House Seller Mark - Chapter 8 - Addressing the Grow Op Issues

By
Education & Training with House Proud Ottawa-Ontario-Canada

This is a story about House Seller Mark.

Now that the house was going to be listed through a real estate brokerage, there would be requirements for the grow op history of the house to be disclosed.  Before determining what would be said,  Real Estate Agent Valerie asked House Seller Mark and wife Lou to tell her everything they knew about the history of the grow op and any fixes or changes they had made as a result of that knowledge.

Mark and Lou had bought the house a couple of years after the discovery of the grow op.  In fact, they were the second owners after the raid.  Lou and Mark were told by their agent that the then owners had done the work to make the home safe after the grow op.  Mark and Lou were a bit naive and bought the house based on taking the Sellers' word that all was done to mitigate any mould issues, structural damage and haphazard electrical work.  Mark and Lou had been in the home for a couple of years and did not think there were problems.  Now the market was more sensitive and/or knowledgeable about grow op problems.  Many buyers and all of the home inspectors would be on the alert for structural issues such as changes to the foundation.   Mark and Lou would need to get a few tests done to be proactive in selling their home. 

The first issue was the hydro wiring.  Grow ops often steal electricity off the grid by changing the wiring.  Mark and Lou wanted a certificate from the hydro company indicating that no hydro splicing or lines were compromised getting into and around the house and bypassing the meter.  Hydro sent an inspector who found no problems but did find a couple of exposed wires and outlets in the basement that needed to be covered.  These were minor and common problems.

The next issue was moisture levels and mould.  Mark and Lou had an environmental assessment performed.  The good news was that there was no excess moisture in the home and that there was no mould that could be found.  The attic insulation was tested to ensure that it was not damaged from excess moisture.  Finally, the issue of possible compromise to the foundation and the cement floor was reviewed.  The exposed walls were inspected.  The cat stained carpet was removed and the concrete inspected.  After several hundreds of dollars of tests, Mark and Lou had certificates to show the status of their home.   All of these reports would be made available to a Buyer.  Mark and Lou expressed disappointed that they had to organize and pay for all of the tests and, more annoyingly, that they had not required these themselves when they bought the house. 

As soon as the inspections were finished, Agent Valerie called Lou and gave the names of three excellent home stagers:  Judy Klean, Sally Worthy and Janice Anytime. 

It was now time to get the house ready to show.

Photo credit:  Electrical closeup

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Rainmaker
1,398,277
Anita Clark
ColdwellBanker SSK Realtors ~ 478.960.8055 - Warner Robins, GA
Realtor - Homes for Sale in Warner Robins GA

Inspections, who needs inspections?  ;-)  Keep them coming Valerie...sure hope this has a happy ending for all parties.

Mar 06, 2011 09:32 AM #7
Rainmaker
575,207
Valerie Zinger
House Proud Ottawa-Ontario-Canada - Ottawa, ON
Home Organizer

Thanks Anita.  The home staging section is going to be fun.  At least there are no electrical panels and concrete tests that have to be done.  

Mar 06, 2011 09:34 AM #8
Rainmaker
236,637
Judy Klem
Transition Stage LLC - Shelton, CT
Home Staging, Senior Move Management, Fairfield/New Haven counties

Hi Valerie - Wow! I had no idea there were these types of elctricity issues with grow op situations! So many things to think about to get this place ready to sell.

Mar 06, 2011 11:25 AM #9
Rainmaker
575,207
Valerie Zinger
House Proud Ottawa-Ontario-Canada - Ottawa, ON
Home Organizer

Judy:  And there are experts available to to the inspections and repairs in every one of these areas (thank goodness). 

Mar 06, 2011 11:41 AM #10
Rainmaker
240,807
David Ames
Zephyr Real Estate, San Francisco - San Francisco, CA
San Francisco

LOL...Valerie.  As I was reading this, I wasn't sure what you were referring to and then I came to the word "raid" and thought I'd better look up the term 'grow op'.  Geez Louise, and I live in San Francisco (and consider myself a pretty hip guy).  When I owned a staging company (back in the day), the 2nd warehouse we leased had been a former pot farm and the cleanup needed wasn't too bad, but we did find some sheet-rock issues that needed addressing, etc.  Great post.

Mar 06, 2011 01:43 PM #11
Rainmaker
575,207
Valerie Zinger
House Proud Ottawa-Ontario-Canada - Ottawa, ON
Home Organizer

What???  San Francisco and you didn't know the term?  LOL also.  Not all grow ops have created irreparable damage. Not all houses have to be torn down but Buyers absolutely want to know the history and what was done. 

