Today I’d like to talk to you about ‘walk and talks’, the not-quite home inspections that are cropping up across the country in response to the current seller’s market. There’s a lot of pressure on home buyers these days to skip as many steps as possible and sign on the dotted line, sometimes without even seeing the whole house! I’ve seen memes of realtors crying when their listing is on Zillow for more than a couple of days and heard about all kinds of outrageous offers going tens of thousands of dollars above the asking price, oh my! One of the ways people are being pressured to skip step is to delay the home inspection until after settlement. Personally, I shudder in horror at this thought.
‘Skip the home inspection!?’ I gasp to myself, clutching my invisible pearls.
But that’s easy for me to say, isn’t it? I’m not trying to buy a house right now. I don’t have to face the pressure of other families making offers on my dream home. If it were me looking at my family’s wistful faces I might be tempted to skip the home inspection too.
And that’s where walk and talk consultations aka partial ‘inspections’ aka concierge consultations come in. They’re advertised with lines like this,
“Don’t have time for an extensive home inspection?”
“Walk & Talks are a time-saving, low-cost option when a full home inspection isn’t needed”
“If you don’t need or want a full home inspection, but want to prepare or protect yourself from costly repairs or replacement of “big ticket items”, this service is probably right for you.”
All three of these statements imply that a walk and talk is simply a smaller or mini inspection. It isn’t. It’s a whole different product in some really important ways that might not be clear unless you’re already familiar with the home inspection process and the benefits it provides.
For example, walk and talks don’t include a written report. You can only take your memories and whatever you manage to jot down on a notepad with you. You might think, ok, that’s fine, it’s a lot cheaper so it’s worth it. And maybe it is, I certainly can’t decide for everyone, but I’d like you to consider the following:
This is happening during your showing, the time you have to ask the agent questions and see the house for the first and possibly last time before committing to buying it. Do you really want to spend that time looking down at a notepad, writing?
You won’t have a professional report to negotiate with the seller, just some hastily scribbled notes.
a. No labeled photos (unless you take those too)
b. Only some issues or defects in a home can be negotiated for, a written report tells you which defects you can bring to the seller and which ones you can’t. Incidentally, a Reliable home inspection written report is organized by category of defect so you can easily prioritize what to negotiate for and what to repair later.
c. The ‘inspector’ won’t have a report to reference so if you need to ask questions that might work… or not.
A home inspection includes a contract. A contract protects the customer and keeps the home inspector honest. It tells both parties what’s going to be inspected and holds the inspector to that. A (Reliable) contract in Delaware includes inspecting:
- Mechanical systems including central heating and cooling units
- Plumbing fixtures, piping, and water heater.
- Electrical system
- Structural condition including foundation, basement, crawl space, and attic