If you’re purchasing a home, should you test for radon? This odorless, radioactive gas occurs naturally in the ground throughout the United States and can seep upward into buildings. It is responsible for as many as 30,000 lung-cancer deaths annually, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency reports.
Many states certify radon professionals, who can help you test radon levels in a home and receive results from a lab as quickly as possible. You may elect to make an offer contingent upon an acceptable home inspection and separate radon test.
If radon levels are high, that doesn’t necessarily mean you shouldn’t buy a property. But there is a cost to installing a radon-mitigation system. This is recommended for homes with radon levels at 4 picocuries per liter (pCi/L or above).
Depending on your mortgage company, a mitigation system may need to be installed before you close on a property. If this is the case, things may get a bit tricky, especially if the seller balks at making a $1,000 to $3,000 investment in a radon mitigation system.
Whether you’re buying or selling a home, you may want to check out the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Home Buyer’s and Seller’s Guide to Radon.