Radon is an odorless, colorless gas that can cause cancer. When you buy a home part of your home inspection is for radon. If the radon level is too high, installing a mitigation system ventilates the basement to a safe amount.
Radon is an environmentally hazardous substance. As a result, it is strictly regulated by the Federal Environmental Protection Agency Disclosure of high radon levels is required.
Because of this, any radon test revealing unacceptable levels must be disclosed by the seller to the buyer. Radon mitigation systems must also be disclosed. Disclosure must be no later than when a house goes into contract.
At a home inspection today, my buyers and I were shocked to learn that the house has a radon mitigation system due to a high radon reading when the owner inspected the home at his time of purchase. The listing agent admitted she knew about it when she first listed the house.
Look at what happened. My buyer made an offer on the house. The offer was accepted. We were in contract on the house. No one told us about this. So we went through the Attorney Review process (for which my buyer’s attorney should be paid) to create a final binding contract. Then my buyer paid to have home inspections done. Now they tell us the house had a high radon level so they installed a mitigation system?
You might ask why I didn’t see it. Because it was not visible. The basement was filled with junk so you couldn’t see it in the basement and outside bushes against the house hid signs of the mitigation system there too.
Homeowners rely on their listing agents to properly market their homes. It was not the owner’s intention to be unethical and the listing agent should have known better.
She violated NJ Real Estate Commission Rules & Regulations and The Realtor Code of Ethics. None of this apparently mattered to her because now my buyer was emotionally invested in the house as his home and hundreds of dollars were being spent today on his inspections. Frankly while the agent thought she was being smart, I think it was a case of not being properly trained; not all agents have the benefit of good training.
I asked my buyer “If you knew this beforehand, would you have looked at the house?” He answered “No” so I told him to cancel the contract, let’s find another house. It was too late. This house was his home emotionally and he even verbalized that this was the case.
Our home inspector found the mitigation system (hidden outside by bushes and inside behind paneled walls). Never choose a home inspector by how little they charge. Our inspector was Harish Chauhan of 1st Inspection Services (732.384.2068). If it wasn’t for Harish we never would have found it.