Servicing: MENDOCINO, SONOMA, NAPA & LAKE
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
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.
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.
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 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.
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
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.
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
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
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.
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.
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
Under 2 Story House Hole Burned in Floor Under Fireplace Owner's Watch Dog
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
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.
Click here to view the Standards of Practice
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