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.

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...


portland housing flood risk

Is your Home a Flood Risk? Portland Housing Market

September 22, 2017

With floods in the news lately, it’s hard not to think about the risk to your own home, whether it’s in downtown Portland or along one of the many creeks, rivers and wetlands in our metro area. As a real estate agent, my job is to fully inform anyone buying a home in Portland what the challenges and risks may be with any particular property. When it comes to understanding flood risk, the City of Portland department of Environmental Services and other agencies have done most of the legwork. With online mapping tools, it’s pretty easy to find out if water has ever risen to the level of the home and whether it is expected to do it again in the...


portland radon map 2017

Portland Radon Map – 2017 Update

May 19, 2017

The new Portland Radon Map for 2017 is out – and it’s now interactive! Click on the link to head over to the radon map, where you can click around Oregon and Portland to find the risk for radon in any zip code that has had enough tests done. Top 6 things to know about radon gas Radon is a gas that is naturally occurring in the ground. It typically seeps into the home from the basement and makes its way through the rest of the house from there. Radon is dangerous! According to The Oregon Public Health Division, 276 radon-related lung cancer deaths happen each year state-wide. This is typically due to the radon gas causing cancer that leads...


portland flood risk

Check your Portland Home’s Flood Risk

February 27, 2017

With floods happening across the United States this winter and spring, many home owners – and home buyers – want to know, what is the risk where we live? Is your Portland home a flood risk? Thankfully, the City of Portland makes information readily available through online maps. There are two ways to check on your flood risk. Head to portlandmaps.com and enter in your address, or the address of the Portland home you are interested in. In the panel on the right side, scroll down to “Public Safety” and click on it to pull down the information. Below the crime data you’ll find a “Hazard” section. There, it will tell you whether the property is in a FEMA Special...


earthquake safe real estate

Portland Homeowners, Get Your Seismic Retrofit!

June 9, 2016

Knowledge of a potential big earthquake in the Pacific Northwest has been circulating in geological circles for many years, but the public got a big jolt when news stories began sounding the alarm last summer. As we wrote about on this real estate blog in August, studies of the Cascadian subduction zone fault line show that there’s a 10% chance of an earthquake around magnitude 9 hitting Oregon in the next fifty years. Smaller quakes have an even larger likelihood of occurring. In wake of growing earthquake awareness, Portland officials and homeowners have not assumed the hiding-under-the-desk position. The City of Portland applied for FEMA funds to help homeowners pay for seismic upgrades to their homes, according to the Oregonian....