When buying or selling a property in Chicago below the 3rd level of a building, you have to fill out and initial the Radon disclosure. This will likely be the first time that you’ve even heard of Radon. Is it a poison? Is it a gas? Did they star in Mortal Kombat? Should you be concerned? Don’t let this paperwork to get lost in the real estate shuffle and just initial haphazardly.
What is Radon?
Radon is a radioactive gas that is the 2nd leading cause of lung cancer, behind smoking. This gas is naturally occurring, caused by the breakdown of uranium in soil, rock, and water. Sometimes, the difference in pressure between the soil surrounding the foundation and the pressure inside of your home can act as a vacuum. It will draw the radon in through any cracks in the foundation or other openings. Radon is a concern both in old homes and brand new construction.
When you inhale the radioactive gas, you are exposing your lungs to trace amounts of radiation. This has the potential to damage the cells in your lungs. When combined with cigarette smoke, it increases your risk factor for lung cancer.
Since the gas can’t be seen or smelled, it’s important to have a test performed. When selling a home, the buyer may ask to perform this test as a part of their inspections. If elevated levels of the gas are detected, remediation efforts will have to take place as it can be a major safety issue. You can have a vent pipe system with a fan installed. This will draw the gas from the house and blow it outside where it is dispersed. The cost for these repairs can vary depending on what type of home you have and where the high levels were detected.
If you’re buying or selling a property with elevated levels, be sure to consult with your real estate professional. They’ll be able to guide you through your options so that you can make an informed decision.