Radon testing and mitigation are not required during real estate transactions. Buyers and sellers in a real estate transaction are free to negotiate and respond as they choose. Ultimately, it is up to the buyer to decide what is an acceptable level of radon risk in the home.
Download a printable version of the document Radon in Real Estate Transactions (PDF)
The Minnesota Radon Awareness Act requires specific disclosure and education be provided to potential home buyers during residential real estate transactions in Minnesota. Before signing a purchase agreement to sell or transfer residential real property, the seller shall disclose, in writing to the buyer, any knowledge the seller has of radon concentrations in the dwelling. The disclosure shall include:
The MN Department of Health (MD) is aware that private trade organizations have created forms to facilitate the radon disclosure including the Minnesota Association of Realtors and the Minnesota State Bar Association (MSBA). Individuals may create their own disclosure that meets the requirements of the Minnesota Radon Awareness Act. As a sample of a radon disclosure that meets the disclosure requirements of the Minnesota Radon Awareness Act, the MDH is providing the MSBA Model Radon Disclosure Form: MSBA Radon Disclosure Real Property Form 24 (PDF)
Radon Warning Statement
“The Minnesota Department of Health strongly recommends that ALL homebuyers have an indoor radon test performed prior to purchase or taking occupancy and recommends having the radon levels mitigated if elevated radon concentrations are found. Elevated radon concentrations can easily be reduced by a qualified, certified, or licensed, if applicable, radon mitigator. Every buyer of any interest in residential real property is notified that the property may present exposure to dangerous levels of indoor radon gas that may place the occupants at risk of developing radon-induced lung cancer. Radon, a Class A human carcinogen, is the leading cause of lung cancer in nonsmokers and the second leading cause overall. The seller of any interest in residential real property is required to provide the buyer with any information on radon test results of the dwelling.”
Any real estate testing requires closed-house conditions. This means keeping all windows and exterior doors closed, except for normal entry and exit. Operate home heating or cooling systems normally during the test. Radon tests conducted during a real estate transaction should be done in the lowest level of home that is occupiable (such as the basement or a room above a crawl space) for each foundation of the home. The two most common types of tests in real estate transactions:
Continuous Radon Monitor
This calibrated electronic monitor measures hourly levels other data may also be collected to ensure a valid test. Tests are done for minimum of 48 hours.
Simultaneous short-term testing
Two short-term test kits are used at the same time, placed 4 inches apart. Tests are sent to
a laboratory for analysis. The two test results are averaged to give an overall radon level.
If the home has been tested, the buyer must decide the results of the past test(s) are acceptable. Items to consider include:
If the home has not been tested, the buyer should decide if they wish to request testing. If yes, items to consider include:
As a seller, consider the benefits of testing your house well before you put it on the market, as opposed to waiting until you are in the middle of the sale. If you find a problem that should be fixed, you will have time to get it corrected. You also may get a better price for the home because properly conducted radon tests can be uses as a positive selling feature of the home.
A radon measurement professional may be used when an unbiased third-party is desired. If you plan to perform the test yourself, two basic radon tests are available to the public:
Radon is a naturally occurring gas that is radioactive and can cause lung cancer. Radon can leak into your home and is common in Wisconsin. While you can't see or smell it, you can protect yourself from it. Testing for radon is common when buying or selling a home, but you should take action now by testing your home.
Where does Radon come from?
Radon is a radioactive gas that is found across the state of Wisconsin and travels only a meter or two through soil from where it was created. Radon comes naturally from uranium through a long series of radioactive transformations, meaning it undergoes radium decay before it is transformed into a chemically reactive atom.
Radon enters basements as the air tends to be at lower pressure than the soil gases under the slab. Cracks and openings in basements allow the radon to enter the home.
The soil under and around a house is usually the source of indoor radon. Uranium naturally exists in soil and bedrock, and radon is created when uranium decays. Radon can travel through air pockets in the soil and into your house.
The United States Geological Survey has a paper detailing the geology of radon.(link is external)
House construction (openings to soil) is another variable factor of indoor radon. Radon can enter the home through cracks in the foundation. Learn how to reduce the level of radon in your home and get your home tested!
Various research projects have been done on radon, from how it travels to how it impacts humans. The links below are just a few places you can go for more information.