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Discussing One of the Biggest Levers: Radon and Residential Real Estate

Discussing One of the Biggest Levers: Radon and Residential Real Estate
Dr. Paul Locke is a radon leader who has over 20 years of experience in radon science, policy and law. He is particularly interested in how radon testing and remediation can be made part of residential real estate transactions. Dr. Locke is an Associate Professor at Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health.

This blog is about working with real estate professionals to reduce radon levels in homes. Home purchase and sale transactions often create an opportunity to address radon. That means that real estate professionals – those involved in the transaction who are marketing homes – could be great allies. As radon leaders, we need good partners to help us reach our goals.

If you have worked on radon issues for any length of time, you have undoubtedly thought about working with real estate professionals. As a lawyer and environmental health scientist, it always seemed pretty logical to me that the public health and real estate worlds intersected at radon. It also seemed to set up a win-win situation – we could reduce radon risks while at the same time helping real estate professionals educate their clients and customers about a very significant health hazard.

After all, radon is a radioactive gas that can build up in homes, especially in basements, to levels that are very dangerous. Continuously inhaling these high radon levels can greatly increase lung cancer risk. The only way to know if a home has a radon problem is to test the home. And the only way to fix a radon problem, if one is found, is to put in a system that can remove the radon build-up and reduce radon levels.

We all know these facts to be true. They stand on a strong scientific foundation that includes “gold standard” data, which includes studies among human populations and a more than 25 year track record of what works for radon testing and fixing radon problems.

It’s not a great leap of faith to point out that anyone buying or selling a home should be concerned about radon. And it would seem logical that real estate professionals who market homes – agents and their brokers – have got to be concerned about radon for their clients’ and customers’ sakes.. Logic would also dictate that real estate professionals should be waiting in line to work with us.

Unfortunately, it is not that simple. It takes a thorough understanding of the residential real estate transaction and knowledge about the real estate professionals and what motivates them to develop an effective way to engage on radon. And that is the reason for this blog – to explore this engagement, offer suggestions for forging alliances, and swap ideas about how to get more radon testing and fixing in residential real estate deals.

We can cover these topics by examining four key questions together:
1. Who are the community of people that make up the world of real estate professionals, and what motives them?

2. What does a typical residential real estate transaction look like? Where is the best place to bring up radon in this transaction?

3. What are some effective ways to work with the real estate community?

4. How can you measure success or fine-tune your efforts to deliver the most radon risk reduction?

Every other week I will take on one of these questions to explore ways we can forge the alliances we need to protect home buyers and reach our goals as radon leaders. Do you have questions, comments, or thoughts? Please share them by! Post them below by clicking the “Add a Comment” button. I hope this blog can start a constructive conversation on radon and real estate on RadonLeaders.org.

User photo for: golfrick1

I believe that education is the key even if it's forced education.

From what I've heard the Illinois governing body has mandated that the radon issue is addressed in the transaction with verbiage that gives the buyer information to make educated decisions.

I'm in favor of this in all states including here in Ohio.

Just today 2 real estate agents were unhappy that a test was going to performed on a slab home as they felt there was no need. This is example that the correct information has not been distributed and agents feel this is a deal killer. It's like a leaky roof. If you have one, you fix it. except this issue can kill you and your family.

User photo for: PAL

Thanks for the comment ......

You make several good points, and I would like to expand on one of them. First, in my next two blogs I will talk more about education, including contninuing education for real estate agents. Second, let's remember that education needs to run both ways. What I mean is that radon professionals have to understand the real estate transaction so that they will hvae a better idea of how to communicate with the real estate community. More on that subject, too, in later blogs.