Showing walk-through?

Yep. That’s why I put " just helping a friend" in quotes.

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I love to tell people that in 15 minutes I can find 90% of the big problems with a house. I know that sounds great but missing something big 10% of the time is actually a pretty bad average (think of airline pilots). I even dedicated an entire chapter to this concept in the book I wrote that is referenced in my signature.

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The problem is that during a proper home inspection, we are tasked with finding more than just the “big” problems.

Finding the small stuff that can lead to “big” problems later is what most home inspectors want to hang their hat on. After all, most clients can see the big crack in the foundation, or see the worn out shingles and major water damage.

What they may not see is the overheating wires in the electrical panel, the reverse polarity at multiple receptacles, the sump pump that is not plumbed correctly, etc.

A sump pump, reverse polarized outlets and even an electric panel don’t make my radar as major expenses. I get that there are safety concerns but from a strictly monetary standpoint those items are insignificant. $2000 electric panel on a $500,000 house? That being said, after finding the roof is shot and there are HUGE cracks in the foundation I probably have time leftover to check out the panel. Definitely enough time to run by and note that its FPE/Zinsco, etc.

In 15 minutes I can look at a roof, siding, exterior, furnace, water heater, electric panel and get a general sense of the place. Again, my point is this is a terrible way to decide on a purchase and I will miss A LOT of big things but I’ve shopped for a lot of houses and investment properties and can get a pretty good sense pretty quickly. I guess what I’m saying is, “don’t try this at home” :slight_smile:

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Just for example, a sump pump should be inspected to ensure it has a check valve. This is something that can be easily overlooked on a 30 minute walk and talk.

If a sump pump doesn’t have a check valve, all the water in the line will drain back into the sump pit once the pump turns off, causing the pump to run more often than otherwise needed.

I can tell you from first-hand experience that this will cause the pump to fail prematurely.

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The whole point of this thread is major defects. A $200 sump pump in a $500,000 house doesn’t make it. I’ve been inspecting wet crawl spaces and basements for 22+ years and know how/what/why sump pumps work. Obviously, there are consequences when the sump pump fails but the whole point of the thread is a walk-thru to find MAJOR DEFECTS. And, fwiw, I’m advocating against this type of inspection and would never personally do them but a $200 or even $2000 item is not a MAJOR DEFECT in a $500,000 house.

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Today’s $500K house is yesterday’s $200K house.
The house didn’t change… the gullibility of the purchaser did!

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Yeah, I mean the sump pump itself burning up and the need for a new one is not actually the big concern here. In my area, if a sump pump is down for 24 hrs before someone realizes it, we are talking possible big-time flood damage. Again, I know this from first hand experience.


I use nachi walk-through Agreement and I put the the address and the client sign and dated

I think your experience is important, it may include your construction background or just home ownership…it all has bearing when serving the clients best interest.

When doing an abbreviated walk-thru, I focus on things that will injure client financially or their person. I pretty much do a full inspection, but others may do less. It is all about managing expectations up front. Such as an investor will likely have different expectations vs a new home buyer.


That’s the issue, and I think most everybody’s. It’s hard to not try and look at everything, lol. And pretty soon the half hour is over and you never made it to the basement.

I have done a couple of these and I always tell them that an hour would be best. Heck, I can burn 15 minutes just chatting with the client about the weather.

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I am not doing anything in a 1/2 hour for money. I move thru the house pretty quickly because I am not removing panel covers, opening and closing doors or windows. I am breezing past door sweeps etc. But, I am going to look at it all. I do not bring the client along because it looks like I am running away from them. I budget time for an hour moving thru the house and 1/2 hr. chatting them up.

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We put together a position paper on this: they are a bad idea. Here is the text:

The Perils of Walk-n-talks

Walk-n-talks, also known as “walkthough consultations”, are characterized by short duration (perhaps only 30 minutes), usually no contract, no written report and substantially reduced fee, as compared to a full home inspection done per NYS minimum standards. These are often performed by a contractor, but sometimes a licensed home inspector, who walks through a home with a buyer client and discusses various conditions observed.

