While you have lived in your home for many years and like the neighborhood, life has you moving elsewhere. It has taken some time and a ton of energy, but you are just a few weeks away from closing.
As you begin to pack up your belongings, your realtor calls and says that the new owners want to schedule a home inspection. Since you already had the house inspected, you know they will not find any major problems and you agree to the date.
A few days after the inspection takes place, your realtor calls again and says that the buyers are concerned because the house came back with higher than normal radon levels. Having no idea what he or she is talking about, you agree to fix it and quickly go online and search for radon and radon testing. As you begin to read through the results you frown as you realize that the repair may not be as easy or inexpensive as you thought.
Radon is a gas that cannot be seen, smelled, or tasted. It is created when naturally occurring uranium breaks down. It can be found all over the country. If you are exposed to high levels of radon, you could end up dying from lung cancer. The only silver lining to this dark cloud is that you are not alone. Approximately one in every 15 homes has high levels of radon. Since there is no way to know it is there and no symptoms of exposure, more than 20,000 people die from lung cancer caused by radon exposure each year.
Your first step of action is to confirm the findings. You go to the hardware store and pick up a do-it-yourself testing kit. It sits in an area on the lowest floor of your home for about a week and then it gets sent to a lab. The results from the lab confirm what you already know, that there are high levels of radon in the house.
You call the realtor asking if the buyers have backed out and he or she lets you know they have not, but would like to renegotiate the deal. You say you have to think about it. With that, you install a ventilation system with a fan to get the radon out of your home.
You then have all cracks and openings in the foundation walls and floors sealed along with the areas around the pipes and drains. You also have the crawlspace sealed and hire a contractor to install a mitigation system. Once these steps are complete, you call for another radon inspection.
To everyone’s delight, the amount of radon has decreased substantially and you can now go to close as scheduled. In fact, if you really wanted to, you could ask more for your home based on the improvements you have made. However, you decide to be nice and continue as planned happy to have averted both a real estate and a health disaster for you and everyone involved.