Home-buying locations come in all shapes and sizes, and in certain wetter regions, high water levels and occasional flooding are an inevitable fact of life. When purchasing a home near a body of water or within a flood plain, you have to seriously consider how the water levels may rise and flood into your home. Even areas that are not near large bodies of water may be located in flood zones.
Here are things to consider when buying a home in a place that has an increased chance of flooding, and what type of flood preparation you should take to minimize the damage and reduce stress.
Investigate the Chances of Flooding in the Home
Not every seller will tell you that there has been past flooding in the house. Some are afraid that this information can spoil the deal or the sales amount that they wish to obtain. So you should always bring up the topic when viewing the house and getting a home inspection to find out about the home's flood history.
Be aware that the seller may not know that their house within a flood plain. Due to the changing climate as well as construction that may have occurred in the area, flood maps can change over the course of years. Though the seller could have purchased the house before it was in a flood zone area, changes in landscape and climate may mean that the property is now included in this hazard region. Your local municipality should have updated flood zone maps available, or you can use the Federal Emergency Management Association (FEMA) website to check your location.
Figure Out the Cost of Flood Insurance
Your insurance premiums can vary based on whether the potential home is considered to be in a low-risk or high-risk flood zone area. Most lenders will make it a requirement for you to purchase flood insurance if you are getting a mortgage loan through them. Find out how much flood insurance will cost you throughout the life of the mortgage to decide on whether it is the right home to buy.
In certain circumstances, as well, you just can't opt out of getting flood insurance. If the property falls into a special flood hazard area (SFHA) where the home is at a higher risk, flood insurance is required by federal law for people who are getting federal financial assistance to purchase an existing home or constructing a new one.
Get Serious About Flood Preparation
if you have your heart set on a house in a flood-prone location, then you need to take the adequate steps to protect your possessions and minimize flood damage. Remember that home insurance will often not cover flooding to homes. Check out the exterior grading of the home, the house structure, and any indoor flood-prevention measures. You may have to install French drains or a sump pump in the home, or have the exterior yard re-graded to divert excess water away from the foundation.
Often, people will use the information regarding flood zone areas to negotiate for a lower sales price to get a better deal to the home. Consider all the pros and cons about the property, what you will have to deal with if regular flooding occurs, and how you will pay for damages before purchasing any home that poses a flooding risk.