Thursday, November 23, 2017     Hilda Campbell      Community News and Events Buying and Selling

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What To Look For 

There are so many things to look out for when purchasing a home, one of which is whether or not the home was used as a grow-op. So, what is a grow-op? “Grow-op” is short for grow operation and is a place where marijuana is grown illegally. A grow-op causes significant damage to a home. Depending on the amount of damage, the home will have to be either remediate (cleaned up) or demolished. Demolishing the home may seem drastic, but a grow-op can cause structural damage, pose a fire hazard, and causes poor indoor air quality due to mold.

Some Signs It's a Grow-Op

Courtesy of the Canadian Real Estate Association, here are some of the signs to look out for to spot if the house you’re considering buying is being used as a grow-op:

  • Frequent visitors at odd hours for short periods of time
  • Residents have no garbage or put their garbage at another neighbour’s house
  • Interior lights that are much brighter than normal home lighting
  • Windows covered, blacked out, or curtains always drawn
  • Unusual or modified wiring on the exterior of the house
  • Brownish stains on the underside of beams or arches that bleed down a wall
  • Sounds of construction or electrical humming from equipment
  • Localized surges and decreases in power
  • A unique skunk-like odour from the marijuana plants
  • Lack of snow on the roof
  • Condensation on windows and frost build up on the eaves and vents
  • Evidence of digging in the soil around the hydro meter may indicate an electrical bypass (the average bypass steals electricity worth $1,100 to $1,600/month)
  • Mold in corners where the walls and ceilings meet
  • Unusual number of roof vents or signs of roof vents

Repairing The Damage

According to the Insurance Bureau of Canada, the average claim to repair damage caused by a grow-op is $41,000.  Keep in mind that fires caused by illegal activities are not covered by insurance companies. That’s scary when you consider a marijuana grow-op is 24 times more likely to catch fire than a typical home.

What do you look out for if the home used to be a grow-op and is now vacant?

  • Fresh paint on window frames to cover damage caused by the high levels of humidity
  • Painted concrete floors in the basement with circular marks where pots once stood
  • Concrete masonry patches, or alterations on the inside of the garage
  • Denting on front doors (from police ramming the door)

Passing Home Inspections

You probably think signs of a grow-op are obvious. However, the show Marketplace did a segment on grow-ops a few years ago.  They featured a Toronto home that passed a home inspection, but was ultimately found to be a former grow-op. The show wanted to find out if other home inspectors would see the grow-op clues and hired four inspectors to go through the house. They all had a look, but not one detected that the house had been a grow-op.

Look For Warning Signs

Look for some or all of the warning signs mentioned above and hire the right real estate agent for the all-important job of assisting you in buying a home.

Contact Me When You're Ready To Sell 

When you’re ready to buy or sell in the Burlington or Oakville area, or for general real estate advice, please contact me. I can help!

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