Serving Beautiful Southern Oregon

Oregon CCB# 209540  OCHI# 1861

Preparing for a Home Inspection

​​10 Important Selling Preparation Tips

 Very often, the goal of the seller in a real estate transaction is to get top dollar and sell a property quickly. The typical goal is for the buyer is to get a property in good condition for a fair price. Home inspectors are a critical part of property purchases and it helps to hear from them on how to prepare the home so that both sides reach those goals.
1.)  Consider cleaning the interior of all structures on the property and completing any exterior clean-up before the inspection. Experienced home inspectors are highly trained to observe and mentally note everything they see. Lack of care in any area gets mentally noted even if it is not written in the home inspection report. Multiple indications of uncaring owners are like a red flag to a home inspector. Additionally, the buyer often is present at the inspection and you will want to make your home shine for them so that they have no reason to re-think why they liked the home.

2.)  Fix the minor defects such as loose door hardware and faucets. Replace any burned out light bulbs or the inspector might list the fixture as being inoperative. Consider hiring a handyman to review the home and take care of any known issues. Repair major items (e.g. roof, plumbing, electrical systems) if possible or be straightforward about them.

3.)  You may want to leave out repair records for any work performed at the home. The home inspector will not likely complete a detailed analysis of the invoices, however, it indicates seller pride of ownership and can help answer questions the inspector may have.

4.)  If the property is vacant – make sure all utilities are on including the electric, gas and water. If the property has a pool or spa, make sure it is filled and ready to be tested.

5.)  For safety, your home inspector will not light any pilot lights on stoves, furnaces and water heaters. Have these systems operational to avoid delays.

6.)  Home inspectors need adequate area to access the attic entrance, appliances, electrical panels and heating & cooling units. Remove boxes, stored items and debris from these areas. We recommend clearing at least three feet of workspace.

7.)  The dishwasher will be operated during the home inspection. Dishes can be clean or dirty but if you have a load of dirty dishes and want them clean it's a good idea to fill the soap dispenser so a cycle isn't wasted.

8.)  Remove locks or provide the key for all access areas like electrical panels, sheds and utility rooms. Inaccessible systems and components can result in an incomplete inspection and delays.

9.)  Have your pets secured in a kennel or gated area away from the structure if possible. If inspector access is restricted, delays will result and an upset pet may run away during the inspection process.

10.)  Consider arranging activities away from the home during the inspection. It is best to let the inspector and buyer review the house alone. We have seen buyer’s back out of a sale because of seller interaction.
Download and print this PDF file for you or your client to use as a guide in preparing for a Home Inspection:​​

Smoke/CO Alarm Placement:

Wondering where to place smoke detectors and basic requirements for smoke and CO detectors in the State of Oregon?  Check out the following links:



Polybutylene Plumbing - The Dangers of PB2110

What is Polybutylene

Polybutylene is a plastic water supply piping that hit the market in the mid to late 1970’s and was used in the residential marketplace all the way through the mid 1990’s. Typically it is gray in color and it was marketed as the “pipe of the future.” It came in huge rolls and the up side was how easy it was to install compared to copper pipe. The polybutylene joints were made with crimp rings instead of the traditional torch and solder. Plumbers also loved it because they were the only ones with the tools to install the crimp rings and when there was an issue it had to be professionally corrected.
The water damage issues started to appear by the 1980’s as many of the pipes began to fail. When the pipes were opened up the plumbers found degradation to the interior walls of the pipes and plastic fittings.
Polybutylene was widely used throughout the country and it is estimated to have been installed in over ten million structures country wide.

What causes Polybutylene to fail?

The experts are divided on this issue as to why the higher than normal failure rates.  Some have blamed leaving the piping exposed to the direct sunlight before installation. Others blame the chemical make-up and over chlorination of the water flowing through them. I believe that it is more the latter because there are certain municipalities that suffer damage in nearly every installation, while there are many other areas in the country where the failures are no more common than that of homes plumbed with copper, PEX and galvanized piping.
The real difficulty lies in the fact that you cannot see what is going on inside the pipes. The polybutylene pipes can look just fine on the outside one day and the next day either the pipe, the fitting, or the crimp ring can fail and flood the home. The best recommendation is to have a licensed plumber who is experienced with polybutylene piping failures evaluate the system. It would be best if the plumber shut off the water and cut into a few sections to see if there was obvious deterioration on the inside walls of the pipe and the fittings. Just because the pipe looks okay on the outside it may not be okay!!! It is best to get it professional checked out and most property owners opt to replace the product entirely.

