Your a home seller that just signed an offer on your home and you’re preparing to move. The buyers seem financially stable and are extremely excited about your home. These buyers want to buy you’re home and your ready to move on to the next step of your life.
Fast forward two weeks, and now the deal is falling apart. Why?
It’s not the buyers financing. It’s not the appraisal. It’s not the inspection. It’s the other guy that came over to your house during the buyers due-diligence period. It’s the radon guy! You have high levels of radon, and your deal is about to fall apart because of it.
So what is radon exactly?
“Radon is a colorless, odorless, short-lived radioactive gas that can seep into homes and result in lung cancer risk. ” – Wikipedia
According to the national cancer institute, Radon causes between 15,000 and 22,000 deaths a year from lung cancer. The radon gas dissolves quickly and emits tiny radioactive particles that damage cells in your lungs.
What can you do if your home has too much radon?
As a home seller, when you get a positive radon test when selling your home, you basically have one option. You will have to install a radon mitigation system to pump out enough gas to reduce the build up in your home.
To install the system, it costs around $400-$600 depending on the difficulty of the installation. Basically, a radon mitigation system is a PVC pipe with a fan that goes from the foundation to the roof pushing air out the top. You can see a diagram here: Radon Mitigation System.
What if I don’t want to install a radon mitigation system?
If you decide not to install a radon mitigation system, the buyer will most likely walk unless they are willing to install it themselves after they buy the home. To be honest, not many deals fall apart because of high radon levels.
The key to keeping your deal together is to work out what you and the buyer are willing to deal with. Some buyers don’t see it as a big deal. Others won’t want to buy the home even with the mitigation system.
The buyer walked, now what?
If the buyer decides to walk because you won’t install the system, they don’t want a home with high radon levels, or you can’t come to an agreement. You will have to put the test results in your seller disclosures. The next person that is interested in your home will have to be informed, by law, that you know the radon levels in your home have tested high.
It’s important for you to understand that a radon mitigation system is a negotiable item, at least here in Utah it is. (You will have to check with your agent and see how the issue is handled in your area.)
When I negotiate radon problems, I usually get the buyers to pay for half of the costs of the mitigation system, but it really depends on the the situation. If there are no other problems with the home, getting a buyer to fork over an extra $300 dollars isn’t that difficult. If there are other problems with the home, they may not be willing to negotiate.
One way or the other, if your home tests high for radon, you’re going to have to do something about it. Living in a home with high radon levels, if you decide not to sell, could be detrimental to your families health. My advice is to work out a deal with your current buyers and move on. Buyers in today’s market don’t come easy.