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  1. #1
    Ken Kuly's Avatar
    Ken Kuly Guest

    Default Radon Testing Business + Research - NW Chicago Suburbs

    I recently started up a new Radon Measurement business this year out of Palatine Illinois and am interested in talking with Home Inspectors in the area who do not currently perform this test themselves. (FYI, I'm not a Home Inspector, and don't plan to ever do any home inspections outside of Radon)

    I'm a Licensed Radon Measurement Technician in the state of Illinois, with my own sole-proprietorship company... but work under a well known Radon Measurement Professional Company's Quality Assurance Plan as mentioned at my website: www.RadonAgent.com

    Having been a Real Estate agent in the area for 8 years, I plan to use my contacts in the area to generate some business, and conduct Radon education sessions at local Real Estate offices (which I am currently setting up)... and would much appreciate working with Home Inspectors for business leads and presentation content. I've found that most Realtors don't have a very thorough understanding of the Radon in homes issue, and fail to highlight the risk properly when going over the several disclosure forms they have their Buyers sign. My approach to education will be standard Radon awareness training combined with Real Estate license law and office policy recommendations... geared specifically for Realtors.

    Some questions I have for Home Inspectors would be:

    1) Do you always recommend a Radon Test to home buyers (of course in homes under the 3rd floor)? When do you do this? (on phone or at property?)

    2) If not, why not?

    3) Is a Radon Test discussion with a Buyer a regular check off item on your inspection list? Do you go over Radon statistics in the home's area (ie % of homes above 4 pCi/L)?

    Do you expect the Buyer's Real Estate agent to discuss this when having the Buyer review + sign the Radon Disclosure form?... then wait for the Buyer to request the Radon test?

    4) If you subcontract (or refer) the Radon testing out,... why do you?, and how do you choose who to work with?

    5) Any other feedback, or suggestions?

    --Ken

    Similar Threads:
    Inspection Referral SOC

  2. #2
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    Atlanta, GA
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    Default Re: Radon Testing Business + Research - NW Chicago Suburbs

    Ken, when discussing radon with a potential client, I recommend you eliminate any inclination to provide your opinion on whether or not a radon test be performed. Simply explain "The EPA & Surgeons General recommend every home be tested for radon."

    Regarding radon on the check off list, it's not included in the ASHI SoP's. Begin here: American Society of Home Inspectors, ASHI You can refer them to a radon map for your state. Begin here: Radon | Indoor Air | US Environmental Protection Agency

    A few Realtors recommend a home be tested, but the majority don't. It's one more hurdle to get to the closing table. They do give bad advice. For example, you don't need to test if... the home is new, the home is on a slab, the home is possessed, it's a short-sale and the seller is not going to do anything about it, etc.

    Inspectors who choose not to perform radon testing do so for their own reasons. One of the top reasons is I hear is that they do not like returning to the site to retrieve a test.

    Last edited by Hank Spinnler; 09-23-2011 at 01:48 PM.

  3. #3
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    Default Re: Radon Testing Business + Research - NW Chicago Suburbs

    I have to agree. Keep your opinions to yourself. State the facts.
    Remember that you are now the "specialist" and must deal in facts.
    You won't be able to get away with an "opinion" like may Realtors do.


  4. #4
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    Default Re: Radon Testing Business + Research - NW Chicago Suburbs

    hey all

    i have a line on my inspection agreement that states-RADON TEST DENIED BY CLIENT --AND HAVE THEM INTIAL IT AT INSPECTION--and also have the same for INSPECTOR RECOMENDS HAVING SEWER LINE INSPECTED FOR ANY POSSIBLE BREAKS OR CLOGS-have them intial that to--why

    had one client come back when they sold house two years later--and radon results were high--and another with busted clay sewer tile.

    my agreement grows yearly

    cover thy backside

    cvf


  5. #5
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    Maryland
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    Default Re: Radon Testing Business + Research - NW Chicago Suburbs

    Ken,

    Unless you already have one, I strongly recommend you get either an NEHA or NRSB certification in radon measurement.

    Proficiency certification (if applicable) in the type of equipment you use should also be done.

    The reason I mention this is I did not see any information at you site that says you hold any certs.


  6. #6
    Ken Kuly's Avatar
    Ken Kuly Guest

    Default Re: Radon Testing Business + Research - NW Chicago Suburbs

    Thanks guys for all of the feedback from my post last week. If I may, I would like to be more specific regarding what I would like to know from Home Inspectors about "Their responsibilities with respect to Real Estate Property Disclosure covered items." (... and especially regarding the Radon Disclosure).

