The typical home buyers I help purchase real estate in London, ON are not exactly eager to take on the home ownership of a former grow-op house. However, it’s a well-known fact that if the home is a former grow-op, it's likely to be listed well below market value. There are a number of former marijuana grow-ops in London, Ontario that get put up for sale on the real estate market, so you need to be sure to research the history of the home you want to buy.
While a significantly lower price is definitely tempting, you need to evaluate the affect a former grow op has on the state of the home and the future cost of fixing any associated problems. The major issues with former grow-ops are usually related to mold and structural issues, but it may also require expensive upgrades to repair electrical or other alterations that have been made. It’s important to know as much about the history of the home you want to buy, especially in the event it was involved in any illegal activity.
In 2011, I received my Royal LePage Certification in Grow-Ops, so I could learn how to protect my buyers from buying a grow home operation. Prior to helping my clients put in an offer on a home, I always run the address through the database of former homes that were grow-ops in London, ON. In addition, the owner who is selling the home is legally obliged to disclose if the home was used as a former grow-op.
The potential structural issues of the homes are one thing, but if you do decide to purchase a home that you know was a former marijuana grow operation, keep in mind that things like securing financing or insurance may be more complex. Typically, insurance companies want to see that the appropriate repairs have been made and that the home is up to code. One of the biggest hazards in former grow-ops is the risk of fire due to alterations of the electrical circuit. Once the renovations are complete, you'll need to have an electrical, fire and structural inspection prior to gaining an occupancy permit. There are added costs and a few hoops to jump through, but those who are up for the challenge can benefit from the reward of purchasing a property well below market price.
If you want to avoid purchasing a home that was a former grow-op, the London Police have alist of former grow-ops in London, ON, but it’s important to realize that this list only includes those that were uncovered. It doesn't include those that may have been used as a grow op, never discovered and then sold. Rest assured, there are some pretty clear signs that a home was a former grow-op, but when in doubt, hire a trusted home inspector who is experienced in identifying the signs of a grow op. Get in touch with me if you are looking for a great recommendation.