Is It Hard to Sell a House with Radon?
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In this article I will thoroughly examine the issue of radon so that you will know how to sell your home if radon is present.
First of all, yes, you can sell a house with radon. In my two-decade long real estate investing career, I’ve personally bought homes with elevated radon levels. And in this article, I will show you what it takes to mitigate radon before the sale, and even how to sell your house with radon as is.
Now, let’s look at what radon is and what you need to do about it.
Is It Hard to Sell a House with Radon?
As mentioned above, there are two ways to sell your home if it has a radon problem:
- The most common way is to mitigate radon before the sale, normally at your expense, and then sell it.
- Another way is to sell the house ‘as is’. It’s true that most buyers don’t want a house with radon. However, there is still an easy way to skip radon mitigation and just sell it. If you are already looking for this solution knowing that you can’t afford radon mitigation, jump to the section where I’m showing how to sell your home with radon as is.
Otherwise, let’s see if radon in your home is really such a serious obstacle to sell your house.
Is Radon Really That Dangerous?
Radon is a gas that is created when radioactive elements decay. Most people are surprised to learn that there are naturally occurring radioactive elements around us that can result in radon gas.
When radon gas is created, it is released into the surrounding area, including soil and groundwater.
The CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) reports that some building materials such as concrete are also potential sources of low-level radiation and radon.
Most of us are regularly exposed to small amounts of radon without incident. Large amounts, however, have been related to lung cancer. The National Cancer Center estimates that radon could be a factor in as many as 22,000 deaths per year. That’s more people than are killed each year by drunk drivers.
What Difficulties Does Radon Cause When Selling a House?
If your home had a failed radon test, even if you properly disclose and mediate the issue, it can still be a problem.
Hearing words like ‘radiation’ and ‘cancer’ understandably scares the public. Some homebuyers will not risk their family’s health in a home that had higher levels of radon at one time.
A home is the largest asset that most households will ever own. Homebuyers are going to look at multiple homes carefully before deciding which one to buy. If your home shows signs of radon mediation, it could go to the bottom of the list.
Appraisers will note the presence of radon mediation in a home. If comparable homes in the area do not have evidence of radon, the appraiser may make an adjustment to the value of your home.
The majority of buyers will need financing from a bank, credit union, or private mortgage company in order to purchase your home. To approve a buyer for a loan, lenders check the property’s condition, besides the borrower’s credit history. They need to be sure the property they are lending on (the collateral) is worth the amount of money they are issuing to the buyer.
These lenders know that indications of radon hazard can affect the value of the collateral for their loan. If you haven’t installed a mediation system, they will probably require it.
The lender will have access to the disclosure form and the appraisal report. Both will show the possibility of radon in your home.
If you have installed a system, they will want your house to be tested by a certified testing firm or individual to make sure the system is working. These tests can take over 3 months to perform which will hold up a sale of your home.
Ongoing education on the dangers of radon is part of most states’ required continuing education for brokers. They are aware that regulations regarding radon are increasing and that homeowners’ obligations concerning radon will also increase. To protect themselves from liability, they will advise their buyer clients to consider this when choosing a home.
Is Radon Disclosure Required When Selling a House?
One way or another, directly or indirectly, you will probably be required to disclose the presence of radon in your home.
According to the Policy Surveillance Project, 36 states and the District of Columbia require disclosure of radon in your home by law:
- North Carolina
- New Hampshire
- New Jersey
- New York
- Rhode Island
- South Carolina
- South Dakota
- District of Columbia
In these 7 states, where the government doesn’t require disclosure, the state real estate commission or board has taken it upon themselves. They specify radon on the residential property disclosure form that their realtors are required to use.
- New Mexico
In addition, all states have a general requirement to disclose hazardous materials. A homebuyer or their attorney could reasonably believe that this includes radon.
Many home inspectors now offer radon testing. If radon has shown up in homes in your area, the buyer’s agent will probably recommend that they include radon testing in their inspection.
