“Walk and Talks” are becoming popular as homebuyers waive conditions in a frenzied market.
Nervous buyers have found a workaround to waiving home inspection conditions, by asking inspectors to do quick “pre-offer” inspections – which may not be legal, or of much value.
Pre-offer inspections do not meet the definition of a home inspection and do not comply with professional standards of practice. They are typically a 30-minute walk-through with a home inspector who will point out obvious defects for a minimal fee, with no contract and no written report.
Some home inspectors grit their teeth and do them, especially when the phone isn’t ringing much. Some will not do them because they feel it’s not good for them or their clients, not in compliance with home inspection standards and possibly not legal in areas with home inspector licensing..
I was leaning toward the idea that pre-offer inspections might be better than nothing, and would indeed provide a valid service to homebuyers, and with a suitable written contract clearly stating “this is NOT a home inspection, and is NOT intended to address this, that or the other thing and blah, blah, blah” that everyone could avoid legal repercussions.
And what if we didn’t call it a home inspection? What if we called it something else?
The CAHPI* Standards of Practice specify the components that a home inspector shall describe and report on, and the word “report” is defined as “To communicate in writing.”
In addition to possible legal implications for the home inspector and the Realtor, the absence of a written contract and a written report also leave the home inspector, and ultimately the homebuyer uninsured.
THE BOTTOM LINE:
A shortcut by any other name is still a shortcut, and shortcuts can be habit forming. Do we really want these quickie inspections to become the new norm? Home inspections have been around for a long time and for good reasons. If we’re buying a house, let’s take the time to look at everything.
Learn about home inspections at www.electrospec.ca
Gil Strachan is a professional home inspector, representing Electrospec Home Inspection Services in east-central Ontario since 1994.