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Buyer Beware! DEA List of Known Meth Houses

Tuesday, October 2, 2012 posted by Tommi Crow


Meth House Nightmares —  Buyer BEWARE!!!

This post will hopefully educate you on some of the risks involved when purchasing a property that may have been used as a meth lab.   Single family homes are frequently used as a place where methamphetamine is manufactured.  

The dangers that go along with meth houses include exposure to cancer causing chemicals that can saturate walls, carpets and other building materials as well as all contents. Lead and mercury are common byproducts. Chemicals, such as solvents, may be disposed of in plumbing or simple poured on the ground. If not removed properly these can cause various health problems.

Meth Labs ~ Tell tale signs to look for…

• Yellow discoloration on walls, drains, sinks and showers

• Blue discoloration on valves of propane tanks and fire extinguishers

• Fire detectors that are removed or taped off

• Experiencing physical symptoms while inside the house, such as burning in your eyes or throat, itching, a metallic taste in your mouth and breathing problems

• Unusual strong odors that smell like materials from a garage, such as solvent and paint thinner, cat urine or ammonia

• The use of security cameras and surveillance equipment

When you enter a property take a deep breath.  A cat urine smell is often associated with meth. Other odors to be aware of are ammonia, vanilla, solvents or metallic smells.  These are warning signs.

Meth users sometimes become obsessive about objects.  They may dismantle things like remote controls, watches or electronic devices.  The objects can sometimes be found in a pile dismantled down to the smallest part.

Large amounts of household products are a tip off.  Common products are used to manufacture meth that can found in an average home, except in a meth lab large quantities of common items may be in odd places.  If you see multiple packages of lye, Heet, Coleman fuel, peroxide, pseudo-ephedrine or coffee filters in odd places, like stored in a bathroom, closet or kitchen, this is an indication that it may be wise to forget any involvement in the property.  The occupant may be a warehouse club shopper with no sense of organization, but he/she may not be.

Propane bottles, or fire extinguishers, that have been altered, or have a blue stain on the connector, may indicate that anhydrous ammonia has been stored in the container. Anhydrous ammonia can be explosive in the right circumstances. It reacts with the metal leaving the connector corroded.

Iodine may be used in meth manufacturing.  Iodine is a substance that goes from solid to gas state without becoming liquid. It sticks to everything and spreads on contact. Iodine stains walls and everything else. The stain may be red or yellow. It may be very noticeable if a photo, or other wall hanging is moved, revealing the contrast between stained and unstained.

Meth labs may be hidden behind false walls or other building alterations.  Alterations that make no sense should be suspect, such as: exhaust fans mounted where they have no logical use; bootlegged power supply; rooms that are unexplainably small.

Another thing all home buyers and Realtors should do before writing a contract on a home to purchase…is to check out the DEA Meth Laboratory Registry to see if the home has ever been used to manufacture drugs in the past.  The DEA link is .  Click on the state and scroll to the county where the property is located BEFORE you buy.

Thank you for visiting  Remember that you can’t always spot a meth house.  They are often nice homes located in nice area’s.  Check before you buy to avoid a nightmare that you may never recover from.

How to Speed Up a Home Closing

Tuesday, May 8, 2012 posted by Tommi Crow

Some home-sale transactions close quickly, while others can take months. Two significant factors that affect most home sales are inspections of the property and financing the purchase.

Inspections should be done within the first couple of weeks after the offer is ratified, i.e., accepted by both buyer and seller. Usually, the day after ratification is day one of the contingency and closing time periods. This may vary from one location to the next.

When transactions fall apart soon after ratification, the cause is usually something discovered during the buyer’s inspections. It’s a good idea for sellers to get presale inspection reports so that the buyers have as much information about the property as possible before they make an offer.

Most home inspection reports make recommendations to consult other specialists such as a roofer, furnace contractor, drainage specialist or engineer. Few sellers have these additional inspections done. Even if they do, the buyers might want a second opinion.

Inspections are also somewhat subjective. One inspector might say a roof needs to be replaced; another might say it has a few years of life left as long as it is properly maintained. Transactions fall apart because the buyer and seller can’t come to an agreement on inspections, which means the sale doesn’t close, the house goes back on the market and the buyers renew their home search.

