Servicing: MENDOCINO, SONOMA, NAPA & LAKE

ONE HOME INSPECTOR IS NOT THE SAME AS ANOTHER
AND I'LL TELL YOU WHY!
 

                           

707.245.7545 (cell/text) or 707.987.9970 (office)
BYRON DUERKSEN, ACI, CMI
 
MBA - CONSTRUCTION MANAGEMENT
ASHI CERTIFIED INSPECTOR * NACHI CERTIFIED MASTER INSPECTOR
HUD/FHA 203(k) CONSULTANT AND INSPECTOR * CERTIFIED THERMOGRAPHER * MOLD INSPECTOR
 

      

Housecheck is Locally Owned and Operated
   Offering you no less than your highest expectations for any home inspection.
 

Welcome to Housecheck Inspection Services.  My name is Byron and I am the Owner and a Professional Home Inspector, having performed thousands of inspections.  The dictionary defines a "professional" as "skilled, proficient, knowledgeable, prepared, talented, competent and experienced," in other words a master of his craft.

I took my home inspection training fifteen years ago, passed my exam and received my first home inspector certification.  Subsequently, I attained three Master Inspector certifications from three different home inspection organizations, plus the ACI which required passing the National Home Inspector Examination, which is a requisite for licensing home inspectors in states that require licensing.

As a former contractor myself, I can tell you that home inspecting demands far more detailed education in every discipline than a general contractor.  A professional home inspector possesses a unique combination of disciplines, skills and education involving many elements that are particularly complex in order to perform the very detailed job of investigating a home’s structure and components.

 

WHEN YOU WANT THE BEST, THE CHOICE IS CLEAR

*  Board Certified Master Inspector (NACHI) - international certification
*  ASHI Certified Inspector (ASHI) - international certification
*   Examination Board of Professional Home Inspectors (EBPHI) - national certification
Commercial Building Inspector (Carson Dunlop Weldon) - international certification
  Certified FHA/HUD Inspector, S0770 - federal certification
*  Former City Building Inspector (City of Clearlake)
*  Past President, American Institute of Inspectors (A.I.I.) - 3 terms
*  Former Region 1 Director, California Real Estate Inspection Association (C.R.E.I.A.)
*  State Approved Trainer of Home Inspectin courses in Washington, Oregon and Nevada
*  Plus over 50 Certifications in every possible discipline

 

COMPLIMENTARY ADDED SERVICES 

Along with performing high compliance inspections, I provide complimentary services.  By utilizing my infrared camera, I can detect moisture intrusion and hot spots.  I submit model and serial numbers on appliances to RecallChek from whom you'll get a separate report.  Along with that you will have a 90 day warranty from Residential Warranty Services on structural and mechanical components.  And, finally I will send you a valuable 225 page e-book titled The Safe Home which answers many questions for home owners.

                                     

 

ONE HOME INSPECTOR IS NOT THE SAME AS ANOTHER

Don't let anyone mislead you by claiming to be State Certified or a State Licensed and Bonded home inspector because there is no such thing.  The State of California does not Certify or License Home Inspectors.   In fact, the State has no requirements for training, education, insurance or conduct of home inspectors. A professional inspector must be trained, educated, tested and certified by a reputable national organization whose sole purpose is to provide that training and education.

ASHI (American Society of Home Inspectors) is the oldest, most prestigious association in United States and Canada, "the gold standard of home inspectors."   ASHI has the most stringent standards for certification and has long been acknowledged as for having the top echelon of certified inspectors.  InterNACHI (International Association of Certified Home Inspectors) is the largest, most prolific home inspection organization worldwide. 

The home inspection industry is unregulated in California.  This means that anyone can print up business cards today and be inspecting your new home tomorrow with whatever limited capability he has.  We have a diversified group of people calling themselves home inspectors.  Check out any home inspector's website for his credentials and experience.  

If a state license number appears on an inspector's website, it has absolutely nothing to do with homes inspecting.  Beware of contractors masquerading as home inspectors in order to get repair work.  That is an unlawful practice and relies on your ignorance of the law.  The California Trade Practice Act (Chapter 338) enacted in 1996, "prohibits unethical home inspection practices, including repairing properties that they have inspected in the previous 12 months." 

If all you know about an inspector is his fee, then you really know nothing.  There is no substitute for experience and a comprehensive quality report.   It's the difference between your peace of mind and nagging doubts.

