Household Marijuana Growing Might Impact Home Buying/Selling

Last week I attended a seminar entitled Marijuana and Real Estate Professionals. Since then I've also been:

My takeaway from the seminar itself: get out of real estate in CO now!

I'm joking.

Mostly. 

I think it's a complication, especially for a newbie, which magnifies normal concerns. Thank goodness for mentors and a solid supporting brokerage. :0)

Top concerns with growers' impact on the home:

  • Mold, mold, mold, and more mold.
  • Potential issues due to do-it-yourself adaptations:
    • Electrical
    • Ventilation
    • Plumbing
  • Floors, walls, and furnishings can absorb:
    • Fertilizer; many fertilizers are combustible.
    • Odor and, like cigarette smoke, can require extensive rehabilitation to remove. Growing can have a more extensive impact beyond just smoking it.
  • CO homes being used as a grow facility currently have:
    • No requirement for:
      • Seller disclosure of that use.
      • Seller rehabilitation of the home afterward.
    • No overt protection for:
      • An agent if they, or their clients, flip the wrong switch in a home and flipping that switch happens to result in the death of a crop. Even if the listing agent does not disclose that there is a grow present and provide information on what to do or not do to avoid adverse impact.
      • A buyer if the home presents associated issues down the road that were not detected (and possibly not routinely detectable -- I mean, what inspector routinely tests for the presence of combustible fertilizer in the basement concrete or attic crossbeams or crawlspace walls when inspecting a home?)

My take as an agent is that I would encourage my:

  • Listers to
    • disclose, disclose, disclose
    • provide explicit showing instructions regarding the grow area for the non-public remarks in the listing
    • declare whether or not any growing crop conveys - and here it gets fun; do we treat it like a farmer's crop in that the current owner gets to leave it behind, return to tend to it as needed, then harvest it when ready? or do they have to remove it by the day of closing regardless of the readiness of the crop?
    • list equipment in exclusions or inclusions as appropriate - which parts of the equipment become fixture vs. personal property - grow lights? tubs? watering systems? etc.?
    • decide what level of rehab they are going to conduct - another fun one; what if the buyer wants the property because it's already set up as a grow facility and the lister rehabs it, or they buyer doesn't want the modifications and the lister doesn't rehab it? 
    • seek the services of an up-and-coming expert in the niche - are there any? I don't know yet, but it seems a likely candidate for a niche! I'll definitely be keeping an ear to the ground on this one.
  • Buyers to
    • inspect, inspect, inspect. That's nothing new, but there are areas to potentially look at a little more closely is the buyer has concerns about a particular property having been used as a grow facility, disclosed or not.