If the inspection issues are worked out satisfactorily, the next major hurdle that could delay your sale, or crater it, is the loan contingency. Cash buyers bypass this rigorous process; however, they do need to provide the sellers with evidence that they have sufficient liquid funds to close the sale.

All-cash deals can close whenever the buyers and sellers agree, after all inspection issues are resolved. Closing can occur in a week or two. Some all-cash buyers include an appraisal contingency in their contract to confirm that they’re not paying over market value.

In this case, it would take longer to close because an appraiser would need to visit the property and work up an appraisal report. If the property didn’t appraise for the purchase price, the buyer might be able to back out and have the deposit returned.

Both buyer and seller would start all over again. However, if they negotiated a resolution, the sale could close quickly and would take far less time than it does to close a sale involving a mortgage.

HOUSE HUNTING TIP: Purchase contracts include contingencies and time periods for them to be met. To avoid having to ask for extensions, make sure that the time periods you request are reasonable. An extension might not be granted if the seller has a backup offer for a higher price.

Buyers should get preapproved for the financing they need to close a home sale before their offer is accepted. This way, they are assured of what they can afford to pay. Preapproval can cut a few days off the loan approval process.

Loan approval can go relatively quickly if you present all required documentation promptly and your financial situation is not complicated. It can be more time consuming for buyers who are self-employed or are using other than W-2 income to qualify.

Part of loan approval involves an appraisal on the property by a licensed appraiser. This can slow the process down depending on the lender, how backlogged they are and the loan amount. A large loan amount can prompt the need for two appraisals, which adds more time to the approval process.

THE CLOSING: If you’re buying in an area where homes are selling quickly, it may take 35 to 45 days from contract acceptance for final loan approval and closing.

Dian Hymer, a real estate broker with more than 30 years’ experience, is a nationally syndicated real estate columnist and author of “House Hunting: The Take-Along Workbook for Home Buyers” and “Starting Out, The Complete Home Buyer’s Guide.”

5 Tips for Selling a Home in the Fall

Wednesday, October 13, 2010 posted by Tommi Crow

Fall is a marvelous time of the year and an excellant time for househunting.  The air is crisp, the leaves are changing, the holidays are just around the corner and every is feeling in the mood to nest.  Make the most of the season!!

1.    Change those Listing Photo’s to Show Off Those Pumpkins, Mums and Falling Leaves. 

2.    Days Are Getting Shorter…which means your rooms are getting darker.

  • Dark rooms don’t show well.  The simple solution…turn on more lights.  Consider changing out your lightbulbs to ones that project warmer (yellow) versus a cooler (blue) tint.
  • If your rooms are painted a dark color, lighten them up with a fresh coat of a light, neutral paint.
  • Do some spring cleaning and wash the windows if they aren’t clean

3.     Spruce up Your Curb Appeal

  • Make sure all summer annuals and perrenials have been pulled up or cut back.  If the bare spots look bad, consider planting mums, pansies or kales in their place.
  • Keep the leaves raked up.
  • Place a few mums and/or pumpkins by the front door or steps.

4.     Everyone Loves Fireplaces…so fire up your fireplace to add warmth and charm.

5.     Holiday Decorating – Less is More

  • Fall – Thanksgiving decor is more neutral than Christmas decorations…but don’t overdo.  Limit the amount of decorations to insure that buyers see the house.
  • Halloween is great fun for kids and adults, alike, but don’t overwhelm buyer’s with screaming witches, howling goblins and motion activated rats.   Too much Halloween can be very distracting to buyer’s trying to see a home for the first time.

Thank for visiting  We have a variety of tools and options that Sell Houses.  Visit the website for details.

How to Get Rid of an Ugly Swimming Pool

Monday, August 30, 2010 posted by Tommi Crow

Paul Bianchina
Inman News

Q: I found a house I would love to buy, but the problem is it has a pool. I would love to get rid of the pool and just plant trees in the back, but friends tell me the value of the house would fall.

I don’t care; I had a pool once and it took too much effort to take care of — and nobody used it. My husband says it is so easy — he would just put dirt in the huge hole. Is it that easy? –Zein G.