 

YOU ARE IN THE DRIVER'S SEAT - DON'T LET SOMEONE ELSE GRAB THE WHEEL

Buying a house can be overwhelming and when someone offers to get you a home inspector, that may seem like a big favor.  But that could be a huge mistake because this is the most important part of the real estate transaction and only you should be choosing whom you want to use based on their qualifications and their sample inspection report.

"THE HOME INSPECTION IS THE MOST IMPORTANT PART OF THE REAL ESTATE TRANSACTION"

Consumer Reports - March 2015 Issue.

 

ALWAYS ASK TO SEE A SAMPLE REPORT BEFORE YOU DECIDE

The absolute proof of a good inspector is the quality of the Inspection Report which should speak for itself.  The report should leave nothing to your imagination, should leave nothing out, and should not require your real estate agent or anyone else to interpret it.   A home inspector must be able to communicate effectively verbally and in writing.   The report is a direct reflection of the inspector's knowledge and expertise.  Look at a sample report.  Can you understand it?  It should not resemble a contractor's checklist.

CLICK HERE FOR SAMPLE REPORT

My inspection reports stand out from all others.   I will provide you with a 65 -90 page comprehensive, room by room, system by system inspection report in both PDF and plastic covered hard copy for easy reference.   In plain English.  No secret decoder ring required.  And plenty of pictures to show you exactly what I'm talking about.

Why would you settle for a measly 12 - 20 page report lacking in details, with page after page of check boxes or 2 letter acronyms for you to decipher.  That's no bargain.  That's a report that you can't make sense of with a very few pictures nowhere near the narratives to which they refer, leaving you to try to piece it together and resulting in more questions than answers. 

The best home inspection and report doesn't cost, it pays!  In fact, it could very well prove to be life saving.  Let Housecheck provide you with the best, completely unbiased report you can find.  This is your last opportunity to gain information and understanding on a property which is a major long-term financial commitment.

 

A HOME INSPECTION IS ONLY AS GOOD AS THE INSPECTOR

I have professional relationships with many Realtors who require the highest standard in customer service, high compliance inspections and integrity in inspection reporting, and we work together to fulfill the needs of the most discerning clients.  I follow nationally recognized protocols in inspecting and reports.

For several years, I was in charge of putting on three-day conferences, twice a year, bringing in experts in their respective fields from all over the country to provide home inspectors with their educational requirements.  I have been a state approved trainer of licensed home inspectors in Washington, Oregon and Nevada.

While online education has its place, it is no match for attending classes in person.      I have attended home inspection conferences taught by nationally renowned specialists all over the country -- Seattle, Philadelphia, Las Vegas, Sacramento, Portland, Salt Lake City, San Francisco, Boulder Colorado, Reno, San Diego and Nashville.  

 

A CHEAP INSPECTION MAY BE THE MOST EXPENSIVE THING YOU'LL EVER BUY

Don't compromise on this, the most important part of your real estate transaction.  The few dollars you think you could save may cost you thousands of dollars down the road because of missed or overlooked defects, some of which can injure or even kill you.

There is a small difference in fees, but there is a huge difference in the detailed inspection process and the quality of the comprehensive report you finally receive.  You owe it to yourself to get the very best home inspection you can find in order to gain the knowledge and confidence you need for this very important decision.  Know exactly what you are buying.

You couldn't put a price of your family's health and safety and yet your future health and safety depends on a professional quality home inspection.  Your home inspection costs very little but it will tell you a whole lot.  It's worth much more than you could pay.

My fees are reasonable and affordable, and depend on the perceived amount of time it will take to inspect the property and to produce a fully documented report.

Don't be lured by sacrificial prices.  Most home inspectors' fees are in the same ballpark so look for what matters.  For your own peace of mind, let Housecheck provide you with the most qualified inspector and the most comprehensive report you can find.

 

UNINSURED HOME INSPECTORS COST BUYERS TENS OF THOUSANDS OF DOLLARS

Every now and then, I am called to do a second inspection when buyers or new home owners suspect the report from the original home inspector had serious and costly flaws.  Usually, it's for a brand new inspection and report, but sometimes it's to look at one particular element. 

One report showed roofing shingles that were a totally different color than the house that was being reported.  The roof picture was obviously from another house. When confronted, the inspector shrugged it off.  He had no insurance.  The retired owner had to use part of his nest egg to get a new roof. 

In another re-inspection, the report had a picture of the crawl space showing nothing unusual, yet when the buyer took possession they had plumbing problems.  The crawl space pictures in her report did not match the reality.  The new pictures showed raw sewage under the house that had accumulated for months, broken water lines and tree roots intruding into pipes.  In each case, the first home inspector refused to cooperate, had no insurance, and in one case resorted to name calling and threats.

