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Frequently Asked Questions


Q. “How do I book an inspection?”

A. That is our favorite question!  You can either give us a call at 503.502.1495 or use our advanced Online Scheduling System (click here).


Q.  “Do the utilities need to be on to the home for the inspection?"

A.  That is up to you.  MOST of the homes that we are inspecting right now have one or more of the utilities off when the client calls for an inspection.  An “inspection” is generally defined, among other things, as an assessment of the condition of the home at the “time of the inspection”: if the utilities are off and things don’t work because of this, that is the condition of the home “at the time of the inspection”.  All of that said… it is in your best interest to have the utilities on for the inspection, which includes all items on the interior of the home: water heater, fire places, furnace, etc.  It is beyond the scope for the home inspector to turn on main valves or items that are shut off as the inspector must assume that there is a “reason” why the items or the utilities are off.  So, if you want the home inspected with the utilities on, including the gas to water heaters, fire places, etc. etc. etc., it is up to you and the seller (regardless of whether the seller is a “person” or a “bank”, in the case of foreclosed homes) to have the house ready for inspection on the day of the inspection.  If you would like to schedule the inspection, please click here.

Q. “Do you work on the weekends?”

A. We work 7 days a week, 365 days a year.   However, most people don’t ask for inspections on Sunday, and we have yet to get a request for a Christmas morning inspection. If we did, Santa would be doing the chimney inspection for us!  We can accommodate your needs—you are the boss; we are here to serve you.  We will do everything in our power to accommodate your needs.  If you would like to scheduled, click here.

Q. “Where do you perform inspections?”

A.  We perform home inspection and commercial building services, including a host of other services (radon testing, thermal imaging, etc.) in all of NW Oregon and SW Washington.  However, we regularly go up and down the Oregon and Washington Coast to perform home inspection services, and often go to Bend, OR, Wenatchee, WA, Yakima, WA, Hood River, The Dalles and beyond.  Really, we go where our clients ask us to go.  Please see our general list of AREAS SERVED (click)  

Q. “How long does a home inspection take to complete”?

A. In short, the inspection takes as long as it takes… Most of the homes that we inspect take somewhere between 2-3 hours to perform the inspection, produce the report and go over it with our clients.  We are occasionally asked to produce the inspection report off site, which means we are on site for less time.  Really, when it comes down to it, the time that it takes to perform a home inspection depends on how many things we have to write down (i.e., “problems”).  Further, we do digital pictures at the home inspector’s discretion, which can add to the time of the inspection.  There are some inspectors who suggest that you are not getting a good home inspection if it takes less than 2.5 hours. These are usually inspectors that do only one or two a week and are… well… slow and inexperienced. If you perform as many as 20 inspections a week (like we do), you learn how to compliment “thoroughness” with “timeliness”. Nonetheless, it isn’t about being “fast”; it is about being “accurate” and giving you the information that you need to make a good decision about your home… Personally speaking, if an inspector told me that it took him typically 3-4 hours to do an inspection they would essentially be saying: “I am inexperienced and do not do very many inspections.”  Your call…

Q. “Do I have to be there for the home inspection?”

A. Absolutely not!  If you are asking if we would like you to be there for the home inspection, then the answer is … absolutely!  While we try to make our reports as understandable as possible to the “average Joe” (and “Jill”), there is no doubt that you will be able to understand the home inspection report better if you are actually there, at least at the end so that we can explain the report and the findings with you and answer your questions on site. When you are there you are able to go over the report with your home inspector… you will be able to ask questions. Further, many items that seem HUGE on paper are not as big as people think… if we can’t go over the report with you and explain the actual condition of your home, you may take a rather common problem and think that it is worse than it really is.   So, you don’t have to be at the inspection, but it sure would be nice!  We are in the business of “accommodation”—it is an integral part of our customer service.  You are the boss.

Q. “Can’t I just do my own home inspection”?

A. Sure you can…  However, it will likely hold no weight in a court of law; it will not be considered a “home inspection” in your contract, and hence you will not be able to back out of the deal (if necessary) without having had a professional home inspection; you are not trained in real estate forensics, etc. etc. etc.  So, sure… you can do the home inspection yourself, or you can have the “handy man” in the family give you his advice, but you truly can’t replace the benefits of having a professional home inspection done on your home: no matter how “handy” your father, grandfather, or uncle is…

Q. “Are you a franchise?”

A. No! We are locally owned, and locally grown… like a good organic vegetable… or something like that.  Some popular companies in the area are not only franchises, they were started in Canada!  NHI is proud to be serving the Portland Oregon Metro area and SW Washington communities independent of national franchises. When possible, we try to utilize the skills of other local small business owners as well. 

