Oregon State Certified Home Inspector # 337 | Oregon C.C.B. # 110603

Frequently Asked Questions

The technical answer is no! In the real world, however, we know it happens.

Here is what you need to know so you can decide for yourself: Oregon Senate bill 515 became effective January 1, 2004 and amended ORS 105.464 (Form of seller’s property disclosure statement). The bill requires sellers to not only disclose any inspections done on the property but also to provide potential purchasers with a copy of those reports. The bill also contains the following text: “FOR A MORE COMPREHENSIVE EXAMINATION OF THE SPECIFIC CONDITION OF THIS PROPERTY, BUYER IS ADVISED TO OBTAIN AND PAY FOR THE SERVICES OF A QUALIFIED SPECIALIST TO INSPECT THE PROPERTY ON BUYER’S BEHALF INCLUDING, FOR EXAMPLE, ONE OR MORE OF THE FOLLOWING: ARCHITECTS, ENGINEERS, PLUMBERS, ELECTRICIANS, ROOFERS, ENVIRONMENTAL INSPECTORS, BUILDING INSPECTORS, CERTIFIED HOME INSPECTORS, OR PEST AND DRY ROT INSPECTORS.”

Our reports are copyrighted information and contain the following paragraph: “This inspection report was prepared for the above-named client only and is a collection of information obtained by this company concerning only the conditions of the components and systems on the day of the inspection. As conditions can and do change, this report may not accurately represent conditions existing at the property at later dates. This report is not a substitute for disclosure required of the seller under state law or other real estate contracts. If any parties other than our client have obtained this report they are hereby made aware that their use of this report is in violation of the contract between this company and our client. The seller may have obtained this report in accordance with a previous contract for the sale of the property to our client; however third parties expressly should not rely on this report or the information contained herein when making their decision to purchase this property. If you are reading this report and you are not our client, you may pay the required fee and contract with this company to do a complete, new inspection of the property with you as our named client, or you may contract with another company and pay for their services. In any case, this inspection company shall not be responsible for the unauthorized use of this report by third parties. Any questions regarding this policy shall be directed to this company.”

The bottom line is two-fold: Conditions can and do change so any information contained in a report that is not current may not accurately represent the current conditions of the property. The other consideration is that if you rely on information contained in a report that you know was not done on your behalf and you are trying to benefit from the services somebody else paid for, then you are not the named client and you have no recourse against the inspection firm if you later believe the report was inaccurate or incomplete. You will be best served by contracting with and paying for the services of your own home inspector.

The Oregon C.C.B., as well as our insurance company, each require us to have a service agreement signed by the clients. Because Oregon considers the Structural Pest & Dry Rot Inspection to be a separate inspection process from the Whole House Inspection, we have separate service agreements for each of our inspection services. Our service agreements define our responsibilities and duties, as well as what our inspections do not cover. This ensures that you know exactly what you are getting from our inspection reports. Neither the inspection nor the accompanying report should be construed as a guarantee or warranty. Our inspector is limited to the existing clues and symptoms on the day of the inspection, and we cannot be liable for non-visible, obscure, or concealed faults. Under Oregon law, we are not allowed to remove fascia, trim moldings, or to move furniture or household items; we cannot perform any “destructive discovery.” As humans, we do occasionally make honest mistakes. We always stand behind our work and make every effort to come to a mutual agreement when a mistake occurs. We perform the highest quality inspections and our business is based on our growing list of satisfied clients.

It is not reasonable to think that the inspector will never make a mistake and it is not reasonable to think that every single condition of the home will show itself during the inspection time allowed. However, our business is where it is today because we are honest and bring the highest level of experience and integrity to our inspections each and every day. We invite our clients to let us know if they have any questions or concerns.

