Real Estate Blog

Should You Be Concerned About Radon?


CLICK HERE to view the HIGH-QUALITY version of this article.



Dr. Aaron Goodarzi is an expert in radon and recently spoke at the Calgary Real Estate Board. He explained that it is an invisible and odourless radioactive gas with the potential to cause lung cancer and other serious health problems. 


Yes, that statement got my attention too. 



CLICK HERE  for Dr. Aaron Goodarzi’s TED Talk, and below are other useful resources.



Check out the links for more information.

Canadian Real Estate Association (CREA)

Health Canada 

Radon Safety

C-NRPP




TESTING FOR RADON

According to Dr. Aaron Goodarzi, Health Canada and the real estate industry's governing bodies, the best practice is to test for a minimum of 90 days. They do not believe short-term tests taken during home inspections or over a few days collect sufficient data for accurate and reliable results. Health Canada suggests testing between October - April with an acceptable level of 200 becquerels per cubic meters (200 Bq/m3). 



YOUR HOME HAS HIGH LEVELS OF RADON, NOW WHAT?

The solution is relatively simple and inexpensive. 

A radon mitigation device is installed to vent the gas from the basement to the outside. How much? Well, that depends on the scope of the work, and I've heard quotes from $500 - $3,000. 


CLICK HERE to find a Canadian - National Radon Proficiency Program C-NRPP) technician in your area. 



DOES RADON AFFECT MY REAL ESTATE TRANSACTION?

It could.



SELLING A PROPERTY


If the seller has not completed or is in the process of testing, the results are not available for the initial transaction, so there are no guaranteed outcomes during the offer and negotiation phase. 


As of this writing, radon testing is not mandatory for sellers; however, that doesn’t mean the topic is over for them. Why? 

  • Some prospective buyers may ask if tests have been completed, and become hesitant if confirmed long-term results are not available.


  • If test results are not available, some buyers may request a holdback until radon levels are confirmed. If the results are high (i.e., greater than 200 Becquerels), they may ask the seller to incur the costs of mitigation or that the holdback funds will be used radon mitigation.  And, if the results are low (i.e., less than 200 Becquerels), the funds will be released to the seller.


  • The Real Estate Council of Alberta's (RECA) guidelines state that "if the radon test showed high levels of radon (higher than 200 Becquerel), that's considered a material latent defect that MUST be disclosed to prospective buyers unless a radon mitigation device is installed prior to listing."


  • Some buyers may take on the long-term testing and potential mitigation themselves, so they have peace of mind.


If I was selling a property, the questions I'd be asking myself is...


a) Would I rather get ahead of a potential problem by start long-term testing now, undergo mitigation (if necessary), and potentially before a sale. 


The con - spending money upfront without knowing if the radon issue will arise. 


The pro - have more control over the testing, mitigation process, and share the low test results with potential buyers as a selling feature.   Also, I benefit from living in a low radon environment.


b) Or wait and see if radon is an issue for buyers, then work with a holdback, potentially take responsibility for mitigation before closing,  accept there could be delays throughout the process, work with the buyer on solutions, etc.




BUYING A PROPERTY


Buyers can ask the seller if they have completed a 90-day radon test and request to see the results.


According to RECA, if the levels are greater than 200 Becquerels, sellers must disclose it as a material latent defect.



What are your options?


  • Many buyers will choose to complete the radon testing themselves, so they have peace of mind in the process and mitigation. 
  • Some buyers may ask for a holdback until confirmed long-term testing can be confirmed.  If the radon levels are low then the funds are released to the seller.  And, if the radon levels are high (i.e., greater than 200 Becquerels), they may ask the seller to incur the costs of mitigation or that the holdback funds will be used radon mitigation.  The seller's agreement is not mandatory.
  • During the seminar, Dr. Aaron Goodarzi suggested that extensive renovations (especially in the basement) could alter radon levels, so pre-renovation testing is not as important and recommends post-renovation testing.


 


WHAT DID I DO?


As you know, you can find articles and research online to support any belief, so it's challenging to know "the truth." But because of the potential risks, I ordered the Evict Radon ($54.59 plus return shipping) and took the first step in doing my own research and conclusion.


I started testing once it was delivered, effortless to set up, and I'll send it back after 90 days. If the results come back above 200 Bq/m3, then I'll hire a C-NRPP technician for mitigation. 



Sure, all this publicity could be "proven wrong" and retracted later (like vaping is good then shortly after it's a bad idea, wind power is all the rage then not, eat gluten-free...no wait, etc.), but even if that does happen, I won't regret taking action because I have peace of mind now.



WHAT'S NEXT

Do your research and educate yourself on all the details and talk to different industry professionals for their feedback and insight on various aspects.  Then weigh the pros and cons with each option then decide what's best for you. 




I do my best to ensure all information is accurate, but it's is not guaranteed.

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