Beginning January 1, 2008 in Illinois buyers and sellers should be aware of the new Illinois Radon Awareness Act which applies to sales transactions for residential real estate. The law states that sellers must supply the buyer with two documents before the buyer will become bound on the contract to purchase the property. The first document is a pamphlet entitled “Radon Testing Guidelines for Real Estate Transactions”. The second document is a form that the seller will have to execute entitled “Disclosure of Information on Radon Hazards”.
Radon gas is a odorless, colorless radioactive gas that is produced by naturally occurring uranium in the soil. The gas raises from the ground into the air and into homes. Radon is the leading cause of lung cancer among non-smokers and about 1 out of 15 homes in the U.S. are estimated to have levels exceeding national safety standards. Although sellers are not required to test for radon or to reduce levels if they exceed national safety standards, buyers should be aware of this law and negotiate reasonable terms when purchasing residential real estate.
In addition to the new Illinois Radon Awareness Act, sellers have been responsible since 1996 for providing a Lead Paint Disclosure to the buyer. One thing that is not mandatory for the seller to provide is the home inspection report, but it is highly recommended. Home purchases are substantial investments and should not be taken lightly. Every buyer should receive the disclosures listed above and require a home inspection prior to purchasing a potential property. Not every buyer feels that a home inspection is necessary, but the minimal cost of a home inspection is well worth knowing the quality of the home and being able to enjoy it for many years to come.
Eric P. Egeland