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What do you mean your client isn’t buying it just because of the countertops?

What do you mean your client isn't buying it just because of the countertops? My client just spent $5,000 on those granite countertops to make it look this good so it will sell faster and now you are telling me that you aren't buying because of them?

Yep, this was the conversation I had with a buyer's agent on Saturday and I was in shock to what I was hearing. Those countertops looked dang good and it made that kitchen look awesome! Evidently, this buyer could not see that and says to my seller that if they want to sell it they will replace all countertops in the house with another type countertop.

It turns out that this person didn't like granite because of salmonella and the warnings that she heard on the news about how it traps the bacteria easier and can kill you. Oh, but that isn't all...There is more! As an added bonus, she said granite also produces radon gas.

What? Salmonella? Radon? What else am I going to have to tell my seller his extra $5,000 does for him? Has anyone else heard of this? I can understand the salmonella, but clean your counters or use a cutting board you should be fine, but radon? Is this going to end up being another addendum we are going to have to have buyers and sellers sign? My client has now offered to replace the counter tops for the buyer, but she is afraid of residual radon, is this something that stays or does it go with the counters?

If anyone can give me information on this that would be greatly appreciated as I was thinking about installing this in my kitchen, but I may wait now.


Respect Realty LLC (Expect More)


At Respect Realty, LLC our agents believe in 100% dedication to client satisfaction.  We specialize in property and land acquisition around the Portland Metro and Vancouver, WA area. We delight in working with first time home buyers and sellers to guide them from start to finish. Our doors are always open and we are always happy to assist you with your real estate questions.


Reach out today, we look forward to talking with you!


Todd Clark and Seraina Aguayo (Owners of Respect Realty)

Respect Realty LLC (Expect More)



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Comment balloon 25 commentsRespect Realty LLC • September 29 2008 11:38PM


Yes, I have heard the same.

Posted by Teresa Cox King, Orange Beach and Gulf Shores, Alabama (RE/MAX of Orange Beach) almost 12 years ago

I've heard that the radon issue can be real but don't recall the source anymore.  I do recall finding some reliable information on the internet that said it all depends on the source of the granite.  Perhaps a simple radon test would comfort the buyers assuming it comes back negative.

Posted by Richard Dolbeare, R(B), R(B), ABR, CRS...Hawaii Multi-Island Specialist (eXp Realty) almost 12 years ago

Todd - I read about it this morning - radon is in the soil - so if the granite comes from an area that has a strong radon count - hmm..

I'll try to remember where I read it - probably here - did you search blogs for radon?

Posted by Virginia Hepp - Mesquite NV REALTOR, Mesquite NV Homes and Neighborhoods - Search MLS (Desert Gold Realty - Mesquite NV Homes For Sale) almost 12 years ago

Just thinking - I wonder if a radon test would work on granite after it is sealed or at all?

Posted by Virginia Hepp - Mesquite NV REALTOR, Mesquite NV Homes and Neighborhoods - Search MLS (Desert Gold Realty - Mesquite NV Homes For Sale) almost 12 years ago

Todd, thanks for the excellent article:)

Posted by DJ Swanepoel (Real Estate Wiki) almost 12 years ago

The dangers of remodeling something just to sell it.  Everyone has different taste or, in this case, different concerns/fears.  I have heard something about the radon and granite connection on the news recently but only heard the end of the news piece.  I guess if the buyer was willing to pay full price, and put up non-refundable earnest money, maybe it would be worthwhile for the seller to replace those countertops AGAIN. 

Posted by Donna Duncan (Coldwell Banker Bain) almost 12 years ago

The issue of radon in granite countertops was big news about 4-6 weeks ago when I heard there was an article in the NY Times about it.  It does exist, but not in all types of granite and there is big debate on at what levels.  Supposedly some types of granite are more of a concern than others, but nobody seems to be running out and advising replacement of them just yet (except for maybe formica & corian salesmen) and I certainly have not heard of a need to disclose granite countertops.

Posted by Steve Shatsky almost 12 years ago

Todd, I think that this is another of the many cases where an article in the media has blown a minor problem into a major problem.  Use a good cleaner on the counter tops and cutting board and make sure that the kitchen has adequate ventilation.  I thought that the picture, if it was of the counter tops in question looked great!

Posted by Tony & Darcy Cannon, The C Team (Aubrey and Associates Realty) almost 12 years ago

Todd, Brian just mentioned this to me yesterday - about granite and radon! Wonder what is going to happen now, there has been a whole lot of granite counter tops put on in our area. ~Rita

Posted by Brian Burke, Broker & Advising Expert-Denver Luxury Real Estate (Kenna Real Estate) almost 12 years ago

Todd:  I have actually had this kind of thing happen before.  For some people, even selecting the countertops... even replacing them... can be a deal-breaker.  Everyone has their own hot buttons.