Polybutylene Major Concerns:

  • ​Home Insurance - Many companies will not insure a home known to have PB installed
  • ​Hidden damage - A full review by a plumber is recommended to determine if any damage or potential for damage exists
  • ​Removal and replacement can be very costly - It is ALWAYS recommended to obtain multiple quotes for replacement.

Asbestos - What is it and When is it a Concern?

Asbestos - What is it?
​​​​ Asbestos is a set of six naturally occurring silicate minerals made up of thin fibrous crystals, with each visible fiber composed of millions of microscopic "fibrils" that can be released by abrasion and other processes. They are commonly known by their colors, as blue asbestos, brown asbestos, white asbestos, and green asbestos.
Asbestos mining existed more than 4,000 years ago, but large-scale mining began at the end of the 19th century, when manufacturers and builders began using asbestos for its desirable physical properties.  Some of those properties are sound absorption, average tensile strength, affordability, and resistance to fire, heat, and electricity. It was used in such applications as electrical insulation for hotplate wiring and in building insulation. When asbestos is used for its resistance to fire or heat, the fibers are often mixed with cement or woven into fabric or mats. These desirable properties made asbestos very widely used.
Asbestos use continued to grow through most of the 20th century until public knowledge (acting through courts and legislatures) of the health hazards of asbestos dust outlawed asbestos in mainstream construction and fireproofing in most countries.
Prolonged inhalation of asbestos fibers can cause serious and fatal illnesses including lung cancer, mesothelioma, and asbestosis (a type of pneumoconiosis). 
Concern of asbestos-related illness in modern times began with the 20th century and escalated during the 1920s and 1930s. By the 1980s and 1990s, asbestos trade and use were heavily restricted, phased out, or banned outright in an increasing number of countries.
Despite the severity of asbestos-related diseases, the material has extremely widespread use in many areas. Asbestos' continuing long-term use after harmful health effects were known or suspected, and the slow emergence of symptoms decades after exposure ceased, made asbestos litigation the longest, most expensive mass tort in U.S. history and a much lesser legal issue in most other countries involved.  Asbestos-related liability also remains an ongoing concern for many manufacturers, insurers and reinsurers.
Vermiculite Insualtion in an Attic 
Merriam-Webster defines Asbestos as:   "Any of several minerals (such as chrysotile) that readily separate into long flexible fibers, that cause asbestosis and have been implicated as causes of certain cancers, and that have been used especially formerly as fireproof insulating materials." ​​
Common products with Asbestos and links for more information:

Asbestos Major Concerns:

  • ​Home Resale - Disclosures typically contain verbiage regarding asbestos and can deter a potential sale.
  • ​Health Hazards - If disturbed or ingested, asbestos is an extreme health hazard.
  • ​Removal and abatement can be very costly - It is ALWAYS recommended to obtain multiple quotes for proper abatement by a qualified asbestos abatement contractor.

LP Inner Seal Siding and Composition Wood Products
The Complications and How to identify it

Is it on my house?
If your home or potential home was built or had siding installed between 1985 and 1996, it is very likely to have LP Inner Seal siding.
The majority of the LP product will have a knot pattern of approximately 2 and 1/4 inches in diameter and initials "LP" spelled out in the indentation.
Troublesome and Expensive
LP Inner seal siding was produced and installed on all types of structures in Oregon between 1985 and 1996.  This product is OSB, with a wax-impregnated paper covering, and was sold as lap siding or panel siding.
The lap siding comes in 16-foot-long boards, 7 /16 inch thick, and 6, 8, 9 1 /2 , or 12 inches wide. The panel siding is sold in 4 x 8, 4 x 9, or 4 x 10 sheets, either 7 /16 or 9 /16 inches thick.   Most of the panel siding has decorative vertical grooves every four or eight inches, although some do not.   Most Inner-Seal siding has a simulated wood grain surface, although some is smooth finished.
The problem?
When neglected or improperly sealed with paint, the product would delaminate and swell with moisture causing it to rapidly deteriorate.
​A class action lawsuit was filed against the manufacturer over problems with the siding. The suit alleges the siding may prematurely swell, rot, buckle, check, crack, delaminate or support fungal growth when exposed to normal weather conditions. Although the company asserts that problems were due to improper installation and insufficient maintenance, a settlement was reached in 1996, covering the replacement of damaged siding including costs of labor, installation, and painting for any installations before January 1, 1996.