A: You certainly can fill in the pool, but it’s a little more involved than just filling it with dirt. First, you need to disconnect all of the plumbing and electrical wiring associated with the pool and its support equipment. This is something that should be done by licensed professionals — especially the electrical wiring.

From there, you would want to break off the upper portion of the pool itself — the tile, concrete, etc. — down a couple of feet. That will get any of the hard surface around the top and upper edge of the pool out of the way so that it doesn’t eventually begin to show above ground again. Now you can proceed with filling in the pool itself.

To prevent dangerous settling, filling in the pool needs to be done in a succession of layers, known as “lifts.” Dirt and rock would be placed in a layer on the bottom of the pool, then compacted. Another lift of dirt and rock would be added and compacted, etc. The final lift would be all topsoil, allowing for the placement of new landscaping.

You will definitely want to talk with an experienced, licensed excavator about the exact steps required for your particular situation, and also get a bid for the cost of the work — preferably before you make your final purchase decision. You’ll also need to check with your local city building department to determine what permits might be required.

As to the purchase and the value of the house, you stand to take a hit in three different areas. You’ll be buying the house based on its value with a pool, a value that will then typically decrease when the pool is removed.

And, you have the expense of the removal and the new landscaping. I would discuss this with a real estate professional who’s experienced with your area, and make sure this makes financial sense.

Finally, be aware that the removal and filling of the pool is something that will need to be disclosed to a future buyer when you go to sell the home, and could have a potential impact on a future sale.

Thank you for visiting a FREE homes for sale website!!   Ask us a real estate question…we will answer!

Poison Drywall of China

Friday, October 16, 2009 posted by Tommi Crow

Toxic, sulfur laden sheetrock, Made in China, is making people sick, causing electrical wiring to go crazy and is corroding copper, wire and stainless steel in American homes.   The problem has affected thousands of homes in 20 states, yet, the US court system is powerless when to hold Chinese manufacturers (most of which are owned by the Chinese government) responsible for problems caused by their products.

The hardest hit area of the country may be the slowly recovering New Orleans area, and the coastal area’s wiped out by Katrina.  After enduring floods and mud, this man-made victimization is the last thing these communities need or deserve.   For those wondering how bad the problem is….The problem is so bad that local governments, already low on funds, are waiving property taxes for homes rebuilt with the Made in China, toxic sheetrock.

                                      Facts About Toxic Chinese Drywall and Sheetrock:

  1. The sheetrock may emit a sulfuric odor, which smells a bit like rotten eggs.
  2. Health Problems are being Reported.  The most common health effects from the drywall are skin rashes, blisters and headaches.
  3. Homeowners insurance does not cover claims due to construction defects.  When insurers discover a property has Chinese drywall, they are canceling homeowner policies.
  4. The gases emitted by the Chinese Drywall eat away at any copper, aluminum or stainless materials inside the home.  This means that appliances, wiring, mirrors, computers, toys, plumbing pipes and fixtures, jewelry, HVAC or any systems that contain these component materials will also be damaged, usually beyond repair
  5. Seller’s of Homes that contain Chinese Sheetrock must disclose that fact, even if all the sheetrock in the home has been replaced.
  6. If your home contains any Chinese Made Drywall/Sheetrock file a compliant with Consumer Product Protection Council and also check about making a local compliant with your state.
  7. For updates on the Chinese drywall, multi-district lawsuits (MDL #2047 to to and click on Drywall MDL.

One tell tale sign of toxic sheetrock can be seen in the corners of mirrors

Watch for corrosion in and around plumbing fixtures, refrigerators, ac units, on stainless steel appliances or any area with metal components.  

Our two cents:  In light of this most recent, very serious, and potentially deadly, problem with cheap imports, all Americans need to reconsider their ongoing love affair with everything cheap and Chinese.  If the US government, who allows these imports, can’t force the Chinese manufacturers to stand behind the products they sell, then the retailers, who chose to buy these goods should have to.    The cost of uprooting families and replacing all the sheetrock, mechanical systems and personal property in over 60,000 reported homes is overwhelming.   If anyone deserves a taxpayer bailout, it’s these innocent homeowners who have been victimized by governments and retailers, alike.

