Homebuyer's Preferred Radon Protection Plan


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Old 03-30-15, 01:28 PM
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Homebuyer's Preferred Radon Protection Plan

I have made an offer on a house. It's being handled by a relocation company, and for radon testing/mitigation they use a service called Homebuyer's Preferred Radon Protection Plan. It basically works like this:

1. They provide a 120 day long-term radon test. After I occupy the house, I deploy the test and then mail it back to them. If it is above the safe level, they send a contractor to fix it and then do a follow-up long-term test.

OR

2. The same as the above, except that instead of the long-term test after I buy the house, I can have a home/radon inspector do a short-term test before I buy and occupy the house. This means that I'm relying on the seller to follow the test procedure.

My realtor recommends the second option (pre-settlement short-term test). I think the first option might be better, because I don't like the idea of the test being done when someone else is living in the house (EPA estimates that 1/4 of sellers screw up short-term radon tests by having windows or doors open, etc.). If I went with option #1 I would also do my own DIY test to make sure their results are reasonable.

Any experience with this radon company, and any thoughts on which of the two options is preferable?
 
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Old 03-30-15, 05:36 PM
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Of course your realtor wants you to pursue the short-term test. It means he gets his/her commission check that much sooner, as the seller will have every window in the place wide open for as long as it takes to take the air test samples.

Don't laugh--I've heard of it being done by desperate sellers.
 
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Old 03-31-15, 07:09 AM
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Though I am usually a cynic, I think in this case nobody has any real incentive here to mess things up. This company is on the hook for the cost of a radon mitigation system, not the seller, and I think my realtor would like to know if the house has a problem before we close on it rather than after the fact -- the radon system would probably still be installed after closing, so she will get her check at the same time either way. But still I would much rather have the test be under my control because I don't really trust the seller to not mess up the test, even unintentionally.

This may all be moot anyway as the seller seems to be rather unreasonable.
 
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Old 03-31-15, 10:01 AM
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I'm not any kind of Radon expert, just a Real Estate Broker, but with an experience background which includes many radon tests, and also many dead deals because of unsatisfactory test results.

Is your part of Virginia prone to heavy Radon gas pockets ?

Most States (or at least many, including little Vermont) maintain maps of the anonymous test results already performed and their pica-curie scores; so that you can get an idea IF Radon radioactivity is even a cause for concern in that neighborhood. I think most mapping is under the control of your State or Commonwealth's Department of Public Health.

And mitigation isn't always cheap. Some situations are resolved by simple ventilation; others by moisture barriers in the basement; still others require reconstruction and/or re-routing underground streams beneath basements which can dispense radon gas as they pass under, and need to be controlled.

I would want to know how probable the presence of Radon is in the house BEFORE taking possession; and have a very clear understanding of how much mitigation procedures may cost as well as WHO is going to pay for it.

Some folks escrow funds to pay for this activity after Closing . . . . but because the amount can vary so much, it is hard for people to agree in advance on what is reasonable.

Just my 2. Contact your Public Health Department and ask if they have those Radon maps available . . . . may even be online !
 
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Old 03-31-15, 10:35 AM
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The house is very close to where I currently live, so I know that radon is a potential problem (we are in "zone 2"). Several houses in the neighborhood have radon mitigation systems, many don't need them.

The way this contract is set up, the company is responsible to get the long-term (120 day average) level below 4 pCi/l. If there is a radon problem, and they install a system, and the level is still high after that they have to do something about it. So I don't have to figure out what mitigation is likely to cost ahead of time, if there is a radon problem they are on the hook to fix it. There is nothing about a cost limit in the contract.

So on paper it sounds ok. I would love to hear if anybody has experience with the company. My realtor says that relocation companies are pretty liability-averse, so I am less skeptical of this setup than I might otherwise be.
 
 

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