Flood zone

Imagine you have found the home you want to purchase. Everything seems perfect except you found out it is in a flood zone. Unfortunately, if you want waterfront property (creek, river, or lake) then there is a good chance that at least part of your property will be classified as being in a Flood Zone. You also need to check on properties that are in a valley or low elevation and close to a water source. Here are some tips for making an informed decision.

Determine the Flood Zone Classification. 

Special Flood Hazard Areas (SFHA) –or “100-year floodplains”, are portions of a river, lake or stream channel and adjacent lands that are subject to floods with a 1% chance of being exceeded in any given year.  Your Real Estate Broker can help you determine if your property is in an SFHA by utilizing the Northwest MLS tools that show this data for all area properties.  When you look at the flood mapping tools you might see "A," "AE" or “V” for areas within a hazard area and an “X” for areas that are not. There are also different classifications within the floodplain area – floodways and floodway fringes that indicate the depth and/or velocity of floodwater received. 

What You Need to Know About the Property. 

To make an educated decision about the SFHA property you need to understand how it might affect the way you want to use it. Here are some things for you to consider.

1. How much of the property is in the flood zone - is all or part of the property affected? 

2. How will you be impacted by flooding if it happens – will it just limit your access to the water, will it put an outbuilding at risk, will it put your home at risk, will it impede your access to/from the property? 

3. Cost Associated with Required Flood Insurance – find out if the seller has flood insurance, and if so, how much it costs them. Depending on the property/area it could be substantive or not. 

4. Availability of a Flood Certification for the property – check with the seller and/or a flood insurance broker to see if a flood cert is available. These are a good indicator of risk, can help you implement mitigation strategies by identifying the base flood elevation, and can impact the cost of flood insurance.  If one is not available, they cost around $500 - $1,000 to obtain. 

Flood Zone Risk Mitigation.

If you decide that the risk is worth the reward and you want to move forward with purchasing the property.  There are ways you can mitigate the risk part of the equation – do you research and plan accordingly.

Flood Insurance – a specialty type of insurance provided by a limited number of insurance companies.  Start working on this early so you don’t delay your purchase process.  There are multiple coverage plans available and the costs can vary depending on your specific property. 

Building considerations – there are things you can do to mitigate damage in the event of flooding such as: (1) backflow valve to prevent sewer and drain backup; (2) relocating forced air heat ducts to ceiling vents instead of under the home; (3) use of flood resistant materials  such moisture resistant drywall- green board and inorganic or closed cell insulation; (4) installing raised storage; (5) crawl space considerations such as such as using flood vents that remain closed until a rising water level triggers an auto-opening mechanism, having a draining system to clear water from a flooded crawl space; and (6) raising the elevation of the lowest floor of the home to one food above the base flood elevation. 

Want to know more?  Make sure you work with a Real Estate Broker who has the expertise, informational resources and a team of service provider experts available to help you make fully informed, great decisions. If you’d like to explore your buying or selling options, contact The Blue Team at  www.BlueRealEstateTeam.com.

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