My Dream Home Has Radon! Tips for Real Estate Buyers and Sellers

By
Real Estate Agent

Radon GasWe have seen several dream homes with high levels of radon and have worked with both buyers and sellers through this process.

It can be frightening to have your home inspector tell you that your dream home has high levels of radon. Before you put your dream on hold, learn about radon and radon remediation.

According to the EPA, Radon is an invisible radioactive gas that seeps into homes undetected through foundation cracks, and can reach harmful levels if trapped indoors. It travels up from underground sources of uranium in the earth's crust. EPA estimates that one in 15 homes will have a radon level of four PicoCuries per liter (pCi/L) of air or more, a level the agency considers high.

Here's the scary part:

--Breathing home indoor radon causes nearly one hundred times more deaths each year than carbon monoxide poisoning.

--Radon is the second leading cause of lung cancer behind smoking.

--Some 20,000 people will die this year due to breathing too much radon without even knowing it.

The radon threat is preventable with some simple steps. In existing homes, families can begin protecting themselves by buying an easy-to-use radon test kit to determine if a high level exists; if so, a high level might be lowered simply with a straight-forward radon venting system installed by a contractor. In new homes, builders can easily and economically include radon-resistant features during construction, and home buyers should ask for these. EPA also recommends that home buyers ask their builder to test for radon gas before they move in.

In our area, a professional radon test costs around $75. You can also test your own home for less at http://www.homeradontest.com/. If high levels of radon are found, it is possible to have a radon remediation system installed in your home. This system removes the radon and can bring your home back to normal levels. In our area, a radon remediation system costs between $1200 & $1500. It is less expensive to have one done if you have a full basement. However, our remediator says that he is able to remove more radon from a home when it is on a crawl space instead of a basement. See photo on left for what a remediation system looks like.

RADON SCORES:

  • Less than 4.0: Low probability of significant health risk
  • Between 4 & 10: It is recommended to mitigate readings above 4.0. This should be performed within 6-12 months.
  • Between 10 & 200: Perform mitigation and follow up as soon as possible.

If you are thinking about selling your home, or for your own safety, you might consider getting a radon test. It is important to know that if you are aware of high levels of radon in your home that you must disclose this to all potential buyers. In most cases, it is well worth it to have the test done and remediate the home if necessary. This will eliminate a potential issue on your home inspection, and gives you piece of mind for your family's safety.

Comments (3)

Stacie Wells
Grovetown, GA

Great information! We don't this too much in our area. Apparently uranium ore is more commonly located in Western states. Much better to be safe than sorry though. Thanks for sharing!

Jan 23, 2010 07:50 AM
Wanda Thomas
Montana Homestead Brokers, Broker, CRS, GRI, SFR, RN - Billings, MT
Billings Montana Real Estate

Good advice, just a little note to people who may not have bought or sold a home in years, go ahead and test your own home!  You'll sleep better at night if you know the answer to this little test.  Strangely, one of my Uncle's had a "radon mine" that was used by some people to treat their illness, like radiation therapy!  I don't think they do that much anymore.

Jan 24, 2010 05:55 AM
Monica Bourgeau
Portland, OR
Business Coaching

Thank you for the feedback, We see a lot of radon in this area and you never know which house will have it until you test.

Wanda - I've heard of those, I wonder how it works long term, it would be interesting to study.

Jan 27, 2010 11:45 AM