If you are a realtor here in Wisconsin, chances are you've had to deal with elevated radon levels in a clients home. Maybe they were on the purchasing side or maybe they were on the listing side. Whatever the case, a high radon test can be stressful to both the buyers and sellers involved in a real estate transaction. Many times, when things are stressful for your client, they can become stressful for you, as the realtor, as well. I am here to tell you that DOES NOT have to be the case! Knowing what radon is, where it is, and how to deal with it before it becomes stressful can be helpful in the future.
With that being said, here are 5 things realtors should know about radon.
1. Radon Gas is a Solvable Issue in ANY Home.
If the home you are representing tests above 4.0pCi/L (the EPA action level for radon gas) you shouldn’t fret. Radon can be lowered to a safe level in every home with the addition of some kind of a radon mitigation system. Radon mitigation systems are custom built for every home, so no matter how the home is built, there will always be a solution. There are multiple fan options, pipe sizes, and proven mitigation techniques designed to tackle any home. If your client is worried about the radon levels in a home they are selling or planning on purchasing, tell them not to worry. For most homes, a radon mitigation system quote can be done over the phone, but if a home is a bit more complex or if the homeowner feels more comfortable meeting in person, quality companies (like us ;) always offer free onsite estimates as well. If you feel that your client’s home is especially complex, it’s best to get an in-person estimate as soon as possible - even if the radon test hasn’t been completed yet. That way, if the levels do come back elevated, a game plan can be put into place and we can get started as soon as possible.
2. Start the Mitigation Process Before the Results Come in.
Radon mitigation installations don’t take as long as other large home improvement projects, but if you need a system installed with passing test results before closing, the process should be started before those initial high test results even come in. We typically schedule about 1-2 weeks out, and once we are on-site for install, the total system installation takes about a half-day. The electronic retesting monitors we use for real estate transactions typically take about 3-days to furnish final retesting results. That is, a 24-hour delay to allow the system to begin working and a 48-hour testing period after that. We take pride in helping realtors get passing test results before closing, so if you are in a situation where you need this project done quickly and efficiently, call us right away!
3. Digital Testing and Payment Options are Your Friends
Digital radon testing devices such as the AirThings Corentium Pro, allow radon professionals to accurately test a home in as little as 48-hours. Companies who have digital testing monitors can complete the entire testing and mitigation process approximately two weeks faster than companies who use charcoal tests (or other forms of passive radon testing) exclusively. Therefore, in timely situations like real estate transactions, we highly recommend using a contractor that offers digital radon retreating as a party of their process. Many times, installing a system as a contingency to close doesn’t allow for two full weeks of extra wait time, so it is important to ask for a digital test whenever dealing with the sale of a home. As for payment options, it’s important to deal with a company that can be flexible. In today's marketplace, many sellers are responsible for a lot of repairs or other expenses during the real estate transaction. We offer the option to “pay out of closing” to make things a little easier for clients who can’t afford the system upfront or need the upfront capital for other projects or expenses.
4. Warranties and Workmanship are Key
No matter what county or area you practice in, there are going to be multiple companies that offer radon testing and radon mitigation services. Going off of price alone can be a risky choice. With some homes, lowering the radon level below the EPA recommended level of 4.0pCi/L can be a very skillful endeavor. You want to make sure that the company you choose has plenty of experience dealing with all types of homes and that they will stand by their work. You also want to test the responsiveness of the company by calling multiple times, asking questions, and learning about their warranties. In our experience, we have heard from far too many realtors and customers that they couldn’t get a hold of the company that did their install once an issue arose with the system. This can be very problematic if the system isn’t working after install and the closing date is right around the corner. Be sure to also watch out for hidden costs, and warranties that will charge you for fixing a system that doesn’t even work after the initial install. Getting the job done in a timely manner and done right should take precedence over “saving” money.
5. Radon Gas Issues Should Not be Pushed to the Side
Unlike an exterior paint job, or fixing a door handle, a radon mitigation system (when needed) is something that can save lives. If a home that your client is buying or selling tests high for radon gas it is important to take action by keeping them informed. Radon is the second leading cause of lung cancer in America and the number one cause of lung cancer in non-smokers. According to the Environmental Protection Agency, radon is responsible for around 21,000 deaths per year in the US. Further, radon gas can attach to dust particles in the air, and when inhaled over long periods of time, it can damage the cells in our lungs. Whether the buyer or the seller pays for the system, or a split cost is negotiated, this crucial home improvement project should absolutely be performed when necessary. We have been heartbroken by far too many stories of loved ones or family pets that have been diagnosed with lung cancer caused by radon gas. Taking action as soon as you know radon is present in a home is the best possible way to prevent all future homeowners from getting exposed!
Lifetime Radon Solutions