What you don’t see won’t hurt you, right? Not necessarily when you buy a house in the Portland, Oregon area. For years, we’ve been hearing about asbestos, lead, arsenic in wells, radon in the basement. Leaking oil tanks that are polluting our ground. All of these come in to play when buying or selling real estate in Portland. The Portland Underground can be an unknown abyss if you don’t know what to look for.

When oil heat was the only thing around, the majority of homes built in the roaring twenties and thirties, even forties were built on or around a large oil tank. Do you know if you are sitting on one? Well, we’d hope you know, but many homeowners aren’t even aware if there is one or not, or where exactly it is on their property…or maybe it was decommissioned, but no one knows for sure. The good news is there are professionals who can find these tanks and determine if they are leaking oil or if they were decommissioned properly.

Radon. There are certain areas of Portland that are more radon dense than others. The only real way to tell is to have a radon test put in your home. It takes just 48 hours to find your levels and let you know if you are safe or in need of a mitigation system. Again, these tests are fairly inexpensive, but can save you headaches when you buy or sell.

Arsenic, lead and other bacteria in your well? Well water can easily be tested and most real estate transactions in the area require that a test be done prior to buying or selling. You want to know what’s in you drinking water, right? It’s a simple test that will give you peace of mind for the health of you and your family.

Now let’s talk about the other big ticket item that’s underground and no one really thinks about until the inspector comes out and tells you it’s bad and you need a new $10,000 sewer line. Yes, that would rain on anyone’s parade. So get a good inspector out there to scope your line and give you the bad news before you even put your house on the market. It’s going to come out eventually and it’s better to be prepared.


We have some great relationships with all sorts of inspectors so please feel free to contact us today and we’ll refer you to one of the professionals we use in our transactions. It’s always a good idea to see what’s underground before buying or selling any type of real estate property.