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Radon FAQs for Savvy Real Estate Professionals

Question #1: Why test for radon when it might kill my deal?
Answer: Radon doesn’t kill deals; radon kills people. 1 in 6 homes across the U.S. has a radon level at or above the EPA’s “take action” limit of 4 pCi/L (the equivalent of smoking 8 cigarettes every day) – that means roughly 1 in 6 homes your clients buy/sell has a radon problem. Testing for radon and disclosing results to potential buyers promotes you a knowledgeable, trustworthy, and thorough professional in your field. All you need is to be armed with accurate information about radon, and to assure buyers and sellers alike that radon gas is easily mitigated by a professionally installed mitigation system, making the home safe for any occupants.

Question #2: If my client’s home has a radon level well above 4 pCi/L, but the home has been vacant for months and sealed up, did this affect the radon levels?
Answer: Radon becomes a health hazard when it seeps into the home through cracks in the foundation or other entry points and accumulates to a dangerous level. A sealed home provides the ideal conditions for radon to accumulate, as homeowners are not opening doors and windows during that time. However, if test results are above 4 pCi/L, it is more likely that the home will have high radon when buyers move in as well.

Question #3: Does the home inspector need to test the property if there is no basement?
Answer: Absolutely. Every home should be tested for radon every two years (the U.S. EPA recommendation), regardless of whether or not there is a basement. The radon test should be performed on the first livable level of the home that is in contact with the soil. The only exceptions are homes that are built on open pier, post or pile foundations.

Question #4: Should I recommend my client have the home tested for radon if other homes in the neighborhood have low radon levels?
Answer: Every home is different, so you never want to rely on your neighbor’s radon test results. Even if they have an older, more historic home and the radon level is low, this doesn’t mean your client’s newly-constructed property is not at risk for high radon. The construction of each home, as well as the soil and rock beneath the home vary from property to property, affecting radon levels.

Question #5: How do I handle a seller who won’t test his or her home for radon?
Answer: Radon testing can either be done before or after the home is listed for sale. You should consider discussing the importance of radon testing with the seller. Typically, the seller doesn’t mind testing the home for radon if the home buyer agrees to pay for the radon system, if necessary.

Question #6: Will the same company test and mitigate radon?
Answer: Not always. It is important to check that your radon professional is certified either in their state or nationally for both radon measurement and radon mitigation (separate certifications). Often times, a home inspector will perform the initial test, and if a high radon level is found, a radon mitigator will install the system and retest to ensure its functionality.

Question #7: What should be included in the contract?
Answer: Prior to writing the contract, discuss what needs to be done and determine whether the home’s potential for high radon will need to be a condition of sale.

Question #8: How do I find a qualified radon contractor in my area?
Answer: RadonAway’s Find A Pro tool is the best resource for finding an experience, licensed, and insured radon mitigator in your area. Fill out a simple form to connect with radon professionals in your state.

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