Walk-n-talks have become more frequent, due to market pressure with limited housing supply. Some involved in selling a home have favored this practice to reach closing quicker in a strong seller’s market. Buyers are attracted to the reduced cost of the “inspection” and because a walk-n-talk can be done at a showing before making an offer. Also, relying on a walk-n-talk, buyers often waive a full home inspection, making their purchase offer more attractive in a competitive environment. Sellers may specifically encourage this in their offers for sale. We were advised that in some places in New York State the practice has become common and is encouraged by real estate industry professionals.

In response to our inquiry to the Department of State, the NYSAHI Board was advised that since there is no written report produced, walk-n-talks are not home inspections under the professional licensing law and thus are not regulated. They also advised that licensed home inspectors are accordingly not prohibited in that law from engaging in walk-n-talks.

After further exploring the practice, we have concluded that walk-n-talks are contrary to the public interest that the NYS Home Inspection Professional Licensing Law was enacted to protect, and that all parties who engage in the practice do so at great risk, especially licensed home inspectors. Following are considerations that have led us to this conclusion:


There are no professional standards. Licensing does not apply. Any unqualified person may engage in the practice.
Buyers have limited legal recourse against any unlicensed consultant.
Even if performed by a licensed home inspector, a walk-n-talk is by far substandard to a State-regulated home inspection. It is not possible to properly evaluate all of the systems of a home in a short walk through. Undisclosed issues and unanticipated expenses are sure to arise after sale.
Without a written home inspection report a buyer has no professionally documented tool to use as a reliable basis for negotiation and no written documentation of the conversation that happened during the walkthrough.
There is no Code of Ethics to protect a buyer from from conflicts of interest or collusion among their walk-n-talk consultant and others on the seller's side.
Walk-n-talks fast-track the home buying process, shorting due diligence at a time when it is most needed for a life-changing major investment.


Accepting a purchase offer where a home inspection is waived, especially if in any way encouraged by the seller, can expose the seller to a claim for damages resulting from undocumented defects and/or those not detected in a walk-n-talk. Did the seller prevent the buyer from exercising due diligence? Did the seller imply that waiving the inspection contingency was a requirement of sale? A full home inspection protects both buyer and seller.

Realtors, Lawyers, Mortgage Brokers

Professionals practicing within a real estate transaction can be named in legal actions if they in any way recommend a walk-n-talk in lieu of a full home inspection or encourage a buyer to waive a home inspection. Realtors especially have a duty to both buyer and seller to recommend a home inspection prior to sale.

Licensed Home Inspectors

Any inspection you perform without a written report is very likely not covered by your insurance. Without a report, that service is not considered a home inspection, which is your insured business. Your company and perhaps all your personal assets are on the line.
As a licensed professional you are held to a higher standard under the law. Regardless of anything you say or agree to, a buyer has a rightful expectation to trust you to protect them from buying a house with undisclosed defects. Will you find them all in a half-hour?
Without a written Home Inspection report, any legal action against you may be based on hearsay. This can place you at a considerable disadvantage and in an indefensible position in court.
Providing a walk-n-talk could be tantamount to encouraging the buyer to purchase a home without a proper home inspection exposing you to substantial liability.
A walk-n-talk performed without a contract further increases liability.
Lawsuits against home inspectors involved in walk-n-talks are reportedly on the rise...

We have come to believe that the practice of walk-n-talks is contrary to the public interest and the spirit of the law that established our profession which recognizes that “A home inspection has a direct and vital impact on the quality of life for all home buyers”. We also believe that licensed home inspectors engaging in such practice undermine the credibility of our profession by offering an unreliable and far inferior service as compared to a home inspection conducted in accordance within the NYS Standards of Practice. We remind you all that “In performing home inspection services, home inspectors shall adhere to the highest principles of ethical conduct.” We do not believe it is ethical for a home inspector to engage in this questionable practice because buyers may reasonably, but in ignorance, rely on a walk-n-talk conducted by a licensed home inspector to be equivalent to a true full home inspection.

  • As per NYS Home Inspection Code of Ethics