Thank you for visiting  All our products are MADE, ASSEMBLED and SHIPPED right here in the USA!!!   In November, we will celebrate our 20th Anniversary, proving that you can hire US workers and run a profitable business.   Thank you for your support over all these years and please tell your friends about us!!!

Bed Bugs are New Housing Scare

Tuesday, September 1, 2009 posted by Tommi Crow

I’m sure we’ve all heard our parents warn, “and, don’t let the bed bugs bite”, as we toddled off to bed…but most of us have never considered that bed bugs were real pests, because most of us have never seen a bed bug.  

As creepy as it is, Bed Bugs are real and they are back with a vengence.  The use of DDT eradicated bed bugs more than 50 years ago, which explains why most of us have never seen one.   Today, exterminators use roach traps, instead of insecticide sprays, which do not wipe out the bed bugs along with the roaches.  So, the tiny bed bug is making a resurgence in a big way.

How Can You Find Bed Bugs before You’re Eaten?  READ MORE…..

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Inspect Home Before the Sale

Wednesday, April 29, 2009 posted by Tommi Crow

In yesterday’s InfoTube blog post, we discussed surprises that can arise from a problematic inspection report and ways to negotiate with the buyer to keep the deal alive.   Today, we look at pre-home inspections from an offensive position, in hopes seller’s can avoid a “repair request” crisis, after the home is finally under contract.  

Reasons to have a Home Inspection before the Sale.

  1. 1.  Pre-Inspections are a Great Selling Point.   Providing a Pre-inspection report puts the buyer at ease and gives them confidence that the seller has nothing to hide about the home or its condition.  By being upfront, sellers put the Buyer at ease so they can better vizualize themselves living in the home, versus searching for problems at every turn.  
  2. Pre-Inspections Give the Seller a Head’s Up.   A home inspection gives sellers the opportunity to fix any necessary repairs and put the house in better condition before the sale.   By pre-inspecting, the seller can also address unknown problems with the property that might have resulted in a canceled sale, if a timid or scared buyer discovered them first. 
  3. An Good Offense Beats a Good Defense.   When the buyer sends in their inspection team, they may be looking to save money.   Often, a bargain shopper will use the inspection report to get a better deal on the house by inflating the costs of repairs or threatening to cancel the contract, if they don’t get their way.   By providing a licensed inspection report upfront, sellers deter ‘would be’ re-negotiator’s and increase the chances of a smooth transaction.
  4. Show and Tell.   Ask your home inspector for several copies of your inspection report.   Hand the reports out to prospective buyer’s, when they tour the home.   The report reflects pride of ownership and handing the report to the buyer keeps your home in the buyer’s mind for a much longer period of time.   (The inspector shouldn’t mind the request because it is good for the inspector, too.  His name and contact number on is on the report.  Even if the buyer doesn’t buy your house, they might call him for their own inspection.)
  5. Beat the Competition.   Buyer’s have heard horror stories about victims who have purchased a money pit and found themselves living in a nightmare of endless bills, contractor’s and life interupting problems.  Set your home apart from the foreclosures, short sales and poorly maintained homes on the market and reassure the buyer that your home is a hassel-free home they can be proud to call their own.

In conclusion, while it’s sometimes tempting to cut corners to save money, a home inspection is a worthwhile investment.  A pre-inspection lessens the chance of buyer’s remorse, reduces the chance of a surprise or scare, and frequently keeps a deal from falling apart altogether.   In today’s buyer’s market, the best defense is a great offense. 

Thank you for visiting homes for sale or rent website.  Seller’s can place Free Property Listings and Buyer’s can Search for great deals on Real Estate.   If you are a seller, ask us about an MLS listing with uploads to, Zillow, Trulia, Yahoo, MSN, Google and More for $399.

Negotiate a Bad Home Inspection Report.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009 posted by Tommi Crow

You thought your home was in good condition, but surprise… the home inspector says otherwise.   You have already reduced the house to a rock bottom price to get a sale.  This is the first offer you’ve had in months or ever.   What can you do to save the deal or should you???

Stay Calm.  Don’t Freak Out.

In slow markets, seller’s have every reason to panic when they learn about inspection problems.  First, they have no idea how the buyer will react to the report.  If the report is really bad, they know it is likely that the buyer will back out of the deal.   In the best case scenario, they know that more rounds of negotiations and repair requests lists are back in play.   Uncertainity, helplessness and frustration make it easy to freak out, but it is crucial that seller’s stay focused and remain calm.

