Before you’re sold on the granite countertops and stainless steel appliances, consider that a previous homeowner may have been cooking up a lot more in the basement, bedrooms and even the family room.
Prospective buyers need to know that a home, formerly used for a grow-op, may hold a stigma when it comes to resale and quick repairs made to cover up damage that occurred in the marijuana growing process may leave the home unsafe.
Consumers can turn to the Real Estate Council of Ontario (RECO) website – www.reco.on.ca – to learn more about grow-ops and how they can be identified. Its Marijuana Grow Houses publication provides some helpful tips for home buyers. RECO administers the Real Estate and Business Brokers Act 2002 on behalf of the Ontario government.
RECO Registrar Allan Johnston sits on the Provincial Advisory Group on Marijuana Grow-Ops and Clandestine Labs. He says reports to the group suggest grow ops continue to be a concern.
Brokers and salespersons in Ontario are obligated to disclose any material fact about a property or its history they are aware of that could affect a person's decision to buy, said Johnston. That is why it is important to work with an registered salesperson.
Here are some tell-tale signs to watch for when considering a home purchase:
• Mould in corners where the walls and ceilings meet
• Unusual number of roof vents or signs of roof vents
• 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
• Evidence of tampering with the electric meter (damaged or broken seals) or the ground around it
For more helpful information about buying a home and to ensure you are using a registered real estate professional, visit www.reco.on.ca