1. Referring Radon Mitigation Contractors That Do Not Use Licensed Electricians And/Or Don’t Pull Permits for the Electrical Activation of the Radon System.
While price is extremely important, make sure the mitigation company installing your system isn’t less expensive because they are wiring the fan themselves. This can ABSOLUTELY kill real estate deals and we hear about it from our customers nearly EVERY DAY. Here’s why it is not a good idea to use mitigation contractors that do their own electrical and/or don’t hire a licensed electrician to pull the proper permits and install the proper electrical disconnect enumerated in the Wisconsin State Electrical Code.
1. Most radon mitigation contractors ARE NOT licensed electricians so their liability insurance coverage typically does not cover damage or issues related to the homes electrical system. That is, if the unlicensed contractor were to improperly wire the radon system and that ultimately caused electrical damage to the home or harm to any persons on site, the contractors liability coverage would more than likely deny the claim (ultimately leaving the homeowner on the hook) because the contractor would be working outside of their professional scope of work. REMEMBER, ELECTRICAL CURRENT IS NOTHING TO MESS AROUND WITH... not only can electrical issues be extremely expensive to fix but residential electrical current can also be extremely dangerous for both the contractor or anyone home during the install.
2. It is technically against the law. The State of Wisconsin Electrical Code clearly states that licensed electrical contractors should be the only ones doing electrical work. While this may seem frivolous to some (or as one agent told me “it’s like speeding—everyone does it!”) doing anything ILLEGAL in a serious, legal transaction, like real estate, is a huge risk. While hiring a contractor that does their own electrical may save you some money, paying a little extra to do things the right way is more than worth it to ensure that the agent and their client are not taking on any unnecessary legal risk.
2. Referring Radon Companies that Use Passive Radon Test Kits for Their Retesting
While charcoal radon tests or liquid scintillation radon test kits (both examples of passive test kits commonly used) are a cost effective and helpful tool for many EXISTING homeowners to determine if they have a radon issue, using them as a retest option can absolutely kill real estate deals. Here’s why using passive radon test kits is NOT a good idea in real estate transactions (particularly for retesting).
1. TIMING! While most radon tests kits only take a few days to deploy, you have to wait for both the testing company to process the results as well as rely on the US Postal Service to get the results to the lab in a timely manner. It is startling how many times we get the call “the radon company we used gave my homeowner a radon test kit and it didn’t get to the lab in time so the results came back N/A... can you come out and do a digital test... oh and by the way...we are closing in just a few days!” Moreover, this is even more common during certain times of the year (like the holidays) or right now, during the pandemic, when mail orders for various goods are keeping the postal service busier than ever before.
2. RELYING ON YOU OR YOUR SELLER TO DO THE TEST BEFORE CLOSING! So you hire and pay a radon mitigation contractor to complete a service from start to finish so you can close on the home and ultimately complete your presale contingency. The only problem is, you don’t have the retest results to bring to closing because the contractor left an unopened test kit behind in the vacant property and didn’t tell anyone. Look for a contractor that performs the radon retest for you so you can focus on selling more homes and not worry about whether you or your seller have the time or knowledge to properly administer the test.
3. PASSIVE RADON TEST KIT RETEST RESULTS MAY NOT BE SUFFICIENT FOR CLOSING. As radon in real estate is becoming more commonplace, lenders and title companies are getting more strict and specific with their processes and procedures. Because many passive retests are administered by the homeowner themselves or the listing agent (which brings to light a very obvious conflict of interest) many lenders and title companies are leery of their results. Furthermore, the EPA REQUIRES 2 PASSIVE TEST KITS TO BE PLACED (side-by-side, known as duplicate testing) in their “Homebuyer and Sellers Guide to Radon” While this isn’t overly problematic, when you read the other recommendations and requirements laid out in the Homebuyers and Sellers Guide, its becomes very apparent that a qualified or certified individual really should be administering the test. MOREOVER, MOST CONTRACTORS THAT LEAVE PASSIVE TEST KITS BEHIND RARELY, IF EVER, LEAVE TWO OF THEM!
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Brian S. Thompson