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Is Radon Testing Required to Sell a Home?

Is Radon Testing Required to Sell a Home?

There are certain health and safety concerns that must be taken into account whenever someone wants to buy or sell a home.

Radon gas is known to cause lung cancer, and the way in which it is generated means many homes can potentially be at risk. That’s why radon testing is so important to homebuyers, sellers and the real estate agents working for both parties.

What is radon gas?

Radon gas is a colorless, odorless and tasteless substance. The American Cancer Society explained that it is produced by the breakdown of radioactive elements within many natural sources, like rocks and soil. Although these elements don’t pose much risk in their current state, their eventual change into radon leads to the potential for serious illness. Radon gas can enter homes through a variety of means, as well as be let off by some building materials, and lead to increased exposure over time.

Radon gas that makes its way into the lungs releases radiation, which can cause damage to this vital part of the body and, eventually, lead to lung cancer. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) said radon is the second-leading cause of lung cancer in the U.S.

What happens if a house has a high level of radon?

A home with high radon levels is a significant health risk factor. Radon gas has a strong link to lung cancer, and long-term exposure can be especially damaging in this regard.

A high level of radon can also make a home harder to sell if previous testing discloses its presence or a prospective buyer decides to complete a test before closing.

How does radon gas impact the purchase of a house?

Because indoor areas are common sources of radon gas exposure and people spend so much time within their homes, it plays a significant role in the homebuying process. It’s generally a best practice for a home inspector to conduct a test as a real estate transaction progresses.

Radon test kit manufacturer Air Chek pointed out that while the safest level of radon exposure is to have none at all, the target goal for indoor radon exposure as set by the U.S. Congress is 0.4 picocuries of radon per liter of air, often written in abbreviated form as 04. pCi/L. This is the same level of radon exposure that people can generally expect while outdoors.

EPA recommendations are clear: Homes with more than 4 pCi/L should be fixed to address the sources of radon entering the home and lower the exposure risk to owners and residents.

A buyer interested in a house on the market can, and should, request a home inspection that includes radon testing. The radon test results can offer a clear indication of what, if any, remediation is needed to lower health risks and make the home safer.

Are the current owners legally required to test for radon when selling a house?

Radon mitigation and testing company Radon Resources explained that there are no state laws requiring testing for radon before a home is sold. Similarly, there is no federal law with a similar requirement. Many states have some requirements around radon, such as mandating licensing for testers and ensuring the disclosure of known radon level information to homebuyers. Some towns and cities may also have municipal-level laws that require some form of information disclosure related to radon levels.

If an owner has never conducted a radon test, they don’t need to before selling a home. However, buyers may specifically request a test or the home inspector they work with may conduct one in the usual course of their work. While it involves additional spending, testing for radon gas and mitigating the issue may help a current owner prove their property is safe for habitation and encourage a sale.

It’s generally harder to sell a home with high levels of radon than one with no similar concerns, assuming previous testing occurred and its results must be disclosed or the potential buyer conducts a test of their own.

What happens if a house has a high level of radon?

High levels of radon require effective action to create a safer living space. The American Lung Association and EPA recommend hiring a capable and licensed or registered professional to address the issue. Additional testing should occur after a radon mitigation system is put in place and active.

For a home on the market with high levels of radon, there are solutions similar to what is experienced when a home inspection or other activity brings an issue with the property to light. The seller may complete the work themselves or deduct the anticipated cost of the process from the sale price and let the buyer handle the issue.

Effective support for real estate agents

High levels of radon and many other issues can cause delays and other issues when closing a sale, which means an unexpected interruption in income for real estate agents. Just Commission Advance can help you stabilize your income with cash advances on pending home sales. Learn more about how we support real estate agents in our FAQ section.