Servicing: MENDOCINO, SONOMA, NAPA & LAKE

THE CHEAPEST INSPECTION
MAY BE THE MOST EXPENSIVE MISTAKE YOU CAN MAKE!
 

                           

Member 249171                                                  Member 6082094
9 Years                                                                 11 Years

BYRON DUERKSEN, ACI, CMI

707.245.7545 (cell/text) or 707.987.9970 (office)
EMAIL:  Housecheck@mchsi.com
  MBA - CONSTRUCTION MANAGEMENT
ASHI CERTIFIED INSPECTOR * NACHI CERTIFIED MASTER INSPECTOR
HUD/FHA 203(k) INSPECTOR * CERTIFIED THERMOGRAPHER * CERTIFIED MOLD/RADON/AIR QUALITY TESTING
INSURED * ERRORS & OMMISSIONS * GENERAL LIABILITY
 

        

HOUSECHECK IS LOCALLY OWNED AND OPERATED
   DEDICATED TO MEETING YOUR HIGHEST EXPECTATIONS FOR A HOME INSPECTION
 
 

Welcome to Housecheck Inspection Services.  I am a seasoned  professional, a Certified Master Inspector having performed thousands of inspections in Northern California's wine country for the last sixteen years.  The dictionary defines a "professional" as "skilled, proficient, knowledgeable, prepared, talented, competent and experienced,"  in other words a master of his craft.  I take pride on providing courteous, friendly and competent service.

The home inspection industry is unregulated in California.  Don't let anyone mislead you by claiming to be a State Certified or a Licensed and Bonded home inspector because there is no such thing.  Only in California can somebody be a dog catcher on Tuesday and be a home inspector on Wednesday, and I promise you I'm not making this up.

As a professional, I maintain my long standing memberships in the two most prominent international home inspector associations who set the standards for industry-wide protocols.  I have earned three Master Inspector certifications from three different home inspection organizations (NACHI, AII, CREIA), and achieved the ACI which is ASHI's  highest accreditation.  I am also a Certified HUD/FHA Inspector and Consultant and I've passed the National Home Inspector Examination used for licensing home inspectors in states that require licenses. Here are my pertinent home inspection certifications:

*  Experienced, over sixteen years of home inspecting
Certified Master Inspector (NACHI) - international certification
ASHI Certified Inspector (ASHI) - international certification
*   Professional Home Inspector (EBPHI) - national certification, requisite for license

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.)
*  Over 50 certifications in various disciplines
*  State Approved Trainer of Licensed Home Inspectors in Washington,
    Oregon & Nevada                                                                                         
READ MORE

There is no boiler plate here.  I prefer facts.  Facts that can help you make an informed decision.   These are my words from fifteen years of experience inspecting.

YOU GET SO MUCH MORE WITH A HOUSECHECK INSPECTION

Our main focus is to provide FULL SERVICE for our customers.  We continually strive to improve our customers’ home inspection experience, performing high compliance inspections, and providing a comprehensive, detailed, easy to understand report, unlike any other.  We include these additional services at no cost to you:

1.  THERMAL IMAGING DETECTION - By utilizing my infrared camera, I can detect costly leaks and potentially dangerous electrical hot spots.

2.  RECALL CHECK - I submit model and serial numbers to RecallChek to check for dangerous flaws in home appliances, and you'll get a separate report. 

3.  90 DAY WARRANTY - You will have a 90 Day Limited Structural and Mechanical Warranty from Residential Warranty Services, from the date of the inspection. 

4.  HARD COPY REPORT - In addition to providing you with the PDF of your 60+ page inspection report, I will mail you a plastic covered, bound Hard Copy of your report for easy reference. 

5.  SAFE HOME E-BOOK FOR MAINTENANCE - And, finally I will send you a valuable 225 page e-book titled The Safe Home which answers many questions for home owners.

           

"You simply cannot find a better home inspector anywhere, at any price."    

