Portland Home Hazards

Portland, like any other city, is home to many hazards for home buyers and sellers. We have flood risks, earthquake risks, mold problems, lead poisoning, radon risks, landslide zones, and more. We believe it is part of our job as top Portland real estate agents to inform our clients of potential home hazards, how to test, how to get more information, and how to mitigate these everyday home hazards.

portland earthquake map

Portland Earthquake Maps: 2020 Guide

February 24, 2020

Yes, there is a certain amount of earthquake risk in Portland, but the good news is that geologists are getting better and better at understanding, mapping and even predicting seismic activity. Maps can also help us be better prepared for disasters by showing were resources and hazards are. Take a look at these Portland maps before you buy a home.  The Top 5 Portland Earthquake Maps of 2020 1. Latest U.S. Earthquakes Map  (Click the header links to go to the earthquake maps.) For those fascinated by seismic activity, this live US Geological Survey map provides up-to-the-minute information about earthquakes happening around the globe. Earthquakes appear as dots on the map; the colors indicate how long ago they happened. The...


portland flood map

Portland Flood Maps: FEMA 2020 Update

January 27, 2020

Climate change, winter storms, questionable levees — the average home shopper has many good reasons to consider Portland flood risk before they buy. Your buyers’ real estate agent is a great resource, and should have information on hand about what the flood risk is for a home that you’re interested in.  For those who prefer the DIY approach, Portland flood maps available online allow you to check the potential for flooding at any given address. The maps we use most often in our real estate office are the Portland Flood Hazard Map and the FEMA map: Portland Flood Hazard Map The City of Portland has an impressive collection of online maps that allow the average person to find out just...


portland vacant home steps

15 Things you Must-Know Before Leaving your Home Vacant

January 3, 2020

Leaving a vacant home is sometimes a necessary life choice, and not one that homeowners ever feel completely comfortable with. That said, if your situation calls for a home to be vacant for few weeks or even months, there are steps you can take to make it a lot less risky. For the saavy Portland homeowner willing to spend some time and money shoring up a vacant house, the reward is peace of mind.  Top Three Risks for Vacant Homes Everyone has their own nightmare scenario for their vacant home, but the most common problems are these: Deferred maintenance. Weeds crop up in the yard. Cobwebs collect in the eaves. Hinges and locks grow creaky from disuse, and the inside...


oil tank decommission oregon

Portland Oil Tank Decommissioning: 2020 Update Home Hazards

December 16, 2019

If your Portland home has a heating oil tank, even a decommissioned one, you may need to get a new site assessment and/or certification letter from the DEQ before your home sells. This will come as a surprise to many Portland home owners who paid to have their oil tanks decommissioned in the past. No, there hasn’t been a rule change. Decommissioning is still voluntary, and the DEQ hasn’t called for mass recertifications — this is purely based on home buyers’ preferences. Over the past few years, there has been an increase in concern about soil contamination from old oil tanks, even those that had been previously decommissioned, and buyers are testing during their inspection period. If soil contamination is...


oregon wood stove decommission

Wood Stove Removal in Oregon: 2020 Update

December 6, 2019

Selling a home in Portland? You may have this item on your to-do list: Decommission the wood stove.  Wood stove decommissioning is a hot topic in Portland because many homes have older wood stoves that are not EPA-certified, and therefore are illegal to sell with the home. Period. Real estate sales contracts will let you choose to make the seller or the buyer responsible for the removal, but the removal of the wood stove in Oregon is not negotiable. It doesn’t matter if the wood stove is not in use, if it is in a shop or garage, or if the wood stove installation is otherwise up to code. If the stove itself is not certified, it must be decommissioned...


portland lead paint lead pipes

Lead Pipes, Lead Paint – Pure Portland Poison. Learn how to test for free – 2020 Update

November 25, 2019

Lead Paint in Portland Older Portland homes may be loaded with lead. According to a November 2019 report by the Willamette Week, “The paint on a house from the 1920s or 1930s that’s been repainted about once a decade may contain 50 or 60 pounds of pure lead.”  Lead Pipes (Drinking Water) Not only may your Portland home contain lead paint, but in some older homes, lead may also be found in pipes carrying drinking water, and it can also contaminate soil around the home. And, if you haven’t already heard, lead is a hazardous material that’s poisonous even in very small amounts, causing brain damage, cardiovascular and reproductive problems. That’s the bad news. So what’s the good news? Lead-control...


portland mold test home inspection

Test for Portland Mold, Home Inspection Tips

August 2, 2019

An unmistakably mold-stained wall, ceiling, or shower stall ranks among the least appealing sights in any home, let alone one you’re shopping on the red-hot Portland real estate market. Today we’re going to take a look at how to identify and test for mold, how to clean it up, and how to hopefully mitigate some of the specific root causes of the issue to prevent future growth — all in the interest of safeguarding your well-being and presenting your home for sale in the best possible light! Introducing Portland Mold Molds refer to a widespread and incredibly diverse group of fungi thought to comprise anywhere from tens to hundreds of thousands of species. We tend to have a negative connotation of...


portland radon map

Portland Radon Map and other Hazards – 2019 Update

July 5, 2019

When it comes to choosing a home to buy in Portland — or anywhere — it’s all about location. Is it near a good school? What’s the neighborhood like? Can you see Mt. Hood?  There’s an aspect of location that most people don’t think about right away, but should be just as important in the decision-making process: The home’s proximity to natural hazards.  You might be thinking: Natural hazards? Portland? It’s true — Portland’s climate is mild, we do have a volcano in city limits but it’s very dormant, and overall this is a pretty safe place to live. On the other hand, there are some serious risks that home buyers — and owners — should take into consideration. Some,...


portland flood fire quake map

Portland Natural Disaster Map 2019 – Floods, Fires, Quakes, and Slides!

March 1, 2019

We here in the Pacific Northwest enjoy a relatively mild climate year-round — no polar vortexes, and just a few hot days in the summer. In Portland and the surrounding metro areas, most homeowners don’t worry too much about natural disaster, but there are some specific threats to be aware of. Knowing how and where disaster might strike is the best way to be prepared — and if you can avoid buying a home in a high-risk area, that doesn’t hurt either.  Wildfires. Despite Oregon’s reputation as a moist state, most of its landscapes are naturally dry, and fire is a necessary recurrence for these areas. The Willamette Valley (where Portland is located) and the coast are two exceptions. With...


2018 Portland Radon map

16 Reasons to Test for Radon in 2018

March 9, 2018

Why test for radon? If you are buying or selling a home in Portland this year, make sure it has a recent radon test. Here are 16 reasons why, updated for 2018! Radon is sneaky. Radon gas comes from underground uranium (which is what gives radon its radioactive properties). Sometimes the gas stays underground, but depending on the geology under your home, it can find its way out. Radon is a one-atom gas, meaning it can find its way through almost any barrier. You never know until you test. Radon is a radioactive gas, invisible and odorless. You can’t see it, smell it or taste it. Testing, whether with a do-it-yourself kit or through a professional detection contractor, is the...