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Is detection of radon a reason to cancel a home sale?

A home buyer recently wrote to the Washington Post about how, in their professional home inspection, the inspector found they had a faulty garage door and high levels of radon. It was advised that they cancel the contract based on the garage door. But instead of focusing on an early repairable garage door, wouldn’t the high radon levels have also enabled the buyers to cancel the sale?

Radon is a colorless, odorless gas that permeates through the ground in some areas. If you breathe in too much of it, it can cause a lot of physical problems, especially in young children, who may experience all sorts of physical and developmental issues.

Professional home inspectors don’t generally test for radon, but almost every home buyer should have a test done. These tests often include leaving some sort of collection device at the home for a short period of time and then sending the device to a lab to have the results read.

State Decertifies, Fines Radon Specialist

DEP says radon systems weren't installed properly.

The state has taken the unusual step of decertifying a radon specialist who, officials say, improperly installed systems and violated other regulations in Lehigh, Bucks and Montgomery counties.

Homeowners who hired Environmental Concepts Technology should have their radon removal systems inspected, state officials said, because the systems may not be working properly and may be exposing them to dangerous radon gas.

The Department of Environmental Protection announced late last month it had fined the company's owner, Christopher Ford of Abington Township, Montgomery County, $58,875 and decertified him from testing for radon because of problems with his work, including six systems installed in Orefield.

It's My Job: Home Inspector Scrutinizes Conditions from all Angles

It's My Job: Home Inspector Scrutinizes Conditions from all Angles

Fargo - Lars Knobloch likes to poke around what are often private areas in a home.

He peers into cabinets, crawls through attics, and scours the hidden recesses of basements.

It’s not that he’s nosy. It’s his job.

Knobloch does real estate inspections as well as testing for mold, asbestos, lead, radon and allergens through his business, Nordic Home Inspection.

“People save money on home inspections, really, because they will find things and they can negotiate with the seller,” Knobloch said. “I see more and more sellers are doing home inspections so they can show buyers the condition of the house. If there would be a major problem that would scare the potential buyers away, the seller could just take care of it.”

Knobloch moved to the area from Namsos, Norway, two years ago in March and started his business the beginning of last year.

Q: How has business been going?

Above and Beyond the Home Inspection

Above and Beyond the Home Inspection

Buyers face big expenses when they don't discover these common problems

Mice, mold and leaking bathtubs are among the last discoveries homebuyers want to make after moving into a new home. But that's exactly what a client of Oakland, Calif.-based financial planner Cathy Curtis found shortly after closing.

"The first week she moved in, she emailed me in a panic that there are mice, she needs a new furnace, and the ducts, bathtubs and kitchen cabinets need to be replaced," said Curtis. Total cost to fix everything: tens of thousands of dollars. "I'm surprised that more of this didn't come up in the inspection," she said.

Home inspections, it turns out, are much more limited than many first-time buyers realize.

Why Test for Radon When Buying a Home?

Why Test for Radon When Buying a Home?

Lisa Loper, member of the Scott Loper Team at RE/MAX Realty Group in Harleysville discusses why homebuyers should test for radon and how Montgomery County stacks up compared to neighboring counties

Besides a general home inspection and a termite inspection, the next most common test performed by homebuyers is a radon test. It is a simple test where the air quality is measured for the span of 2-3 days (longer term tests are available). The cost typically runs between $100 and $125 and it is money well spent.

Radon is a radioactive gas that has been found in homes all over the United States. It comes from the natural breakdown of uranium in soil, rock, and water and gets into the air. Radon typically moves up through the ground to the air above and can get into your home through cracks or other holes in the foundation (even if you don’t have a basement). Your home can trap and accumulate radon causing the levels to be elevated within your home.

Home Inspections an Essential Tool for Buyers

A home inspection often means the difference between a sale and no sale, even if the deal that results isn't exactly what the owner expected.

Buyers and sellers typically recognize the need for a home inspection. Still, it may put both sides of a sale on edge.

Sellers fear the inspector will find something amiss that slashes the price. Buyers fear the house they want will have problems.

Today, with so many houses for sale, inspections have become the chief tool for haggling over price.

"We are a coupon-clipping society," with people trying to save every penny they can, said Noelle Barbone, manager of Weichert Realtors' Media, Pa., office. "Real estate is no different."

Though he isn't always aware how the negotiations proceed after his work is done, Harris Gross, of Engineers for Home Inspection in Cherry Hill, N.J., said buyers were more apt to use an inspection report as leverage in this lean housing market than in the boom.

Inspection Can Reveal Whether Radon Problem Exists

Inspection Can Reveal Whether Radon Problem Exists

If a house touches the ground, it's susceptible, inspector says

FRIDAY, March 11 (HealthDay News) -- Brandon Smith started a radon inspection company of his own when the company for which he made heat-resistant wire closed down after 100 years in business.

Smith and his wife, who live in Battle Creek, Mich., opened their mom-and-pop business, Michigan Radon Agency, in 2005 and now test about 15 houses a week for radon.

"It's not an easy business to get into," Smith said. "You have to get trained, certified and licensed, and have all your business connections in place." And that includes real estate agents. "They're the ones recommending you, so you've got to know a lot of them," he said.

For his testing, which Smith said ranges from $75 to $150, electronic monitors are placed around a house and left for two weeks. He also takes an instant hour-by-hour readout for the homeowners. "It's always done in the basement, if it's livable," he said.

Evaluation Program Helps ID Lung Cancer Risks

Delaware Countians at high risk of developing lung cancer may have recently gotten another lease on life.

Thanks to Dr. Raymond J. Vivacqua, medical director of the Crozer Regional Cancer Center, and his participating partners, an evaluation procedure called the Family Lung Assessment Program, which is accessible to all people, offers free identification surveys and low-cost CAT scans for specific populations in jeopardy of developing lung cancer.

“I’m hoping to reduce the number of people scanned so we target the people who need it,” Vivacqua said.

Although the program has been in formation over the past three years and a few studies and scans have been performed, the time has become appropriate for its unveiling, the hematologist/oncologist said.

“The perfect storm has occurred here,” Vivacqua said, highlighting the release of a study backed by the National Cancer Institute.

Radon Revisited

Sam Schneiderman, broker owner of Great Boston Home Team (our Monday guy) looks again at what to do about radon testing.

Last week, I mentioned a story about a radon inspection dispute that ended in court. The buyer wanted to cancel the purchase due to high radon results, but the seller refused to return the buyer’s deposit because the radon test was not performed to EPA standards.

Our vigilant readers reviewed EPA protocols and noted that a radon test done in an unfinished area does not meet EPA guidelines. A spirited discussion about the proper way to test for radon ensued, ending with sesw writing: “Surely you must be able to find an expert who can settle this matter. Otherwise, we are left to fend for ourselves on such a matter.” Good point.