Due to the high demand, there are home buyers that are being persuaded to opt out of a complete home inspection with report. Most buyers are steered in the direction of getting a walk-through inspection.
The competitive real estate market, created by low housing inventory and low-interest rates, has created “brief inspections”. Housing competition is elevated, and buyers must compete against numerous buyers for the same house. This leaves real estate agents and buyers are looking for ways their offer can stand out to avoid bidding wars. Many are choosing fast closings or agreeing to skip a professional home inspection altogether.
Walk-through inspections are often referred to as “Pre-Offer Consultations” or “Walk and Talk Inspections”. These are quickly becoming popular in many competitive real estate markets across the United States, and are considered time savers for buyers rushing to make offers.
During a walk-through, the home inspector walks through the home with the buyer and real estate agent and calls out the obvious defects that they see. These verbal consultation are usually around 30-minutes with the attic or crawl space limited in scope or skipped altogether.
These consultations don’t follow a InterNACHI high standards of practice like a Smith & Smith Home Inspections’ full inspection would, and the buyer signs an agreement with minimal scope, and the home inspector does not provide a home inspection report.
A Smith & Smith professional home inspection will take between 2 and 3+ hours, follow the standards of practice, and the home inspector provides a report the same day of the inspection. The report will show all defects, upgrades, and areas of concern for the Grounds, Roof, Exterior, Garage, Bedrooms, Bathrooms, Other Rooms, Kitchen, Laundry Room, Interior Components, Basement, Crawl Space, Attic, HVAC System, Plumbing, and Electrical. A professional home inspection means the home inspector will go places the buyer and real estate agent won’t attempt to go, such as the crawl space, attic and roof.
Most home inspectors would agree that walk-throughs are not in the best interest of the homebuyer. There are many things that would be overlooked at a walk-through inspection. Leaving the inspector to easily miss something important. When a homebuyer waives a full home inspection, they assume the risk of repairs that could be pretty substantial. Communication is critical when working with clients and real estate agents, as they need to be made aware of the limitations and risks involved with walk-throughs or brief inspections. It is virtually impossible to see all major defects in a home in such a short amount of time. A walk-through may lead the buyer to purchase a home that has major problems of which they were unaware of. Leaving them without accurate information.
In the real estate industry, confusion is not a good thing. There is too much room for misunderstanding. Without a controlled and carefully worded home inspection report, a real estate transaction could be easily disrupted, causing the buyer to back out of a deal on a good property.
Despite the risk, in a highly competitive real estate market, many feel a walk-through is better than no home inspection at all. A walk-through will hopefully give the buyer basic information of apparent problems with the house, and a little knowledge is better than none.
As an experienced professional home inspector, I personally do not care for “walk-throughs” or “brief inspections” because they take away from the complete home inspection that the industry has developed with strict ethical codes and proper standards of practice. Smith & Smith Home Inspections of Murfreesboro TN prefer to give their clients a full picture of their home’s condition, and to help alleviate some of the stress involved in one of the largest investments of his or her life. Don’t worry about defects and/or damage that could have been missed in a brief inspection.