Your Radon Test Contingency Landed You in Second Place

The radon testing contingency, as currently written, is unnecessary. Including it in your offer may be why the seller rejected your offer to purchase and went with another. Before you weaken your offer with a misunderstood condition, get the facts and opt for making your home a healthy home. Expect to install a mitigation system. Let that sink in…  

Did I say radon is not a serious health risk? Did I say the radon level in the home is or will be at a safe level? No, I did not. Let me expand on that. RADON IS A KNOWN CAUSE OF CANCER. EXPOSURE TO HIGH LEVELS OF RADON GAS INCREASES YOUR CHANCES OF GETTING CANCER. RADON GAS IS PRESENT EVERYWHERE. RADON GAS GETS TRAPPED IN OUR HOMES, OUR APARTMENTS, OUR OFFICES. EVERYONE SHOULD KEEP THEIR HOME HEALTHY AND SAFE. A RADON MITIGATION SYSTEM IS INEXPENSIVE AND EFFECTIVE.

Okay. Everyone who knows a cancer survivor or person who died can relax. I agree with you. If you have a choice, living in a home with a radon level below the EPA Action Level is a wise choice. The EPA makes it clear; a long term test is a more accurate way of measuring your in-home exposure to radon. Forty-eight or seventy-two hours is not long term. However, home sellers are unlikely to allow you time for a true long-term test in the home buying process. I am concerned that too often home buyers who get one of these two or three-day tests with results below the EPA Action Level conclude their home is radon safe, and they take no steps to protect themselves. That’s dangerous and avoidable.

A Better Strategy

Radon mitigation systems are simple They’re made with inexpensive PVC pipe, a hole through the concrete basement floor, an electrical outlet, and a $125 fan. Guaranteed to keep the indoor radon level below the EPA Action Level, the system might cost as much as $1,000.00 installed. The radon test a buyer pays for will be about $200.00. Considering it is common practice for agents to write offers with a provision that the buyer promises to not object to defects under $2,000, it makes no sense to weaken their offer by inserting a radon testing contingency.   

Uncertainty is Unnecessary

When market conditions favor one side in a transaction, the favored team does not have to expose themselves to uncertainty. I’ve heard agents say otherwise, and if they were right, I would agree with them. They’re wrong. Unless the owner is uninformed when comparing offers, they will prefer less risk to any risk. Allowing a buyer to renegotiate or have leverage later only happens when the seller has no options or poorly advised. 

Save your money—buy a mitigation system after closing

Does it not seem wise to save the $200, forego testing, and install a mitigation system after you close to ensure your level remains safer? Talk to the radon mitigation people. Find out how often they are unable to reduce indoor radon levels in homes at the cost of more than $1,000. If I’m wrong, please tell me. 

Author: Tom Meyer, Owner-Broker, Essential Real Estate, LLC Madison, WI

The real estate transaction, disclosure, and confidentiality are the business of a Wisconsin licensee. It's in the transaction where the skill of the licensee, and their commitment to the law where the public is protected or placed at risk. What you see REALTORS do to brand themselves and their firms, promote their service, advertise, and process paper do not require a license. I believe negotiations to create and honor a real estate purchase agreement is where the agent has the greatest value in a transaction. Paying professional fee rates for the administrative services is a choice consumers deserve. Old business model driven commission rates are taxing the home equity of American home sellers. Essential Real Estate was created to put more money in the hands of the consumer by eliminating expenses for the firm and charging a fair price for the real real estate service.

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