A new law requiring more detailed disclosure and information about radon in Minnesota homes during most residential real estate transactions went into effect January 1, 2014.
The Minnesota Radon Awareness Act requires sellers to inform buyers whether their home has been tested for radon and if so, what the levels are and whether the home has been mitigated for radon.
Radon is the leading environmental cause of cancer deaths in the United States and the leading cause of lung cancer among non-smokers. More than 21,000 lung cancer deaths are attributed to radon each year in the U.S.
Fortunately, the risk is largely preventable, by testing homes and fixing radon problems. About 2 in 5 Minnesota homes have dangerous levels of radon gas and state health officials say every home should be tested.
Radon is an odorless, colorless and tasteless radioactive gas that occurs naturally in Minnesota soils. It can enter into all kinds of homes through cracks or openings in walls or foundations. The only way for residents to know if their home has radon is to test.
According to the new disclosure law, sellers will need to provide three kinds of information to buyers before signing a purchase agreement to sell or transfer residential property:
1. A radon disclosure form that includes a.) whether a radon test has occurred; b.) records of radon concentrations; c.) a description of any radon concentrations, mitigation, or remediation; and d.) information regarding the radon mitigation system.
2. A radon warning statement outlining the health risks of radon, the potential for radon in Minnesota homes and recommending testing.
3. A two-page publication entitled "Radon in Real Estate Transactions" that provides more details on radon topics.
Considering that there are approximately 100,000 home sales per year in Minnesota, increasing radon awareness during real estate transactions has the potential to increase radon testing and mitigation of homes significantly, according to indoor air specialists at the Minnesota Department of Health (MDH). "This law will help improve the health and safety of Minnesotans by informing home buyers about the harmful effects of radon gas at the point of sale," said Dan Tranter, indoor air program supervisor for MDH. "This allows potential buyers to be educated on radon and to request a radon test be performed on the property in a similar manner as home inspections are requested and conducted."
Experience in others states has shown that once a buyer is aware of a radon problem, many will elect to install a radon reduction system, Tranter said. In Illinois, the rate of homes tested during real estate transactions increased 400 percent after the passage of that state's radon awareness act. Currently, about 30 percent of home sales in Illinois have a radon test conducted during the purchase process.
Radon tests can be incorporated into a home inspection. The law does not require radon testing or mitigation; only disclosure of whether testing or mitigation of the home has been done.
Testing is easy, inexpensive and only takes 3-5 days. The best time to test is during the heating seasons, but testing can be done year-round. Test kits are available at city and county health departments, many hardware stores, or directly from radon testing laboratories. A list of participating health agencies and test kit vendors can be found on the MDH website at http://www.health.state.mn.us/divs/eh/indoorair/radon/rncontacts.html.
Tests should be done in the lowest level of the home that is frequently occupied. If your home's level is at or above 4 piC/L, you should consider verification testing and having a radon mitigation system installed. Anyone interested in mitigating his or her home for radon should consult MDH's list of certified radon mitigation contractors at http://www.health.state.mn.us/divs/eh/indoorair/radon/mitigation.html.
For more information on radon testing and mitigation visit http://www.health.state.mn.us/divs/eh/indoorair/radon/index.html or call the Minnesota Department of Health Indoor Air Unit at 651-201-4601 or 1-800-798-9050. To see how radon has affected the lives of cancer patients and their families visit www.CanSar.org.
Source: Minnesota Department of Health
|Tips on Showing Your Home
To help us sell your home . . . show it off!
People usually decide within two minutes whether they like a home or not. The first impression is often the lasting impression. And they start forming their opinion before they even walk in the front door!
So it is smart to ask yourself if your home is as presentable as it can be. The best way to find out is to imagine you're a prospective buyer. You've probably been looking at other homes, so approach your present home the way you look at other houses.
If you are a seller . . . think like a buyer!
KEEP IT COOL! On a warm day, make sure your air conditioner is turned down enough to make the house pleasantly cool, so it's obvious that your home has air conditioning. The prospective buyer may be uncomfortably warm and walking into your nice cool house may be just the thing to tip the scales in your favor.
ATMOSPHERE COUNTS! Aroma of cookies or bread being baked adds to a pleasant atmosphere...as does a nice fire glowing in your fireplace on a chilly day.
FIRST IMPRESSIONS ARE LASTING IMPRESSIONS. An inviting exterior insures inspection of the interior. Keep your lawn trimmed and edged -the flowerbed cultivated-the yard free and clear of refuse. Remove snow and ice from the walks and porch stoop in the wintertime.
DECORATE YOUR HOME-A STEP TOWARD A SALE. Does any part of your house need painting? Faded walls and worn woodwork reduce buyer interest. It's sometimes difficult for a prospective buyer to perceive how a place can be made to look-show the redecorating first. A quicker sale at a higher price may result.