If you are aware of radon in your home, you should get in front of the issue with full disclosure.
If radon isn’t listed on your state’s required Residential Property Disclosure (RPD) form, you can write it in. You can also write a letter to be given to prospective buyers that informs them of the presence of radon and steps you have taken to mitigate it.
Some of the states shown above also require that homeowners provide a state prepared brochure that warns the public about the dangers of radon. Make sure you check to see if your state is one of them.
If a seller doesn’t disclose a material fact about defects in the property, they can be sued, and, in some cases, forced to take the property back and refund the buyer’s money.
In the case of radon, you could also be held accountable if a buyer or a family member is diagnosed with cancer after moving into your home.
Is Radon Testing Required to Sell a Home?
Do I Have to Test for Radon Before the Sale?
Maybe not. State and federal law do not require that you test your home for radon before a sale. However, if your area has had significant problems with radon levels, there may be local ordinances that could affect you.
If you are working with a real estate professional, ask them if radon is a problem in your area. If you have concerns, consult with your real estate attorney.
But even though it may not be required by the law, many buyers will have the test done as part of their due diligence.
How Is Radon Testing Done?
Radon gas is odorless and colorless. Special devices must be used to detect the presence and amount of radon gas in your home.
There are inexpensive radon detection kits that can be bought at most home improvement stores. You can perform these tests for yourself. Be advised that a buyer, or their lender, will not accept test results from a do it yourself kit.
They can be a cost effective way to tell you whether or not you have an issue that needs to be looked into further.
Certified radon testers use more expensive equipment that is able to monitor radon levels continuously over long periods of time. This is important because radon gas that comes into your home isn’t like a steady water leak. Radon levels can fluctuate from day to day.
The tester will need to accurately track the amount of radon exposure over a period of time. A long term test like this will take more than 90 days.
During the test, the device will be placed in the lowest level of your home that is regularly occupied. If you have a large house, or if you have a basement and a crawl space, multiple detectors will have to be used.
The EPA recommends performing a radon test in your home every two years.
How Much Does Radon Testing Cost?
You can buy a do it yourself radon test for about $30.
The cost of a radon test that is done by a certified inspector will cost from $150 to $800. This depends on the size and shape of your home. If your home requires multiple detectors, the cost will go up.
Who Pays for a Radon Test — Buyer or Seller?
If the seller hasn’t already had a test done, the buyer will likely pay to have it done as part of their inspections. However, everything in a real estate transaction is negotiable. You may be asked to pay for a test.
How Much Does It Cost to Get Rid of Radon?
How Is Radon Mitigation Done?
Radon comes from the ground underneath your home. The pressure inside your home is lower than the pressure in the ground. This pressure difference draws radon into your home through the soil in your crawlspace or cracks in the slab or basement.
According to the EPA, the most effective radon removal system is the sub slab or sub soil depressurization method. This method extends one or more pipes into the soil underneath your home. A fan runs constantly, pulling radon through the pipes, and directing it out of your house.
If your home is on a crawl space, the entire ground has to be sealed off with a vapor barrier. Pipes are installed through the barrier and into the ground. The fan pulls the radon out through the pipe and it exits the house to the outside.
Radon mitigation in homes with a basement, or homes built on a slab, is done differently. Any visible cracks in the concrete are sealed. Holes are drilled into the concrete and the pipes are extended through those holes into the ground. From there, the process is similar to the one in homes with a crawl space. The fan draws radon through the pipes and directs it out of the house.
Sometimes the pipe can run up the outside of the house, and sometimes it has to be run through the house and attic.
How Much Does Installing a Radon Mitigation System Cost?
The cost of installing a system like this can be between $750 and $3,000, including the contractor’s work. The national average has been calculated at about $1,200.
The fan cannot be located in the basement or crawl space. It has to be either outside or in the home’s attic. It’s possible that wiring the fan for electricity will require a permit.
A major factor in the cost will be the impact the system has on the look of your home. Sometimes the system can be routed outside your home. That can be unsightly and it advertises to the public that your home has radon.
