Do a quick Google search of “marijuana grow-ops” in Canada, and the headlines pop up. In just the past month: “RCMP estimate as many as 10,000 grow-ops in British Columbia,” “Mounties encounter more sophisticated grow-ops,” “Halifax police charge six in grow-op.” And on they go.
There’s no denying, Canada has become a “source country” for marijuana. Meaning, there’s lots of money to be made, largely by organized crime.
And where are criminals setting up shop? Step outside your house. Look down the block to the left. Then look to the right. Chances are, a house near you is hiding a grow-op secret.
So what happens when the police bust these homes? Or when the growers figure it’s time to move on? Often, these houses get quickly patched up and put on the market, leaving the next homebuyer stuck with expensive problems — like mould, dangerous wiring, and structural damage.
If you think hiring a home inspector is going to protect you, think again. Some are trained to spot the warning signs, but many have no idea what to look for.
So when it comes time to hire a home inspector, there are a few things to ask.
Firstly, what kind of experience does the inspector have? If they don’t have much, that’s a big red flag.
What kind of training do they have? And is it relevant? That’s key — even if someone is an engineer, it doesn’t mean they’re qualified to inspect a home.
Are they independent? Never hire a home inspector who’s been referred by a real estate agent — they may feel obliged to help sell a house in bad condition.
Lastly, can you follow them around during an inspection? A good inspector will encourage you to take part.
– Erica Johnson is a journalist and co-host of CBC News: Marketplace, Canada’s award-winning consumer affairs show. CBC News: Marketplace airs each Friday night at 8:30 p.m. on CBC Television.