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Real estate transactions: Check for grow house signs

Alberta residents who are on the lookout for residential property to purchase may not notice cleverly concealed damage to a house that may seem to be just what they wanted. A rather common problem appears to be properties that used to be marijuana grow ops. This type of activity inside a residential property can cause extensive damage to buildings, and it may be wise to have a qualified building inspector to give the property the once-over before any any real estate transactions are consummated.

Although a real estate agent must point out any known damage, subtle cosmetic repairs can even mislead them. Hidden damage might require extensive and costly renovations. Apparently, one of the great dangers left by grow ops is toxic mould inside the house. A skilled building inspector can spot concealed mould damage along with any structural damage caused by the operations.

Some of the tell-tale signs of marijuana activities include mould in the areas where ceilings and walls meet, roof vents or signs of them in unusual numbers, fresh layers of paint on areas such as wooden window frames to conceal damp damage. Circular pot marks on painted basement floors and brownish stains under arches or beans are also indications of grow op activities. Building inspectors may spot these and more signs that potential buyers sometimes miss.

Alberta homebuyers who were not made aware of such damage by either the realtors or the building inspectors before committing themselves to real estate transactions may benefit from consulting with an experienced real estate lawyer. An attorney can assess the available information and suggest the most appropriate manner in which to proceed. With the guidance and support of a seasoned lawyer, homebuyers may achieve the best outcome under the circumstances.

Source: reco.on.ca, "Marijuana grow houses: what are the signs?", Jan. 27, 2017

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