Friday, October 26, 2012

Buyer Beware: Meth Homes

A lot of buyers have heard of the dangers of mold, lead, and asbestos.  Well, now there is a new one to add to the list, meth homes.

Meth homes are houses where someone at one time maintained a methamphetamine lab.  The chemicals from the lab will seep into cabinets, walls, floors, etc. Possible effects of exposure to these chemicals include migraines, respiratory difficulties, and skin irritations to name a few.  Children are at higher risk because their bodies are still developing and small children tend to frequently put things in their mouths.

Problems with Identifying a Meth Home. 
The presence of meth cannot be identified with a routine home inspection.  Realtors would be required to disclose that information but a Realtor does not know what the seller may not have told them.  Even homes that have been "decontaminated" should remain suspect.  There is no national standard for meth home clean-up and many of those clean-up efforts do not completely rid the home of the meth residue.

So What is a Buyer (or Renter) to Do?
The best way to get the scoop on a house is to talk to the neighbors.  That should be rule of thumb before moving into any property whether you are buying or renting.  Neighbors can not only tell you a lot about the previous owners but also about the neighborhood in general.  Most people are more than happy to share that type of information.   Therefore, before making an offer, make sure to take a short walk to the neighbors' homes and start knocking on some doors.

Further reading: Are You Living In a Former Meth-Lab?

I am a former high producing Realtor in the DC Metro area.  Although, I am not actively selling real estate anymore, I can help you find a great Realtor in your area. Feel free to contact me for help finding a realtor or general real estate questions.