What exactly is a marijuana grow-op?
A marijuana grow-op is a residence where people grow marijuana and it can be anywhere – a home, townhome, or apartment. Buyers may not even realize what they are getting themselves into.
Does The Seller Have To Disclose The House They Are Selling Was A Grow-Op?
No. It is not a legal obligation for the seller to disclose this information but if there is a drastic amount of damage on the home that is affecting its market value the seller’s agent is required to explain what is affecting the value.
So Former Marijuana Grow-Ops Are Cheaper?
Yes, they are usually a cheaper option when you are looking for a house. Even though you may be paying less for the home, your money may have to go into other things such as:
- Fixing basement windows
- Mold remediation (which can be very costly)
- New ceilings
- Fixing holes in the floor
- Changing electrical work
- Changing ductwork
- Changing plumbing
- Replacing carpets
- Replacing rotting wood
Why Does The Former Grow-Op House Require More Work?
In order to grow marijuana, you need to have proper ventilation, lighting, and water supply, so often the owners will change around their ductwork, plumbing and electrical wires. Holes may be cut out in the floors for proper ventilation as well as knocking out windows and replacing them with tin foil.
Growing successful plants also requires pesticides and chemicals, which can stay behind on things like carpets and even in the walls. Not knowing what is inside the walls can be scary, especially because of the amount of moisture from the basement. All the moisture can make mold grow on the ceilings, in the walls, and on the floor. You can have professionals remove the mold, but it could cost anywhere from $2,000 - $6,000 depending on how bad it is. Having your plumbing, electrical, and ductwork changed around can be very costly too.
Always Get A Home Inspection
If the sellers did not get a home inspection done, that always leaves room for questions. Why did they not get one? You may want to put an offer down, but paying for an inspection before making an offer could be expensive. But, if you have already purchased the home and have an inspector walk you through the house only to tell you it was a former grow-op you may be down more money than you ever expected.
Fixing everything is possible and your REALTOR® can connect you with a list of professionals. Though there is one more problem to worry about.
Insurance companies do not like former marijuana grow-ops. Your chances of securing insurance with them is almost zero, especially if the amount of damage is ridiculously high. If the home is still in pretty good shape, they may be more willing, but they do not like taking chances on a home that is at higher risk of water damage, or even possibly theft (robbers may not know the former owners have moved on, along with their goodies).
Is It Worth It?
It is completely up to you whether you want to purchase a former grow-op. It may be easier to tear down the house and rebuild than it would be to fix everything, although it is not impossible. But there could have been major changes made, like ductwork, plumbing and electrical. Electrical changes could be very dangerous, as well as mold inside the walls. In the end, you may end up spending just as much money on the former grow-op than a newly built home.