Like any manufactured wood product, the edges of the siding are vulnerable to water penetration. Some have argued that the bottom edge of Inner-Seal is more rough and porous than competitive materials, making it more susceptible. Rainwater can be absorbed at butt joints, nail holes, wall penetrations, intersections with other materials such as door and window frames, and at the bottom edges of the panels. When OSB siding absorbs moisture, it swells and the plies will separate. This allows more water penetration, and supports the growth of mold, mildew and fungus. Fungus and mushrooms have been seen growing out of the siding.

Much of the damage appears to have been caused, as the manufacturer suggests, by improper installation, including improper nailing, inadequate painting and caulking of exposed edges, and improper flashing details. The siding leaves the factory with a prime coat only, and requires careful and complete painting upon installation. Paint applied with spray guns may not get a heavy enough coating on the bottom edges of boards.

Damage also resulted from insufficient maintenance by homeowners, especially the failure to paint edges and caulk joints. There is some disagreement as to whether the homeowners were properly informed that the siding required regular and diligent maintenance.

LP Inner Seal Siding Major Concerns:

  • ​Dry Rot - The product is susceptible to dry rot and the potential for structural and biological (mold) complications
  • ​Hidden damage - It can be difficult to identify areas of rot due to the surface appearing intact or recently painted over
  • ​Removal and replacement can be very costly - It is ALWAYS recommended to obtain multiple quotes for replacement.  


Cost Associated With Knob & Tube Replacement

The cost to replace knob and tube wiring can vary greatly by region. If you want to replace knob and tube electrical wiring in your home, hire a professional electrician for the job.  Expect to pay around $8,000 to $15,000 to rewire a 1,500- to 3,000-square-foot home

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Knob and tube wiring was installed in houses up until about 1950. This system consists or two wires, one black or hot wire and the other white or neutral to create a circuit. These two single wires are held in place with ceramic knobs and tubes. Knobs are used to clamp the wire to the structural member, while tubes are placed in holes in the structural members to prevent the wire from chafing.

In modern household wiring, these two wires are bundled together along with a ground wire in a single plastic sheathing cable that runs through holes in the structural members and is held in place with clamps. While knob and tube wiring is not inherently dangerous, it is old, and its insulation may no longer be intact. Much of this wire is concealed behind walls, ceilings and insulation where its condition cannot be completely evaluated.

In addition to the wire covering being deteriorated, these wires are connected by being soldered together and. wrapped in electrical tape. After time, this tape either falls off or deteriorates.

Knob and tube wiring is usually associated with older installations consisting of 60 amp service. The wire is fused with 15 amps. Though the wire is #12 AWG (American Wire Gauge) from the panel, which is capable of handling 20 amps, some sections of wire may be #14 gauge handling a maximum of 15 amps.

This installation handled a total of 12 circuits, thus the houses have fewer receptacles than modem houses. To. prevent fuses from constantly blowing, homeowners put in higher-rated fuses such as 20 or 30 amps! Given that the wire was not intended to carry this additional current, the insulation becomes brittle exposing more wiring, or worse, overheated to the point of causing fires.

Knob and tube wiring does not have a ground conductor. This is identified by two-prong receptacles as opposed to three-pronged receptacles. However, some homes built up until the mid 1960's used sheathed duplex electrical wire with no ground either.

A ground conductor is necessary if you are plugging in appliances that have a three-prong plug. Modern receptacles also have one prong slightly larger than the other. This is necessary to prevent reverse polarization. The black or hot wire is connected to the brass terminal screw while the white or neutral wire is connected to the silver terminal screw on the receptacle

Limitations of Knob & Tube Wiring:

  • ​Capacity - Usually restricted to a 60 amp service (typical modern service standard is 200 amps) 
  • ​Hazerdous - Unlike modern insulation the insulation may not be intact and is known for its propensity to be the root cause of fires and electrocution hazards due to lack of grounding and insulation quality
  • ​Removal and replacement can be very costly - It is ALWAYS recommended to obtain multiple quotes for replacement.