In accordance with Oregon law, the party or parties who pay for the inspection are our clients and only they will be provided with a copy of the inspection report(s). Typically as a courtesy, we also copy the client’s Realtor® when the report is sent unless asked not to. If the client or their Realtor® request that we provide copies of the report(s) to third parties (such as the lender or the Realtor® representing the other side of the transaction) then we will gladly do so.

No! Not only is it illegal in Oregon but we feel it would also be unethical for anybody to profit from repair work they recommended during an inspection. Our reports are always unbiased and report conditions present on the day of the inspection. We are not affiliated with any contractors nor do we receive any referral fees or other compensation.

There are several qualified local contractors whose work is typically done right the first time and in a timely manner. You are always free to choose your own contractor and as with any project, we encourage you to contact the Oregon C.C.B. at 503-378-4621 or visit the C.C.B website for further information about a potential contractor. You may need the contractor’s C.C.B. number.

No, we do not. The Oregon Standards of Practice define exactly what a home inspection in Oregon must include and what is optional. Although there is a provision to allow for deviations, we don’t feel that it is of service to our clients to pick and choose portions to eliminate from the inspection process, also it opens the door to dispute as to what should have been included or what was to be excluded. We feel there are reasons the inspection is called a Professional Home Inspection and those reasons are not to cut corners.

No, we do not. Notice is typically posted by the property owners, a property manager, or by the Realtor® representing the buyer or seller.

No, we do not. While we are aware that our clients most likely work during regular business hours, our evenings and weekends are time we devote to our family. The times that we regularly schedule appointments are the times that we have found work best for most people most of the time; and of course we will do what we can to help accommodate clients with other schedules. We typically schedule whole house inspections of average-sized homes beginning at 9:00 a.m. with a walk-through at 11:30 a.m. or beginning at 1:00 p.m. with a walk-through at 3:30 p.m. Scheduling of articularly small or large homes or multi-family properties will vary.

This depends upon the type of repairs. Generally speaking, it is the homeowner’s responsibility to obtain proper permits unless you have hired a licensed contractor and their contract specifically states that they will be responsible for obtaining the proper permits. When in doubt, contact your local building department with jurisdiction. It is not the home inspector’s responsibility to verify if permits are necessary nor if the proper permits were obtained.

The answer depends on the type of work in question. Typically, a homeowner is legally allowed to perform repairs on their own home, with a few exceptions. Common sense should apply here as well; you should never attempt to perform repairs that are above your skill level and/or if you are unsure of how to perform the repairs. We encourage you to consult with and/or hire a contractor who is qualified to perform the type of repairs that pertain to your situation.

The following information is from the “Permits Protect” website of the Oregon Building Codes Division:

Electrical: “You must be both the owner and the occupant of a dwelling to obtain a permit to do the electrical work yourself. You may not perform any electrical installations or modifications on a house or residential unit intended for sale, lease, rent, or exchange. If you do not own and do not intend to live in the unit, a licensed electrical contractor must do the work.”

Plumbing: “As the property owner of a one- or two-family dwelling, you can either hire a licensed plumbing contractor or do the plumbing work yourself without a license. A friend, neighbor, tenant, general contractor, or other person cannot legally do the plumbing work unless he or she is a licensed plumber working on behalf of a licensed plumbing contractor.”

Mechanical: “As the owner of a one- or two-family dwelling, you can hire a contractor registered by the Construction Contractors Board to do the work, or you or an immediate family member can do it yourself. A friend, neighbor, tenant, or family relative cannot legally receive compensation for the work unless he or she is a CCB-registered contractor.”

Stuctural: “As the owner of a one- or two-family dwelling, you can hire a contractor registered by the Construction Contractors Board or you can get the permit and do the work yourself. An immediate family member, a friend, neighbor, tenant, or other relative can legally work on your one- or two-family dwelling only if the work is not for compensation.”

