Radon Testing...Why It's a Must!

By
Real Estate Agent with RE/MAX Properties, Inc.

I scheduled an inspection to include radon testing the other day while a colleague was just walking into my office.  She asked me if all of my clients spent money for the radon test.  I thought this was a strange question.  She looked surprised when I said yes, all of my clients decided on radon testing once I explained it to them.

So she asked me what I told my clients to convince them to test for radon.  I explained:

"Mr. and Mrs. Buyer - I strongly urge you to have an independent, professional inspection to include radon testing."  Why radon testing?  I explain the dangers of prolonged exposure to high radon levels and then I explain why I don't want them to buy someone else's problem.  After researching radon and speaking to various home inspectors, I'm convinced that radon levels are constant inside a home.  If you don't test for it and buy the home without knowing, what happens when you sell it?  If YOUR  buyer tests for it and finds high radon levels, you will have to have a mitigation system installed.  Why not conduct radon testing and if it's high, have the Seller take care of it?  The Seller would be required to disclose their knowledge of radon levels once it os known, so it is highly unlikely that a seller won't have it corrected and proceed with the transaction.  Does this make sense to you?"  Yes, let's have the radon testing done.

It's really that simple.  Even if you aren't worried about the health risks(which I think you should be), why buy someone else's problem?

I would absolutely hate it if one of my clients called me to list the home I sold them, only to find out they had a radon problem.  It would make me cringe to hear, "Michele, why didn't you tell us about radon testing?"  They could have spent $100, got the test, and avoided having to spend $1,000+ to have a radon mitigation system intalled.

Call me paranoid, but I'm into risk management.  I include a clause in my buyer agency agreement where the client acknowledges that I have recommended an independent, professional inspection to include radon testing. 

For more information on radon testing - check out the EPA's website.

Michele Webb, RE/MAX Properties, Inc. - Colorado Springs, CO, MicheleWebb@remax.net

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Rainmaker
47,470
Rick Turner
Key Realty - Toledo, OH
Puts People In Their Places!!

In my experiences only relocation companies request radon tests.  There have only been a handful of times that we've had any problems.  Maybe where I'm located radon is as prevalent as in the mountains.

 

Mar 23, 2007 02:43 PM #13
Rainmaker
1,317,701
Joan Whitebook
BHG The Masiello Group - Nashua, NH
Consumer Focused Real Estate Services

Radon is the second leading cause of lung cancer.  It should not just be tested in the air, but in the water as well.  The only reason there has been no EPA level set for radon in the water is due to politicians. That is very unfortuate for the public.  I would hate not to recommend radon testing and learn that one of my clients or their children got lung cancer!  The problem is that often it is many years until the cancer manifests depending on the health and environmental history of the person (.e.g, ex smokers -- exposure to toxins at work etc.)

Mar 23, 2007 02:44 PM #14
Ambassador
2,304,554
1~Judi Barrett
Integrity Real Estate Services 118 SE AVE N, Idabel, OK 74745 - Idabel, OK
BS Ed, Integrity Real Estate Services -IDABEL OK
Thanks for posting.  This gives you something to think about.
Mar 23, 2007 03:21 PM #15
Rainmaker
298,347
Ray Saenz
Exit Realty Laredo - Laredo, TX
Homes for Sale in Laredo, TX - Texas, Realtor

Good Info :)

 

 

Mar 23, 2007 05:46 PM #16
Rainmaker
497,501
Steve Scheer
Realty Oasis - Metro Brokers - Highlands Ranch, CO
Highlands Ranch Real Estate - Denver Real Estate
Excellent post Michele.  I also encourage everyone to do it, but some people just don't want to.  Every now and then I have seen some pretty surprising results.
Mar 24, 2007 01:33 AM #17
Rainer
17,042
Patrick Brady
The Danberry Co., Realtors - Sylvania, OH
After buying my last home(before I was in real estate), I will always pay for that test since our home had a high reading and the seller installed a mitigation system.  Some buyers just do not want to pay for the extra test.  It really boils down to a cost issue as much as you would encourage them to have the test performed.
Mar 24, 2007 02:17 AM #18
Rainer
6,156
Jerry Santerelli
Charles Rutenberg Realty - Plainfield, IL
If you have high levels of radon in your area, its not a bad idea to have your seller get it tested from the get go. That way they have it taken care of and it won't hold anything up.  I had a home test a 22 and the seller didn't want to pay to have it remediated.  It had to be done whether it sells now or if it sells 3 years from now. I needed a few drinks after that debate. 
Mar 24, 2007 07:54 AM #19
Rainer
15,080
Michele Webb
RE/MAX Properties, Inc. - Monument, CO
ABR, QSC
Jerry - I also have had that debate quite a few times.  Thankfully most of my clients seem to get it and although they don't like it, know what must be done.
Mar 24, 2007 07:59 AM #20
Rainmaker
662,099
Patricia Aulson
BERKSHIRE HATHAWAY HOME SERVICES Verani Realty NH Real Estate - Exeter, NH
Realtor - Portsmouth NH Homes-Hampton NH Homes

Great  approach to the radon issue.....I think alot of REALTORS like to avoid the issue altogether hoping nothing shows up.   However we all know that things have a way of coming back to haunt us so facie it up front is the best approach.

