Purchasing A Previous Grow-Op Property

What You Should Know About A Grow-Op Property


Grow ops, also known as Grow Operation(s) refers to when a house has been used by individuals to harvest or grow drugs. Mostly used for marijuana.

The damage that cultivating marijuana can do to a house can be devastating. High humidity levels are needed for the plants  and depending on how many plants there are, this can cause and grow mold.

Mold can take over the house, and in extreme cases, mean serious renovating or tear down due to the damage it has caused. Most often you will find the most severe damage in the basement where most of the operations take place. I have also come across some homes that were “busted” for a couple plants grown for medicinal purposes and unfortunately “tagged” under the same category. This is also devastating, as the home cannot have any damage to the structure or quality of the home but holds this same stigma

To get insurance for a former grow op is possible. Tricky, but you can sometimes get a great price for a property with just a few extra steps to go through.

First of all, a seller must disclose that the home was a previous grow op.  It does not matter if the home has been renovated or fixed, it still must be disclosed.

There are conditions which you must adhere to for insurance purposes.

These companies want to be sure that the home is structurally sound. The major item which they want completed is an Environmental Site Assessment, which includes and is not limited to, a report by a structural engineer and a mold investigation (as a side note insurance policies contain mold/fungi exclusions any way, but they still factor this in for structural issues, potential liability defense costs etc.). If the report checks out, they will then look into insuring the property. This will of course still depend on the overall risk which will include items such as: Location of the home, the new clients claims experience, the new client’s former payment history, the coverage being applied for, etc."

"If a report does not pass, the client will not be able to apply for insurance through a standard insurance market. In those cases we would then attempt applying for coverage through a specialty market, which in turn would have extreme ratings, and multiple coverage exclusions. In the end even the specialty markets may still decline the risk all together as these homes should be repaired prior to looking into insurance. "


Is it possible to buy a grow op, fix the problems and live in it as a normal, healthy, functioning home? Yes, but it entirely depends on the house itself.


For those of you in the city of Winnipeg it would be interesting to note that our police department keeps a record of the latest busted grow ops by address. The link for this site is as follows: http://winnipeg.ca/police/drug_awareness/growop_addresses.stm

There is also lots of other info on there for the interested party.


So what is my stance on buying a grow op? I say, do our research and give it a shot, as long as you understand what is involved in the situation. Each home purchase is approached in a unique manner and this is no exception.


Alison O’Toole

Alison O’Toole

CENTURY 21 Bachman & Associates
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