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Grow house, ever came across one of those?

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Except on one occasion where I found a few planting pots with dried up marijuana seedlings in a crawl space, I have never come across one of those major grow houses. I told my client that there were signs telling me that the crawl space had been used as a nursery. Nothing big, but it was there nonetheless.

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The usual warning signs when inspecting go as follow: Presence of mold; Unusually high number of roof vents; Evidence of tampering with the electric mast, the meter or the ground around it; Concrete masonry patches; Patterns of screw holes in the walls (shelves); Circular marks on concrete floors in the basement where pots once were; Presence of aluminum foil; Extra light wiring, etc.

Have you ever inspected a grow house? What signs have you found that raised a red flag and how would you tell your client that the house he wants to buy was used to grow marijuana?

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What signs have you found that raised a red flag and how would you tell your client that the house he wants to buy was used to grow marijuana?

I think if I happened to be working in Washington or Colorado, I'd make sure everything had been installed properly, and give the buyer the good news.

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Here in Mid-Michigan we have inspected a couple of dozen grow operations within an occupied houses. We have also inspected 6-8 dedicated grow operations - pole barns, greenhouses, etc.

There are no red flags for us, because there is really nothing special other than the obvious. It is not illegal here to grow if you are registered and that info is beyond our scope. There are several local code concerns as well as business operations concerns; overloaded panel, circuits, gfci-afci, access egress etc. Years ago I got into bunches of trouble reporting a "grow" house that was for the local Mormon Church's sprout operation!

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I'm with Gary, but I don't believe the electrical could ever be done correctly, since nobody has ever pulled a permit to wire up a grow show. At least not yet. [:)]

I would recommend only describing what is actually there at the time of the inspection and not using the words 'grow op' at all. A tray full of flower pots is not a 'grow-op', and it has done no visible damage. If there is damage, describe the damage.

From video clips I've seen, the trend is to install fully portable systems that can be unplugged and moved to a new location overnight. So you are not likely to walk in to a full blown operation, unless you got the wrong address. But leave the detective work to the detectives, IMO.

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Well, over here in Quebec, everything that is related to cannabis is pretty much illegal. Many will rent out houses in rural area and will transform them from basement to attic and then move on somewhere else. These guys don't care and the house will be a real mess. The worst damage found in these houses will come from mold and I've heard of houses that had to be entirely gutted.

Those pictures of plant pots don't prove anything. It could've been tomatoes for all I know but I told my client that there had been some kind of horticulture activities in the crawl space. You're right though, no one should mention the words grow house, pot, etc. especially in the report. But the fact remains that our clients have the right to know of the signs we find that make us believe of such a thing.

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Hey John,

They do pull permits. They are just like any other venture. Yes there are standards and yes most of the time those standards are not met. In Michigan they are just another greenhouse or commercial building.

I have several stories about inspecting them, but really the only unusual thing is the lack of clear laws and/or regulation.

Crack houses and meth labs are a completely different story.

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I did a house this past Wednesday that had an old grow room in the crawlspace. The owners bought the house 13 years ago and knew about the grow room.

Whoever built it shoveled a whole lot of dirt out of the way to get a level floor deep enough for him to stand in there. Then he framed it up with 2 by 4s and 3/4-inch plywood and ran a bunch of wiring in there. The dirt that he excavated he piled up around the piers and posts that support a large longitudinal girder. 13-years later the bottom of the wood walls are rotted out and those posts holding up that girder are rotting.

My guess is that right about now the homeowner is regretting his decision not to demolish that room, pull all of that untreated wood out of the crawlspace and fill in that hole when he first learned about it.

About ten years ago I went way out to Gold Bar to do an old farmhouse with shed. The client was a deputy sherriff - head of the King County Drug Task Force or whatever they called it at the time. Got up into the attic and found chains and wires hanging from the rafters, the underside of the roof lined with tin foil, insulation all tamped down flat. He said, "Uh oh, do you know what this is?" I said, "Sure, you don't have to be a retired cop to know what this is about." He rooted around in the insulation for a few moments, came up with some left-over ..er...vegetation, stopped the inspection and got on his cell phone. By the time I had packed my truck a pair of sedans had arrived and blocked both accesses to the property. He handed me my check and said, "Got my team on the way with a warrant. See you on the next one."

Three weeks later I inspected a different home for him. Don't know what the outcome was. Really didn't care; and now I can't remember a whole lot about it. I'd been involved in so many of those situations over the years that it was about as interesting as watching paint dry.

I'm waiting for the day I find a body all rolled up in plastic and sealed up with tape. Now, THAT would be a really interesting inspection.



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