Servicing: MENDOCINO, SONOMA, NAPA & LAKE
Welcome to Housecheck Inspection Services. I am a professional home inspector, a Certified Master Inspector performing inspections in Northern California's wine country for fifteen years. The dictionary defines a "professional" as "skilled, proficient, knowledgeable, prepared, talented, competent and experienced," in other words a master of his craft. There is nothing generic on this website. No generic content or generic pictures. These are my words from fifteen years of experience inspecting.
ONE HOME INSPECTOR IS NOT THE SAME AS ANOTHER
There are many home inspectors from which to choose and almost all have a background in construction so that does not differentiate one from another. What makes a difference is (1) high level certifications, (2) advanced continuing education, (3) home inspection experience, (4) a professional quality detailed report, (5) customer service skills, and of course, (6) Errors & Omissions insurance. More importantly, you should know that the State of California DOES NOT license or certify home inspectors.
As a former contractor myself, I can tell you that home inspecting demands far more detailed education in every discipline than a general contractor. I am fortunate to 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.
Beware of contractors masquerading as home inspectors in order to get repair and remodeling work. That is an unlawful practice and relies on your ignorance of the lawand relies on your ignorance of California Trade Practice Act (Chapter 338) enacted in 1996 which "prohibits unethical home inspection practices, including repairing properties that they have inspected in the previous 12 months."
I have earned three Master Inspector certifications from three different home inspection organizations (NACHI, AII, CREIA), achieved the ACI which is ASHI's highest accreditation, and twelve years ago I passed the National Home Inspector Examination used for licensing home inspectors in states that require licenses. No other home inspector in this area has this credential. I am a long standing member of the two largest, most respected and well known home inspection organizations, ASHI and NACHI.
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. Why settle for an inferior report of a dozen or so pages stapled together, lacking in details, with page after page of check boxes or 2 letter acronyms for you to decipher? That will leave you with more questions than answers. No secret decoder ring is required with my reports. I will provide you with 60 -90 page room by room, system by system report in plain English, by PDF and hard copy with a plastic cover for convenient reference.
The home inspection industry is unregulated in California. 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.
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 having the top echelon of certified inspectors.
InterNACHI (International Association of Certified Home Inspectors) is the largest, most prolific home inspection organization worldwide.
If all you know about an inspector is his phone number and 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.
WHEN YOU WANT THE BEST, THE CHOICE IS CLEAR
COMPLIMENTARY VALUE ADDED SERVICES
Along with performing high compliance inspections, I include additional services at no cost to you.
1. By utilizing my infrared camera, I can detect costly leaks and potentially dangerous electrical hot spots.
2. I submit model and serial numbers on appliances to RecallChek from whom you'll get a separate report.
3. Included with that you will have a 90 day warranty from Residential Warranty Services on structural and mechanical components.
4. I will mail you a plastic covered, bound Hard Copy for easy reference as well as email the PDF.
5. And, finally I will send you a valuable 225 page e-book titled The Safe Home which answers many questions for home owners.
"THE HOME INSPECTION IS THE MOST IMPORTANT PART OF THE REAL ESTATE TRANSACTION"
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
A Home Inspector must be able to effectively communicate verbally and in writing.
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.
THE BEST INSPECTION AND REPORT DOESN'T COST, IT PAYS
In fact, it could very well prove to be life saving. 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.
While online education has its place, it is no match for hands on training one receives 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
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,they are asking for a brand new inspection and report, but sometimes it's to look at one particular element of the original inspector's report.
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 RECENT UNSOLICITED TESTIMONIALS
As a professional home inspector, I work on for the client with whom I have a contractual agreement. My testimonials are all from my clients. Although I receive accolades from Realtors which I appreciate, I do not publish them as testimonials. Websites containing testimonials predominately from real estate agents suggest that the inspector is reporting to please the real estate agent who is supplying him with leads, not the buyer who is paying for the inspection, which raises some serious questions about a conflict of interest.
Thank you again for all the great advice and help . . . This has turned into a great opportunity for a massive spring cleaning, and now I have a targeted priority list to keep things moving. I couldn't have done it without you. – Robin Leler, Willits Home Inspection
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 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.
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)
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