Buy/Sell Existing Home

Test for Radon

To ensure that the home you are planning to buy does not have elevated levels of radon, you should have the home tested. If time is of the essence during the real estate transaction, short term tests can be completed in a matter of days. Long term tests take three months or longer. Simple, relatively inexpensive do-it-yourself short term radon test kits can be purchased from a hardware store or by calling the National Radon Helpline at (800) 557-2366 for $15.00. You can also hire a professional testing company to conduct the test. Be sure that the test kit or testing company you choose is certified as being proficient in your state.

Remember, elevated radon levels can be fixed and can almost always be reduced to below 4 pCi/L. If testing confirms radon levels in the home to be at or above 4 pCi/L, consider having the radon level reduced before you move in. Talk with your real estate professional or settlement attorney about how to put fixing the home into the purchase agreement.

Sellers should consider beginning a long-term test as soon as the decision to sell is made. In many cases, the time interval between deciding to sell and writing a contact or going to settlement is greater than the 91 days or more required for a long-term test. The fact that your home does not have elevated radon levels could be a selling point to prospective buyers. If radon levels are elevated, have your home fixed.

Home Inspections

Home inspectors are often hired by buyers or sellers to examine a home before a real estate transaction is finalized. A professional inspection can alert a seller to existing or potential problems such as radon, allowing the seller to address them so as not to discourage a potential buyer. Before a buyer purchases a property, he or she wants assurances that the property does not have structural or other problems that could lead to unanticipated expenses after purchase.

Basic home inspections cover all major mechanical and structural systems such as heating, electrical, plumbing, and roofing. If the home already has a radon mitigation system, have it checked for proper operation. Many home inspectors are qualified to inspect for environmental problems, including measuring radon levels. If your home inspector is certified to measure for radon, consider asking him to test the home.