OREGON PROPERTY BUYER ADVISORY

PROPERTY CONDITION INSPECTION AND INVESTIGATION

 
 
 

DOCUMENT INSPECTION AND INVESTIGATION

Information Generally

MLS Information

Seller’s Property Disclosure Statement

Real Estate Sale Form

Financing

Title Report and Commitment

Homeowners Insurance

Home Warranties

Square Footage and Acreage

Homeowners Association Documents, 
Covenants, Conditions  and Restrictions

Lead-Based Paint Disclosure Form

Property Taxes

Additional Information

 

OREGON PROPERTY BUYER ADVISORY
A CONSUMER INFORMATION PUBLICATION
OF THE OREGON REAL ESTATE AGENCY

 

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.

 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.

 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.

This Advisory is designed to assist home buyers in meeting their obligation to satisfy themselves as to the condition and desirability of property they are interested in purchasing. Common issues in real propertytransactions that home buyers often decide to investigate or verify are summarized in this Advisory. In addition to investigating or verifying these common issues, the buyer should tell the licensee with whom they are working about any special concerns or issues the buyer may have regarding the condition of the property or surrounding area. Such special concerns are not addressed in this Advisory.

PROPERTY CONDITION INSPECTION AND INVESTIGATION

Professional Home Inspections
OBTAINING A PROFESSIONAL HOME INSPECTION IS THE SINGLE MOST IMPORTANT THING A BUYER CAN DO FOR THEIR PROTECTION. A professional home inspection report will provide the buyer with detailed information about the home’s physical condition, its systems and fixtures and usually note any potential future problems.

The buyer should carefully review an inspector’s proposal to determine the scope of the inspection. Some home inspectors may not inspect heating and cooling systems, the roof or other systems or components. A home inspection should be done by a home inspector or contractor licensed by the Oregon Construction Contractors Board (CCB). To inspect two or more components (i.e., roof, siding, structural), the home inspector must be certified and either be a licensed construction contractor or work for a licensed construction company.

Also, a home inspector is not allowed to perform the repairs within a twelve-month period following the inspection. Buyers can review state home inspector requirements and standards of practice for inspectors on-line at: http://ccbed.ccb.state.or.us/WebPDF/CCB/Publications/hi-s-sop.pdf. Additional information about inspections and inspectors is available from the Oregon Association of Home Inspectors at: www.oahi.org or the InterNational Association of Certified Home Inspectors at www.nachi.org. Inspection of property is beyond the scope of expertise of a real estate licensee, but real estate licensees can provide buyers with a list of local inspectors.

Licensees ordinarily will not recommend a specific inspector. Before hiring an inspector, the buyer should check with the CCB to determine the inspector’s current license status and whether there are any past or pending claims against the inspector. This can be done by visiting: https://ccbed.ccb.state.or.us/ccb_frames/consumer_info/ccb_index.htm.

Buyers should not rely upon reports done for others (previous buyers and/or sellers), because the report may not be accurate and buyers may have no recourse against an inspector they have not retained. Most residential sale contracts contain a clause that allows the buyer to withdraw from the agreement if a professional inspection they have done shows defects in the property. You will want to take advantage of this important right by obtaining your own professional home inspection report from a licensed professional inspector within the time frame specified in the sale contract. Unless otherwise provided for in the Sale Agreement, the cost of the inspection will not be refunded should you withdraw from the Agreement.

Pest and Dry Rot Inspection
Pest and dry rot inspections are done in many residential real estate transactions and may be required by the lender. A pest and dry rot inspection may or may not be included in a whole home inspection. If a pest and dry rot inspection is desired or required and the buyer is obtaining a whole home inspection, the buyer should verify that the inspection obtained covers pest and dry rot and the inspector is properly licensed. The license status of home inspectors can be checked at:
https://ccbed.ccb.state.or.us/ccb_frames/consumer _info/ccb_index.htm.

Pest control operators who do inspections and treatment are licensed by the Oregon Department of Agriculture. Buyers can check on licensing of pest control operators and applicators by calling the Oregon Department of Agriculture at (503) 986-4635 or online at http://oda.state.or.us/dbs/search.lasso#pesticideReal estate licensees do not have the training or expertise to inspect property for pests or dry rot. Like any property condition report, buyers should not rely on the report of an inspector they did not hire. A pest and dry rot inspection is a limited inspection and is no substitute for a complete whole home inspection by a licensed home inspector.

Defective Products and Materials
Some materials used in home construction are, or have been, subject to a recall, class action suit, settlement or litigation. These materials are typically, but not limited to, modern engineered construction materials used for siding, roofing, insulation or other building purposes. It is critical that a buyer carefully review any disclosures or representations of the seller regarding such materials.

