Walk & Talk Consultations (Memo from the State of MD)
The following is taken directly from the “Home Dimensions” Maryland Dept. of Labor Newsletter dated September 23, 2022:
Based on information from those in the real estate industry, the practice of a “walk-and-talk” type consultation or survey have become more commonplace because of the competitive real estate market together with the need to implement protective and restrictive access to available properties due to the continuing COVID pandemic. The Maryland Commission of Real Estate Appraisers, Appraisal Management Companies, and Home Inspectors (“Commission”) has received questions about the validity of these services as they relate to home inspections. The Maryland legislature has established the definition and mandatory content of a home inspection as set forth specifically in §§ 16-101(i) and 16-4A-01, Business Occupations and Professions Article, Annotated Code of Maryland.
At a minimum, a home inspection must: 1) be provided for compensation; 2) be conducted by a licensed home inspector; and 3) contain a written evaluation of readily accessible components. While a home inspection contract can limit the scope of a home inspection, these three conditions, at a minimum, must be satisfied to be considered a home inspection under the applicable laws and regulations.
A home inspection requires a licensed home inspector to be able to adequately inspect components and system conditions as set forth in the Home Inspector Minimum Standards of Practice, COMAR 09.36.07.01-.13, sufficient to result in a written evaluation of such findings, as defined in § 16-101(i), Business Occupations and Professions Article, Annotated Code of Maryland.
If an individual misrepresents a “walk-and-talk” consultation or survey as a valid home inspection, the individual may be subject to regulatory action by the Commission and, if warranted, the imposition of an administrative sanction. While the Commission’s authority over an individual licensed as a home inspector is limited to such individual’s performance of home inspections, or the provision of such services by an individual without the required license, the service described herein should not be called, described, or referred to as a “home inspection” as it does not comply with the definition of a home inspection established under Maryland law.
A home inspector who misrepresents a “walk-and-talk” or any other type of consultation that does not result in a written evaluation as defined in § 16-101(i) and which complies with § 16-4A-01, Business Occupations and Professions Article, Annotated Code of Maryland, to be a valid home inspection may be subject to regulatory action by the Commission.