inspector who does the same 45-minute inspection every time) there’s really no good answer. There are just too many variables that need to be dealt with to ever be able to accurately assess a job ahead of time.
How old is the house?
Has it ever been renovated?
Was it maintained throughout its life?
How many people are going to be attending the inspection?
Will the seller be there, trying to repair everything that I put in the inspection report just as I’m typing?
Is the buyer going to follow me around, regaling me with endless stories about their life?
Has the house ever been featured on an episode of A&E’s “Hoarders”?
Has the buyer’s dad (who’s going to be at the inspection) ever worked as a contractor?
Did a recent sale fall through, and the sellers “fixed” all the previous inspection issues themselves?
Is everything in this 100-year old house “brand new”?
Has the agent told the buyers to follow me around so that I can teach them everything they ever wanted to know about the house?
Is the house owned by a plumber, electrician, HVAC technician, or (worst of all) handyman?
Does the agent expect me to go to the house alone and not only do an inspection but also entertain (and monitor) the buyers?
Will there be five children “helping” me do the inspection?
Or, best of all, is someone going to keep asking “How much longer is this inspection going to take?”
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