Buying, Selling or Building a new House
I am going to buy a house, should I ask to be tested before buying it? YES
First of all to be safe, but doing so during the inspection period allows you to understand what the costs could be and who is to be responsible for paying for the radon mitigation system. Always better to understand the costs prior to purchasing the house. It should be tested before the closing and if it is necessary to perform a service, it can be discussed in the deal of the house.
If I build a new house, is there still the danger of radon? YES
Newly built homes are not risk free. Many construction companies and architects are not fully aware of the radon issue. You can ask a radon certified consultant to analyze your project and suggest building techniques during construction on how to prevent radon intrusion. If your home is already built, then there is evidence to suggest that newer constructed homes are more likely to have radon problems because they have a better sealed building envelope and do not have as many air exchanges with the outdoors as some older homes do.
Radon Test Fraud in Real Estate
If you are making an offer on a house you should ALWAYS have the house tested for radon. Make sure any radon test testing is completed with a continuous monitoring device or CRM(continuous radon monitor). These devices are virtually fraud proof. If someone opens all the windows and doors in the home to skew the radon readings, the documented change in temperature and barometric pressure will raise a red flag. These units also have internal motion sensors which can detect and record movement of the unit to a different location in case anyone gets the bright idea to set it out on the back porch. If the home already has a radon mitigation system, request the results of the latest radon test completed to ensure the system is removing radon in the house. If the results are older than 2 years request that the house be retested using a continuous monitoring device. If the results are within 2 years and are under the EPA action level of 4 pCi/L. make sure the system is checked for proper operation. Remember there is no safe level of radon. Elevated radon levels can be fixed and can almost always be reduced to below 4 pCi/L. If testing confirms radon levels in the home to be at or above 4 pCi/L, request a radon mitigation system be installed in the house before you move in. Talk with your real estate professional or settlement attorney about how to put fixing the home into the purchase agreement.