No; our inspection is one of “serviceability,” NOT Code Compliance. By necessity, our inspection deals with existing structures, which may have older types of wiring, plumbing, heating, etc. As an illustration, most local Codes require ground fault circuit interrupters, insulation in exterior walls, anchor bolts, and dozens of other items that have not always been included in the building codes. These installations can be “serviceable,” even though they do not meet current codes (or may not even be desirable for current lifestyles). We assume that the “then current” codes were complied with at the time of construction, but cannot guarantee that.

On any re-inspections performed on pest & dry rot inspection repairs, all work shall conform to accepted construction standards for both materials used and workmanship. We do not verify whether or not the proper permits were obtained or inspected by the building code officials.

Attic and crawl space access openings should be no less than 18 inches by 18 inches. Although a homeowner or inspector may be physically able to get into a smaller opening, the HUD standards specify these openings should be at least 18 inches by 18 inches. This also applies to clearance between the earth and the floor framing in the crawl space; it ideally should be 18 inches or more to allow for physical access.

Although the minimum standard size is not really very big, if either the attic or crawl space access openings are less than 18 inches by 18 inches, or there is less than 18 inches of clearance in the crawl space, it is possible that the inspector may not be able to get through the opening and/or crawl the entire crawl space area and this may result in the need for these areas to be made larger and the added expense and delay of a re-inspection visit.

For the Pest & Dry Rot Inspection, only the water must be on (and power if the water source is a well). This is necessary because part of the Pest & Dry Rot Inspection is to run the water and check for plumbing leaks. During a Whole House Inspection, all utilities must be turned on so the inspector can check each system of the home. If an inspection is scheduled and one or more utilities are not on, in most cases we will proceed with the inspection as scheduled, making note of which utilities were not available and which systems were consequently not able to be inspected. The client may pay a re-inspection fee and re-schedule for the inspection to be completed at a later time after the utilities have been turned on. We make every effort to verify the status of all utilities at the time of scheduling the appointment; however it is ultimately the responsibility of the owner or person making the appointment to ensure that the utilities are on and that the property is ready to be inspected.

Sometimes homes have been winterized or for other reasons the utilities have been turned off. We are often asked by clients, for example, if we will turn on the water. What they may not realize is that the plumbing connections will sometimes dry up and cause leaks when the water is turned on again, or perhaps a leak was discovered but not repaired and the water was turned off for that reason. You can see how this could potentially be a bad situation! We obviously have no way to know why the utilities were turned off or to ensure that the person who turned them off did so properly. For this reason we recommend two people be present when utilities are turned back on to the property. In accordance with the Oregon Standards of Practice and our insurance company’s requirements, we will not turn on any utilities.

No, we do not. Items noted to be in need of repair on a Whole House Inspection report differ from repairs suggested as part of a Pest & Dry Rot Inspection. Repairs suggested for the purpose of obtaining a “clear” Pest & Dry Rot Inspection report may be performed by a licensed general contractor or the homeowner. Repairs suggested in the Whole House Inspection report are typically technical repairs specific to the electrical, plumbing, or HVAC systems for example. These repairs are best performed by the licensed specialty contractor the inspector has recommended. Specialty repairs performed by general contractors or homeowners typically end up costing more in the long run because they are often not fixed correctly the first time, which in the past has resulted in additional delays, additional re-inspection fees and in some cases, a specialty contractor must ultimately be contacted after all to ensure the proper correction. For these reasons, we will not re-inspect any repairs recommended in our Whole House Inspections.

Additionally, some of these repairs cannot legally be made by the homeowner. (See the “Must a homeowner hire a contractor to perform repairs?” question above.) For further information about this subject, please check out the Building Codes Division “Do I Need A Permit?” website. Beyond the information about when permits are required, this link gives information about who can legally perform what kinds of repairs and under what circumstances.

One specific condition to note is that Oregon state law states that it is unlawful for a property owner to perform electrical repairs or upgrades if they have the intent of selling the property. If the property we inspect is currently for sale, all electrical work must be done by a licensed electrician and we will not re-inspect any electrical repairs.