Home Inspections and Radon

As most homeowners know, buying a home not only consists of working with an agent and the bank, but also hiring a home inspector. Typically a home inspection is completed within 10 days of offer acceptance. This allows the buyer to accompany a licensed home inspector throughout the property and investigate all accessible utilities and appliances while ensuring the structural integrity meets standard code. A home inspection basically serves to assist the future homeowner in making any post inspection repair requests, and ultimately determines whether or not the home is an acceptable fit for his/her future purchase. As a buyer, he/she may be alarmed or confused when the home inspector asks if a radon kit will be part of their home inspection package. Heres the truth of the matter, Radon exists, and living in the northeast where ledge is found on every corner of every lot, we see this radioactive gas above the 4.0 EPA limit in about 35% (give or take) of our sales!

Rest assured, while this gas is common and can be scary, it is quite easy to mitigate. As a CHR agent, we are always sure to mention radon to our clients, no matter the side of the deal we are working. Basically, there is always a chance this gas is going to show up in a transaction, and it’s important to have it on your radar. When found, a buyer typically will request the seller to mitigate. Depending on the deal, typically the seller will agree, however, there are certainly times when a seller refuses. Heres the issue though; should both buyer and seller refuse to pay for mitigation and the deal falls through, we as agents have to disclose it on the listing from then on out. So, it’s always in the sellers best interest to mitigate prior to close, or, offer a closing credit to the buyer to avoid going back on market. If not, the odds are, the property will sell for less money the second time around.

The cost to mitigate is usually falls in between $900 - $1400, depending on the company and the size of the property. So what does the mitigation entail? It’s simply a PVC pipe that begins beneath the concrete foundation and fans air up and out of the property. The radon mitigation company will include a radon meter on the pipe that constantly measures the radon level, which if functioning properly, should never make its way above 2.5. In honor of national radon awareness month, Sue Reider, a Certified Inspector and owner of KeyStone Home Inspections, recently added this great explanatory image to her facebook page to help prospective and existing homeowners understand the movement of radon. While most people tend to test for radon in the air, it’s also important to note that radon can be found in well water as well. However, this is typically not as common. This would entail a much more costly mitigation and would be performed by a well water professional. Should you choose to have radon tested, please reach out to your local home inspector, and to test the water, a well servicing company. As always, thank you for reading and pass along this useful tidbit to anyone you know who may be considering their next home.


Going green is great for the environment, but that’s not the only benefit. When you make green upgrades in your home, it can also lead to some major savings.

  1. Solar panels: The upfront cost is big, but the long-term savings are huge. Solar panels will cost several thousand dollars to install, but ongoing maintenance costs are very low, and a typical system could save you hundreds of dollars per year. You can even sell your surplus electricity.
  2. Wood furnace: Wood-burning furnaces are relatively inexpensive, and though the yearly savings aren’t as dramatic (about 10% on heating bills), it adds up over the long run.
  3. Insulation: There’s a good chance your insulation isn’t very efficient, especially in older homes. Look into installing floor, cavity, wall, and loft insulation to reduce your heating bills.
  4. Rain barrels: Rain barrels are extremely inexpensive, and provide gallons of free water to use when you wash your car or water your garden.
  5. Geothermal system: OK, so the price tag is scary at first. A geothermal system uses the earth’s temperature to heat and cool your home, but can cost $30,000 to install. But tax credits allow you to get a lot of that money back, and the energy savings average about $1,900 per year. If you plan to be in your home for a decade or two, it’s a great investment.
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5 Negotiating Tactics That Kill Sale

Negotiation is a subtle art in real estate, but skilled negotiators can usually find some common ground that satisfies all parties. On the other hand, using the wrong negotiation tactics can sink a deal pretty quickly. Here are some negotiation tactics buyers (and real estate professionals) should avoid:

  1. Lowball offers: Going far below market value when you make an offer damages your credibility as a buyer and can be insulting to the seller. The seller has a range in mind that they’ll accept, and if you’re not even approaching the low end of that range, they won’t even consider the offer.
  2. Incremental negotiations: Don’t continue to go back to the seller with small increases in your offer ($1,000 or less). The constant back-and-forth can grow tiresome and lead the seller to consider other opportunities.
  3. “Take it or leave it”: Try not to draw a line in the sand with your initial offer. The seller can get defensive and consider other offers if you immediately show that you’re unwilling to budge. Even if it’s true, don’t make a show of it.
  4. Nitpicking after inspection: Obviously if inspection reveals a major issue, it should be factored into the final sale price. But insisting on a lower price for every minor repair can put negotiations in a stalemate.
  5. Asking for more, more, more: Some buyers will request that the sellers throw in add-ons like furniture or appliances that weren’t included in the listing. Try to avoid giving the seller a reason to build up resentment and think that you’re being greedy.
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