Radon Gas, Testing and Mitigation
First time buyers and even some second time buyers may or may not know about Radon; what it is, the health consequences, testing costs, mitigation and costs to mitigate.
What is Radon Gas?
Radon is an odorless & colorless gas that has been known to cause cancer. It cannot be seen or detected by the naked eye or nose for that matter. Most people will hire a professional radon testing professional and their sophisticated equipment. If you don't want to go to the expense of hiring a professional company, radon testing kits can be found at your local hardware store.
It has been said that radon gas may enter a home by penetrating the soil and leaching up into the lowest level of a home, typically and is most commonly found in the basements of homes.
If there is a sump pump in your basement, chances are the highest levels of radon can be found in or around the sump pump pit.
Some sellers that have had radon testing and found unacceptable radon levels fear that mitigating it prior to listing will reduce what they can sell the house for. In actuality, wise Realtors and buyers are going to ask for radon inspections in areas known for higher levels of radon, and the seller will find themselves having to renegotiate price, have the radon mitigated out of their own pocket anyway or even lose the sale which means the home could be on the market for much longer, even suffering a lower sales price in the end.
It's best to just deal with it, conduct radon testing. Radon testing should be a part of your home inspection efforts. Never skip home inspections!
Some buyers have the impression that foreclosed homes are going to be the best deal, although not necessarily true, all homes, including foreclosures should have radon testing performed.
So what can be done when radon testing reveals high levels of the gas, how is radon mitigation done? Is it expensive? These are questions buyers and sellers commonly ask.
Professional radon inspections have an average cost of $150-$175. The tests typically take about 48 hours for the results to be determined. It has been said that the most accurate test results are taken a year after the testing device has been placed in the home. For the purposes of real estate transactions, the 48 hour test is the most commonly used.
The average cost for a professionally installed radon mitigation system is about $1,000.
The radon mitigation system consists of a small vacuum pump with fan installed in PVC piping which is then routed out through walls and ceilings to the highest point of the home, the roof. Or, some systems will have the pipe attached to the side of the house and run up the siding and exhausted above the roof line.
The outcome of a recent real estate transaction of mine was nearly tragic. The buyer's, like most, hired a professional radon test. The test results of the home that was being purchased were 4.6 while the EPA recommends any homes that test at 4.0 or higher to be mitigated.
The seller took the results extremely personal and emotionally. He and his wife felt that they were being viewed as "bad parents" because they had raised their family in a home that only one test stated they were living with radon. (who knew that one test could create such emotional dismay)?
After doing a lot of research about the various methods of radon testing and the seller's challenged the test results provided. The seller's contended that the nearby road construction along with the inclement weather during the testing period were contributing factors in the reliability of the test results and deemed them to be inaccurate.
Most seller's will not challenge the test results and typically do agree to pay the cost on behalf of the buyer for the professional mitigation system. These seller's took a different approach. Without admitting any guilt to having radon gas in their home, they agreed to reduce the purchase price of the home by $1000 and advised the buyer's to have another test done before spending their money on a mitigation system.
I was a "dual agent" in this transaction which made it even more challenging for me, but, everything was overcome and the closing occurred on time. I've been a "dual agent" in many successful real estate transactions and after some challenges, this one ended well too!
A Top Ohio Realtor 513 292 9374