The fact is, this type of conduct can hide in plain sight and no community is immune. My childhood home in the country was turned into a grow-op many years after we’d sold it.
From the outside, the home may look perfectly normal. However, it may be hiding some potentially dangerous secrets that could have a dramatic impact on your ability to enjoy your new home.
My first piece of advice is to get advice from experts who know how to spot the signs of a former illegal use, as some are obvious and some are not.
One sign can be the presence of mould. Grow-ops require a warm and humid environment for plants to thrive, and this is exactly the same environment that promotes the growth of mould. This will affect the air quality of the home and could cause health issues. Removal of the mould can also be expensive, depending on its severity.
Another sign can be an irregularity in the home’s wiring. A grow-op or manufacturing facility requires a lot of power, and the home’s wiring may have been altered to handle the demand. Sometimes, the hydro meter is bypassed to hide the amount of power being used. These changes can pose a serious hazard, as they may compromise the integrity of the home’s electrical system.
There may be other clues that call for further inquiry: an unusual number of roof vents or vents in unusual locations; freshly painted window frames to cover damage caused by high levels of humidity; exterior stains caused by condensation on the exterior walls or foundation; painted concrete floors in the basement with circular marks where pots once stood; patches on the flooring; floor joists that have been cut; and, patterns of screw holes on the walls.
This is not meant to be an exhaustive list, and the presence of any or all of these features may indicate an issue, or it may not. Unfortunately, some of these signs may be tough to spot if the home has received superficial repairs. The best way to protect yourself from buying such a home is to obtain expert help.
Hiring a registered real estate professional to represent you is a good first step. They must take reasonable steps on behalf of their clients to determine and disclose any material facts about a property that could affect their decision to buy or sell a property. Tell your representative that this is something you are concerned about.
Consider a home inspection. You could also think about having your representative include conditions in the offer that allow you to hire experts. For example, an engineer can assess potential structural damage, an electrician will look at the home’s wiring system, and an air quality expert can check on the presence of mould or traces of chemicals that are used in the manufacturing process of drugs.
You might also consider something as simple as online search for past news reports. If it was big enough to make the news, that could be a clue that it was large enough to cause damage.
And finally, don’t become emotionally attached to a property. If you feel for whatever reason that a property may not be right for you, you can just move on.
Article from www.thestar.com