Is radon testing really necessary to sell a home?
Does your area have significant problems with radon levels? Do you have plans to sell your home? Is radon testing required to sell a home?
These are crucial questions whose answers help homeowners navigate the maze of regulations guiding radon testing and property transfer.
If your answers to these questions are affirmative, you’ll need to read on to grasp the topic under focus better.
Are Radon Tests Required for Home Sale?
Being a radioactive gas, radon exposure can be dangerous as it can lead to conditions like lung cancer.
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) identifies radon as the leading environmental cause of any cancer. This highlights the dangers of radon gas exposure and why tests are necessary.
However, is it (radon testing) necessary to sell a home? Let’s find out.
More on Radon Testing
With one out of every fifteen homes having elevated radon levels in the United States (according to the EPA), it’s clear why regulations are in place to check its levels.
This colorless and odorless gas in a home can be dangerous due to its carcinogenic properties that primarily affect the lungs.
When inhaled, the radioactive particles are trapped in the lungs and steadily begin to act on the body.
Now, testing seeks to identify its presence in a home. The testing procedures are of two types: short and long-term tests. Under the short term are two tests completed in 2 to 3 days each.
The long-term tests last a period of 90 days. You might wonder why these radon tests take that long to complete. Why should such tests take as much as 2 to 3 days or 90 days to complete?
It’s necessary because, as a gas, there might be concentration differences between different areas of the building due to factors like diffusion, ground shifting, and the like.
The more extended testing period records accurate radon levels, as all of the factors above are considered.
How Radon Ends Up in a Home
Have you wondered how radon ends up in a home? This gaseous presence can be traced to the earth’s crust. Surprising right?
You must understand that with continuous ground shifts resulting in fractured bedrock, gases from within the earth’s crust escape, including radon, and find their way into homes.
Some areas are more prone to radon exposure than others.
To be more specific about how radon enters your home, it enters through running water or cracks in your home’s foundation.
It’s easy to see why regulations may apply for home sellers to have their property tested for radon. To find out if your home is within a radon-prone region, visit the EPA’s Radon Zone Map for details.
Specialized Inspections Needed for a Home
Any home seller or buyer would understand the need for home inspections. Besides, there are specialized inspections that include radon testing.
The others include pests, termites & rodents, lead-based paint inspections, chimney inspections, roof inspections, HVAC, electrical, mold, asbestos, sewer or septic system inspections, and plumbing inspections.
You may also be required to perform other specialized home inspections or tests like landscaping & soil analysis, foundation or structural tests, underground oil tank tests, and pool & spa inspections.
These are necessary to protect both buyers and sellers. While true, not every state may have such requirements or regulations.
When a Home Should Be Tested for Radon
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, there are times when a home should be tested for radon levels. This includes when preparing to buy or sell.
Other times to test a home for radon levels include when they are unknown or if it hasn’t been tested before. You may also test a home for radon before carrying out any renovation work.
This is especially true when the objective of the renovation work is to reduce radon levels. Testing after the renovation is necessary to see if it has impacted lowering radon levels.
A home should also be tested for radon when embarking on remodeling work, especially when spending a significant amount of time in the basement.
States that Require Disclosure or Testing During Real Estate Transactions
Are there states that require radon-level disclosure or testing before buying or selling real estate? Yes, there are. About 37 states do require such disclosure.
They include Alaska, California, Colorado, Connecticut, the District of Columbia, Delaware, Florida, Hawaii, Iowa, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Maine, and Michigan.
You’ll also be required to disclose radon testing in states like Minnesota, Montana, Mississippi, North Carolina, Nebraska, New Hampshire, New Jersey, Nevada, and New York.
More states include Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Washington, and Wisconsin.
States Without Radon Disclosure Requirements
Having shown states that require radon testing to sell a home, it’s necessary also to identify those having no such requirement.
There are seven states: Alabama, Arkansas, Idaho, North Dakota, Virginia, West Virginia, and Wyoming. These have no radon disclosure requirements of any form (realtor associations or legislations).
Tips for Home Sellers on Radon Testing
Are you selling a home that has been tested for radon? You should know that a seller may still ask for a re-test when the radon testing checklist wasn’t followed.
Also, the buyer may ask for testing if the last one you did isn’t recent enough. Have you done any renovations or remodeling since you last tested your home?
The buyer may ask for a new test.
If you’ve focused more on the upper levels of the house, a buyer might request that radon tests be retaken if they plan on using the basement more often.
If you haven’t tested the house for radon before, it’s best to do it immediately. If done yourself, follow the EPA’s radon testing checklist for more accuracy.
Tips for Home Buyers on Radon Testing
Are you a buyer interested in buying a property? Even when the property has been tested, you should still inquire about the results of previous testing.
Ask about who conducted the tests and also the areas tested. If any remodeling work was done since the last test, it might have altered test findings, hence the need to take a new radon test.
Do I need to test for radon to put my home for sale?
Now you have your answers. Radon tests are required in some states to sell a home. A few other states do not have such requirements. Before selling your property, follow the tips provided.
You can also use the information provided to guide your decisions as a buyer.