It's sad, it's shocking and most of all it's avoidable.  If an inspector has no insurance specifically for home inspecting, you are at risk for potential undisclosed issues.  You have a lot of home inspectors from which to choose and you also have a lot to lose.

 

HERE ARE A FEW UNSOLICITED TESTIMONIALS FROM THE LAST 12 MONTHS

My testimonials are from my clients.  Although I receive accolades from Realtors which I appreciate, I do not publish them as testimonials.   A home inspector works for the client with whom he has a contractual agreement and who pays the inspector for his services, and therefore only my customer's testimonial is relevant.   Websites containing testimonials predominately from real estate agents suggest that the inspector is working for the real estate agent which raises some serious questions about conflicts of interest.

Thank you very much for your excellent inspection and taking so much time to discuss your findings with us in person last week.  It was a pleasure to meet you and I hope we have a chance to meet again. We will absolutely refer you to our friends and family.  Andrew and Nikki Barada - Napa Home Inspection

Thank you for your inspection.  Rest assured when someone asks me if I know a home inspector I will refer them directly to Housecheck.  It was refreshing to meet you and observe your work.  After receiving a very detailed report, I felt confident I purchased the right house.  Brett Speakman - Vallejo Home Inspection

Your efficiency and obvious high level of competence was a pleasure to witness. Your  thorough report is very helpful in acquainting myself with the many parts of this house. It serves as a valued reference as I get more acquainted with the house.   Sincerely,  Virginia Fink - Little River Home Inspection

 

THERMAL IMAGING

There are times when a visual inspection is just not enough, like seeing the tip of an iceberg.  In those cases, I use my infrared thermal imaging camera.   Infrared allows us to see what our eyes cannot.

  

Infrared thermography cameras produce images of invisible infrared or "heat" radiation and provide precise non-contact temperature measurement capabilities. If objects emit infrared energy at different levels, and we can see the difference in a camera, then we can find and solve problems much quicker and at a lesser cost.

The cost of unseen and undisclosed moisture intrusion and electrical hot spots could cost you thousands or tens of thousands of dollars if not discovered. 

Here are some issues that I have uncovered even in freshly painted houses.

•   Faulty wiring, breakers and fuses 
•   Moisture sources for mold growth
•   Roof and ceiling leaks
•   Heat/energy loss
•   Missing insulation

 

ROOF LEAKS SPELL DISASTER

For each 1" of rainfall on a roof, there are 600 gallons of roof run-off water for every 1000 square feet of the roof surface.  Most homes have well over 2000 square feet or more roof surface area.  Lake County, Mendocino County and Sonoma County to name a few of the immediate surrounding areas have an average annual rainfall of 24 to over 75 inches of rain.  This is typically concentrated in a period of 5 to 6 months.


This provides a tremendous amount of moisture to seep through a hole in the shingles or around poor or old rusted flashings.  A leaking roof can and often does mean rotting sheathing and rafters.  Larger amounts soak the attic insulation, then the ceilings and even into the walls.  Interior moisture in ceilings and walls generally creates mold which for many is a serious health issue.  It is a huge amount of water seeping under your house if not properly controlled.  The end result is foundation cracking, shifting and rotting wood structure or mold.

 

SMOKE DETECTORS CAN BE DEADLY

Most residential smoke alarms are either ionization or photoelectric type alarms.  Around 95% of the smoke alarms installed in US homes are ionization type alarms.  There are very significant differences in how these 2 types of alarms respond in real-world fires.  Ionization alarms are notorious for nuisance tripping, such as from cooking, steam from a shower, etc.  But ionization alarms are very slow to respond in the smoldering fires that account for most residential fire deaths.

 

BAY AREA DECK COLLAPSES CAUSE DEATH AND INJURIES

It can happen in a split second without any warning.  The deck suddenly collapses to the ground, injuring and sometimes killing the people who were on it.  You may think deck collapses are caused by decades old rotting decks, but you would be wrong.  Most deck collapses are newer decks, improperly constructed.  Many capable contractors do not know how to build a deck properly.  About 45,000 people a year are injured or killed in deck collapses.  I carefully inspect the construction of each and every deck.  The were poorly built decks right here in the Bay Area.

    

A deck may look good, even beautiful, but if it isn't built correctly, it is a huge safety risk.

