Nebraska Radon Program
Testing for Radon in Real Estate Transactions
More and more people looking to buy a home are asking that it be tested for radon along with the whole-house inspection. This is a natural desire to ensure that the home being purchased is safe for the family to live in. This testing is common and easy to do, but is handled differently compared to the testing that a current homeowner does in his/her own home.
All radon testing in a real estate transaction should be done by a licensed radon measurement professional
to ensure a quality, unbiased, third-party test. Most professionals have equipment that is tamper-resistant, ensuring that nothing has happened to disturb the test. Using a professional often means that there is no question about the accuracy of a test result.
This Test Might Be Different
When a test is done for a real estate transaction, there are some minor differences from how a homeowner currently living in the home would test.
A licensed professional should conduct the test. While most sellers are honest people, unfortunately there are some who would attempt to tamper with a radon test to ensure a low result. For this reason, it is important for a third-party, quality assured test. This gives peace of mind for both parties and ensures that there is no question about the results.
The test device will be placed in the lowest, livable level of the home, regardless if your family currently spends time there. Even if the space is unfinished, if it is possible that a new family could utilize it for some purpose, it will be chosen as the testing location.
There will be only one test. A current homeowner often uses a “do-it-yourself” test kit that gives a screening level, and then follows that up with a second test to confirm the initial results. For a real estate transaction, because a professional uses a more sophisticated device, there will be only one test, and a decision on whether the home needs mitigation is made from that result.
Testing Information for Sellers
Test If You Haven't Already
If you are thinking about putting your home on the market to sell, and have not tested it for radon, you might consider having a test done as a proactive measure. This could help to save time during the period around closing. As mentioned above, the test should be done by a licensed radon professional to ensure that a potential buyer trusts the results.
Disclosure Laws If You Have Already Tested
If you have tested your home before, you are required by law to disclose that information to a potential buyer. There is a spot on the real estate disclosure form for radon information. More information can be found at the Nebraska Real Estate Commission.
Testing Information for Buyers
If The Home Has Already Been Tested
If the home you are considering purchasing has been tested before, ask to see a copy of the test result. All tests come with a report that indicates the dates of testing, the result of testing, and the address where the test occurred, along with other information. A potential buyer should see this information to determine whether to accept those results, or to hire a professional to conduct an updated test. Some reasons to have another test conducted could be:
Time since previous test
Renovations, alterations, or new heating/cooling equipment since previous test
Location of previous test (i.e. on the ground floor instead of the basement)
Request A Radon Test
If the home you are considering purchasing has not been tested before, request a radon test. Nebraska has a high prevalence of radon, with 59% of homes tested having results above the action level see: Radon in Nebraska. Even if you are in a county or city with a low average level of radon, there is still a good chance that the specific home you’re considering will have a high radon level. The only way to know is to test.
Hire A Licensed Radon Professional
A potential buyer not rely on the seller to conduct an accurate radon test. All radon testing in a real estate transaction should be done by a licensed radon measurement professional to ensure a quality, unbiased, third-party test. Most professionals have equipment that is tamper-resistant, ensuring that nothing has happened to disturb the test. Using a professional often means that there is no question about the accuracy of a test result.
If Radon Levels Are High
If the radon test result is at 4.0 pCi/L (the action level) or more, then the home should be mitigated. Who pays the cost of this is negotiable between the buyer and the seller, the same as any issue identified during a home inspection. The seller may have the radon mitigation system installed, or the buyer may ask to have the asking price lowered so that they can control the installation (i.e. who installs it, how it is designed, etc).
Regardless of who pays the cost, the mitigation system must be installed by a licensed radon professional. In addition, a “post-test” must be conducted that will show that the radon level has been decreased to below the action level. The post-test information should be shared with both parties before closing.
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Indoor Air Quality Program
Environmental Health Page