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Home Inspection vs Walk & Talk Consultation: Five Differences

In another post we covered the main reasons why a Walk & Talk Consultation is essential in situations where a home inspection is not possible.

Here we’ll discuss FIVE important DIFFERENCES between a home inspection and a consultation.

Well…let’s just jump right in!


1. Tools

Your inspector will certainly be traveling lighter on a Walk & Talk Consultation…in fact, he / she will only be carrying a flashlight!

That means NO ladders (the inspector will not be going into attics or on roofs), NO screwdrivers (covers on HVAC systems and electric panels will not be removed), and NO cameras (the inspector will not be taking any photos and there will be no report…more on that in a bit). These are just a few examples of tools that will not be being used on a consultation; again, a flashlight is the only tool used during one of these consultations!

2. Time

For us an average home inspection lasts somewhere around 3 hours (this obviously can vary quite a bit depending on the property). But there is no fixed time limit.

In contrast, a Showing Walk & Talk Consultation will take a maximum of one hour.

This obviously means that these consultations out of necessity, and by design, will be much less thorough than a home inspection. The home inspector will walk through and observe the various parts of the home in whatever order seems best to him / her. The consultation is limited to whatever the inspector can easily see while walking around the property, and it should be understood that not everything will be inspected due to the cursory nature of the Walk & Talk Consultation. This is the main reason why we strongly encourage a follow-up full home inspection at a later date, if the client was successful in the seller choosing their offer. We’ll come back to this at the end of the post!

In the event that more time is needed during a consultation, additional rates apply–but for the vast majority of properties 1 hour is sufficient for the purpose of a consultation.

3. Standards of Practice

Another important difference is that, because a consultation is NOT an inspection, it does not follow any set of SOPs, or Standards of Practice. At HomeKey Inspections our home inspections and reports meet the ASHI (American Society of Home Inspectors) Standards of Practice. SOPs are in place to ensure that professional inspections meet basic criteria to be considered …well, professional inspections! 

Consultations cannot–and must not–be performed in a way that makes them essentially identical to a home inspection, different in name only. This is the reason why a consultation is an excellent option for those not able to perform an inspection–because a consultation is different in nature and character than an inspection.

Another reason why a consultation, while a necessary tool in some competitive markets / situations, works best when coupled with a home inspection after ratifying a contract!

4. Documentation

Your inspector will NOT be carrying or using a camera during the consultation, and you as the client will not receive a report of any kind (this would cause the consultation to resemble too closely a home inspection, as discussed above).

It will therefore be your job to follow along and take great notes! Hence the “Walk & Talk” in the name of this service 😉

To sum up: Findings will be communicated orally, and NOT in a report.

A Walk & Talk Consultation does NOT have the documentation of an inspection report, as seen above; the client must instead take their own notes.

5. Circumstances of Use

Up until now, most of the differences we’ve discussed have focused on the ways in which a Walk & Talk Consultation is more LIMITED than a home inspection. 

But the last difference, and the thing that sets this consultation apart in a positive way from an inspection, is that there are certain circumstances in which your only option is a consultation. Where a home inspection is impossible, a consultation could still be relied on to gain some valuable information about a property you’re potentially interested in. 

In many cases, a Walk & Talk Consultation can help set your mind at ease or give you a little more confidence about a particular property.

In other cases, your accompanying inspector might identify something during the consultation that is enough for you to decide that being competitive over that particular property is just not worth it to you.

An hour with a professional and trained eye at the property is better than nothing at all!

Follow It Up with a Home Inspection

If you are successful in the seller choosing your offer and have a ratified contract, we highly highly recommend (if the seller allows) that you have an “as-is” / “for information purposes only” home inspection performed.

If this is not possible, you should instead have the inspection performed the day after closing.

This allows for our inspectors to identify any concerns that may need attention sooner rather than later. If urgent repairs are needed, it’s helpful to do those repairs before moving all personal belongings in (so those belongings are not damaged during the course of repairs).

– The Team @ HomeKey Inspections