 

YOU CANNOT AFFORD TO IGNORE GROUND WATER ISSUES

I have called out all kinds of properties that apparently have water run-off issues and high underground water tables.  There is no way to change that reality, however, there are steps that must be taken in order to ensure that the structure built on that property remains safe.  There are times I have encountered opposition and resentment from realtors and sellers who are adamant that everything is "normal."  In the spirit of edification, we can all learn something new.

I inspected a large house with many amenities but the grounds were wet and there was some standing water.  There had been no seasonal rain yet, so it was very suspicious.  Nevertheless, I had to call it out as an issue that needed to be addressed.   My client backed off the purchase which disappointed the realtor.  A lot of sellers view the moisture intrusion issues as only an inconvenience and do not declare the issue when they put their house up for sale.  But, this is serious, invites termites, mold, compromises the foundation and worse.  A few months later, the front page of the newspaper shows a home right above the property I inspected.


Home Collapsed Due to Underground Water

 

PROPANE DANGERS

In most areas propane gas is used as natural gas is not available.  The majority of propane gas users are not aware that propane has different properties than natural gas.  The following may scare you and it should.

Leaking natural gas vapors rapidly dissipate in the atmosphere and float away from their source.  Though this is dangerous, natural gas is much safer than propane. Propane gas is heavier than air and as a result it drops to the lowest level around the appliance or source of the leak and remains there permanently unless moving air blows it away. Water heaters, furnaces, and propane gas tanks when located in an enclosed area such as an under-house crawl space or basement pose a definite danger because a propane leak will collect or pocket and will explode when the appliance ignites or in some instances even when a light switch is flipped.

Checking for gas leaks is an important part of my inspections.

 

          
        Propane Leak Causes House Fire

 

CRAWL SPACES REVEAL A LOT

Crawling under the house and up into the attic are not optional.  A basic home inspection must include attics and crawl spaces.  Most serious issues are found under the house or in the attic.  Without information on these two areas, an inspection report is worthless. 

                      Under 2 Story House         Hole Burned in Floor Under Fireplace    Owner's Watch Dog                                                                     

PRE-LISTING INSPECTIONS

If you are about to put your home on the market, a pre-listing inspection will put you ahead of the competition.  It will alert you to any immediate issues discovered before potential buyers tour your home.  Then, any issues or repairs can be resolved ahead of time without rushing, which will help the home show better and give you time for repair choices.  This alone can save you a considerable amount of money.  Without a pre-listing inspection, defects can cause unreasonable price adjustment demands from the buyer or even kill the sale and escrow may drag on instead of closing quickly and smoothly.

You will have a beautiful and informative Inspection Report to show the buyers.  I received the following email after a pre-listing inspection a few months ago.

Byron:   My house sold to the first persons that looked at it. They were impressed with your detailed report and I forwarded the Email on to the Agent and told them you would be willing to discuss anything on the report that concerned them. It is an All Cash 30 day escrow  - no contingencies or reports requested only the septic clearance. Should close on 5/18. I'm glad it went quickly but it still is a shock.

Martha Lukens (Kelseyville Homeowner and Realtor)

I want to thank you for the thorough, detailed inspection report, which included photographs,  that you prepared for the sale of my home.  I am especially pleased of the fact that you took time to answer any questions asked by my daughter who represented me.  We were very grateful that you could accommodate us on a Sunday since Linda had to get back to work in Santa Cruz by Monday morning.  

You certainly took the stress from our lives by understanding the pressure we are facing to get the house sold because of my health. - Sincerely, Sharon Leah Thorne (Clearlake Home Inspection) 

 

MY PROMISE TO YOU

My first priority is to provide you, the client, with an honest and complete evaluation of the property you are about to purchase.  Every inch of the property is inspected -- all structural, electrical, air conditioning, heating and plumbing are examined.  I crawl under the house.  I climb into the attic.  I walk on the roof.  I will notify you of any item that has a current or potential issue.

I abide by a strict Code of Ethics, exceed the Standards of Practice, and utilize the latest inspection tools, technology and reporting software to provide you with the clearest, most detailed report.

 

PRIVACY POLICY

We collect no personal information or data, other than what is required for our insurance and the inspection report.  We do not collect credit card information over the internet.



Click here to view the Standards of Practice

 Proud Member in Good Standing
American Society of Home Inspectors - ID 249171 - 8 Years
  International Association of Certified Home Inspectors - ID 06082094 - 10 Years

Email: housecheck@mchsi.com
 

                             

                        Affiliate Member of North Bay Area Association of Realtors