Q. “Are you a ‘deal killer’?”

A. (Laughing…) No.  If we went around “killing deals”, we would be out of work.  As one realtor recently said, “I have never seen a home inspection ‘kill the deal’, but I have definitely seen a Termite infested crawl space kill one!”  We have had clients decide to purchase another house using the same realtor, but we know of no deal that we … “murdered”.  Further, 95% of our business is referred to us by our client’s realtors. Many of those realtors have used us for years, and years… if we “killed deals” we wouldn’t be doing over 1000 inspections a year! Trust me.  We have seen home inspectors that know how to exaggerate and blow things out of proportion. We have seen teams of home inspectors yell to another inspector, “Hey, Bob… we have a big problem here.” That is not what we do.  While some home inspectors may lack the necessary social skills and temperance to make a professional assessment of a home, NHI Inspectors understand how to deal with people: we pride ourselves in “communication” and we want our clients to be educated… Not frightened!  Certainly there are occasions when a problem is simply too much for a client to deal with.  In circumstances like this, the client usually buy’s another house and that one may be better.  We believe that “clear communication” is key to the success of our Company.  If you would like to schedule an inspection, please click here.

Q. “The Service Agreement is too long… do I need to read it?”

A. Well, that is up to you. You do need to sign it… People often don’t read documents that they sign. We tend to think this is a poor practice. If you want the truncated version of the home inspection Service Agreement, it sort of goes like this: “I can’t see through walls.”  If you would like to schedule and inspection, please click here.

Q. “I have a new house and don’t think that I am going to have a home inspection. Do you think that I should?”

A. Well, that is completely up to you.  If you are asking if we do home inspections on new homes very often, then the answer would be a definite “Yes!” And if you are also asking if we find notable problems on new homes, the answer would be a definite “Yes!”  We have done home inspections on homes that were 30 years old and had almost no problems whatsoever… but we have done homes that were less than one year old and the list of problems was quite long.  Getting a home inspection done before you buy a house or sell as house could be one of the better decisions you ever make. While it may cost three hundred dollars, it could save you thousands of dollars, and a lot of time!  You can schedule by clicking here.

Q. “I have a condo and the Condo Association takes care of the outside of the home. Should I get a home inspection performed before I purchase it?

A. Yes.  We don’t just find problems on the outside of the home. As such, you should definitely have the inside of your condo inspected.  You can schedule by clicking here.

Q. “I have heard something about a 1 (one) year warranty home inspection. What are those, and should I have one done on my house that is almost one year old?”

A. Well, if you want to find out what the contractor didn’t finish, you should definitely have a one year warranty home inspection done.  With our home inspection report you will be able to go to the contractor and ask for the items to be repaired while the home is still under warranty. If you pass the time, and don’t have an inspection performed, you may have to live with the problems and face them when you want to sell the house… when a buyer comes along and has a home inspection!  So, be smart: get that one year warranty home inspection done before it is too late! Give us a call and find out about our discounts on one year warranty home inspections.  You can find out more information about our One Year Warranty Inspection Services here.

Q. “I am going to be listing my house soon and was thinking about having a pre-listing inspection performed, but my realtor said that it would be a waste of money. What should I do?”

A. Well, on the one hand I would suggest that you trust your realtor. On the other hand, there is convincing evidence, even from realtors, that houses which have a prelisting home inspection performed have a market advantage.  Please visit our Seller’s Inspections Page here. 

Q. “Can a house ‘fail’ an inspection?”

A. No.  During the building process, contractors are required to have Code compliance inspections. The building inspector can fail pass or fail the project at that time.  A home inspection, after the home is finished, is a little different. What “passes” or “fails” is up to you, the person buying the home. What is “tolerable to a 32 year old man with experience in carpentry may or may not be “tolerable” to 73 year old window who just wants things to “work right”. NHI inspection professionals will give you the information that you need to determine whether your house “passes” or “fails” inspection.  We don’t determine that; you do.  If you are interested in scheduling a home inspection, please click here.

Q. “What if a home inspector finds problems with the house?”

A. There is no such thing as the “perfect house”. Rarely do we perform home inspections and find only a couple items. Hence, you can bet that the home inspector is going to find some items that need to be addressed… What you decide to do with that information is completely up to you… If you are a home seller and you just had a pre-listing inspection performed before you put the house on the market, you may want to do a number of things with the home inspection report. Perhaps you adjust your price. Perhaps you decide to have some of the items fixed. Perhaps you do nothing, but at least you have some peace of mind, knowing what things someone else’s home inspector is going to find…  Or maybe you are a home buyer and you just had a home inspection performed on the house that you think you are going to buy. You also have a number of options... You could still offer full price and know what things you are going to need to address once you move in. Perhaps you decide to pay full price and ask the seller to fix a number of items on the list. Maybe you are going to fix the problems yourself, but you are going to offer the seller a little less for the home to help off set the costs involved in fixing X, Y and Z. Or, in extreme situations, you decide that you want to use the home inspection clause and back out of the deal and get your earnest money back. You have a number of options.  So, if there are “problems” with your house—and there are probably going to be at least a few, if not dozens—it is completely up to you what you decide to do with that information you receive from the home inspection report.  If you are interested in scheduling an inspection, please contact us by clicking here.