Posted by Karen Anne Stone, Fort Worth Real Estate (New Home Hunters of Fort Worth and Tarrant County) almost 12 years ago

I haven't heard of the salmonella issue but I have heard of radon being an issue.  It's very possible to have a counter top emit radon gas.... how much I have no idea.

Posted by Jesse & Kathy Clifton, Retired (Jesse Clifton & Associates, REALTORS®) almost 12 years ago

I have heard about the radon, but not salmonella.  I would think that if you cleaned your countertops regularly, you would not have to worry about the salmonella.  That concern seems a little out there to me.

Posted by Carol Swain, Realtor, Bucks County, Pa (Keller Williams Real Estate) almost 12 years ago

I've heard the same things but, I have granite and won't be changing any time soon.

Posted by Andy Raffle, Team Leader - NMLS#156564 (Emery Federal Credit Union) almost 12 years ago

I have actually heard the same thing before. Tell them they can rip them out and put down what ever they want :-)

your friend in Charlottesville!

Posted by Charles McDonald, REALTOR®, Blogger, Principal Broker®, Owner (Charlottesville Real Estate Solutions) almost 12 years ago

Radon is a real issue when using granite to remodel. A safer bet in todays markets are synthetic or concrete material. Silstone is my number one recommendation and my husband the builder has quit using Granite.

Posted by Chip Jefferson (Gibbs Realty and Auction Company) almost 12 years ago

Wow, this sounded like one of those urban legends but there is quite a bit of truth to it.  Here is a PDF from the Marble and Granite institute.

Before your client rips them out there is a way to test the countertops since radon is only a problem in a small amount of granite.

You can follow an ongoing discussion from Green Builders HERE.

Good luck with the sale.  I might have to write a blog about this for the stagers - many of us advise replacing countertops with granite. Thanks for the heads up.

Posted by Maureen Maureen almost 12 years ago

Todd _ I read about this issue several weeks ago (the radon that is). Radon does occur in some granite (we have lots here in NH AKA the granite state) but radon does dissipate when it hits the air so an open window or good ventilation would get rid of it and I doubt if you pull out the counters that there would be radon left over since the source would be gone (that is if these particular counters are even a source) I'd have the sellers get a Radon Air test in the kitchen and go from there.

Posted by Judy Tuscano, NH Real Estate Professional (Prudential Verani Realty) almost 12 years ago

Todd - I've heard a lot of talk about radon lately...  What next?

Posted by Debbie Summers (Charles Rutenberg Realty ) almost 12 years ago

Yes the radon issue was all over Good Morning America here in PA. I was taken back by this as well. However it is true.

As for salmonella I think you will find that to be a problem anywhere in ther kitchen If food is not handled correctly. Tough breck for the sellers.

Posted by Sharon Harris, Realtor (Keller Williams Keystone Realty) almost 12 years ago

Teresa - I'm starting to think anything we touch in life will kill us. So what are the effects of blogging on our health?

Richard - I'm going to make some calls, I wonder how much a radon test costs?

Posted by Respect Realty LLC, Brokers - Oregon / SW Washington Real Estate (Respect Realty LLC) almost 12 years ago

Richard - Just looked it up the test is about $100 if you get it with the rest of a regular home inspection.

Pam - NOOOOOOOOO! It took me to long to find this buyer. (LOL)

- No, but I guess I should, shouldn't I. This would be the place to find someone who is an expert on radon.

Posted by Respect Realty LLC, Brokers - Oregon / SW Washington Real Estate (Respect Realty LLC) almost 12 years ago

DJ - Good question, I'll have to ask the inspector I just e-mailed.

Donna - I agree, it better be enough earnest money to cover the cost of changing out the counters.

Posted by Respect Realty LLC, Brokers - Oregon / SW Washington Real Estate (Respect Realty LLC) almost 12 years ago

I would like to thank who ever sent me this link in my e-mail. It turns out the study was funded by companies that sell alternative counter tops to granite and marble. Here is the link to the counter to the study


Posted by Respect Realty LLC, Brokers - Oregon / SW Washington Real Estate (Respect Realty LLC) almost 12 years ago

Steve - The article that I was sent via e-mail that I just posted to the comments suggest that the study was put out by those salesman.

Tony or Darcy - I think they look great to, and I certainly can't picture there being Orange Formica being installed there. (LOL)

Posted by Respect Realty LLC, Brokers - Oregon / SW Washington Real Estate (Respect Realty LLC) almost 12 years ago

You can also check out the EPA's positon thru this link:

Posted by AK almost 12 years ago

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