Northern California residential home inspection

You won’t know for sure whether you’ve gotten a great deal or you’ve been lured into a “money pit” until you have the results of your residential home inspection. If everything’s tip top, you can proceed as planned. Even if there are many problems, it still might be a bargain, but you’ll know how to budget to pay these costs or you’ll request the seller make the repairs or lower the price. Large, serious and expensive problems may mean you’ll need to walk away and find another home.



A professional home inspection is a walk through the interior and exterior of the property to look for signs of defects and to assess the general conditions of systems and elements of a home. An experienced Northern California residential home inspector functions like a detective to uncover problems that sellers are not disclosing and trying to cover up. These are the typical elements of a Northern California home inspection:



Roof inspections are considered the most important element of a home inspection, both because they're expensive to replace and it’s usually impossible for buyers to assess roof problems themselves. Roofs can be made out of many different materials, including wood, slate, clay, metal or asphalt. Asphalt shingles are the most popular because they are no maintenance, can last up to 25 years and are available in many colors and styles. In addition to informing you of the material used for the roof of the house, we’ll let you know how old it is and when it will likely need to be replaced. We’ll make note of any loose shingles, trees in contact with the roof, stains, discoloration, moss or mold that might be present.



We’ll carefully check the basement and/or crawlspace for signs of water infiltration, dampness and mold. If there’s a dehumidifier running, it’s usually because there’s a problem. There are many types of toxic mold that can plague basements, we’ll carefully check and identify mold problems, including their extent and cost to remediate.



Electrical problems are another big ticket item that could be a reason to walk away and consider a different home. We’ll be able to tell if the wiring is modern and in good condition by looking at the types of material used and its condition. Frayed wires, burn marks and the overuse of extension cords could indicate an old or malfunctioning electrical system. We will also let you know how much voltage is available in the house because low voltage can stress or damage modern appliances.



We’ll check the age and type of the home’s water heater and let you know when it will likely need to be replaced. We’ll also measure the highest water temperature and let you know if it exceeds 125 degrees, presenting a burn hazard, especially for children.


EXTERIOR - Grading, Leaders, Gutters

Properties that have land that slopes down towards a house are more prone to water damage and damp basements. If we see that water is pooling towards the foundation, we’ll suggest budgeting for a possible regrading.

The purpose of gutters and leaders is to direct water away from the basement and foundation of the home, reducing dampness and the potential for flooding. We’ll point out any missing or damaged leaders and gutters so you can budget for replacement and repair. This is usually inexpensive to do and is usually not a reason to walk away from a home.


INTERIOR SAFETY - Carbon Monoxide, Electromagnetic Fields

Carbon monoxide is a toxic gas that is sometimes emitted by heating systems that are not functioning properly. When carbon monoxide leaks into a home, it can cause nausea, headaches, unconsciousness and even death. That’s why we check carbon monoxide levels and find their source, to protect your health and allow you to repair the problem.

In our quest to give you the most thorough home inspection possible, we take readings of field strength of electromagnetic fields if the home is located near main utility lines or a power plant. Electromagnetic fields have been implicated in many health concerns.

It is uncommon these days, but older properties may house nasty buried steel tanks, probably formerly containing fuel oil, used in historic heating practices.   It’s just a matter of time before these tanks rust and leak, so we recommend updating or most likely removing from the property. The old tank must be properly abandoned by filling with sand or foam.  This may require hiring environmental consultants and most likely excavation / tank removal contractors.  A tank or removal of tank will be an expensive project, and may take weeks or months, because of strict environmental regulations and policy.   Our strength and background in environmental science and residential fuel oil tanks will help identify readily accessible tanks and / or harder to find buried or partially-buried tanks. 


Every home is different, but rest assured that we carefully inspect your potential home for any and all problems, with special attention to issues that might be very expensive to fix.