Is your dream home a former “grow op”?

Before you’re sold on a home’s granite countertops and stainless steel appliances, consider that a previous owner could have cooked up a lot more in the basement, bedrooms or even the family room.

Buyers need to know that a home that was 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.

It’s important to work with a registered broker or salesperson because they are obligated to disclose any material fact about a property they are aware of that could affect a person’s decision to buy. That includes if they know the house is a former grow-op.

However, warning signs can be tough to spot. The best way to protect yourself is to have the property inspected by a qualified home inspector, engineer or contractor who is better able to identify potential structural damage, modified wiring and other tell-tale signs of a former grow-op.

Here are some signs you can look 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 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
    • Patterns of screw holes on the walls

For more information on the buying and selling process, and to ensure you are using a registered real estate professional, turn to the Real Estate Council of Ontario. As the regulator responsible for protecting consumers in real estate transactions, RECO’s website ( is a valuable resource for any home buyer and seller, including a consumer newsletter and a bulletin dedicated to what you need to know about identifying grow-ops

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