Is Radon Testing Required to Sell a Home?

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Radon gas is a dangerous colorless, odorless radioactive gas that’s produced by decaying uranium in the soil. It can seep into your home through a crawlspace, your basement floor and walls or even a ground level concrete slab. High radon gas levels are the leading cause of lung cancer for non-smokers and the second leading cause of lung cancer for everyone else. If you’re thinking about selling, determine if radon testing is required to sell your home before you list it.

Is radon testing required to sell a home?

There are no federal or state laws that require radon testing to sell your home. However, there may be local ordinances that require radon testing before selling (usually in areas with known high radon concentrations). Check with local building authorities and your listing agent to determine if there are radon testing requirements before listing your home. Even if radon testing isn’t required to sell your home, most state and local regulations and ordinances require you to disclose the results of any previous radon tests to the buyer. In other words, you can’t hide radon test results from the buyer. If you’ve done your own radon testing using a DIY kit, chances are the buyer will want new professional tests performed by their home inspector or a radon testing company. If those results show high levels of radon, you can be sure the buyer will ask for a substantial discount. To avoid that problem altogether, hire a professional radon inspector and have your home tested shortly before you list it.

How much does professional radon gas testing cost?

A professional radon gas test costs around $150 to $250, depending on the size of your home (larger homes may require multiple test units). Before starting the test, inspectors usually look for common radon gas entry points and recommend sealing those areas before conducting the test. Those fixes will add to the cost, even if you do the sealing yourself, but they will likely result in lower radon gas levels. If the radon gas test results still show high concentrations, even after the fixes, it’s best to be proactive and install a radon gas mitigation system before listing your home. That’ll eliminate the radon gas issue entirely.

What are acceptable radon levels?

Radon gas test results are given in picocuries and the EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) strongly recommends installing a radon mitigation system if the results show a radon gas concentration of 4 picocuries per liter (pCi/L) or higher. However, no level of radon is truly safe. If the test results are near 4pCi/L level, the buyer may ask for a discount or require you to install a radon mitigation system before closing. The average cost of a radon mitigation system is $958.

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Originally Published on The Family Handyman