Q. “What is the real estate market like in the region?”

A. Well… I think that I used to know… but now I am not so sure… (joking…).  We are performing as many or more inspections that we were when there was a “boom” in the market in the late 1990’s and early 2000’s.  I can say this: at this time the prices are low, the interest rates are low, and there are a lot of options out there for buyers.  The best person to ask about the market is your Realtor, Broker or Mortgage Broker.

Q. “Where is your office located?”

A. It is in a bag… in the truck.  Sometimes it is in a coffee shop… somebody’s house… or, at the end of the day, back home.  In other words, we carry everything with us because we do most of our inspection reports on site.  From the computer to the printer, the paper to the pens, the phones to the work orders, and everything in-between, our office is with us at all times.

Q. “Do you offer ‘home warranties’?”

A. No… not in the sense that you are thinking.  We are not in the business of offering warranties on a home; we are in the business of performing home inspections, which is generally defined as an assessment of the conditions of the house on the “day of the inspection”.  We believe that inspectors who offer “warranties” with their inspection reports are muddying the waters and asking for problems, which include misleading you as a consumer and likely conflicting their Standards of Practice and Contracts.  We do “guarantee” you that we are going to perform the best home inspection that we can in full accord with the Standards of Practice of Oregon, Washington and the many professional certificates and memberships that we hold (click here for professional information).  If you are interested in getting a warranty on your home, please talk to your realtor who can point you in the right direction.

Q. “Do you to radon testing”?

A. Yes.  In the area, Clark and Skamania Counties (in Washington) are given the highest rating for radon by the EPA. This doesn’t mean that they are the highest in the Country; it means that these Counties are listed as a “Zone 1 – Highest Potential, greater than 4 pCi/L”. When radon in a particular area is listed at 4 pCi/L, homes in this area may or may not be at risk for radon.  If you are interested in reading the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s facts regarding radon on a national level, click here.  If you are interested in learning more about Radon click here and if you are ready to schedule a radon test/inspection, please visit this page.

Q. “Craziest thing you have run into at a home inspection?”

A. Gee… Well, running into a raccoon in a crawl space under a house and having it chase me out was pretty “crazy”.  Three times we have run into signs that homeless people were living in the crawl space (they weren’t actually there, but fresh food, sleeping bags, etc. were.).  I have had Black Widows on me before… The stories we could tell you…

Q. “My realtor referred me to you, but somebody told me that I should never use an inspector that the realtor referred… What do you think about that?”

A. Honestly, if you don’t trust your realtor, then why did you hire him or her in the first place?  You hire a realtor because you trust them to guide you through your real estate transaction—perhaps the greatest financial commitment of your life. Part of that process is the home inspection.  Are there “bad apples” out there? Absolutely! There are unethical realtors and home inspectors! But don’t throw the baby out with the bathwater. The vast majority of realtors and home inspectors are wonderful people.  If you so distrust your Realtor that you can’t take their recommendation they give you for a home inspector then, perhaps, you should consider hiring another Realtor.  I might also add that inspectors who stir up problems with “referrals from realtors” are creating a “vicious circle”—i.e., why would somebody trust the inspector (who has likely never been met), yet not trust the Realtor (who the client is already working with).  Think about it… 

Q. “Do you pay anyone for referrals? Do you have a ‘referral program’?”

A. No.  This is a conflict of interest, and is against the Standards of Practice of Both Oregon and Washington, not to mention virtually every nationally recognized inspection association (ASHI, NACHI, NAHI, CMI, etc.).  To be honest, we don’t need to pay for referrals: why pay when over 1000 of them come to us for free each year?

Q. “Do you do work or repairs on the homes that you are inspecting?”

A. No.  We consider this practice intolerable and an utter conflict of interest. We perform home inspections to give you, the buyer or seller, information about your home in an unbiased manner… not to get work out of the deal.

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Contact Information


Cell/Direct: 503.502.1495

Toll Free: 1.866.284.3151

Washington: 360.907.9648


Email: info@portlandoregonhomeinspection.com


Address: PO Box 55532, Portland, OR 97238




(503) 502.1495

Board Certified Master Inspector
CCB 172294/OCHI 1173

Licensed - Insured - Bonded