    In Illinois these diclosures would include:
    1) Residential Real Property Disclosure Report
    2) Lead Paint Disclosure
    3) Mold Disclosure
    4) Radon Disclosure

    With my perspective of having been a Realtor for many years... but now doing Radon testing, and soon to be conducting 'Radon for Realtor' training, ... as Home Inspectors would you agree with my following analysis?...

    1) Regarding the Property Disclosure: Obviously since this seller-completed-report might identify some material defects, leaks, etc in the electrical, plumbing, walls, basement, etc... in addition to going over the standard punch list, the Home Inspector should be provided with a copy of this disclosure with any specific "Yes" problems identified on the form for further inspection (typically by the buyers agent). *Obviously a Home Inspector responsibility. Right?

    2) Lead Paint: The further we get from 1978 when lead paint was banned (and with homes newer than that) it seems that this disclosure is getting more irrelevant. When I was selling real estate I never had a lead paint issue at a property sale, and the only caution for a pre-1978-home buyer is that if you need any renovation done in the home where more than a couple sqft of wall needs to be removed... and lead paint might be involved... qualified lead-paint-removal workers need to be hired. *In this area, again, the Home Inspector is the initial expert trained to identify potentially lead paint (typically a problem if pealing). I understand that Home Inspectors can use a marker that reveals if paint has lead. Then if further testing is needed, paint samples can be obtained and lab tested. Right?

    3) Mold: (Only some Real Estate Brokers use this form.) Home Inspectors would typically look in attics + basements for signs of mold + leak/flood damage; have devices that measure moisture in walls... and can recommend further lab testing of mold samples if warranted. Right?

    ** OK, at this point, in all of the above instances, the Home Inspector is the professional hired by the buyer client to typically advise them as to these issues. Right? (Not the responsibility of the buyer's attorney, loan officer, or Realtor). So it's natural for home buyers to also turn to this professional concerning the last disclosure...

    4) Radon: Which brings me to Radon, an invisible gas and a potential air quality problem that cannot be identified without a 48hr+ Radon test. As is typical the Seller completes the form having no knowledge of any Radon in the home. The Buyer is given the Radon pamphlet w/warning (hopefully reads it, but that's not mandatory)... then signs off on the disclosure having been "properly warned".... all of the professionals hired by the buyer are protected from suit.

    The pamphlet says that IEMA advises all home owners (buyers) to have their homes tested... but it doesn't mention that In the US... 1 out of 15 homes have high concentrations (over 4 pCi/L) or that In Illinois it's over 1 out of 3 homes. Are most Home Inspectors providing these statistics? Many Inspectors aren't Radon Measurement techs and don't do this test... and subcontract / refer it out. Do you think buyers are being reliably informed whether this might likely be a problem or not?

    As a Realtor, my experience was that very few buyers were requesting a Radon test. Whether or not Home Inspectors are doing a thorough job or not of advising their clients about this serious potential health problem (this is where I would appreciate your comments)... I believe that it would be advisable for Realtors to make sure that buyers are properly informed by themselves being appropriately briefed on Radon statistics in the area, etc and making sure that the buyer is aware of the IEMA warning. (Realtors should inform here, not recommend).

    If you are a Home Inspector, do you believe that this issue is being well covered by most if not all Home Inspectors... or would you agree that Realtors should probably help provide their clients with Radon information / stats to make sure that they are informed? With all respect to the Home Inspection industry... This is about consistently providing 'best of service' to the client. Thoughts? (If you got this far, congratulations!)


  7. #7
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    Default Re: Radon Testing Business + Research - NW Chicago Suburbs

    Quote Originally Posted by Ken Kuly View Post
    Thanks guys for all of the feedback from my post last week. If I may, I would like to be more specific regarding what I would like to know from Home Inspectors about "Their responsibilities with respect to Real Estate Property Disclosure covered items." (... and especially regarding the Radon Disclosure).

    In Illinois these diclosures would include:
    1) Residential Real Property Disclosure Report
    2) Lead Paint Disclosure
    3) Mold Disclosure
    4) Radon Disclosure

    With my perspective of having been a Realtor for many years... but now doing Radon testing, and soon to be conducting 'Radon for Realtor' training, ... as Home Inspectors would you agree with my following analysis?...

    1) Regarding the Property Disclosure: Obviously since this seller-completed-report might identify some material defects, leaks, etc in the electrical, plumbing, walls, basement, etc... in addition to going over the standard punch list, the Home Inspector should be provided with a copy of this disclosure with any specific "Yes" problems identified on the form for further inspection (typically by the buyers agent). *Obviously a Home Inspector responsibility. Right?

