One in seven bypass home inspection

Ohio has let us know walk and talks are not home inspections:

Whether you call them the walk & talk, or a partial inspection, consultation, and concierge, the Division of Real Estate and Professional Licensing reminds licensees that any visual examination of the readily accessible components of a residential building for a client by a home inspector is a home inspection and must comply with Ohio license law and regulations set out of by the Ohio Home Inspection Board.

Those regulations include Standards of Practice and the Canons of Ethics. The Division reminds licensees of the following:

  • Before starting a home inspection in Ohio, licensed home inspectors are required to have a written contract with the client.
  • Home inspections must be performed pursuant to that contract.
  • A “client” is a person who enters a written contract with a home inspector to retain, for compensation or other valuable consideration, the services of that home inspector to conduct a home inspection and to provide a written report on the condition of a residential building.
  • Oral reports to the client or an agent of the client of the home inspector’s findings are prohibited.

The inspection of some, but not all, of the readily accessible components of a residential building as found in Ohio Administrative Rule 1301:17-1-17 by an Ohio licensed home inspector is permitted if all the following are satisfied:

  • A written contract is entered into by the licensed home inspector and the client prior to the performance of any home inspection.
  • The written contract clearly expresses or identifies the system(s) or component(s) of the property that will and will not be inspected by the licensee.
  • The written contract clearly expresses or states the reason the system(s) or component(s) for the property was not inspected.
  • The property’s systems and components which were inspected by the licensee must be inspected in compliance with Ohio laws and regulations.
  • The licensee produces a written report for the client containing the licensee’s findings.
  • The written report must be produced in compliance with Ohio laws and regulations. The written report must also clearly state, for the protection of all parties involved, those systems or components that were inspected and were not inspected by the licensee. For those systems or components not inspected, the reason those items were not inspected must be included in the written report.

Remember, if real estate licensees provide any home inspectors, the agent mustprovide at least three active home inspectors’ names to their clients (Ohio Revised Code § 4735.22). That means a home inspector may not offer to provide exclusive service to a real estate brokerage and/or agent.

Brian Hill
Professional Home Inspector
InterNACHI OH license 2019005340
Hill Home Inspection LLC
(330) 503-2888

Prohibiting licensed HI’s from performing walk-n-talks will not educate the public.

If I were part of the regulating body of a licensed state, I would define an oral consult and require an agreement that protects both the buyer and the HI.

The agreement would start with “this is not a home inspection as defined by the state of Ohio, but rather blah blah…”

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When the agent and/or inspection company notifies the client that they are prohibited from doing walk-through consultations because they may be misleading and offer no real consumer protection for professional errors and omissions, then they will be educated.

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There is the problem oral agreement, and when you write it down, it is a contact. With liability issues, not to mention loss of inspection license.
I will pass doing this walk & talk practice. Maybe offer component inspection which is legal with a contract.

Brian Hill
Professional Home Inspector
InterNACHI OH license 2019005340
Hill Home Inspection LLC
(330) 503-2888

First, I’m not defending walk n talks. I just do not think a law to prohibit a home inspector from performing one is going to protect the consumer.

“No sir, it is prohibited by law in our state for the most qualified person to give you a verbal assessment of the property you are interested in purchasing”

“Yes sir, I understand this law puts you at a disadvantage because you will not have access to my 10+ years, 4000+ inspection experience while they seller collects offers over the weekend.”

“I agree sir, Uncle Joe may be your best option at this point. At least he has some drywall experience”

“I don’t understand it either sir, but some people actually think this is going to protect consumers. Sorry you will be flying blind on this one or you can just step aside and let the investors swipe another house from you. Best of luck.”

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I don’t have strong feelings about them either way. I advertise on my website that I will perform them. I’ve done a couple but I haven’t experienced a great demand for them.

I’m kinda playing devil’s advocate when I think about how a ban can help the consumer. I think about why a licensing board would want to ban them. One of the few reasons I can think of is that in the board’s opinion, consumers may be mislead into thinking they are getting a home inspection.

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Inspections are not necessarily for bargaining, an inspection gives the buyer the information they need to make an informed decision and know what they may be getting into after purchase.

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