If you’re looking for a new home, some of the recent weather events may have you concerned about properties located in a flood zone.
However, this doesn’t mean you need to be searching for a new place on top of a mountain. In fact, according to the Brookings Institution, some of the country’s most flood-prone areas are seeing continuous population growth, despite the threat of rising waters.
When it comes to buying a home in a flood zone, keep these points in mind before you consider making an offer.
Check Out FEMA And Local Maps
The seller won’t have to disclose whether or not the property is in a flood zone, so do your due diligence by researching flood maps. FEMA is responsible for national flood mapping and rescue coordination, so check any potential properties against their maps. Local municipalities may also keep their own updated records of flood-prone areas, so always check both resources when possible.
Flooding Doesn’t Mean There Is Water Nearby
Just because you are looking at a property that doesn’t have any bodies of water nearby doesn’t mean you are in the clear when it comes to flooding. Surprise weather events can easily overwhelm your local infrastructure, leading to floods. The National Severe Storm Laboratory (NSSL) cautions that flooding is the most common of natural disasters related to weather, and it can result from melting snow, broken dams, heavy rains, and more.
It’s not only major bodies of water that can cause flooding. Flash floods are rapidly-onset rising waters, which can mean your quaint creek turns into a gushing river with no warning.
Flooding Is Everywhere
It’s important to keep in mind that you are susceptible to flooding anywhere. If rain falls there, floods can happen. 126 people were killed in the United States by floods in 2016 alone, a steep increase from the 30-year average of 84 flood-related deaths annually. Whether your property is in a floodplain or not, you’ll always need to be prepared for the reality of a surprise flood. Do a careful inspection of homes in floodplains to see if there is evidence of previous flooding.
Look Into Flood Insurance Immediately
While shopping, get quotes for flood insurance immediately, so you are prepared for additional costs. Have your real estate agent do some digging into the property’s history for any mention of floods, and speak to your prospective lenders about what they may know. Your lender may require flood insurance–even if the risk of flooding is very low–as they need to protect their investment as well.
Also, most homeowners insurance won’t cover flooding, which is why you’ll need a separate policy.
Are You Prepared For The Long Term?
If you’ve found the home you want and it is in a flood zone–or close enough that you’ll need insurance–ask yourself if you’re ready to deal with the aftermath of a flood. Water will come, and water will go, but you’ll be left to deal with mold, repair, and the potential that your home is unlivable for a period of time. You’ll have financial help from your insurance, but will you be able to manage the disruption?
If you’re considering a home in a floodplain, get in touch with a lender now so you know what home mortgage rates you qualify for, and can prepare for any additional costs. Answer a few questions here, and a home lending expert will contact you.