After several conversations on this message board, and at the request of a group of investors, I contacted the Oregon CCB about doing a verbal consultation tour of the home. I was told at that time "you are allowed to do less than SOP inspections, if the parameters of the inspection are clearly spelled out in the contract. Due diligence called for me to double check this from time to time. I did, I have spoken to at least 4 people at the CCB about this, over the past 3 years, with the same answer. Of course they never offered to let me speak to enforcement, that I have now learned about.
Clients pay $99 for 1 hour of my time at the home, and I tell them the conditions I see. This has been a great service to investors who are not concerned with the minor items and buyers who are trying to narrow down their choices before having to pay for a full SOP home inspection. I would even give them a discount on the full inspection when they chose.
A competing inspector has issued a written legal opinion on this to the agents in town, stating that I am doing “illegal inspections”. There have been principal brokers who at their weekly meeting have told their agents I am doing “illegal inspections” and to stay away.
I have been speaking to enforcement manager at the CCB, he has stated " I will not make a ruling, I don’t know". I was also told if this went against me I could be fined $750-$3000 per occurrence. I brought up Mold inspections and Energy audits since you must look at more than 1 structural system in those processes. He stated they will also be evaluated for being a violation with the same fines. He stated the Oregon HI laws are so broad that if you walk into your friends home and say “Hey, the floor looks good and so do the walls and ceiling”, then you buddy hands you a beer, you have just been compensated for an out of SOP HI, and subject to being fined. (That was his explanation).
On the other hand this verbiage was just copied from the Oregon CCB website: http://www.ccb.state.or.us/CCB/home_inspectors.shtml
Note the “written report” under HI, and the “report on the overall physical condition of a residential structure” under not an HI. I believe this covers independent ancillary services and even the “verbal walk-through” done under my contractors license, not my HI license thus not requiring SOP adherence. But I’m no attorney.
I am working closely with the CCB, InterNACHI, Nick, and ESA to get a determination and resolution on this issue. (Thank you again, Nick)
I will try to keep this thread updated as to the issues as they come up.
MORAL OF THE STORY: Unless you are ready for a legal nightmare and hiring an attorney, (I guess I have to be ready), stay away from verbal walk-throughs.