Real Estate

EPA, with cooperation from its radon partners, has developed a number of tools and resources for use by the real estate community:

Breathing Easy: What Home Buyers and Sellers Should Know About Radon

The video, with a bit of light humor, covers the basics, including radon science, the lung cancer risk, home inspection, building a new home radon-resistant, testing and fixing a home, disclosure, state radon offices, hotline and web resources, and key radon numbers, e.g., EPAs action level and the U.S. indoor and outdoor averages. The primary audiences are home buyers and sellers, and real estate sales agents and brokers. Home inspectors, mortgage lenders, other real estate practitioners, and radon services providers will also find the video helpful.

In 2004, Dr. John C. Weicher, the Federal Housing Commissioner issued a radon gas and mold Notice (H 2004-08) requiring that a release agreement (HUD-9548-E) be included in all sales contracts for HUD-acquired single family properties. The agreement notifies purchasers of the potential health problems caused by exposure to radon and some molds. Required use of the agreement expired on May 31, 2005. In fiscal year 2004 HUD sold about 78,000 Real Estate Owned (REO) single-family properties.

The Section 203(k) mortgage financing program is the Housing and Urban Developments (HUD) primary tool for rehabilitating and improving single family homes. The program allows home buyers to finance the purchase and repair or improvement of a home using a single mortgage loan. Reducing radon levels in a home is an improvement that can be financed through a 203(k) mortgage loan. Part of the 203(k) mortgage proceeds must be used to pay the costs of rehabilitating or improving a residential property. To qualify, the total cost of the eligible repairs or improvements, including fixes to reduce radon levels, must be at least $5,000. The 203(k) program is an important tool for expanding home ownership, revitalizing homes, neighborhoods and communities, and for making homes healthier and safer for those who occupy them.

The Checklist was constructed using several sources, including EPA technical radon mitigation and radon-resistant documents, and radon inspection checklists used by state radon programs, e.g., Pennsylvania, New Jersey and Iowa. It was also field tested by ASHI and reviewed by the state radon programs. The Checklist includes information on radon risks, the NAS radon report, ASHI and EPA websites,. The Checklist also encourages consumers who have questions to contact their state radon office.