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.

How to Test your Home for Mold: 2021 Update

July 16, 2021

Think your Portland home might have mold? Well, you’d be correct – but don’t panic! Airborne mold exists just about everywhere. And since mold loves moisture, it also loves Portland. The trick is that mold spores float through the air looking for a wet place to land and grow. If you keep those wet spots out of your home, the mold won’t grow there. But we all know that can be a hard thing to do! Most of the time, a little mold in the bathroom is a quick cleaning job. Sometimes, though, a more pervasive moldy area becomes what we call a mold growth problem. We’re not talking toxic black mold, which thankfully doesn’t grow here. But you could...

Top 6 Portland Natural Disasters: Is Your Home at Risk?

June 30, 2021

Portland: a fantastic place to live, on many levels. But like any fantastic place to live, it comes with its own risks, and natural disasters are a part of the bargain. The threat of natural disasters looms large on the West Coast in general, and Portland is not immune. Oregon’s Department of Land Conservation and Development identifies six natural hazards it prepares for: tsunamis, coastal erosion, earthquakes, floods, wildfires, and landslides. Two of these, tsunamis and coastal erosion, mainly apply to the coast. So let’s take a deep dive into the remaining four, all of which threaten the Portland metropolitan area. Before we scare you off, though, remember that preparedness is the key – and that the state of Oregon...

Top 5 Preventative Roof Repairs: What to Look For

June 23, 2021

Roof problems: one of the greatest sources of anxiety for sellers and buyers alike. It should go without saying that the roof is integral to the structural integrity of the home. But perhaps because it’s such a big deal, the roof can feel easy to avoid keeping up with. For one thing, it’s not a part of the home you interact with on a day-to-day basis. For another, no one wants to find serious problems with such an important part of the home. But the adage “what you don’t know can’t hurt you” doesn’t apply in this case. Severely damaged roofs are dangerous, but even minor problems can still spell greater problems for the rest of the home. And problems...

How to Test Your Oregon Home for Asbestos

June 4, 2021

When you hear the word asbestos, what comes to mind? Many people think of asbestos hazards as being a thing of the past, or something relegated to big, old buildings like schools. In fact, asbestos was widely used in all types of building, including residential, prior to 1970. And even now, the United States has not fully banned its use. So while your home may be newer, then, there’s still a chance asbestos lurks in the walls, roof, etc. Before anyone panics, though, know that because it is so common, the state of Oregon has plenty of information and resources on how to manage it. If you’re going to be doing work on your home, you’ll want to know what...

2021 Radon Guide: How and Why to Test a Portland Home

May 24, 2021

If you’ve bought or sold a home (or intend to) any time recently, chances are you’ve heard something about radon testing. And for good reason. Radon testing is increasingly becoming a standard issue in real estate transactions, alongside other hazards like flood zones or seismic retrofitting. But why is it important, and do you need to have your home tested? To answer these questions and more, we’ll walk you through the basics of the dangers of radon, how to test for it, and what to do if your home tests highly. Say goodbye to feeling in the dark on this subject! Our essential guide lays out everything you need to understand radon risks and radon testing. What Is Radon, and...

Portland Seismic Retrofit Guide: 2021 Earthquake Readiness

April 7, 2021

Our awareness of the threat of seismic activity in the Portland area increases every year, and with it concerns for both sellers and buyers. Recent studies show that at least one local fault is more active than previously thought. And this discovery increases the likelihood that other faults in the area may put Portland at risk for an earthquake sooner rather than later. But the good news is, with increased knowledge comes increased ability to confront the situation. For example, it seems that each year, better and more comprehensive maps help us understand where the most vulnerable spots are. And then there’s seismic retrofitting, a process that makes homes better equipped to handle an earthquake. Portland is once again ahead...

portland real estate flood map

New Portland Flood Map for 2021

January 4, 2021

Floods don’t just destroy homes and carry away vehicles, they also destroy infrastructure and cut off access to the outside world, sometimes for days at a time. When shopping for a home in Portland, having the right tools at hand to understand flood risk is essential. In some cases, it can be pretty clear that a home is directly in a flood zone where floods happen frequently. But more often, the answer is less clear-cut. First, we’ll explore the traditional way to view flood zones using FEMA and other government maps. Then we’ll get into detail on an exciting new tool that gives address-by-address information about flood risk. How to view flood zones using FEMA and City of Portland Flood...

sewer scope portland home

Portland Sewer Scope Home Test Guide – 2021

October 19, 2020

Having the sewer line checked out before you purchase a home in Portland is a very good idea. Sewer lines can cost thousands of dollars to repair, but a scope costs just $100-$200 in the Portland area. In this article, we’ll go through some of the most frequent questions home owners and buyers ask our real estate agents about sewer scopes.  What is a sewer scope? A sewer scope is a simple home test that checks the sewer lines for blockages, leaks and damage. It will also tell you what kind of material your sewer pipes are made of.  Your sewer inspector will first locate the “clean out”, a capped pipe located on or near your property line which connects...

heating oil tank homes oregon

HOT Homes: Must Know Heating Oil Tanks Facts

October 5, 2020

Heating oil was once a popular way to heat homes and buildings in Portland, but most are now using electricity or natural gas. However, the legacy of heating oil remains in the form of underground tanks that were used to store the oil on site, especially in homes built prior to 1965. Some of these tanks are the source of toxic ground contamination, which can also emit fumes into the air.  According to the Oregon Department of Environmental Quality, there are 27,308 permanently decommissioned Heating Oil Tanks, or HOTs, buried underground across the state. Tens of thousands more are still in operation (both above and below ground), heating homes today. Plus many thousands more are sitting abandoned underground (some leaking...

oregon wood stove removal guide

Portland Home Testing: Wood Stove Removal 2020

August 24, 2020

A 2014 DEQ survey of Portland residents found that more than half of those who burn wood for heat are doing so with uncertified wood stoves. In fact, there may be as many as 80,000 uncertified wood stoves in Oregon!  Why are uncertified wood stoves a problem? They’re one of the biggest sources of air pollution in Portland. According to a Multnomah County report, residential wood smoke accounts for 11% of all cancer-causing air pollutants in the area. In addition to containing particulate matter small enough to enter the body through the lungs, wood smoke can be source of formaldehyde and volatile organic compounds.  “Certified” wood stoves control emissions by re-igniting toxic compounds in the smoke before it escapes out...