A real estate may assist the buyer in that review, but inspection of property for defective products, slicensee ystems, fixtures or materials is beyond the scope of expertise of a real estate licensee.

The buyer, therefore, should make certain inspection for such materials is within the scope of any home inspection ordered by the buyer. Like any property condition report, buyers should not rely on the report of an inspector they did not hire.

Similarly, homes may contain products in their systems or fixtures that are, or have been, subject to a recall, class action suit, settlement or litigation. Plumbing, heating and electrical systems, among others, may contain such products. It is critical that a buyer carefully review any disclosures or representations of the seller regarding such products. The buyer should, therefore, make certain inspection for such products is within the scope of
any home inspection ordered by the buyer. A real estate licensee can help
the buyer find a suitable inspector.

Repairs and Remodels
Buyers should look for signs of repairs or remodeling when viewing property. If repairs or remodeling have been done, the buyer will want to make certain the work was properly done. Buyers can ask the seller for any invoices or other documentation for the work but, as with other questions of property condition, there is no substitute for professional inspection. A real estate licensee can help the buyer assess the need for a building code compliance inspection but do not themselves have the training or expertise to evaluate building code compliance. Information about building permits can be found at:
http://www.permitsprotect.info/, a service of the Department of Consumer & Business Services Building Codes Division. If building permits were required
for work done on the property (such permits are typically required for structural changes, new additions, and new plumbing and electrical work), the buyer should check with the city or county building department to make sure the permits are in order. If permits were not properly obtained, the new property owner could be held responsible. Ask your agent for assistance or you can find the website for the county in which the property is located by visiting:
http://www.aocweb.org/aoc/AboutOregonCounties/CountyLinks/tabid/72/Default.aspx. Websites for cities can be found at:
http://www.orcities.org/CityResources/CityInformation/tabid/846/Default.aspx. If repairs or remodels have been completed very recently, the buyer should
take steps to determine if there is any possibility of construction liens being filed against the property after the sale has closed. This can be done by
the buyer raising the issue with their title insurance provider.

If any repairs are being required during the transaction, the buyer should insure a licensed construction contractor is doing the repairs. After the
repairs have been done, the buyer should consider having a re-inspection done to assure the repairs were done properly.

Sewer and Septic Systems
Whether the property is connected to a city sewer, septic system or other on-site waste water treatment system is important information. Even if the MLS data sheet or Seller’s Property Disclosure Statement indicate that the home is connected to the city sewer, the buyer should have their home inspector, or a licensed plumber, verify the connection and its condition. Real estate licensees are not licensed to do plumbing or septic inspections. If the property has a septic system or other on-site wastewater treatment system, the system should be inspected by a licensed septic system installer or other on-site waste water treatment system professional hired by the buyer. Information about on-site waste water treatment systems, and licensed installers and pumpers, can be found on the website for the Oregon Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) at: http://www.deq.state.or.us/wq/onsite/onsite.htm.  Buyers should check with the appropriate county department for specific information on a particular property.

Wells
If domestic water for the property is supplied by a private well, the seller is required by state law to test the well for total coliform bacteria and nitrates. Buyers may also want to have the well tested for contaminants other than bacteria and nitrates. Buyers should verify that the seller uses proper procedures when having the well tested. More information on this state law requirement can be found at: http://www.dhs.state.or.us/publichealth/dwp/dwtfaq.cfm.
State law also requires that all private wells not already registered with the state be registered at the time the property is transferred. Real estate forms
in use in Oregon often delegate to the buyer the responsibility for registering the well. For information on the state well registration program, visit: http://egov.oregon.gov/OWRD/GW/well_id.shtml.

Well Flow Tests: If domestic water is supplied by a private well, the buyer should verify to the extent possible whether the well provides adequate water for domestic needs. It is strongly recommended that a well flow test be conducted prior to the purchase of any property that depends on a well for domestic water. Careful attention should be paid to any disclosures or representations by the seller. Buyers should review all available well records. More information on well logs is available at: http://apps2.wrd.state.or.us/apps/gw/well_log/Default.aspx. Buyers are advised to have well flow tested by a professional. While real estate licensees are not trained and do not have the expertise to test wells, they may be able to direct you to the appropriate well professionals. Even when wells are inspected and tested, it is impossible to guarantee a continued supply of water. Catastrophic events can and do occur that can change the well quality virtually overnight. Other events, such as development and drought, can affect the quality of an aquifer over time. Any test of a well is merely a snapshot in time and is not an indication of a well’s performance in the future. Any kind of well report should be viewed in this light. PROFESSIONAL INSPECTION, WELL LOG REVIEW AND FLOW TESTS ARE ABSOLUTELY CRITICAL IN DETERMINING THE CONDITION OF A PRIVATE WELL.

 

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