Home Buying in Atlanta>Question Details

Brood, Home Buyer in Atlanta, GA

How much to real estate agents (for the buyers and sellers) trust radon testing?

Asked by Brood, Atlanta, GA Thu Nov 5, 2009

We received our radon testing results a bit late, but from 2 48-hour canister testing left in the finished basement, the results were a whopping 8.4 pCi/L. I found this very alarming and would like the seller to mitigate the level, but both our agent and another agent who is handling our inspection repairs write up seem disinclined to believe the results, even though it was performed by an inspector they recommended and by EPA standards. We are still in our DDP. Understandably, many ATL homes have high levels of radon, but am I out of line for believing our results and wanting the seller to do something about it? Is there anything we can do to argue the validity of the radon testing?

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I would trust the inspection results. You may can get the company to retest, but they would likely charge an additional fee. This can be corrected by doing a radon mitigation that vents the radon gases to the outside of the home; this is a very effective and approved measure. The highest acceptable level is 4. The cost for this is based on the footprint size of the home and can range anywhere from $2000 to $4000. We have had this happen before on some of our houses and the seller usually pays for it. They are required to disclose this if they sell the home in the future. Hope this helps.
2 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Nov 5, 2009
Having just delt with this issue with some buyers, I would ask the seller to mitigate the problem. We had a test result of 28, the seller retested and it was 17. The mitigation system was installed and tested under the acceptable 4. The cost of the system from our research was between $1500 and $2500. The cost of piece of mind...priceless.
2 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Nov 5, 2009
Ditto... Test again! Stay within your due diligence and/or get it extended. Do not let the agents dictate this. It's your money and your future investment and your health. Be firm in what you want done. It is not a generally accepted fact that radon tests are inaccurate. Actually the opposite. We put a lot of faith into our inspector's abilities and accuracy of testing. If a second test reveals similar results, then you'll have your answer. Remember, there are plenty of homes for sale in this market and you are a buyer. You're in control for the most part.
2 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Nov 5, 2009
Dear Home Buyer.

The other agents are correct in recommending a second test. perhaps youcan check with your county Health Department on a list of testing companies or a way to confirm the test are being done properly.

Remember, no seller really wants to pay for the remedy to correct a radon problem. It can be several thousand dollars to drill into the concrete and have pipes run all the way through the roof to let the gas escape the confines of the home. Have your agent remind the other agent that this needs to be added to the disclosure and regardless of your decision, they will have to notify the next buyers. Fraud (non-disclosure) in this instance, could cause the seller a lawsuit and the listing agent a fine and loss of a license.

Be firm in your demands if this is the home you desire.

Ken Guillen, Broker
New life Real Estate Group, Inc
2 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Nov 5, 2009
Ditto, Ditto, and Ditto...David is spot on in his remarks. Be sure that the Radon Inspector that you utilize is NEHA Certified.
Web Reference: http://chuckgreen.com
1 vote Thank Flag Link Thu Nov 5, 2009

Radon seems to shift and move, but you should not.

This is your due diligence period.

Test it again. Ask for more time if needed.

Your agents must be a delight to work with...
1 vote Thank Flag Link Thu Nov 5, 2009
I also agree with Michael and Stacy. If you have doubts I would have a second test done. I've recommended this to my buyers who have felt the same way. The results came in very similar and the seller did install a mitagation system. I do not think you are out of line for believing the results of the first test however. Good luck.
1 vote Thank Flag Link Thu Nov 5, 2009
Depending on the testing procedure and the inspector doing the work, Brood, I trust them completely. Stacy's answer is spot on. Get it tested a second time. If the result is similar, then decide if you really want this property and if so, have your agent negotiate the best deal for you to mitigate the problem. Or find another. Good Luck!
1 vote Thank Flag Link Thu Nov 5, 2009
The most responsible thing to do is to have the test run again. At that point, if the results are the same, you should definitely negotiate the remediation of the issue with the seller.

Good luck.

Stacy Carter
Home Appreciators-Real Estate & Renovations
at ERA United Realty
1 vote Thank Flag Link Thu Nov 5, 2009
Good luck with your testing results.

Installing a mitigation system should not be a huge expense for the seller and now that they are aware of the issue it must be disclosed to any buyer.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Dec 29, 2009
Thanks everyone for the supportive and informative comments!

Our agents and the seller's agent have extended our DDP to address the radon issue. The seller will bring in an independent radon inspector to do another 48-hour test (this time using digital equipment...i hope its comparable to the previous canister test). If the results are high, the seller said he would be open to mitigating. Thanks again!
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Nov 5, 2009
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