Buyer Hotspots Part 1: Radon and Asbestos
June 4th, 2015
Maintaining a home is no easy feat. From monitoring radon levels, mold and asbestos to making sure your family is not being exposed to lead, it can seem overwhelming to manage a home. We understand the many stresses that come with owning a home, so we have broken down some of the common issues,
concerns and best practices for keeping your home in the best shape possible. You will not only feel more comfortable and safe spending each day in your home, but prospective buyers looking at your home will feel the same comfort and safety as they decide look for their future living space.
Part One of the Buyer Hotspot blog series will break down radon and asbestos.
Did you know that half of American homes have a Radon level above the average? Radon is one of the most dangerous hazards in your home that you can’t see or smell.
Whether you are looking for a home or are comfortable in your current one, it’s important to test for radon, especially if your home was built prior to 1960.
What is radon?
Radon is an odorless, colorless gas that comes from the continuous decay of uranium in the soil. Your home acts like a vacuum, sucking in radon gas (if present) from the soil it stands on, into the home. Radon enters the home through the foundation, in the cracks, gaps, and cavities in the walls where plumbing enters.
If you haven’t already checked the radon level in your home, use a simple home test to assess whether radon is above the safe level. To do this, place the kit in the lowest lived-in area of your home–this is usually the first-level basement, for two or three days. The average outdoor radon level is 0.4 pCi/L, and the average indoor radon level is about 1.3 pCi/L. Generally, a level below 4 pCi/L is considered safe. If you discover a level higher than the 4 pCi/L, don’t go into a deep panic! The good news is, radon remediation is highly effective; and your home inspector can make recommendations for licensed experts.
While you will want to repair the radon problem in your home as soon as possible, don’t jump the gun on the first contractor you find. Like most other home repairs, you may want to get a few estimates before choosing the right radon contractor for you.
What is asbestos?
Asbestos is a heat- and fire-resistant that was used in homes before the 1960s in insulation for heating pipes and attics, as well as for roofing and sliding materials. Asbestos is made of long fibers that can be breathed in easily. After inhaling asbestos, the fibers can lodge in internal body tissues, which can lead to cancer. Most people develop no symptoms unless they are exposed to extremely high levels of asbestos. If you live in an older home, the best thing you can do to prevent asbestos hazards is to leave the asbestos material alone; as it only becomes dangerous if the material is damaged and the fibers are released. Luckily, an inspection will determine if the asbestos is deteriorating and creating problems that need to be resolved.
If you are in the market for a new house and find one you like but discover the home has radon and/or asbestos, it doesn’t mean you should rule the home out. Our expertise at Sprinkman Real Estate can help you find experts to recommend the right treatment and give you an estimate. Then, you can decide if it’s worth negotiating a price with the homeowner. Both radon and asbestos are common enough to be taken care of easily and should not prohibit you from buying your dream home!
The second part of the Buyer Hotspot blog series will discuss how to monitor mold and lead paint, along with what a buyer should look for in the basement of a prospective home.