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Buyer Due Diligence

The Oregon Property Buyer Advisory (link updated 9/8/09) is produced by the Oregon Real Estate Agency. It begins:

A real estate licensee is vital to the home buying process and can provide a variety of services in locating property, negotiating the sale and advising the buyer. A real estate agent is generally not qualified to discover defects or evaluate the physical condition of property; however, a real estate agent can assist a buyer in finding qualified inspectors and provide the buyer with documents and other resources containing vital information about a prospective new home.

It continues (in bold caps):

OBTAINING A PROFESSIONAL HOME INSPECTION IS THE SINGLE MOST IMPORTANT THING A BUYER CAN DO FOR THEIR PROTECTION.

The buyer pays for all inspections but knowing what you are getting into is crucial to a happy real estate experience. The cost of the inspection may prevent the buyer from taking on thousands of dollars of unknown repairs. The inspector will look at the overall picture of the house and may recommend other inspections. I often liken the home inspector to a general practitioner doctor. If they find an area of concern, they will recommend a specialist.

Unlike some states, Oregon inspectors do not provide quotes for repairs- they are independent and don’t actually perform repairs. The most common inspections that buyers have done include:

Electrical
Heating and Cooling
Roof
Oil tanks- including locating the tank and testing for soil contamination. If contaminated soil is found, the DEQ is notified and the owner has 30 days to remedy the problem.
Sewer scopes to look for cracks in the sewer line out to the street. The homeowner is responsible for everything between the house and the street. The City of Portland is responsible for the sewer in the street.

It is also the buyer’s responsibility to confirm with the City that past or planned repairs and remodel projects were done legally or will qualify for a permit in the future. Portlandmaps.com is a good place to start with past permits.

Unlike some states, Oregon inspectors do not provide quotes for repairs- they are independent and don’t actually perform repairs. The most common inspections that buyers have done include:

Electrical
Heating and Cooling
Roof
Oil tanks- including locating the tank and testing for soil contamination. If contaminated soil is found, the DEQ is notified and the owner has 30 days to remedy the problem.
Sewer scopes to look for cracks in the sewer line out to the street. The homeowner is responsible for everything between the house and the street. The City of Portland is responsible for the sewer in the street.

It is also the buyer’s responsibility to confirm with the City that past or planned repairs and remodel projects were done legally or will qualify for a permit in the future. Portlandmaps.com is a good place to start with past permits.

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