The particles are tiny, and sub-micrscopic that can creep into houses. And they are generally considered to be not good for your lungs.
One of the contingencies in our local boiler plate contracts allows the buyers, if they choose, a few days to have a radon test done. If they find radon, the buyers can ask the sellers to get rid of it. If the sellers say no, the buyers have the option to walk away from the deal.
In this area, there's a fair amount of radon. And only about half of the offers that I write have radon contingencies. If you're buying a home, should you include the radon clause or skip it?
At yesterday's office meeting, John Swett of Radon Abatement Services here in DC gave a great presentation that made me take the whole radon thing a bit more seriously.
Whether or not you include the contingency in your offer should depend on whether you are the only offer on the table or in a multiple offer situation. If you're the only offer, I'd say include the contignecy. In a multiple situation, you may want as few contingencies as possible and decide to leave it off.
What are the consequences of omitting the radon clause? If you do find radon later, you and not the seller will wind up paying for the remediation. And according to John Swett, in the DC area (at least his firm) charge between $800 and $1200 to do the job.
And while you may not really need the contingency, you really do need a test if you are buying in the DC Metro area.
And here are some pointers:
- Never hire a radon remediation company to do your testing.
- If they find enough to warrent treatment, do not rely on the remediation company's test results - have them confirmed by an independent test.
- Never rely on the seller's test result from when they bought the house. The results can vary depending on factors like the season of the year and the amount of recent rain or snowfall when the test was run.
For more information on radon, you can check out the EPA's Citizen's Guide to Radon.