Patrick Murray Logo

Should you Buy a House that was Used for a Grow Op?


It’s a sad sign of the times, but these days it’s fairly common for a house that was used for a marijuana grow op or a meth lab to come up for sale. Grow op houses usually sell for 25% to 35% less than market value for a comparable house. But, is it worth the money you can save on the initial purchase price?

Most banks won’t finance a home that was used for a grow op unless it has been professionally remediated and even then you may have to pay a higher rate when you take out a mortgage and at renewal time. You might pay less up front for a grow op house, but it may cost you more in the long run because of higher finance rates.

Another important consideration when thinking about buying a grow op house is how long you intend to live in it. If you’re going to stay in the house for 15 or 20 years, when it’s time to sell and you declare that it was once a drug house, a lot of the stigma will have worn off. If you try to sell after only two years and the stigma is still fresh, you might have trouble finding a buyer unless you offer a pretty substantial discount.

Illegal drug production requires a lot of dangerous chemicals such as fungicides and solvents that can permeate carpets, walls, subfloors and concrete. Once the drug makers are finished with them, chemicals are often dumped in the backyard. The vapours produced by grow ops and meth labs can permeate an entire house. They’re definitely not something you want to expose young children to.

If a house was recently used for drug production, you could have unsavoury characters dropping by at odd hours. It could also become a target for home invasions and rip offs by criminals who think that it is still a drug house.

Many real estate professionals won’t list former drug houses and recommend that you buy one only if it’s in a very desirable area that you wouldn’t otherwise be able to buy a house in.

They’re out there and they can be very attractively priced, but whether you should or shouldn’t buy a former grow op house is a decision that shouldn’t be taken lightly.

By Patrick Murray