Testing for Radon with No A/C in Summer
Have you ever run into a seller or renter who looks at you like you’re crazy when you tell them that a radon test has been requested on their home and they need to keep all their windows and doors closed for the next two days in the middle of the hot summer? I have! The problem is that some properties don’t have air conditioning, and closing a home up for two days in the summer without air conditioning is just about impossible if someone needs to live in that home during that time.
So if you’re the buyer what do you do? Forego the radon test and pay for mitigation yourself if you test later and find out you need it? That’s one option, but I have another that a few of my regular Realtors® have used this summer with success.
If the seller is not willing to close up their house for a radon test ask them to put $1200 into escrow at closing for a mitigation system. The buyer, as a part of the agreement, is given 30 days to test for radon after closing. If radon is found above a certain level (4.0 is typical) the money in escrow is used for a mitigation system with any leftover funds going back to the seller.
This solution benefits both parties. The seller doesn’t have to tolerate closed house conditions for two hot days during the summer. The buyer gets to control the testing conditions and they are more likely to insure closed house conditions for the most accurate test.
There are a few drawbacks to this solution, however. One is that the home inspector will likely charge more for a radon test that is not done at the time of the inspection, since it adds an extra trip to the property to drop-off or pick-up the test equipment. Another drawback is that the buyer now has to figure out how to live in a home with the windows and doors closed for two days in the middle of a hot summer. Going for a short vacation or camping in the back yard are a couple of ideas to solve this problem. Or they can move in a couple days after closing. Finally the seller is not free and clear on closing day. The seller still needs to be involved, albeit very little, for the next 30 days.
Keep this strategy in mind the next time you have a seller getting hot about a radon test in the middle of the summer.