    2) Lead Paint: The further we get from 1978 when lead paint was banned (and with homes newer than that) it seems that this disclosure is getting more irrelevant. When I was selling real estate I never had a lead paint issue at a property sale, and the only caution for a pre-1978-home buyer is that if you need any renovation done in the home where more than a couple sqft of wall needs to be removed... and lead paint might be involved... qualified lead-paint-removal workers need to be hired. *In this area, again, the Home Inspector is the initial expert trained to identify potentially lead paint (typically a problem if pealing). I understand that Home Inspectors can use a marker that reveals if paint has lead. Then if further testing is needed, paint samples can be obtained and lab tested. Right?

    3) Mold: (Only some Real Estate Brokers use this form.) Home Inspectors would typically look in attics + basements for signs of mold + leak/flood damage; have devices that measure moisture in walls... and can recommend further lab testing of mold samples if warranted. Right?

    ** OK, at this point, in all of the above instances, the Home Inspector is the professional hired by the buyer client to typically advise them as to these issues. Right? (Not the responsibility of the buyer's attorney, loan officer, or Realtor). So it's natural for home buyers to also turn to this professional concerning the last disclosure...

    4) Radon: Which brings me to Radon, an invisible gas and a potential air quality problem that cannot be identified without a 48hr+ Radon test. As is typical the Seller completes the form having no knowledge of any Radon in the home. The Buyer is given the Radon pamphlet w/warning (hopefully reads it, but that's not mandatory)... then signs off on the disclosure having been "properly warned".... all of the professionals hired by the buyer are protected from suit.

    The pamphlet says that IEMA advises all home owners (buyers) to have their homes tested... but it doesn't mention that In the US... 1 out of 15 homes have high concentrations (over 4 pCi/L) or that In Illinois it's over 1 out of 3 homes. Are most Home Inspectors providing these statistics? Many Inspectors aren't Radon Measurement techs and don't do this test... and subcontract / refer it out. Do you think buyers are being reliably informed whether this might likely be a problem or not?

    As a Realtor, my experience was that very few buyers were requesting a Radon test. Whether or not Home Inspectors are doing a thorough job or not of advising their clients about this serious potential health problem (this is where I would appreciate your comments)... I believe that it would be advisable for Realtors to make sure that buyers are properly informed by themselves being appropriately briefed on Radon statistics in the area, etc and making sure that the buyer is aware of the IEMA warning. (Realtors should inform here, not recommend).

    If you are a Home Inspector, do you believe that this issue is being well covered by most if not all Home Inspectors... or would you agree that Realtors should probably help provide their clients with Radon information / stats to make sure that they are informed? With all respect to the Home Inspection industry... This is about consistently providing 'best of service' to the client. Thoughts? (If you got this far, congratulations!)
    Ken,

    1) I believe the disclosure statements to have little value because few sellers give their responses serious (and possibly honest) thought.

    2) I believe that it is a bit off track to say that the H.I. is trained to identify potential lead paint issues. It's outside of any SoP and training programs really don't cover it. An inspector would have to take his own initiative to educate himself about lead and as you may know it's difficult to get many to go beyond the "101" classes, especially when you consider Illinois does not recognize advanced topics for CEs.

    3) For an inspector to simply recommend mold testing is misleading advice. Again, H.I.s are not properly trained in issues of mold (see lead comments) and too often their directing people into expenses that are il-advised. Long discussion on this that I won't get into here. I've seen way too many clients who have spent thousands on mold problems only to find the approach they were guided into was wrong.

    4) As for the radon - I'd much prefer to see the agent taking the lead in providing the initial info on radon. As an inspector my plate can be rather full as it is. I am one of the few who see the agent / inspector relationship as a team effort that works for the benefit and protection of the buyer. It's my belief that good agents are well trained and qualified to help guide buyers through the purchasing process - with that in mind, I don't see a need for my responsibility to educate buyers on radon. I view that as part of the R.E. transaction and I prefer to distance myself from that and consider that to be distinctly separate from what I do.

    Eric Barker, ACI
    Lake Barrington, IL

  8. #8
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    Mar 2007
    Location
    Atlanta, Georgia
    Posts
    1,078

    Default Re: Radon Testing Business + Research - NW Chicago Suburbs

    1) Do you always recommend a Radon Test to home buyers (of course in homes under the 3rd floor)? When do you do this? (on phone or at property?) No.

    2) If not, why not? It does not make me any money and I am not convinced that Radon is a real threat. Only one area of town has any consistently high tests.

