Recent storms and flooding are still on the minds of many people looking to buy a home. And while there is no way to ensure complete safety from all natural flooding disasters, there are some ways to look at houses for sale with more confidence even in a wet or coastal area. Here are 4 tips for buying in an area with flooding potential:
Do Your Research. Unfortunately, it's not always mandatory to tell buyers about flood risks in their particular area. This means that you should be proactive when choosing a piece of property. Talk with your real estate agent, neighbors, and the city planning office to determine the history and likelihood of flooding.
Understand Flood Insurance. Most homeowners insurance policies don't cover flooding, so you must buy a separate flood insurance policy. In some areas, flood insurance is required by the government. However, in neighboring communities or subdivisions, it may not be legally mandatory but it may still be a good idea for peace of mind. Floodplains are often determined by decades-old maps and may have been altered by construction or climate change.
Assess Changes You Can Make. You may not be able to move your property out of a flood zone, but you may be able to make some adjustments to reduce flood risk. For example, can you divert water away from the main house by adjusting the grade on other parts of your property? If you're buying land, learn if the floodplain covers the whole property or only a portion, then build accordingly. Installing a sump pump or flood vents and adding drainage around the yard are also ways to keep water from causing large amounts of damage.
Know Your Financial Risk Tolerance. Living in an area that may flood means taking on some additional financial risk, so be sure you're up to it. If you need to purchase flood insurance, price this into your living expenses budget. If you want to make changes to the house or property to divert water away from the home, you'll need some money to do so. And even with flood insurance, you may need to pay for some future damage in an emergency. So be sure you have a little extra wiggle room in your monthly or maintenance budget.
By understanding and mitigating your flood risk when looking at houses for sale in a flood-prone area, you can purchase with confidence and rest a little easier the next time a storm comes.