COVID-19 delays, Radon


Dear David,

We’re building a new house. It’s supposed to close at the beginning of September. How do you think COVID-19 will affect our closing date? – CONSTRUCTION CONCERNS

DEAR CONCERNS: At the time of this writing, some residential construction is still considered an essential service. But because the list of pandemic closures is subject to change, it’s hard to know exactly where we’ll be in five months.

Most new homes are covered by a Tarion warranty, which grants the builder two extensions of 120 days each (with written notice), and provides compensation for a buyer who experiences additional delays. However, with your closing date months away and the COVID-19 situation uncertain, things may not progress exactly as planned. If you’ve already sold your current home, it’s reasonable to start thinking about a contingency plan in case there is an unexpected setback.

Communication will be key from here on in. Stay in touch with your Realtor (and if you didn’t purchase with a Realtor, reach out to your builder’s representative).

PRO TIP: In another month or so, I expect we’ll have a clearer understanding of where things are headed and when we might return to some degree of normalcy. With so much up in the air, your builder will likely welcome the chance to provide you with whatever certainties they can as you move forward.

Dear David,

I’ve heard about radon in the news. We’re thinking of selling, should we do a radon test before we put our home on the market? – RADIO ACTIVE

DEAR RADIO: Unsafe radon levels are an unusual occurrence in our region, though I have heard of a few local cases.

Radon is an odourless, tasteless, naturally occurring radioactive gas that comes from the breakdown of uranium in rocks and soil (so its prevalence varies, depending on where you live). Radon can enter a home in locations where soil meets the foundation, such as floor drains and basement cracks. Like mold, radon is everywhere and levels measuring at or under Health Canada guidelines are thought to be present in almost every home. Radon becomes problematic when it accumulates, typically in a basement or crawl space. Long term exposure at high levels has been linked to lung cancer.

Radon detectors are readily available, and you’ll find DIY test kits at the hardware store for $30 or less. Accumulation issues are remedied by sealing cracks and improving ventilation to the affected areas, though if you discover a concentration of radon in your home, I suggest calling a professional before taking on these jobs.

PRO TIP: Radon testing isn’t part of a typical home inspection (and isn’t often requested). That said, any information you can provide a buyer is beneficial and may set you apart from the competition. If a radon test gives you peace of mind, it may be money well spent. #AskDavid #Advice