Monthly Archives: April 2013

The Truth About Radon Gas

There’s a scene in “The Princess Bride” where the villainous Vizzini offers his adversary an invisible, odorless and tasteless poison. While his description is meant to conjure laughs, he could have just as easily been talking about radon gas.

You can not see, smell or taste radon, yet exposure to the gas can make you sick. In fact, the Surgeon General has warned that radon is the second-leading cause of lung cancer in the United States today after smoking.  It can be a really big deal but one that is easily treated.

Radon comes from the natural (radioactive) breakdown of uranium in soil, rock and water and may sneak into the air you breathe by penetrating your home through cracks in the foundation. It can be discovered in all parts of the country and can cause a dangerous high indoor radon level in any home. According to the Environmental Protection Agency, roughly one out of every 15 homes in the U.S. is estimated to have elevated radon levels and homes in Northern Virginia are no exception.

While it’s not a requirement that you test for radon when you make an offer to buy a home in many places, especially homes where the basement is included in the living area, it is a good idea to ask for a Radon Inspection Contingency.

A Radon Inspection Contingency can put some structure into getting a “short-term” radon test done on any home to make sure the levels of radon on the lowest level of the home are below the 4.0 pCi/L level. That level was a target set by the U.S. Congress for indoor air quality, and the U.S. EPA enforces that mandate.

If you are preparing to sell your home, you should test for radon before you even put it on the market.  This can save valuable time during a real estate transaction, as long as you have all the paperwork and testing data to show the prospective buyer.  If you do find out you have elevated radon levels you can remediate before putting your home on the market. If you need help, ask your favorite real estate agent for a recommendation.  At Prudential PenFed Realty we have a list of contractors we use on a regular basis and would be glad to pass on a few names of trusted contractors.

The quickest way to detect radon is with short-term tests, which remain in your home for two to 90 days, depending on the device. The most common detectors are charcoal canisters, alpha track, electret ion chamber, continuous monitors and charcoal liquid scintillation.

Test the home in the lowest level that you currently live in, or a lower level not currently used, but which a buyer could use for living space without making renovations. Elevated radon levels can be remedied with a radon-reduction system, which can reduce the gas by up to 99% percent and cost less than $1,500 to buy and install.

Buyers and sellers should be smart about radon. Every new home should be tested after occupancy, even if it was built radon-resistant or with a radon reducing system installed.

PenFed Announces 30-Year Fixed, Jumbo Loans

People oftentimes ask me what I like about being with Prudential PenFed Realty – being able to offer our clients awesome products like 3.625% on jumbo loans up to $4 Million is at the top of the list. Questions? Ask me! Want to know how to offer your clients these great programs? Call me!

For the full scoop visit

NVAR Publishes March 2013 Regional Home Sales: Northern Virginia

The Northern Virginia Association of Realtors® reports on March 2013 home sales activity for Fairfax and Arlington counties, the cities of Alexandria, Fairfax and Falls Church and the towns of Vienna, Herndon and Clifton.

A total of 1,499 homes sold in March 2013, a 4.02 percent increase above March 2012 home sales of 1,441.

Active listings decreased by about 38 percent from last year, with 2,159 active listings in March, compared with 3,505 homes available in March 2012. The average days on market (DOM) for homes in March 2013 decreased by one-third to 48 days, compared with 72 days in March 2012. Prices rose in March, with the average sales price up by almost 11percent from March 2012, to $531,950, compared with last March’s average of $481,103. The median price of homes sold in Northern Virginia rose by almost 8 percent in March to $442,500, compared with March 2012’s median price of $410,000.

Reflecting a continuing shortage of inventory, the number of new pending home sales in Northern Virginia in March decreased by almost 4 percent to 2,273 compared with 2,359 new contracts pending in March 2012.