Mar 06, 2011 02:19 PM #12
Ambassador
538,342
Peter Pfann @ 1 Percent Realty Victoria, and Pay-Less For Victoria Real Estate Results!
1 PERCENT REALTY, Victoria BC www.1percentrealtyvictoria.com - Victoria, BC
Talk To Peter 250-213-9490 www.pay-lessrealty.com

HI Valerie,

Pfanntastic Post, as always, we just love your story telling style of education, very well done, looking forward to the next lesson......

In Paradise (victoria, Bc) grow ops are very common, and most are a big mess that without major reno's will never become good homes ever again. The Ceveat Emptor, is alive and very significant with grow ops.....

But we are all groofy here in Paradise....;0)

Mar 06, 2011 06:38 PM #13
Rainmaker
575,207
Valerie Zinger
House Proud Ottawa-Ontario-Canada - Ottawa, ON
Home Organizer

Peter and Linda:  And here I thought it was Maple Ridge BC.  The sooner the grow op is found and stopped the easier it is (in most cases) to repair the home. 

Mar 06, 2011 08:00 PM #14
Rainmaker
510,426
Christine Smith
Buyers Brokers Only LLC - www.BuyersBrokersOnly.com - Canton, MA
Exclusive Buyer Agent & Attorney, Canton, MA

Again, so happy to see the next installation.  I am glad that Lou and Mark decided to spend that money up front.  It will make it easier for them in the long run.

Mar 06, 2011 09:33 PM #15
Rainmaker
575,207
Valerie Zinger
House Proud Ottawa-Ontario-Canada - Ottawa, ON
Home Organizer

Christine:  It often becomes a choice between doing it up front or doing it as part of the conditions of sale.  If neither of these then the Buyer will be dropping the price - significantly more than the cost of the inspections. 

Mar 07, 2011 06:56 AM #16
Ambassador
1,280,848
Toni Weidman
Re/Max Sunset Realty - Trinity, FL
23 Years Selling Homes in New Port Richey, FL

I didn't realize that there were so many "issues" with grow-op houses, Valerie (never having run into that situation); but thank you for the education in case I do.

Mar 07, 2011 07:06 AM #17
Rainmaker
575,207
Valerie Zinger
House Proud Ottawa-Ontario-Canada - Ottawa, ON
Home Organizer

Toni:  What surprises me is the wonderful homes in great neighbourhoods that have been turned into grow ops.  I know it is a money making enterprise but so damaging to the house, illegal, etc. 

Mar 07, 2011 07:21 AM #18
Rainmaker
436,552
Sally Weatherley
EXIT STAGE RIGHT - Vancouver, BC
Vancouver Home Staging, Home Stager Vancouver, B.C

Valerie - Love the way you wove in some really interesting details and information about grow ops in your story.  Ha ha ha!  Ok, now I really can't wait for the next installment - staging is involved?  Well, at least the "cat stained carpet" has been removed...

Signed, Sally Worthy!

Mar 07, 2011 11:08 AM #19
Rainmaker
575,207
Valerie Zinger
House Proud Ottawa-Ontario-Canada - Ottawa, ON
Home Organizer

Dear Ms. Worthy:  Well you guessed who Sally Worthy is.  Do you know Janice Anytime and Judy Klean?  I think you do and I also think one of you is writing the next installment.  Ha ha ha. 

Mar 07, 2011 11:35 AM #20
Ambassador
684,323
Charita Cadenhead
Keller Williams Realty - Birmingham, AL
Serving Jefferson and Shelby Counties (Alabama)

Light bulbDidn't I tell you I was slow?

Mar 08, 2011 09:06 AM #21
Rainmaker
575,207
Valerie Zinger
House Proud Ottawa-Ontario-Canada - Ottawa, ON
Home Organizer

Charita:  You said it but I didn't believe it and I still don't. 

Mar 08, 2011 09:22 AM #22
Rainmaker
569,315
Chris Smith
Re/Max Chay Realty Inc., Brokerage - New Tecumseth, ON
South Simcoe, Caledon, King, Orangeville Real Esta

It looks like we are finally getting close to a happy ending =)

Mar 08, 2011 04:52 PM #23
Rainmaker
575,207
Valerie Zinger
House Proud Ottawa-Ontario-Canada - Ottawa, ON
Home Organizer

Yes, we are moving forward and tomorrow there will be the email from the home stager.  What fun!

Mar 08, 2011 06:29 PM #24
Rainmaker
924,771
Donna Foerster
Cherry Creek Properties, LLC - Parker, CO
Metro Denver Real Estate Agent

There is so much truth in this part of the story.  I know a few sellers that were not properly represented when they were buyers and are now paying the price as sellers.

Apr 27, 2011 12:49 PM #25
Rainmaker
575,207
Valerie Zinger
House Proud Ottawa-Ontario-Canada - Ottawa, ON
Home Organizer

If you don't know the right inspections, questions and agents, then there is an opportunity for disaster.  Poor Seller Mark.  Well, okay, poor Lou.

Apr 27, 2011 02:11 PM #26
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Rainmaker
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