While sitting down with the listing agent to discuss your options, reality sets in. The comps in the neighborhood are down, the furnace needs to be updated, the rooms have to be staged and your favorite cherry red accent wall needs to be repainted in a more “neutral” color. The fact is if you want your home to sell, the house has to appeal to a wide variety of prospective buyers.
Radon testing and radon mitigation are quickly becoming a common issue during real estate transactions. More and more citizens are being educated about the risks associated with radon gas. These radon-educated buyers are looking for a new home with low radon levels. Even if the buyers do not know about radon, many home inspectors offer radon testing as an option during the home inspection process and their clients choose this option often. A home with low or reduced radon levels will be more appealing to home buyers.
Homes with radon issues can be sold but homes with resolved radon issues are more sellable. Consider radon testing and radon mitigation as a part of preparing the home to be sold. I often recommend that listing agents advise their clients to test for and repair any radon issue before placing the house on the market. This can prevent any future roadblock or surprises that may occur after the home inspection. Imagine the scenario that most people fear about radon in real estate transactions:
After a seemingly endless parade of people looking through every room in your home for sometimes months on end you finally find a buyer who makes a decent offer which you have accepted. A few weeks go by and it’s time for the home inspection. Because of your diligence prior to listing the property the home inspector doesn’t find any major issues or visible problems with your house. But wait, the buyers have chosen to perform a radon test. The home inspector has found an invisible problem with your house. The radon test comes back showing that radon levels are three times what the EPA recommends. These buyers, having never heard about radon before, scour the Internet to find out that radon is the number one cause for lung cancer in non-smokers. Being health conscious people, your buyers refuse to live in a house that might cause lung cancer. The buyers are contemplating walking and canceling the contract.
Nobody wants to have an issue arise during a real estate transaction especially in today’s tough market. Radon can be an issue when selling a home. Educate yourself with the correct radon information before you place your home on the market and you will certainly be better prepared to sell your home. Radon issues do not have to kill a real estate deal.
Points to consider when dealing with radon in real estate:
- If your house has high radon levels you are not alone, 1 in 15 American homes test high for radon gas. In many areas 50% or more homes test high for radon. Any house, old or new can have high radon levels.
- You can check the radon levels in your house using a do-it-youself radon test kit.
- There is not a way to just clean up the radon gas. Radon doesn't build up over time it is continuousely entering the home from the soil below it. Radon levels are reduced with permanently installed radon mitigation systems. Radon mitigation systems can reduce radon levels by 99%. Most radon systems can be installed in one day and radon levels can be reduced within 24 hours after system installation.
- In most cases the buyers will not walk away from a deal after finding out elevated radon levels are present. Usually they negotiate with the seller to have a radon mitigation system installed and reduced radon test results before closing on the property.
- Avoid roadblocks and surprises. Consider testing for radon before you put your house on the market. If radon tests are above 4 picocuries per liter, install a radon mitigation system to reduce the radon level. Perform a post-mitigation radon test to show that the radon levels are now low in your house. Advertise that your home has the added value of a radon mitigation system and your radon levels are low because it’s likely that other homes for sale have high radon levels that haven’t been resolved.
- Do your research when selecting a radon mitigation contractor. Make sure that they are licensed and insured, check references and get a transferable radon reduction warranty with your radon system. Avoid hiring the least expensive or least experienced installer because you want the radon reduction system to reduce radon levels and not all radon systems or contractors are the same.