Radon and Real Estate Resources

Buying or Selling a Home? Read the Home Buyer's and Seller's Guide to Radon

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

On this page:

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
  • Key radon numbers, e.g., EPA's 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. Others that will also find the video helpful include:

  • Home inspectors
  • Mortgage lenders
  • Other real estate practitioners
  • Radon services providers

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HUD Federal Housing Commissioner takes action on radon

In a 2006 letter, Brian Montgomery, the Federal Housing Commissioner at HUD informed Federal Housing Administration (FHA) mortgagees about revisions to its home inspection form (HUD-92564-CN). There is a section on radon testing including the EPA and U.S. Surgeon General’s recommendation that all homes be tested. EPA's 1-800-SOS-Radon hotline is also mentioned.

Mortgagees are required to provide the form to prospective homebuyers at first contact. The form is mandatory for all FHA-insured forward mortgages. This requirement potentially reaches millions of homebuyers.

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.

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Financing Residential Radon Mitigation Costs

Using the HUD 203(k) Mortgage Insurance Program to Reduce the Risk of Lung Cancer in People

The Section 203(k) mortgage financing program is the Housing and Urban Development's (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.

Homes eligible for 203(k) financing include:

  1. one to four-family dwellings that have been completed for at least one year;
  2. dwellings that have been demolished, provided some of the existing foundation system remains; and,
  3. converting a one-family dwelling into a two, three, or four-family dwelling; or, alternatively, converting an existing multi-unit dwelling into a one to four-family unit.

The 203(k) program has been used successfully by many lenders to rehabilitate properties through partnerships with state and local housing agencies and with non-profit organizations. To further help borrowers buy homes, lenders have found innovative ways to combine the 203(k) program with other financial resources like HUD's HOPE and Community Development Block Grant Programs.

Contact an FHA-approved lender in your area for more information about HUD’s 203(k) program, or if you are interested in getting a 203(k) insured mortgage loan. Check your phone directory’s blue pages for the HUD office nearest you; they can get you a list of the 203(k) approved lenders in your area.

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ASHI Radon Mitigation System Inspection Checklist

Home inspectors have a new service to offer their home inspection clients; radon mitigation system inspections. The tool that makes this possible is the Radon Mitigation System Inspection Checklist, created by the American Society of Home Inspectors (ASHI), in cooperation with the EPA's Indoor Environments Division. The Checklist promotes radon awareness, testing and mitigation with people who are having their home, or prospective home, inspected.

With just seven inspection elements, the Checklist takes under 15 minutes to complete. Inspectors can easily integrate it into a general home inspection. The inspection results indicate whether the home has a mitigation system, and if so, whether the system is active or passive. It also encourages the consumer to verify that indoor radon levels are below 4 pCi/L, and to consult a qualified mitigator if the inspection notes any apparent deficiencies.

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.

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