Can I recommend an inspector’s walk and talk service?

QUESTION: I have heard that some inspectors offer a “walk and talk” service to prospective home buyers at a lower cost than a full inspection. During these walk and talks, the inspector will go through the home with the prospect and verbally give a report about structural components of the property. Are these walk and talks legal? Can I get in trouble for recommending this kind of service?

ANSWER: This past April, the North Carolina Attorney General issued an advisory letter concerning “walk and talk” services. The letter states that depending on how many systems the inspector is looking at, a walk and talk service may violate an inspector’s statutory duty to provide a written report. You can read the advisory letter here. It should be noted that the advisory letter is less formal than a legal opinion issued from the Attorney General’s office, however, the letter is nonetheless an important advisory that should be taken seriously.

The North Carolina Real Estate Commission expects that brokers will not recommend services they either know or should know are being offered in violation of state law. While the Commission will evaluate each case individually, the advisory letter is a significant red flag that walk and talk services may not be legal. Before recommending an inspector’s walk and talk service, you should consult with legal counsel to see if the service complies with the statutes outlined in the advisory letter, or perhaps recommend a full inspection instead.

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