Servicing: LAKE, MENDOCINO, NAPA & SONOMA COUNTIES

 
THE CHEAPEST INSPECTION
MAY BE THE MOST EXPENSIVE MISTAKE YOU'LL EVER MAKE!


                      
Member 249171                                       Member 6082094
10 Years                                                      12 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 Certified Master Inspector, a seasoned professional, having conducted thousands of inspections in Northern California's wine country in 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 in 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 American Society of Home Inspectors (ASHI) and the National Association of Certified Home Inspectors (NACHI), the two largest and most prominent national 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 qualifications:

*  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

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


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


YOU GET SO MUCH MORE WITH A HOUSECHECK INSPECTION

Our main focus is to provide FULL SERVICE for our clients.  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.  WALK-AROUND FOLLOWING INSPECTION - Following my inspection, I invite you to walk around with me to discuss what I have found, explore remedies and to answer any questions you have.  There is no time limit placed on this.

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

3.  RECALL CHECK - I submit model and serial numbers to RecallChek to check for dangerous flaws in home appliances, water heaters, furnaces and air conditioners and you'll get a separate report  with the manufacturer's recall hotline. 

4.  90 DAY WARRANTY - You will have a 90 Day Limited Structural and Mechanical Warranty from Residential Warranty Services, from the date of the inspection.

5.  INSPECTION REPORT BOOK - In addition to providing you with the PDF of your inspection report, I will mail you a printed copy in a plastic cover for easy reference.  Why settle for an inferior report of only a dozen pages with check boxes OR 2 letter acronyms for you to decipher?   That's not a good value at any price.  My 60 page reports have no filler pages and do not require a secret decoder ring.

6.  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 maintenance questions for home owners.

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

ONE HOME INSPECTOR IS NOT THE SAME AS ANOTHER IN CALIFORNIA

California has no requirements for education, training, insurance or conduct of home inspectors. 

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 - Going online with a credit card does not provide hands on training.  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 and have no training.  Many do not provide service contracts or Standards of Practice, and most do not carry any insurance.  They just make it up as they go along, producing a minimal report that will leave you with more questions than answers.  

EXPERIENCE - The one thing a home inspector can't buy online with a credit card is experience.  Experience specifically in home inspecting can make a huge difference in what you receive.  I have over sixteen 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 audited 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 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 conduct the highest quality inspection and deliver the finest report.

WHEN YOU WANT THE BEST, THE CHOICE IS CLEAR



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.

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 60+ 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. 

There are times when a Realtor will offer a buyer an old home inspection report, maybe a couple of months old or even a year old.  The illusion, I’m sure, is to save the buyer money.  If you were to accept this, then you are buying the house AS IS.  You don’t know what “as is” is.  If you move in and the toilet backs up into your kitchen sink, you can’t call the home inspector.  He won’t talk to you because you and he have no signed agreement.  So then what?

Judge the home inspector by the quality of the Inspection Report which should speak for itself.  The report should be well written and skillfully prepared, and leave nothing to your imagination, cover every room, component and system.  It 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 writingMy 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 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.  I won't exaggerate 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.  You don't want to hire just anyone.  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.

California has a full disclosure law which requires the seller to fill out a disclosure form of all known issues and the listing agent collects this form as required for the real estate transaction.  The home inspection report also becomes part of the disclosure but is separate from the seller's form and is not meant to be a substitute for it.  The home inspection may reveal an issue or several issues that had not been disclosed by the seller, or may even be unknown to the seller.  All disclosures are available to anybody interested in the property.

The importance of having access to all the relevant information on a house before making a purchase decision cannot be overstated.  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 E&O insurance (errors and ommisions) 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.

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

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. 



COMMON POTENTIAL ISSUES

BAY AREA DECK COLLAPSES CAUSE DEATHS AND INJURIES

Decks cause more injuries and loss of life than any other part of the home.  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. Deck collapses may be caused by decades old rotting wood and corroding fasteners.  Many deck collapses, however, are newer decks, improperly constructed.  About 40% of today's decks are unsafe.  Many capable contractors do not know how to build a deck properly.   With recent changes in California building codes, more stringent laws have been enacted for building decks and stairs.         . . . read more

     

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.      . . . read more

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.

FOUNDATIONS

This area of Northern California has an average annual rainfall of 24 to over 75 inches of rain.  This is typically concentrated in a period of 5 to 6 months.  That is a huge amount of water seeping under a house if it is not properly controlled.  The end result is foundation cracking, shifting and rotting wood structure or mold.

Walk past the hairline cracks in the foundation wall. Those are a normal sign of settling. But large cracks, dramatically uneven blocks or bowed walls suggest potentially catastrophic and expensive issues.



        
For crawl space homes, poor drainage amd hydrostatic pressures are the number one culprit.  As pressure builds beneath the surface around the crawl space, force is exerted on the walls that leads to cracks and/or bowing of foundation walls.

MOLD TESTING

Mold not only leads to respiratory problems, it also means water is entering and collecting in a house. While the mold should be cleaned, the source of the mold must be addressed.

     

If mold is on a tile or a hard surface, it can almost always be cleaned up with bleach and water.  Mold on drywall can’t be scrubbed clean.  What you see on the surface could be much worse behind the surface. You have to find the source of the water.        . . . read more

BAD WIRING AND ELECTRICAL DANGERS

OSHA reports that one person is killed every day just from opening an old defective electrical panel It's not just a strong electrical shock, they are actually cremated.
 
Knob-and-tube wiring, the exposed wire anchored by porcelain posts common in homes built well into the 1930s.

   

The main issue with this early wiring system is the likelihood that it was improperly modified, often decades after it was installed. Also, building insulation was commonly laid down on top of the knob and tube wiring, interfering with its ability to cool down thus presenting a fire hazard.

Although the system can work well, replacing it may be recommended for several safety reasons, including the fact that the circuit isn't grounded, and the wires are sometimes covered in cloth that frays with age.   Do-it-yourself electrical projects can especially be red flags on any house wiring. 
    . . . read more

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. 
      . . . read more

 
On Honey Do List Too Long             Mushrooms in the Ceiling

SMOKE DETECTORS CAN BE DEADLY

Claiming hundreds of lives each year, Carbon Monoxide is the #1 cause of accidental poisoning in the United States.  So CO detectors are mandatory in all bedrooms with the recent upgrades to the California building codes.  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.    . . . read more

YOU CANNOT AFFORD TO IGNORE GROUND WATER ISSUES

County officials reportedly became aware of unstable ground conditions and five homes have been deemed uninhabitable, the public sewer system has been damaged, and the water system, other homes and roads remain at risk.  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.           . . .  read more


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 on every appliance is an important part of my inspections.   . . . read more

          

       Jammed Release Valve on Water Heater

CRAWL SPACE REVEALS

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
    

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.                                                                                   READ MORE

 

PRIVACY POLICY

We collect no personal information or data, other than what is required for our insurance and the inspection report.
 

Click here to view the Standards of Practice
      

Affiliate Member of North Bay Area Association of Realtors
 

  
 

Proud Sponsor of Lake County Open Houses
 
     
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God Bless America!

Housecheck Inspection Services, 21177 Calistoga Road, #1833, Middletown, CA 95461 Google+