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Everything you Need to Know about Buying a House That Was a Grow Op

People may be nervous when it comes to buying a house that was a grow-op. There is a stigma to buying a home formerly used for criminal activity, so much so that these houses often sell for 15-20% less than similar homes in the area. The stigma and lower price can linger for several years after.


This can be to your advantage. After all, 15-20% difference may mean affording the home you’ve always wanted in an area you never thought you could afford. The reason for the lower price is that, even after the home is professionally remediated and remodeled, buyers often steer away from former grow-ops. Which brings the question: Shouldn’t you?


Generally speaking, no. But you should use caution when buying a former grow-op, as you should when you buy any home and there are certain things to keep in mind.


A grow-op may be more difficult to finance. Just as buyers are often nervous of these homes, banks can be too. The problem is that grow-ops can do significant damage to the electrical and heating components, as well as to the structure itself and the ventilation. I would recommend only purchasing a home that has been professionally renovated; make sure it has all of the paperwork. You may also wish to request an environmental clearance certificate.


This may make buying a former grow-op sound rash or like a gamble, but consider that any older house you buy could also have any number of issues, such as mould and mildew, but it won’t have been inspected nearly as thoroughly. Just to quantify this claim, you need to remember that the average grow-op will go through 9 inspections before being placed on the market. Beyond that, every remediation contractor and inspector involved must be approved to work on the home by both the City of Calgary and Alberta Health Services.


You see, the City of Calgary and Alberta Health Services have extremely strict guidelines that must be followed. Inspections must be held to the Alberta standard, and all receipts and invoices for cleaning, disposal, construction, etc. are then submitted to Alberta Health Services. The house is stripped back to its skeleton, so that any issues are apparent and repaired.


Only after a final indoor air quality test is submitted and reviewed will Alberta Health Services re-inspect the property. If - and only if - Alberta Health Services deems the property safe will a General Trade Entry be issued. At that point the house is re-built. Once declared fit for habitation, it’s put on the market with a grow-op disclaimer and a hefty discount. That’s all there is to it.


Whether you’re thinking of buying a home with a grow-op history or any other luxury house, contact Patrick with your questions or inquiries at