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Radon Tips for Home Buyers

Protect your interests with contract contingencies

If you are buying a home, be sure to include a radon contingency in your offer to purchase, stating the maximum level of radon that is acceptable to you. If tested levels are above that figure, you should have the right to back out of the contract with no penalties. (Many standard forms contain a radon contingency addendum that can be added to your offer to purchase.)

Testing for Radon

  • Perform a radon test before you close on the property. Use EPA testing guidelines to choose a test and tester.

  • Ask the tester how you can prevent device interference during the test.

  • If radon levels are above 4 pCi/L, or your own stated maximum, use mitigation techniques for reduction, then test again.

If Radon Levels Are Too High
You can ask the seller to pay for the reduction system, but seller participation is usually not a requirement (unless your contract states it is).

Radon Tips for Home Sellers
Test your home for radon before you put it on the market. Use a long-term test if you have the time. If not, perform at least two short-term tests.

You can do the initial test yourself to save money, home buyers are more impressed with test results from a qualified professional. To find out if your state requires specific licensing for radon professionals, refer to the EPA's list of contacts by region.

If radon levels are too high, install a radon reduction system. Use the EPA's guidelines to help you choose a qualified radon service professional. Keep all installation details to share with your buyer.

  • Some systems can be installed in stages. The first stage might lower radon to an acceptable level. If not, the installer moves forward with the remaining steps.

  • Once radon levels are known, you will probably have to disclose them to potential buyers.

  • Even if you've tested the home, the buyer may perform a new test to verify the results.

  • If you're building a home, install a radon reduction system now. It will be much less expensive than adding it later, and will probably be a more effective system.

  • Radon testing might be mandatory in some areas.

Low radon levels are a selling point. If you find out now that there's a high amount of radon in your home, you'll have time to decide if you'll participate in a reduction system.

EPA's Radon Video

The EPA offers consumers a video about radon in real estate. Order a free copy by calling the Indoor Air Quality information line, 1-800-438-4318, and asking for publication number (EPA 402-V-02-003) (TRT 13.10).

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