Don’t Let Radon Derail Your Closing – Radon and Real Estate

Spring is right around the corner with it comes the busy time of year for real estate professionals. In Pennsylvania, radon testing and mitigation is often a part of this process. It is estimated that 40% of all Pennsylvania homes harbor radon at levels above the EPA recommended level of 4 pCi/L. Consequently, it is highly recommended that radon be considered as part of every real estate transaction.

The best advice for successfully managing radon testing and mitigation for a real estate transaction is to start the process early.

Overall, real estate professionals should allow a minimum of three weeks to fully manage the radon mitigation process. This allows adequate time for an initial radon test, scheduling an appointment for mitigation, system installation, and sufficient time to conduct a follow up test to ensure the success of radon remediation.

Installation of the radon mitigation system is the least time consuming part of the process. Most radon remediation systems can be installed in the matter of a few hours. Larger radon mitigation companies have the ability to provide a price quote for most homes over the phone, eliminating the time involved in scheduling a site visit to evaluate the property. Homeowners can save days (or sometimes weeks) by immediately scheduling for their radon mitigation system installation on their initial phone call.

When contacting a radon remediation company, it is important to provide as much information about the house as possible. To determine the appropriate system and accurate pricing for radon mitigation, it’s best to be prepared with information including an initial radon level, the square footage of the house, the age of the house, details about the foundation (basement vs. slab, basement construction material, presence of crawl spaces or exposed soil or gravel) and water management features (sump pump or french drain). All these factors influence the specification of the correct radon mitigation system .

Most home buyers want to see proof of a reduced radon level prior to closing. In some instances, this information is required by the lender to finalize settlement. It is critical that a radon mitigation system is allowed time to do its job prior to conducting a post mitigation test. The remediation system works by removing gas from below the foundation before it can enter the house. It does not remove existing radon inside the structure. The existing radon must be given time to decay. Fortunately the decay period (or half-life) of radon is short, approximately 4 days. This means that every four days, the existing radon level is halved. If a home begins at a level of 16 pCi/L, in four days the level should drop to 8, and in an additional 4 days it should drop to 4. It is critical that realtors and homeowners be aware of this and not rush the post mitigation test. Clearly, time must be allotted to help ensure that the post mitigation radon level will be acceptable in time for settlement.

No one should live with unsafe levels of radon. Radon in Pennsylvania is a significant issue and it is recommended that every home be tested and mitigated if necessary. Home sellers should consider taking a proactive approach to radon mitigation. Radon remediation systems are no more costly than other moderate home repairs and it can be an attractive selling feature to have a warrantied radon mitigation system in place.

About the Author:

Katherine Fisher is the co-owner and Vice President of SWAT Environmental of Pennsylvania. She holds a Bachelors degree from Purdue University in Environmental Sciences and is NRPP certified in radon measurement and radon mitigation.

Radon levels in Pennsylvania are unsafe in an estimated 40% of homes. To purchase a radon test kit or to get a free quote on radon mitigation for your home, contact the experts at SWAT Environmental of Pennsylvania at 1-800-NO-RADON.

on 12 March 2015
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