SPARKLING CLEAN. A bright, tidy home greatly enhances its appeal to buyers. Does your carpeting need to be cleaned or replaced? Clean walls, windows and bathrooms will brighten things up. Keep the bedrooms tidy. The attic, basement and garage need to be as neat and clean as possible. If you remove all unnecessary articles, the full value of your storage and utility space will be displayed. And it's the first impression that counts!
FIX THAT FAUCET. Dripping water discolors the enamel and calls attention to faulty plumbing. Needed little repairs detract from a home's value and the few hours you spend as a handyman can pay you large benefits.
A DAY W1TH THE CARPENTER. Loose doorknobs, sticking drawers, and warped cabinet doors are noticed by prospects! Have them fixed. Are your screens in good shape? What about the windows? Do they work well or do they need attention?
CLOSET ILLUSIONS. Clothes properly hung, shoes, hats and other articles neatly placed will make your closets appear adequate. Remove some clothing, if necessary, to make them look roomier.
DEAR TO YOUR HEART IS THE KITCHEN. Colorful curtains in harmony with the floor and countertops add appeal. Clear countertops help give a feeling of spaciousness. And your appliances should be in good working order!
CAN YOU SEE THE LIGHT? Illumination is a welcome sign. Turn on all the lights from the front door to the back... from top to bottom... and the prospect will feel glowing warmth otherwise hard to attain. And keep your draperies open during the day!
THREE'S A CROWD. Avoid having too many people present during showings. The prospect will feel like an intruder and will hurry through the house. Remind the children to stay in the background and out of the way. We want the prospects' attention focused on your home, in an unhurried way.
SOFT BACKGROUND MUSIC . . very soft . . . make a home feel comfortable to a buyer. But turn off the television-it's too distracting. Let the buyer and agent talk free of disturbances.
LOVE ME, LOVE MY DOG does not apply in home selling! Keep pets out of the way, under control, and preferably out of the house. And a little air freshener is sometimes advisable, particularly if the house has been closed up for some time. Also, please empty litter boxes.
PUTTING THE CART BEFORE THE HORSE. Trying to dispose of furniture to the prospect before they have purchased the house often loses a sale. Proper timing is important and these matters are best dealt with after an offer has been negotiated.
BE IT EVER SO HUMBLE. Never apologize for the appearance of your home. After all, it has been lived in.
IN THE SHADOWS. We've found that showings are more effective if the salesperson and prospect tour your property unaccompanied. The salesperson knows the buyer's requirements and can better emphasize those features. Please don't follow the agent around.
A WORD TO THE WISE. Do not discuss price, terms, possession or other factors with the buyers. Refer them to us. We are better able to bring the negotiation to a favorable conclusion as intermediary third parties.
AND LAST BUT NOT LEAST. . . we ask that your home be shown to prospective customers only by appointment through our office. Refer any inquiries, including anyone who may call you or come to your door, to your sales associate. Your cooperation will be appreciated and will help effect a sale more quickly.
|A Dozen Reasons to use a Realtor®
1. Your REALTOR® can help you determine your buying power -- that is, your financial reserves plus your borrowing capacity. If you give a REALTOR® some basic information about your available savings, income and current debt, he or she can refer you to lenders best qualified to help you. Most lenders -- banks and mortgage companies -- offer limited choices.
2. Your REALTOR® has many resources to assist you in your home search. Sometimes the property you are seeking is available but not actively advertised in the market, and it will take some investigation by your agent to find all available properties.
3. Your REALTOR® can assist you in the selection process by providing objective information about each property. Agents who are REALTORS® have access to a variety of informational resources. REALTORS® can provide local community information on utilities, zoning. schools, etc. There are two things you'll want to know. First, will the property provide the environment I want for a home or investment? Second, will the property have resale value when I am ready to sell?
4. Your REALTOR® can help you negotiate. There are myriad negotiating factors, including but not limited to price, financing, terms, date of possession and often the inclusion or exclusion of repairs and furnishings or equipment. The purchase agreement should provide a period of time for you to complete appropriate inspections and investigations of the property before you are bound to complete the purchase. Your agent can advise you as to which investigations and inspections are recommended or required.
5. Your REALTOR® provides due diligence during the evaluation of the property. Depending on the area and property, this could include inspections for termites, dry rot, asbestos, faulty structure, roof condition, septic tank and well tests, just to name a few. Your REALTOR® can assist you in finding qualified responsible professionals to do most of these investigations and provide you with written reports. You will also want to see a preliminary report on the title of the property. Title indicates ownership of property and can be mired in confusing status of past owners or rights of access. The title to most properties will have some limitations; for example, easements (access rights) for utilities. Your REALTOR®, title company or attorney can help you resolve issues that might cause problems at a later date.
