Ask Us: How To Clean Up A Meth Lab After A Sale

Where readers ask and we (the community) try to answer:

Truth be told, this email was sent within the confines of one particular local real estate brokerage. We’ve already seen the answers provided by colleagues in the biz, but damnit if we aren’t curious to see what kind of snarky remarks our readers can come up with.

My clients are interested in an REO where there was a ‘drug lab’. This property is very clean ‘looking’ and one would never know there was such an operation there. The buyer will be responsible for clean up within 90 days of the close since this is an REO, as-is sale. There are no clear signs of where the lab was, and so far, our inquiries with the police department have been poorly addressed. We plan on investigating the cost during our inspection period. Can any of you give me an idea of how best to pursue and who to use as an inspector for such an opportunity?

Funny that this email came literally the same day SF Gate reported “Feds join S.F. house blast probe; signs point toward accidental cause”. Is it an accident if you forget to mix the crystal with the meth? Just sayin’….

6 thoughts on “Ask Us: How To Clean Up A Meth Lab After A Sale”

  1. Talk to a clean up company that specializes in hazmat. These labs create toxic materials – there’s a reason that fire departments enter with hazmat suits… Also, talk with a good real estate attorney about potential future environmental clean up liability. Not to scare you, but become well informed before you buy this property. If you can’t solve the environmental liability problem, I would suggest not buying.

  2. The fact that this home was a meth lab at one point in time will have to be in your disclosures when and if you ever sell. Good luck getting a buyer to look past that, even if you “clean” it all up. This could seriously limit the home’s future marketability.

  3. Have you plained spied on the property?
    sit (or pay someone) to sit in a car 100ft away for 1 week straight. days and nights and weekend.

    Unless it’s a long term investment with a whole year of no-occupancy, you want to be sure the address is out of the underground listings.

    Then of course, you should try to talk to the neighbors. Garbage time (when people take the cans out) is a great day to chitchat with neighbors and get information such as smells, noises, unusual activities etc that might give you more ideas on what to look for, which hazard might have been overlooked.

    We had a couple of samples of material (stucco, plaster etc) tested for asbestos (long story) and I’m pretty sure those labs can test for anything, any type of residue. Maybe you could contact them – they could well have a “meth lab package” with standard testing, standard list of hazards. Alex should have those types of addresses in his rolodex. If not, I could try to find the business we hired somewhere in our files.

  4. Meth lab homes often look “clean” and you can’t determine how much remediation has to be done to them by just looking at them. You will need to get a professional assessment done to determine the level of contamination in the home.

    Testing the home can easily cost you several hundred dollars. In my son’s case, it cost him $1,600 for pre-testing and another $1,600 for post cleanup testing. I have posted his story on my site, if you’re interested.

    If you are still interested in getting an assessment done, let me know. My contact info is on my site methlabhomes.com

  5. I see you live in TN, as do I. I was wondering who you hired to test the home. I am thinking we live fairly close due to the picture of the waterfall. Please let me know as soon as you can.

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