Buying a home is big emotional and financial decision. I have been working as realtor in surrey, have seen so many homes come up for sale which are former grow op homes.
They seem to be a really tempting deals as they are way cheaper than similar homes, but that comes at a cost. People seem to think that remediation has been done, so its all good but not really. House is inhabitable after proper remediation but it still has a stigma of being a former grow up home.
What do buyers need to know?
Illegal grow op leaves a home in serious health issues and disrepair. Moisture, pesticides and fertilizer can soak into paint, drywall, insulation and structures. Bad electric wiring jobs are done to accommodate the electricity needs for grow op. Homes that are used for just a handful of plants or the ones that have been fully remediated are regularly deemed safe by local official guidelines.
How Lenders look at Grow op homes?
While many of the structural issues can be remediated, lenders and insurers are still reluctant to cover grow op homes. Banks want to know, if you default on your mortgage, can they sell the home and cover there mortgage owed by the owner. Most of the banks stay away from financing former grow op homes that means buyers turn to credit unions or private lenders at a significant higher interest rate. The higher interest paid over long term can actually offset any savings from buying at discount rate up front.
Still, it doesn't mean you are going to have an easy time finding someone to loan you the money to buy one.
Should I have other concerns?
You bet, as the home was used for criminal activity, it still might be viewed as such by other criminals. You might get victim of home invasion and break & enters.
Still want to buy a former grow op?
I hope you wont after reading this blog, but if you still want to buy one get in touch with a mortgage broker and a realtor who specializes in Grow op homes in your area.
Here Below are Common signs of Marijuana Grow Operation from RCMP website.
- Rental buildings (residential and commercial) are often used so criminals avoid damage to their own property.
- Residents may only be in the home occasionally for short periods of time.
- People access the residence only through the garage.
- Unusual visitor behaviour ranging from no visitors to frequent visitors for short periods of time.
- Windows covered with dark plastic or newspaper.
- Condensation forms on windows due to high humidity levels inside. This may also result in lack of snow on the roof in winter.
- Skunk-like odour of growing marihuana can occasionally be detected outside.
- Unusual garbage: little or no garbage or unusual items (e.g. pots and soil, fertilizer containers, wiring, PVC piping).
- Electrical equipment inside creates humming sounds.
- Hydro meter is often tampered with or bypassed.
- Grow operations may use other “props” to deflect suspicion. Some of these include: outdoor and/or indoor lights, radio and/or TV on for 24 hours, flyers left in mailbox or on the front steps, children's toys & bikes outside without children living at the residence, Realty signs posted.
- A "Beware of Dog/Guard Dog" sign may be used to deter trespassing, protect against theft and avoid detection by police.