In this article will be giving you the best Flood questions you need to ask before moving to your new house. What are the main elements you take into consideration when choosing your new home? Factors such as the nearest schools, distance to work, security, transport in the region and even the value of insurance are usually among the decisive criteria for purchasing a new home.
But have you ever thought about considering the risk of flooding? Flooding is such a major risk factor in the US that it is rarely part of home insurance policies, you must apply for coverage separately.
With climate change and the increase in built-up areas that waterproof the ground, Americans have seen a 20% increase in heavy rainfall over the past 50 years. The forecast is that this increase will still grow from 40% to 45% in the next 90 years!
But how to protect yourself from this risk? How to prevent an environmental tragedy from taking your dreams LITERALLY down the drain?
Before making a decision on the location of your new home, ask these 6 flood questions and make your choice much more confidently:
The 6 Flood Questions to Ask Before Moving
1. Has this building or area been flooded before?
This flood question is very important why you may ask? Places that flood once are likely to flood again, especially with changes in the weather.
Homeowners and real estate agents should be the first to ask, however in most states they are not required by law to give you this information. Try to establish a connection of trust with whoever is representing you, but don’t rely exclusively on that source.
Another way is to ask neighbors who have lived in the area for a longer time, they will be able to tell you if it has already happened and how often floods can happen. You can still search in local newspapers, government agencies and insurance brokers you trust.
2. How likely is that building to flood while I live there?
The flood history of your building or neighborhood is not enough information. What you really need to know is how rising sea levels and heavier rainfall will contribute to the risk of flooding in the future.
Of course, the probability of experiencing at least one flood increases proportionally with the length of time you intend to live there. But you can find out in different ways.
There are already real estate websites that report the risk of flooding in their ads, as you can look up the flood forecast for the next 15 or 30 years for a region on the Flood Factor website or Climate Central Riskfinder in coastal areas.
Some states and cities also report flood risk on their land from mobile apps and other websites. Do a search in your state and look for official sources.
3. Is this building in a FEMA-designated flood zone at this time?
FEMA publishes flood maps that are used to set public flood insurance premiums. These maps are also used by state and local governments to make cost and budget planning.
It is important to know if you are in a FEMA-designated flood zone, this information is critical in the decision to purchase flood insurance . The maps are available online for public consultation.
Still, even if the FEMA map rates it as low risk, you should look to other sources of information, outdated maps are common. In addition, FEMA does not take into account heavy rains caused by climate change or sea level rise.
4. How much does flood insurance cost and what does it cover?
Most renters and homeowners insurance do not cover flood damage. Instead, you can purchase separate flood insurance to cover flood damage to your belongings, buildings, or both.
If you already live in an area with a high risk of flooding, insurance is likely to be expensive but unavoidable. However, if you are moving to a place that FEMA believes is less risky, your (insurance) premium will be much lower. Does that mean you don’t even need to take out insurance? No! About 25% of insurance-covered flood damage is outside areas flagged as the highest risk.
Flood insurance may be mandatory if you buy a home in a high-risk area using a federally backed mortgage, or if you buy a home that has been flooded before and was rebuilt with federal aid. In some states, such as Louisiana and Texas, the seller is required to let you know if this is the case.
FEMA provides the vast majority of residential flood insurance. However, the agency does not disclose to prospective buyers or tenants whether a property has a flood insurance policy or how much such a policy costs.
This you can ask the owner, seller or previous resident, you can also try to inform yourself with the neighbors, but the safest thing is to look for a BRZ agent, who has in-depth knowledge of the regions in which it operates and will certainly help you in this simulation.
5. What should owners or sellers disclose to me?
In general, owners and sellers are not required to disclose data related to past floods, frequency or future risks. This information may appear after you have already made an offer to buy or lease.
If you are going to buy, your right to this information is greatly increased, so as a tenant, better do your own research.
6. Has anyone in the neighborhood made a BUYOUT ?
Buyout , in this case, is when the government buys a property, which has already suffered repeated flood damage, to demolish it and make room for the flood to pass through causing minor damage.
Few neighborhoods and houses have gone through this process, however, there is always the possibility that your new neighborhood is in a buyout area. You can search by zip code in this NPR database to see if any homes were purchased and demolished in the neighborhood since 1989.
Is the house you wanted in a flood zone? Does this mean that the house of your dreams, the one in the perfect neighborhood, next to the children’s school, that you can walk to work, can no longer be your dream? No!
What you need is to have all the data at hand so that you can calculate, simulate, plan all the risks and costs involved in the purchase, whether they are intended for insurance , covering losses or carrying out renovations to avoid significant damage in a future flood.
I believe the above 6 flood questions will help you greatly when you are moving to you next House.