 

Patricia Aulson/SEACOAST NH & ME 

Mar 24, 2007 11:43 AM #21
Rainer
122,217
Christy Powers
Keller Williams Coastal Area Partners - Pooler, GA
Pooler, Savannah Real Estate Agent
It's always great to hear someone elses perspective. I never really thought of it like that....
Mar 24, 2007 02:39 PM #23
Ambassador
750,230
Jeff Belonger
Social Media - Infinity Home Mortgage Company, Inc - Cherry Hill, NJ
The FHA Expert - FHA Loans - FHA mortgages - USDA loans - VA Loans

Michele....  I think as long as you explain it to them, they make the final decisions... and I agree with your statement to as why you would advise this.

In regards to your feature....  I know this is your 2nd feature and not your first, but I didn't get a chance to congratulate you on your first... So, CONGRATS on your 2nd post.

feature



                                                                                                      jeff

Mar 24, 2007 02:46 PM #24
Rainmaker
94,533
Roger Stensland
Keller Williams Realty Puget Sound - Maple Valley, WA
Let's Move!
My only question about radon, since it is naturally occurring and seems to be everywhere is:  you install a radon mitigation system for the house, what about the yard?  Or is that not a factor because the winds carry it off before there is substantial buildup?  They used to advertise pretty heavily of the dangers of radon in this area, but I haven't seen any ads on over a decade.  I haven't even heard of any Realtors in this area having issues with radon.
Mar 24, 2007 03:40 PM #25
Anonymous
Ed DeChristopher

Roger, radon is present in the air outside our homes; however it is not in the range of the percentage deemed tolerable by the EPA.

"Radon is the second leading cause of lung cancer" according to an earlier post.  How in the world does one come to that conclusion.  How does someone determine what actually caused the cancer?

The guidelines say that you should do testing at the lowest level of the home that is habitable.  Instructions left in the home mandate that doors or windows not be opened during testing.  Is that because opening the doors (as would be normal) lets the radon escape to the outside?  I suspect that is the reason.  Therefore, is there a problem?

Are we tilting at windmills?

Have done extensive reading on this subject and can tell you there is no way you can predict whether or not a home in Virginia is in a "high" radon area.  It varies so much that if you or your clients have a concern, the best solution is to test.

Mar 25, 2007 01:41 AM #26
Rainer
15,080
Michele Webb
RE/MAX Properties, Inc. - Monument, CO
ABR, QSC

Thanks Jeff! =)

Mar 25, 2007 04:17 AM #27
Rainer
2,261
Tony Neumann
AtEase Home Inspections - Colorado Springs, CO
AtEase Home Inspections

I agree with the MustTest of Radon.....

I am about to list my own home...and I plan to test prior to listing....I want to know.  That surely should NOT preclude a buyer from testing it himself...

 Which brings up another thought....

 All the time prior to a home inspection I hear from my client....the seller had it tested and it was below 4....does that mean we don't need a test?

 NO!

We don't know if they followed EPA protocol for sampling....of course we can never be sure OUR test wasn't tampered with either...however, we can be more sure of ours than of theirs yes?

 

Small price to pay for peace of mind....not necessarily JUST peace of mind that you won't get cancer from your radon...but peace of mind that when you go to sell the house, you shouldn't get suprised.

Mar 26, 2007 04:08 AM #28
Rainer
2,584
Margaret"PEGGY" Seme
Blue Realty GMAC - Phillipsburg, NJ
GRI,CRS,ABR

From what one company here in Jersey says--radon fluctuates inside the same house--they are now doing computer testing, which gives the levels over a period of time--it also fluctuates on what the outside weather is doing and how wet the soil is---what that means is you can get an ok reading today and a high one in a few days

i've seen houses that had computerized tests that had varied readings from as low as a .01 to as high as .33 back down to .02 within 48 hrs--and it had nothing to do with windows or doors being opened--the computer senses the changes

there are 2 tests that i totally recommend even if someone is buying a home without an actual inspection(due to it being an investment type property for rehab) and that is boring insects and radon

Apr 04, 2007 04:31 AM #29
Rainmaker
157,827
Joe Boylan
SpringsHomes - Colorado Springs, CO

Michele sells in Colorado. We have very high levels of radon so it's imperative that buyers test. Every now and then I hear some agent start to express their opinion that radon is bunk. I really don't think we are qualified to express those opinions without sharing the other side.

So way to go Michele!

Jun 09, 2008 03:44 PM #31
Rainmaker
255,615
Kristi DeFazio
RE/MAX Advantage - Colorado Springs, CO
Colorado Springs Rea lEstate 719-459-5468

Michele,

I agree. Even if the house was tested before, I have seen it come up high a couple years later. Always a good idea!

Jan 06, 2009 06:45 AM #32
Rainer
1,482
Robert Walstead
Nationwide Property Services - Colorado Springs, CO
Inspector - Colorado Springs

Michele, I have been testing houses in the Pikes Peak Region since 1986 and the estimates from various professional sources are that between 37% and 43% of our homes test higher than the EPA maximum limits. With that high a percentage of high readings, you would be taking a big chance if you didn't bring it up. I feel that, if you look out for your customer's best interests, they know it!

Jan 27, 2009 11:36 AM #33
Rainmaker
320,361
Kathy Torline
ERA Herman Group Real Estate - Colorado Springs, CO
Colorado Springs Real Estate Blog 719-287-1049

great post -- very informative

Feb 16, 2009 11:44 AM #34
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