Hard Lesson for a Real Estate Investor Who Bought a “Meth House”

by 02 Nov 2012

Most real estate investors are requiring meth tests on a house before buying it. Once a property is declared a “meth house,” most buyers will flee. However, some real estate investors voluntarily take these houses because they know how to get rid of the traces of meth in them. Make sure you know what you’re doing when you take on one of these houses. Here is a lesson from a real estate investor who bought one of these meth houses.

It was back in August of 2012 and Teddy Jamison knew the house he was buying had a history of meth. The realtor said he could have someone remove the meth inside the house for a good price. So Teddy bought it and spent $2,500 to clean it. Teddy did not have any experience with meth properties at that time. After all of the rehab on the house was completed, the meth was removed, and the property went under contract.  Unfortunately the buyer’s inspection came back positive for meth. Of course the realtor said he was not responsible, the meth cleaner that Teddy hired also said he was not responsible. So Teddy lost the buyer and ended up spending another $5,000 to hire a licensed guy to remove the meth again.

But why did the first cleaning not remove the meth from the house? The first guy only used duct cleaner to clean the air duct and the furnace, he did not use bleach to scrub the walls and other surfaces. So when the rehab went underway, the meth was attached to the wall and became dust as they knocked down the dry wall. The “meth dust” was absorbed by the air intake into the furnace, and then went back into the air duct, and then blew out everywhere inside the house. 

After the licensed guy cleaned it, lots of paint was peeled off and water damage was on every surface. This is because he used a cleaning solution to scrub every square inch of the house. This is the right way to take care of a meth problem. And most important you want to do this type of cleaning before you do any rehab on the house. Also, make sure you test every single room after the meth cleaning, including the garage, before you go ahead and start the rehab on the house.

The lesson that this real estate investor learned about meth houses? Always ask the seller to clean out the meth, or ask them for a $5,000 price reduction so you can hire a professional to clean it right. After the meth cleaning, don’t start the rehab on a meth house until after you’ve tested every room and the garage.


  • by Jin | 11/2/2012 3:49:46 PM

    The amount of meth per Sq inch can distribute unevenly even on the same flat surface, so make more test as possible

  • by Nomadic Properties | 11/2/2012 4:04:44 PM

    Very informative article! As you mentioned, this is an important issue that extends beyond meth houses, but to all rehab properties in general. There is ALWAYS a difference when one uses a professional who specializes in whatever project needs attention... and buyers notice! Going the extra mile to ensure a home is adequately cleaned and stripped of the residue from poor ownership or tenant housekeeping is critical to increasing the likelihood of a healthy return on your investment. By striving to implement the highest standards in all real estate transactions, investors can raise the bar and eliminate a great deal of pre and post closing frustrations all too common in these transactions.

  • by ESB | 11/4/2012 12:59:14 AM

    Everyone should check a home and make sure it was not a meth house.


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