Silver Spring, MD Seller FAQ: Do I have to test my home for radon before putting it on the market?
The short answer is: yes - unless you fall under one of the exempt categories (Estate sales, condos & coops or if your home will either be demolished by the buyer or converted to a different use than residential).
Explanation: although Radon tests & contingencies became increasingly more common over the last few years and many - if not most - REALTORS®, including myself, have been advising their buyer clients to include a radon test contingency, the Montgomery County Council made testing a law in 2016. It was the first in the country to do so.
It's important to note that the law requires a test to be done before settlement but does not require the seller to remediate. Thus, it is strictly a disclosure law. Of course, requesting remediation is an option available to buyers - whether or not it's completed prior to closing or a credit is issued is subject to negotiation.
A seller can also ask the buyer to perform and pay for the test but is ultimately responsible for getting it done if the buyer declines.
Q: Do I have to hire a 3rd party to do the testing?
A: No, you don't. Hiring a 3rd party is just one of the options available. So is purchasing one of the approved test kits and performing the test yourself. Please note that the results cannot be older than 1 year at the time of settlement!
Consider your options carefully, having the test done by a licensed company may offer the buyer additional peace of mind and may be considered another selling point.
Q: What should I do if the radon levels come back above the established action level?
A: Again, you have options just as long as you fulfill the disclosure requirement. Remediate before putting your house on the market (make sure you only hire a licensed contractor to do so; you can search for one via the National Radon Safety Board or the National Radon Proficiency Program) or wait and see what the buyer requests, then agree or negotiate.
Keep in mind, you want to sell your home and buyers want to buy the best home that fits their needs and budget. A healthy living environment is at the top of home buyers wish lists. Radon levels that are above the established action levels could scare some buyers away or prompt them to deduct $$$ off the list price to take care of the situation themselves.