The first thing the seller must do when they hear about a problem is to keep quiet.  They should resist the natural urge to curse the inspector and they should say absolutely nothing, until the buyer presents a request for repairs.   Some buyer’s aren’t surprised at all that a home might need some repairs.  Also, they may not view the repairs as negatively as the seller does.  Best advise is to not borrow trouble.  Wait for the report, before jumping to conclusions.

Keep Your Head.  Negotiate.

The good news is that if you receive a repair request list, the buyer didn’t walk and they are still interested in the purchase.   Plan to review and discuss the list with an open mind.  Chat with your Realtor, if you are using one.  Talk the situation over with a repair professional.  Get bids on big ticket items, before you go back to the buyer, or you agree/disagree to anything on the list.

Many times, seller’s find that they can get repairs done for less than they think.  Or, sometimes, the seller can make the repair themselves.   If cash flow is a problem, many contractors will agree to wait until the closing to be paid.  The goal is to create a win-win atmosphere and don’t hate the messenger, no matter how bad the news is initially.

Reassure the Buyer.  Stay Focused on Closing the Deal.

Reassure the buyer that you want to fix any major issues with the house.  Get multiple bids from legitimate contractor’s for major repairs.  Multiple bids are powerful because many times the buyer (especially the first time buyer) is scared about the costs of future problems, so they increase the numbers a bit.    Sometimes, after the see that the repair isn’t urgent or may not be as expensive as they thought, the buyer will relax a bit, setting the stage for better negotiations.

Remember that everything about repair requests is negotiable and the options are endless.   The seller can fix all the items on the list, they can agree to fix any real problems and ignore cosmetic issues, they can offer the buyer a cash credit at closing, reduce the sales price, or do absolutely nothing at all, depending on the value of the contract and what they can afford to do.  

In Conclusion.

If you receive a bad home inspection, please remain calm and cool headed.  Focus on a win-win compromise with the buyer.  And, gather all the facts and figures before commenting, if you want to keep the deal alive.  In the long run, honest communication is always key and addressing the problems eliminates the likelihood of lawsuits later.  

Thank you for visiting   The website where Seller’s can place a Free for Sale or Rent Property Listing and post their property on the MLS and  And, buyer’s can search for thousands of great properties with ease and privacy.  

4 Mistakes Home Seller’s Make

Thursday, April 2, 2009 posted by Tommi Crow

As the spring home selling season approaches, many homeowner’s rush to put their houses on the market.   Interest rates are low, tax rebates and sales incentives abound, and home prices are more affordable than they have been in a decade. 

But, before you throw the ‘for sale’ sign in the yard, please educate yourself about the common mistakes you should avoid, if you want to sell your home.  Decades of real estate experience have proven again and again, that making these mistakes, even once, will stop any sale in its tracks.

  1. Pricing:  Setting an unrealistic price is the biggest mistake home seller’s make.  The home MUST be initially priced at or under its competition, or you are simply wasting time and money.  Some seller’s toy with the notion of “low balling” their asking price, hoping for bidding wars and a quick sale.  While this strategy sometimes works on lower priced property, it doesn’t work in higher price ranges.   Buyer’s in a higher price range simply think that the seller is desperate, which always results in even lower offers, not bidding wars.   We won’t address overpricing, because there is nothing to say.  The truth is no one will overpay for your home, it won’t appraise anyway, so please keep it off the market, until you are ready to be realistic. 
  2. Property Condition:  Know as much as you can about the condition of your property, fix everything that will stop a sale, and disclose everything you know about the property condition to the buyer.   If you don’t, when the problematic inspection report is revealed, the buyer will cancel the contract and walk.   Afterward, the seller will find themselves in a much worse position because they lost momentum, valuable time on the market, and the cancelation signals that something was wrong with the house.  The seller will also be required by law to disclose everything found on the prior inspection report, so there is nothing to gain and a lot to lose by hiding the facts.  
  3. Working with Today’s Buyer’s:  It is a mistake to not entertain any offer, no matter how low the inital offer is.  Buyer’s in this market make low ball offer’s first, to test the desperation of the seller.  You will never know what price a buyer may be willing to pay for your home, if you don’t negotiate with them.
  4. Potentially Unqualified Buyer’s:  NEVER get into a contract with a buyer who isn’t financially qualified for a loan.  A letter of prequalification is not enough to take a home off the market.  First, know who the lender is and require full underwriting approval within days of the acceptance of the offer.  Be sure to write this loan approval (not prequalification) provision into your contract.  Maintain your Active Listing Status and DO NOT indicate that your home is Contract Pending until the buyer has verifiable loan approval.

