• Should you get a Walk-Thru Home Inspection?

    Should you get a Walk-Thru Home Inspection?

    In times of a “hot” housing market, there are more requests for a “Walk-thru” home inspection.  This is where the Seller is not allowing for a home inspection to be performed and usually is not aware that a short 1 hour inspection will be made of the premises.

    The normal allowed initial buyer visit is 1 hour; sometimes even less when in a "hot" market.  This is to determine if the buyer is interested in the home; the agent accompanies the buyer and opens the door etc.  The Seller has not authorized any type of home inspection at this point.

    In a “hot” market, the Seller may have decided that they do not wish a home inspection to be performed, which means that the Buyer is buying blind regarding the home’s condition. . The offer to purchase normally has no conditions such as a home inspection or condition of getting finances.   

    The Seller does not care because there will be many offers with no contract conditions related to the sale.   In other words a hassle free purchase of sale for the Seller.

    When a walk-thru inspection happens, in many instances the Seller is not aware nor has provided authorization for that inspection.  I state this because why would the Seller allow a 1 hour inspection but not a full 2- 3 hour inspection, which is what is needed to fully inspect the home and provide a written report.

    So what do you get when you ask an Inspector to perform a 1 hour walk-thru?

     The inspector will inspect the roof, exterior foundation, windows and doors, exterior brickwork / vinyl, and perhaps any decking on exterior.  On the interior; the furnace and age, electrical panel type and condition, general plumbing, foundation and any leaks.  Now you can imagine that this is a lot of real estate to be covered in 1 hour and is generally a superficial review; worst of all you probably do not get any form of written report.  The report is verbal all the way through the inspection and you need to be there taking down info as you follow the inspector. 

    Do you get a receipt, contract, written report and any inspector liability coverage?

    As discussed above, there is normal no written report. You may not receive a receipt since the inspector does not want any formal notification that they performed this type of inspection.  As far as liability insurance coverage is concerned, insurance companies do not cover for walk-thru inspections since they are not complete inspections and result in a much higher risk of the inspector being sued.  An insurer requires the inspector to be part of an Association that has governance over the inspector, has screened the inspector for being properly trained and that the inspector provides a written contract and formal written report  If these items do not exist, the insurance company will not support in a claim.

    Your agent will inform you that in a “ hot” market that if you place conditions in your offer to purchase you will not be considered by the Seller.  This is most probably true.  Your agent will ensure that you sign off on your release of conditions, naturally to cover themselves for the possibility of being sued in not providing clear understanding of the contractual agreement. 

    It is unfortunate in a “ hot “ market, that the buyer is the one to suffer, where they are forced into making the purchase of a lifetime without the support and coverage of a full professional home inspection.   In my personal opinion, the government should allow for a Home Inspection withiout the need to make it a condition in the purchase agreement.  They deem that a home inspection is a civil matter and has nothing to do with government oversight.  It is interesting that you have more consumer protection in buying a car that you have in buying a home. 

    So, do I advise you to get a walk-thru inspection.

    The answer is NO; it will not provide you with a proper inspection , no written report, no liability insurance coverage.  If you are not allowed a proper home inspection, wait until the market settles down; you will not be in a hot market where home sales much higher. Catch the market in the down-slope where you are allowed the inspection.   It may take longer to get into the home of your dreams BUT under a more controlled state.  Don’t to pushed into a situation which you might regret later.  I have seen results of this situation when asked to perform a home inspetcion after buyers have purchasd and moved in; it is not always a good report and definately costly for the new home owner.

    Always consider using a Registered Home Inspector ( RHI).  An RHI has spent many years attaining this registration; has been properly vetted and insured and will provide you with an in depth inspection report.  

    David King RHI,NCI

    1st Call Home Inspections


    519 619 1637