Not many days go by without the A1 Radon team getting calls from house sellers and buyers in all sorts of predicaments. Of course, we’re not solicitors, but sometimes we feel like it! Because the majority of the calls we receive are from cautious sellers and buyers asking for advice on what to say to the house sale chain. And Radon Bonds are regularly what we are asked about, what are they, why do you need them?
Those buying a property are usually very concerned and question whether they should even buy a house with radon. More often than not the buyer has been looking at houses for a while. They find what they think is the perfect home, but then the ‘thing’ they’ve never even heard of (radon) puts a spanner in the works.
The question most of those callers generally ask is: “Should I go ahead and buy a house if it has radon?” Their concerns are around whether this problem can be fixed or should they pull out of the sale? They’ve heard quite worrying statements from people who don’t know enough on the topic, saying: “The house could be radioactive and will your family be safe?”
Then we have the other concerned party – the seller.
Often they fall into two camps! Either, “I’ve lived in this house for many years and never had a problem. Now, this thing I’ve never heard of is jeopardising the sale.”
These guys usually won’t believe radon is real. They think it’s all a load of rubbish as far as they’re concerned.
Then from some buyers, you get the opposite reaction. They do believe it’s real and they want to know the quickest, safest way to eliminate or reduce the risks to their family and the future buyer. They want to do the right thing.
Those are our two most common types of calls. And we recommend the same simple steps for both.
Ask the following questions…
- Has the property been tested with passive monitors?
- Has a simple postcode search on the radon map been conducted before calling us?
- Was a location issue flagged? (Although I don’t entirely trust the generic maps. That’s for another blog though!)
- Has a radon bond been discussed and does your solicitor know how to put one into the conveyancing documents?
Once these basic questions have been answered we can advise what to do, and, you’ll be pleased to hear there are numerous options.
We must state at this point, we do not recommend the ‘seller place short term 10-Day detectors. Unfortunately, these can be tampered with and therefore are not always an accurate picture of the real issue (and we’ve had previous experience of this!).
The better, safer and more accurate course of action is to use a qualified radon-reduction company, like A1 Radon. A survey of the property, either virtually or in person, is conducted and advice is given on the ‘worst-case scenario’ radon reduction costs should this be necessary.
What is a Radon Bond?
When the survey is completed…
Should there be a high level of radon that needs mitigation, for the purpose of buying or selling a property, we recommend a Radon Bond/Retention is put in place for 6 months to allow for testing.
A radon bond is an agreement entered into by the buyer and the seller of a property. It normally involves the buyer’s solicitor retaining a small part of the purchase price, for a set period of time while testing is carried out and that can be used towards paying for radon remedial works should they prove necessary after the house has changed hands.
If readings are above the action level, then the sum of money put aside is used to pay for reduction works. If the readings come back below the action level the sum of money is returned to the seller immediately.
This is a simple solution and all parties have peace of mind that the potential problem is being addressed, and the sale can continue.
The most important thing to understand when buying or selling a property that may have radon ingress is not to panic. As we always say in the industry the only way to truly know a property’s radon levels is to test.
This is why we’re here to help and offer both advice and remedial actions. So you and your family can look forward to living in your new home knowing it’s safe to do so.
Call us on 01676 463060 if you’re buying or selling a property and would welcome a chat.