Thank you for visiting homes for sale or rent website.  Feel free to post a Free Listing.  Or, Upgrade to a Featured Home Ad which provides buyer’s all the information, video’s and pictures they are looking for.  A Featured Home listing costs only $19.95 and the listing stays active until you sell or cancel.

Home Inspection Finds Roof was Improperly Installed.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009 posted by Tommi Crow

Dear InfoTube,

We are under contract to purchase a brand new home that is ideal for our family.   Unfortunately, the home inspection revealed that the brand, new roof was improperly installed.  It seems that the builder did not use felt, drip edge or flashing before he installed the shingles.  The shingles were nailed directly to the plywood decking.  The inspector also noted that many of the nails were set too deeply, which caused depressions into the asphalt material and would likely cause roof leaks.

After discussing our findings with the builder, he admitted that he knew about the missing roof materials, but he refused to replace the new roof due to the cost.  The builder insists that the missing materials are unessential and pose no problem for us.  He also gave us his personal guarantee that he would fix any problems that might come up in the future, if we would go ahead with the purchase.

We are now faced with a huge dilemma.  First of all, we love the location, floorplan and lot.   The house is just perfect for our needs.  Secondly, we have invested nearly $1500 for the inspection, appraisal, loan application fee, etc., which we would lose if we back out of the sale.    We would really appreciate your input about this situation.  We love the house, but the roof problem scares us, even with the builder’s promises.  We are scheduled to close and move in a couple of weeks.  Please give us your opinion about what we should do.

Thank you, T Thornton, NC

Dear T Thornton,

Let me reassure you that drip edge, felt and flashing are essential parts of a roof system and improper installation voids any manufacturer’s warranty.  Furthermore, it is very unlikely that your lender would give you a loan for this property, once they discovered the problem.

Secondly, I found myself asking“What kind of seller would “cheat” on a new roof and what else is he hiding?” A new roof is a strange thing for a builder to cheat on.  The roof is a basic structural system of a home.  In addition, it is huge and highly visable to the eye.   It is very concerning, to say the least, that the seller knew about this problem and lied to cover it up.   One has to wonder what else has he cheated on and lied about, that might not be as easy to see as the short cuts he took on the roof?

This situation poses a serious problem for you, the lender and the seller on many levels.   First, the builder’s non-disclosure of the known problem with the roof could likely be considered fraud.  Secondly, his guarantee to fix future problems is unenforcable in a court of law.  Contracts for the “promise” of future services, which is what this seller offered you, is illegal in all 50 states.  Think about it.   If this seller becomes disabled, leaves the area, goes broke, dies, etc., how could he possibly honor his promise to you, even if he wanted to?

My honest opinion is that you should RUN, not walk, from this deal.  Instead of being disappointed, you should be very thankful that you had a good home inspection that revealed the truth before you closed.   The good news is that the inventory of unsold homes are at historical high levels.  This means you should find plenty of homes, owned by honest sellers, that suit your families needs.   Given the seller’s blatant dishonesty, you should insist that the builder refund your earnest money, buy your appraisal and reimburse you for the inspection report.   If he hesitates or refuses to do so, you should consult an attorney, immediately.

If you have your heart set on buying this home, you should know that you are taking a big chance.  At the very least, you should at insist that the builder install a new roof.  You are paying a premium to buy a new home, so you should receive a new roof, not one with known problems.  You should also insist that the builder transfer all manufacturer’s warranties for the roof, and all other systems in the house, to you at closing.

Thank you for writing to   I hope everything works out for you, but I seriously hope you walk away from this one.   Everything about this home may appear pretty on the outside, but one would be foolish to not fear what kind of ugliness may be lurking beneath the surface.