6. Your REALTOR® can help you in understanding different financing options and in identifying qualified lenders.
7. Your REALTOR® can guide you through the closing process and make sure everything flows together smoothly.
8. When selling your home, your REALTOR® can give you up-to-date information on what is happening in the marketplace and the price, financing, terms and condition of competing properties. These are key factors in getting your property sold at the best price, quickly and with minimum hassle.
9. Your REALTOR® markets your property to other real estate agents and the public. Often, your REALTOR® can recommend repairs or cosmetic work that will significantly enhance the salability of your property. Your REALTOR® markets your property to other real estate agents and the public. In many markets across the country, over 50% of real estate sales are cooperative sales; that is, a real estate agent other than yours brings in the buyer. Your REALTOR® acts as the marketing coordinator, disbursing information about your property to other real estate agents through a Multiple Listing Service or other cooperative marketing networks, open houses for agents, etc. The REALTOR® Code of Ethics requires REALTORS® to utilize these cooperative relationships when they benefit their clients.
10. Your REALTOR® will know when, where and how to advertise your property. There is a misconception that advertising sells real estate. The NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS® studies show that 82% of real estate sales are the result of agent contacts through previous clients, referrals, friends, family and personal contacts. When a property is marketed with the help of your REALTOR®, you do not have to allow strangers into your home. Your REALTOR® will generally prescreen and accompany qualified prospects through your property.
11. Your REALTOR® can help you objectively evaluate every buyer's proposal without compromising your marketing position. This initial agreement is only the beginning of a process of appraisals, inspections and financing -- a lot of possible pitfalls. Your REALTOR® can help you write a legally binding, win-win agreement that will be more likely to make it through the process.
12. Your REALTOR® can help close the sale of your home. Between the initial sales agreement and closing (or settlement), questions may arise. For example, unexpected repairs are required to obtain financing or a cloud in the title is discovered. The required paperwork alone is overwhelming for most sellers. Your REALTOR® is the best.
|Why Use Woods & Shores Real Estate...
Are you tired of the same old hype? Realtors® telling you what they think you want to hear, giving you unfulfilled promises and telling you they are the best, yet they are not able to follow through. They are good showmen, but poor performers.
In your experience, is customer service a thing of the past, not just in real estate, but in all business?
Are you in the market to buy or sell a home, vacation property, or acreage? If so, please take a moment to read this informational article. Yes, we are about to tell you the same hype, but our proven reputation shows that it is FACT! Just ask around!
Did you know national real estate firms cannot always serve you the best? At Woods & Shores Real Estate, Inc. you get national exposure and much more.
Did you know that if you list your property for sale with Woods & Shores your home is on all the local and national real estate web sites due to broker reciprocity? In addition to that we are on all the major home search engines such as....
GOOGLE base,YAHOO real estate, AOL real estate,TRULIA real estate search, ZILLOW.com, FRONTDOOR,CYBER HOMES,OODLE, HOMEFINDER.com, HOTPADS.com, VAST, CLR Search, LAKEHOMES USA and many, many more!
Did you know Woods & Shores belongs to the Multiple Listing Service with data sharing that gives agents all over Minnesota the ability to view your property details?
Did you know many of our clients come from referrals, even if they have a relative or friend in the business? They know we get the job done.
Did you know we have agents that are also appraisers? We visit and evaluate homes on a daily basis – far more than most Realtors®.
Did you know that title/closing companies and mortgage firms consider it a privilege to work with our clients due to our high standards, ethics and knowledge? We have accurate and organized transactions, because of our knowledge, experience and service, thus allowing us to perform beyond expectations.
Did you know a large majority of contracts we receive from other firms are incomplete? We scrutinize every document to protect you. We are not hungry rookies looking to make the deal and overlooking the details. If the contract isn’t complete, we send it back to the broker until it is.
Did you know that properties listed on the Multiple Listing Service show information that is often times in error/misrepresented and that you and/or the agent could be held liable? Accuracy is a must!
Did you know that working with the “in-house” mortgage lenders and closing companies that the national firms offer, may not be in your best interest? We encourage our clients to shop around and get the best deal. We have a list of reputable firms to get you started in the direction that best meets your needs.
Did you know we have no hidden or administrative fees? HONEST!
Did you know Woods & Shores Real Estate, Inc. will give you the name and phone number of any of our past clients (with their permission) so you can test our “Just ask around!” slogan and ask about their experiences?
Did you know that if you call us you WILL get a response?
When it comes to real estate, you need someone looking out for your best interest. You need someone who knows what to look for, someone with strong ethics, impeccable reputation and who is well known for unsurpassed service.
Don’t take a chance on one of life’s most important and emotional decisions. For outstanding representation, ethical performance and the power of skilled negotiating, do yourself a favor and give us the opportunity to serve you the way you deserve to be served. We have raised the bar in Real Estate.
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