Radon, Real Estate and COVID-19

Radon is an invisible colorless, odorless and tasteless cancer-causing, radioactive gas that is created during the natural breakdown of uranium in rocks and soils. This Class A carcinogen is naturally occurring found in nearly all soils around the world.

The world as we know it is in crisis with COVID-19 and questions are being asked surrounding real estate transactions and radon. Many real estate showings are being conducted with either online virtual tours only or the home is opened followed by each individual visitor entering to view the property alone to maintain social distancing. Many home inspections, if any, are being conducted with the buyers present for the exterior only with interior visual inspections performed by the inspector then shared in an emailed report along with a phone conversation. With courts closed, closings are being remotely registered through electronic recording services for offices that have that technology. In MA where I live and work, smoke and C02 inspections have been deferred for 90 days after the state of emergency has been lifted and falls on the buyer to be compliant.

So what about radon inspections? Most homebuyers, who are completing transactions at this time, are doing so without having a radon test performed for several reasons. For short-term electronic testing, the seller may not want the inspector or radon measurement provider to come back to the house to collect the device especially as the pandemic escalates. For short-term passive testing, the seller may not want the inspector or representing agent to come back to the house to collect the test vials or cans. Some labs are not fully staffed or may be closed so running the passive test lab results may be delayed or the test invalidated if it has not been analyzed within the allotted 8 days of being completed.

Normal activities are not possible at this time however when the crisis passes and the world is lighter from it’s woes, radon will still exist and these newly purchased homes will not have been tested. The new homeowners and their families have now been sheltering in place for however long is needed with unknown radon levels during the winter months with windows closed. Radon is a concern when levels are elevated with long-term exposure.

Please be mindful that performing a radon test is a task that should be completed as soon as a safe situation allows. The only way to know if radon levels are elevated is to test!

Stay safe…stay healthy…help your fellow neighbors in whatever way you can.

Test Your Home, School or Workplace…Protect Your Family!