    3) Is a Radon Test discussion with a Buyer a regular check off item on your inspection list? Do you go over Radon statistics in the home's area (ie % of homes above 4 pCi/L)? No.

    Do you expect the Buyer's Real Estate agent to discuss this when having the Buyer review + sign the Radon Disclosure form?... then wait for the Buyer to request the Radon test? Don't put any thought at all into what Agents do or don't tell clients. I would presume that if I wanted to sell Radon testing that it is entirely up to me and would not rely on agents or anyone else to convince the client to purchase testing.

    4) If you subcontract (or refer) the Radon testing out,... why do you?, and how do you choose who to work with? No state licensing in my area. I refer out to a NEHA/ARRST certified fella who I trust because some buyers want/expect/demand a Radon test. Without the ability to test, I would loose these inspections.

    5) Any other feedback, or suggestions? Average fee in my area is $100-$150 for a radon test. Two trips to the site, plus report writing, contract signing, scheduling overhead and it is barely a break even proposition. If the home inspector is doing the work, one trip is already covered by the home inspection. Some of the paperwork and scheduling overhead can be folded into the home inspection. Not sure how Radon testing as a standalone business could be profitable. My contractor is also a mitigator and so does them for me with the hopes of getting a mitigation out of the test.

    "The Code is not a peak to reach but a foundation to build from."

  9. #9
    Bill Parrish's Avatar
    Bill Parrish Guest

    Default Re: Radon Testing Business + Research - NW Chicago Suburbs

    Quote Originally Posted by Eric Barker View Post

    1) I believe the disclosure statements to have little value because few sellers give their responses serious (and possibly honest) thought.
    Few sellers? Really? Exactly how many? Where did you get the statistics to back that statement up? Did you do the seller interviews yourself to make such a call, or did you pay a lot of money for an accurate survey. Or, did you just pull that serious (and possibly honest) comment out of your arse?


  10. #10
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    Default Re: Radon Testing Business + Research - NW Chicago Suburbs

    Quote Originally Posted by Bill Parrish View Post
    Few sellers? Really? Exactly how many? Where did you get the statistics to back that statement up? Did you do the seller interviews yourself to make such a call, or did you pay a lot of money for an accurate survey. Or, did you just pull that serious (and possibly honest) comment out of your arse?
    Bill,

    Probably pulled it out of his arse just like you did your unnecessary comment.

    He probably pulled out of where virtually ALL SERIOUS HOME INSPECTORS GET THE SAME opinion ...

    ... from EXPERIENCE!

    I can tell you that for the 17 years I did inspections before retiring that probably 95% of the seller disclosures were WORTHLESS ... and I would say that makes that other 5% of sellers "few sellers" in the scheme of things.

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
    Construction Litigation Consultants, LLC ( www.ConstructionLitigationConsultants.com )
    www.AskCodeMan.com

  11. #11
    Ken Kuly's Avatar
    Ken Kuly Guest

    Default Re: Radon Testing Business + Research - NW Chicago Suburbs

    Again guys... Thanks for your comments to my follow up post last week. I plan to use some of your feedback in my discussions + training with Realtors.

    As for the last two contentious comments referring to Seller disclosures...

    Having been a Realtor for 8 years, I of course dealt with the 'Property' and other disclosure forms that Sellers complete as a part of the contract paperwork that Buyers then review (+ sign) prior to making an offer on a property. OF COURSE these Seller disclosures should always be 'taken with a grain of salt'... You should never assume that the Seller answers are always truthful or accurate. However, they are useful in at least 2 ways...

    1) If the Seller states that there is/was a problem with the property in some way at some time... that disclosure item (say a leak in the basement) should be given some additional attention by an H.I. for an opinion (I would think).

    2) If after the purchase the Buyer later finds that there IS a problem with a disclosure item that the Seller said was not a defect... and it can be proven that the Seller was/should have been aware... the Buyer can sue the Seller for damages.

    Do Sellers lie on disclosures 95% of the time?, 50%, or 10%.... I don't know. If there's ever been a study on this... I am not aware of it. In any event, I would think that what matters is that you need these legal disclosure forms completed by the Seller... 1) for the record, and 2) for possible H.I additional review, and 3) of course because they are legally required to complete the real estate transaction.


  12. #12
    Join Date
    Dec 2010
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    Nazareth, Pa 18064
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    45

    Default Re: Radon Testing Business + Research - NW Chicago Suburbs

    A few post up someone said the they don't make any money doing radon
    ???????????????? Or did I mis-read.
    you should be doing enough radon in a year to buy a new KIA or Hyundi, even after deducting your mileage for shlepping back for the monitor. (unless you live in and area that does not have high levels)


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