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Understanding Your Home Inspection Report: An Interview with Byron Duerksen of Housecheck Inspection Services

By Byron Duerksen

Please tell us a little bit about your company and the services you offer.

Housecheck Inspection Services was formed in 2002, and I provide home, commercial, mold, infrared thermography and 203k FHA/HUD inspections.

How long is a standard home inspection report and when should a client expect to get it?

I allow three to four hours for a standard home inspection and then at least one additional hour for a walk around with the buyer to discuss the issues and features and answer any questions. The report itself is 50+ pages with no fillers and it is a room by room report, indexed and easy to read, computerized with digital colored pictures. The report is usually sent out within 24 hours.

Can you briefly explain what standards and/or techniques an inspection report in the state of California abides by?

The state of California has no standards or techniques for an inspection report as there is no licensing of home inspectors. ASHI, the American Society of Home Inspectors, is the oldest and most respected home inspection organization in the U.S. and Canada, and its members pass rigorous testing and exams to receive certification. ASHI inspectors are considered to be the gold standard of home inspectors. I abide by ASHI Code of Ethics and meet or exceed the ASHI Standards of Practice.

As far as techniques are concerned, there are as many techniques for inspecting and reporting as there are inspectors. I, myself, use the most up-to-date technology to inspect. Reports are created using a tablet in which a camera, flash and microphone are contained in order to accurately report what I am inspecting. Utilizing a sophisticated, state-of-the-art computerized reporting software which sends the report to the cloud, I then retrieve the information back at my office for additional comments and pictures.

What are the most important parts of the report for a homeowner or home buyer to read thoroughly?

Roofing, foundation, plumbing, electrical.

How are photographs used during and after the inspection?

I photograph the rooms, the light fixtures, the flooring, entry doors, kitchen appliances, bathroom fixtures, fireplaces, wood burning stoves, wall heaters, plumbing, electrical panels, crawl spaces and attics.

What is the difference between primary and secondary conditions? Can you list some of the most common primary conditions you've seen in Northern California houses?

Primary conditions would be serious defects which would include dangerous conditions, hazards, health and safety violations. Common primary conditions are potentially dangerous decks, poor venting of gas fired equipment, cracked heat exchangers in the furnace which will then allow carbon monoxide to be sent throughout the heating ducts. Homeowner DIY electrical issues that can be deadly or at least dangerous, e.g., dangerous wiring connections, over-amped breakers in the sub panels to prevent kicking them off when overloaded thus creating a serious hazard with the wiring being overloaded, overheated and likely causing a fire.

Secondary would be cosmetic, undesirable but not hazardous. Could be poor paint conditions, broken seals in a dual pane window, door between garage and house without self-closing hinges.

What's the best way for people to contact you and your company?

Call my office at 707-987-9970 seven days a week, or call my cell at 707-245-7545 pretty much 24/7. These phone numbers as well as my email address, housecheck@mchsi.com.

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