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

Consumer Reports - March 2015 issue

COMMERCIAL PROPERTY INVESTORS

You have found a potential property investment in the Northern California Wine Country that will suit your needs and it shows promising growth in equity and profits.  With my experience in inspecting a diverse range of commercial properties, I can supply you with a commercial property condition assessment report that will further reduce the financial risk you are about to undertake.  This report can be used as a tool for negotiations.     READ MORE

WHEN YOU WANT THE BEST, THE CHOICE IS CLEAR

ONE HOME INSPECTOR IS NOT THE SAME AS ANOTHER

What sets Housecheck apart - (1) locally owned and operated, (2) highest level certifications, (3) advanced continuing education, (4) extensive home inspection experience, (5) professional, high-quality, detailed reports, (6) errors and omissions insurance, and (7) outstanding customer service.

TRAINING - California has no requirements for education, training, insurance or conduct of home inspectors.  In order to be a professional home inspector, an apprenticeship referred to in the industry as “ride-alongs” is required.  But many inspectors lack this vital step.  They have no training, or require no contracts or do not carry insurance or all of the foregoing, and make it up as they go along, producing a substandard report that will leave you with more questions than answers.  Why settle for an inferior PDF report with a dozen or so pages with check boxes OR 2 letter acronyms for you to decipher?  My reports do not require a secret decoder ring. 

EXPERIENCE - The one thing a home inspector can't buy is experience.  Experience specifically in home inspecting, not the building trades, can make a huge difference in what you receive.  I have over fifteen years of home inspecting experience, am a former contractor and have been a real estate agent.

EDUCATION - Continuing education separates a professional home inspector from the others.  I take audtied classes and proctored exams.  It is necessary to keep abreast of new materials, advanced methods, code changes and different applications.  Continuing education is mandated for real estate agents but not for home inspectors.  I have attended Conferences and Seminars in Las Vegas, San Diego, Nashville, Philadelphia, Reno, Seattle and Portland to obtain advanced education.

As a former contractor, I can tell you that home inspecting demands far more detailed education in every discipline than a general contractor.  A professional home inspector must possess 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.

EQUIPMENT - I use state of the art equipment: tablets, drones, infrared camera, laser devices, and the most sophisticated software utilizing the Cloud, in order to deliver the highest quality inspection report. 
 

THE BEST INSPECTION AND REPORT DOESN'T COST, IT PAYS

In fact, it could very well prove to be life saving.  You don't want to hire just anyone.  This is your last opportunity to gain information and understanding on a property which is a major long-term financial commitment.

It costs relatively little compared to real estate commissions and down payments, but the home inspection is the most important part of the real estate transaction according to Consumer Reports.  I provide a 50+ page, room-by-room, system-by-system report written in plain English with pictures every step of the way.

 

The report is a direct reflection of the inspector's knowledge and expertise.  Look at any sample report.  Can you understand it?  It should not resemble a contractor's checklist. 

Judge the home inspector by the quality of the Inspection Report which should speak for itself.  The report must be well written and skillfully prepared.  The report should leave nothing to your imagination, cover every room, component and system and should not require your real estate agent or anyone else to interpret it.  My reports are 50+ pages specific to your property with no fillers added. A Home Inspector must be able to effectively communicate verbally and in writing. My report is designed to walk you through each area of the house and show you what I saw and report on it right then and there.

An inspection, like a diagnosis, is not the place for bargain hunting.   If all you know about an inspector is his phone number and his fee, then you really know nothing.

THE CHEAPEST INSPECTION MAY BE THE MOST EXPENSIVE MISTAKE YOU CAN MAKE

There are times when cheap is just too expensive.   Home repairs can be some of the costliest expenses consumers face.  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.   Identifying potential problems with a home's infrastructure or its major systems before close of escrow can ultimately save thousands of dollars in repair costs.  Current or potential issues that are identified during the home inspection can then be used as a negotiating tool.  A seller might reduce his price, or may even fix the problem before the close.