Containing the system within your home and running it through the attic will increase your costs and take up interior space. If you have to change any of your home’s existing systems in the process you may have to have that work permitted.
If your house has both a basement and a crawl space, the cost can be higher. You would need the radon in the basement remedy plus the encapsulation of the crawl space method.
Who Pays for Radon Mitigation — Buyer or Seller?
As we’ve mentioned, everything in a real estate transaction is negotiable. Realistically, you should assume that at a minimum the buyer will expect the home to be structurally sound and safe.
The seller typically has to pay for a radon mitigation system.
The Easiest Way to Sell Your Home with Radon
Sometimes you don’t have the time or the money to fix a radon problem. In some parts of the country, a house with radon mitigation takes significantly longer to sell. Homes with different types of construction can cost more to effectively mitigate radon.
Selling your house as-is would be a great alternative if it were possible.
Real estate investors will buy homes like this as-is for cash. This can be the fastest, simplest solution to selling your house with radon problems.
We have an entire article about selling your home to an investor discussing things to consider when doing it. But here, let’s discuss the basics.
Who Are Real Estate Investors?
Residential real estate investors are professionals who buy homes that normal buyers would consider undesirable. Investors aren’t scared of problems like radon. They are actually looking for properties that need improvement.
Investors are often people who started their careers working in the real estate business as brokers or contractors. They can perform many repairs themselves, after purchasing the property. For other work, they have regular sub-contractors in all areas of the construction trades that they hire directly.
Investors can perform their own inspections, and they know how to calculate the value of your property without a formal appraisal.
They want homes that need work done. They can perform that work for much less than a regular homebuyer which improves their investment.
Their business model is to find homes that they can buy below market value. They know that they can make or manage any repairs or remodeling for themselves. The investor will then either sell the property for immediate profit or hold onto it to rent to tenants.
To make sure that they reach their desired profit margins, an investor can’t pay you full market value for your property.
In some cases, for sellers, the benefits of a quick all-cash sale to an investor can make up for selling at a lower price.
Benefits of Selling a House As Is to an Investor
Selling your house as is comes with great benefits. You don’t have to have any tests done and you don’t pay for radon mitigation and wait weeks or months through it..
Since the buyer is paying cash, all decisions about the property’s condition will be made by them, not a lender. And there are no complications from lender underwriting either. No waiting until the last minute just to find out that your buyer can’t get their financing.
With an all-cash sale, you don’t have to wait for appraisals or inspections that a lender would demand. An investor can close quickly, sometimes as soon as a few weeks.
The sale is handled directly between you and the buyer. You won’t have to pay the usual closing costs, including brokers’ fees that can get expensive. The investor usually calculates closing costs into the offer so that you don’t pay any costs out of pocket.
When you sell directly to an investor, there is no need for the inconvenience of traditional marketing.
You and your family won’t be bothered by repeated showings or open houses that make you leave your house. The investor will look over your property once or twice and then make an offer.
When you are trying to sell a house with radon issues, finding a real estate investor might be the best option for you.
How to Get the Best Cash Offer from an Investor?
There are two things to keep in mind when selling your home to an investor:
To sell your house at the best price, it’s better to get multiple offers on it to choose from.
You want to find a reputable investor who provides professional service rather than looking for a distressed homeowner to take advantage of.
To comply with these two rules, you can do thorough research on the investing companies in your area. Google “sell my house fast for cash” to find home buying companies in your location. Read reviews about them, pick a few, and request their offers on your home.
A simpler and more reliable solution is to request a cash offer through our platform that connects motivated home sellers with reputable real estate investors — HouseCashin. By using us, you are requesting multiple cash offers at once, and they are coming from competing real estate investors working in your area.
We have a large network of real estate investors buying houses throughout the USA. All of them are reputable professionals screened by us to ensure they meet high quality standards of service.
Fill out our simple online form to request a cash offer from HouseCashin to sell your house with radon as is, fast, and easy.