Thursday, November 23, 2017
Community News and Events Buying and Selling
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!