The fact is, a large percentage of home inspectors rely on agent referrals to bring in work and keep them in business.  While this is not necessarily bad, it is illegal in states that license home inspectors because there is an inevitable conflict of interest inherent in such a relationship but I have  no such conflicts of interest.  I will not minimize the extent of  the issues to please someone involved in the transaction whose agenda may be different from yours.   Neither will i Neither willNeither willNexaggerate the extent of the issues in hopes of getting the repair work.  California Trade Practice Act prohibits home inspectors from repairing properties that they have inspected.  I will report to you exactly what I find.

If you have your sights set on the cheapest inspector, bear in mind he knows his services are not worth more.  So if your deck collapses during a family barbecue or your master bedroom ceiling leaks at 3 a.m. during the next winter storm, spend your money on repairs instead of an attorney because that would be cheaper.

Seriously, you couldn't put a price of your family's health and safety.  Your home inspection costs very little but it will tell you a whole lot.  It's worth much more than the inspection fee.  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.

You don't want to buy as house "as is."  Those two seemingly harmless words are loaded with potential expenses, and a pitiful report from a bargain inspector could land you there.  Plus, you don't know what 'AS IS" is.  The importance of having access to all the relevant information on a house before making a purchase decision should not be underestimated.  Equally important is getting information that is accurate, complete, and unbiased.  The purpose of a home inspection is not to compose a repair list for the seller.  It is to provide you with total disclosure before you close escrow, to let you know what you are buying, before you buy it. 

Let Housecheck provide you with the most qualified inspector and the most comprehensive report you can find.   It's the difference between your peace of mind and nagging doubts.

PHOTOGRAPHS ARE ESSENTIAL TO EVERY REPORT

Without photographs, you get less the half the information.  In my experience as a home inspector, sellers have removed etched shower doors, wood carved mantles, brand new water heaters, air conditioners, even doors between the inspection and close of escrow.  And since they replaced them with like items, albeit of lesser value, they see no harm.  What do you think?

Pictures show why a fascia board should be replaced even if you don't know what a fascia board is.  My reports are unmatched in details, in number of pictures and in readability.  View any inspector's sample report online and compare.

UNINSURED HOME INSPECTORS COST BUYERS TENS OF THOUSANDS OF DOLLARS

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.

MY PROMISE TO YOU

Sophisticated buyers as well as first time buyers call me directly to book inspections.  Some are out of state and a few have contacted me from as far away as Japan, Afganistan, and Italy.   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 inspect the roof.  I will notify you of any item that has a current or potential issue. 


 

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.  About 45,000 people a year are injured or killed in deck collapses. 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.  About 40% of the decks today are not safe. Many capable contractors do not know how to build a deck properly.  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.

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

RADON

Radon comes from the natural breakdown of uranium in soil, rock and water. The release of this radioactive gas enters the air you breathe, causing a potential health risk to you and your family. Radon gas can be found in just about anywhere. It can get into any type of building -- homes, offices, and schools -- and build up to high levels.

You cannot see radon and you cannot smell it or taste it, but it may be a problem in your home. This is because when you breathe air-containing radon, you increase your risk of getting lung cancer. In fact, the Surgeon General has warned that radon is the second leading cause of lung cancer.

Testing is the only way to find out about your home's radon level. The EPA and the Surgeon General recommend testing of all homes below the third floor for radon.

If you find that you have high radon levels, there are ways to fix a radon problem. Even very high levels can be reduced to acceptable levels.

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.

YOU CANNOT AFFORD TO IGNORE GROUND WATER ISSUES

I inspected a large house in Lakeport 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.  

                  Under 2 Story House         Hole Burned in Floor Under Fireplace       Break  in Sewer Line

I do Lake County Home Inspections, Mendocino County Home Inspections, Napa County Home Inspections and Sonoma County Home Inspections.

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)

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.



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                        Affiliate Member of North Bay Area Association of Realtors