How marijuana legalization might affect YYC real estate

The legalization of marijuana has many people questioning how their industries might be impacted and, the real estate industry is no exception.

It’s not a secret that grow operations exist…and often in residential communities.  One question that has come up is, ‘Could there possibly be an increase in the presence of these ‘problem homes’ once marijuana is legalized?’.  We don’t truly know, but it’s something we should be thinking about.

What I do know is if you are a buyer, and you are wanting to be proactive about understanding if marijuana might have been grown in your future home (and if so, what you should do about it), I can offer you some straight forward tips.

Could there be an increase in the presence of ‘problem homes’ once marijuana is legalized?

Could there be an increase in the presence of ‘problem homes’ once marijuana is legalized?

Why should you be concerned about a home that has been used as a grow-op?

There are several reasons why a home used as a marijuana-growing nursery is a concern.

Often, there is a great deal of humidity that is created inside a building that is used as an indoor grow-operation.  Humidity can create a great deal of damage to a home, especially if it isn’t properly ventilated.  This can result in mould growth, which can lead to a laundry list of health risks.

While setting up for and indoor nursery, some may ‘tamper’ with the electrical mechanics of the home.  This may be done, without obtaining permits, with the objective of bypassing the home’s meters (usually the goal here is to avoid high energy bills). This can be extremely dangerous and can be a serious fire risk.

Some other problems you might come across are homes that have seen re-venting of the furnace system (potentially leading to exhaust fumes being re-circulated back into the house).  You may also discover the presence of poisonous gases that may have accumulated from chemicals that are often used in the production of cannabis.

These are not the sorts of things you want to expose yourself, or your loved ones, to!

Ask the question: Has cannabis been grown in this home?

There is nothing wrong with simply requesting that your realtor make an inquiry about whether, or not, marijuana has been grown in a home you are considering.  I would recommend they make this request by email or some other way that can be documented.  At a bare minimum, you are showing your due diligence. You will also have something in writing that shows you made an inquiry, prior to purchasing, in the event (heaven-forbid) something comes up post-possession.

Get a home inspection done by a qualified home inspector!

Regardless of whether or not you suspect a grow-up may have been present in a home you are considering, home inspections are always a good idea.  They are helpful in identifying potentially costly home deficiencies including, of course, issues resulting from indoor nurseries.

What if you discover a grow-op has been present in a home that you’re considering?

My advice would be to steer clear of the home and keep searching, regardless of any discount that might be offered.  You will always need to disclose that a grow-operation had been present in the home and, I have reservations about whether, or not, a home can be truly remediated.

Having said that, if you are absolutely set on moving forward with a potential purchase, here are some important preliminary steps you should take:

  • Check in with your bank, or lender, to ensure they are willing to provide a mortgage on a home that has had a grow-op in it. There could be a possibility that they may require a property inspection or they could even refuse a mortgage.
  • Contact your insurance provider; they may also be leery about getting involved in a home that has been used as a grow-op. You don’t want to be surprised with higher rates or coverage denial.  You especially don’t want to discover this at the time of closing (the absence of insurance could mean your lender could reconsider your mortgage).

 

Navigating all of the considerations in purchasing a home can be tricky, that’s why it makes sense to hire a professional real estate agent to help you along the way.  I am working hard to get the right information on how the upcoming law changes, around marijuana, might affect you as a homebuyer. If you have questions for me (or would maybe like a recommendation on a great home inspector!) please feel free to reach out to me!

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