With today’s ridiculously competitive real estate market, many home buyers are forgoing their rights to a home inspection in order to make their purchase offer more attractive. Of course, we don’t advocate doing this, and most real estate agents don’t like doing this either, but the market is forcing these compromises, in Minnesota and across the country.
Enter the Walk-Through Consultation
To help homebuyers who may choose to forego a home inspection, we offer Walk-Through Consultations. This is a consultation where we walk through the interior and exterior of a home with a potential home buyer to share our observations, concerns, and insights with the home. Walk-Through Consultations are typically scheduled at the last minute, and they’re short; no more than a half-hour.
Our clients take notes, and we strongly encourage them to get a full home inspection if they purchase the home. We’ve been doing these for a long time, but we got serious about establishing protocols around these about a year ago. We’ve done hundreds of walk-through consultations over the last year, and our process has remained the same. Here’s a video from last year explaining this service:
Walk-Through Consultation details
Length: 30 minutes. The Walk-Through Consultation takes place with the real estate agent and client present during a showing, which is usually scheduled for 15 to 30 minutes. That’s the maximum amount of time for us to walk through the property, so we’ll be moving quickly.
Report: No report. Our clients take notes, as we will not be producing any type of report.
Tools: A flashlight. Because this is not a home inspection, we will not be bringing a ladder into the home to inspect the attic, removing the electrical panel cover, using a combustion analyzer on the furnace, or any of the other jazz that we do during a home inspection. This would have the potential to make for some upset home sellers. We’re drawing a very clear line in the sand between a walk-through and an inspection.
Timing: We receive requests for these on very short notice, and we do our best to accommodate these requests.
What’s covered: We cover as much of the home as we possibly can during this short window of time. To get a better understanding of what is covered, check out our interior home inspection checklist and exterior home inspection checklist for details. This is the stuff we focus on, but the amount of stuff that we cover is limited by our time there, the size of the home, and the condition of the home. We also cover specific client concerns, within reason and time-permitting.
Price: $200 for the first home, $100 for each subsequent home, provided these showings are scheduled back-to-back and the distance from one house to the next is less than 5 miles.
Coordinated by: Our office and the buyer’s agent. We accompany the real estate agent and the home buyer on the showing, but we do not set up the showing ourselves. We ask the buyer’s agent to notify the seller’s agent that a home inspector will be accompanying them during the showing, but will only be there to walk and talk. As noted, the home inspector will not be performing a home inspection.
What about home inspection standards of practice?
At Structure Tech, we talk a lot about the American Society of Home Inspectors (ASHI) Standard of Practice, which we follow with every home inspection. It’s important to make sure your home inspector follows standards such as these when performing a home inspection. A Walk-Through Consultation is not a home inspection, however. It doesn’t look, smell, or taste like a home inspection, which is why it’s not covered by any organization’s home inspection standards of practice. As its name implies, it is simply an on-site consultation by a professional, designed to help answer some of the known unknowns and to shine a light on some of the unknown unknowns.
For more information about any potential ethical questions, check out Are walk-through consultations ethical? Yes.