Walk-through consultations

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.


I am curious if the Realtors or contractors fall into the same category if or when they do walk through assessments and point out their observations? Nice of the competition to drop a dime on your activities. He must be worried. Don’t do it as a Home Inspector, do it as a Property Consultant under a different license if one exists.

I do them as a consultant and its clearly defined that the service is not a typical comprehensive home inspection.

Doug and Paul, in this state CCB says it does not matter. No separate license exits for a consultant. If a friend who is not a contractor or HI comments on 2 items of your home and accepts a beer from you he is in violation and can be fined in OR. I don’t agree, that is from the enforcement manager.

New thought, I am a HUD 203k consultant. So when I do a 203k inspection, (very similar to an HI), under the federal authority of HUD, I am in violation???

Hmmmm. Can’t say what I really think of that; it ain’t fit for public consumption.


Do you have written and signed agreements stating that those inspections were limited to certain items or areas? We are allowed to do less than sop here as long as it is agreed in writing and reported in detail (in writing) as to what was not done. We are also allowed to do more than the sop.

I would never do an abbreviated inspection for a potential buyer though, they may use a partial inspection to make a decision. Crawlspace houses just can’t be properly done unless the crawl is inspected thoroughly anyway. A slab house could be abbreviated by skipping windows, doors, appliances and outlets but the cost to just show up would be almost as much as a full inspection anyway.

It does not matter what you call a service or what job title you create, if it involves “inspecting” and you are an inspector you fall under the rules. Some loop holes may apply if you inspect less than 3 systems in some states. A walk through inspection will cover way more than two systems in some capacity.

Paul, I don’t think it can be spelled out more clearly than at the top of my contract.

**Please Note: This Consultation **Is NOT In Accordance With Oregon Home Inspection Law ( ORS 701 )
If Inspection Will Be Less than Full House Outline Here: **
One hour verbal walk through consultation only. NO WRITTEN REPORT
Cost Of consultation Services-Less Than Full House: $99.00

Im not an attorney so I dont know if that will fly or not…Here in good ole CA there is no licensing requirement. I forgot to add that I only do these types of inspections on REO properties.

Hi Karl, damned if you do, damned if you don’t, you have some Bizarre Laws in the state…Incredible…!!

That is another reason why I am against licensing. I perform $95.00 a hour consulting with investors quite often. This defiantly bites.

If you don’t have a written report, why a written contract??? Do it for cash only and you’re good to go.

Can we do that in Illinois? Seems reasonable but would cut into the old profit since there is no way there is enough business to do 3 a day! At least around here!

You’re a grown man. Why ask me?? Do whatcha gotta do.:wink:

Linas, at least here in OR, to even consult or do anything for hire you must have a contractor’s license. CCB # requires contract. OCHI # or not.

Who determines *WHAT *you look at during that hour? This sounds like a lawsuit waiting to happen to me.

These are allowed in Washington under the new HI laws.

““Preoffer consultation” is a verbal report that is limited in scope performed by a licensed home inspector. A preinspection agreement must be signed by the client and describe the limited scope of the consultation. This preoffer consultation is conducted only prior to mutual acceptance.”

Does anyone know what the issue about this in Colorado?

Leah Vass
Dolores, Co
Southwest Inspection Services

Just be sure your State does not recognize implied agreements.

I do not believe so, as the Fed occupied the space prior to the law. One must be licensed by the Federal Government to perform a 203K consultation, which carries a different set of reporting and inspection requirements, as defined by Federal law.

You should ask the enforcement manager…