Owning a waterfront property may be a dream of yours, but it’s risky. Flooding can cause major damage to a house and its contents. Even homes that aren’t located close to bodies of water can flood. Before you decide to buy a house, learn as much as you can about its flood risk so you can make an informed decision.
Understand the Risks of Flooding
Even a few inches of water in a house can cause severe damage and destruction. Water can destroy furniture, carpet, hardwood floors, electronics and more. It can damage drywall and insulation, and cause mold that can pose a serious health risk to humans and pets. The cost to repair or rebuild a house that has been damaged by water can be staggering. The emotional toll of having your home and everything you own damaged or destroyed by flooding can be even more traumatic.
Think About Insurance Costs
Many people mistakenly believe that a standard homeowners insurance policy covers flood damage. But if you want to be protected in the event of a flood, you’ll have to purchase a separate flood insurance policy from the National Flood Insurance Program or a private insurer, which can be expensive.
Learn About a House’s Risk Before You Decide to Buy
The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) divides the United States into high-, moderate- and low-risk flood zones. If you’re thinking about buying a house, find out its designation. You can ask your real estate agent or check FEMA’s Flood Map Service Center.
The type of zone a house is located in is not the only factor you should consider. Even a property in a low-risk zone can experience flooding if there is a hurricane or some other type of disaster.
Inquire about any history of flooding in the area. If the house has flooded in the past, find out what repairs were made and what steps, if any, were taken to prevent future flood damage. If the house hasn’t flooded but is at risk, find out what actions the homeowner and the local government have taken to prevent further flood damage.
Decide Whether to Buy the House or Pass
A house that’s located in a flood zone may be less expensive than a comparable house located elsewhere, but that’s not guaranteed. When looking for a house to buy, it’s always a good idea to think about the possibility that you will decide to sell it at some point in the future.
Because of the risk associated with owning a house near a body of water, many buyers are wary and won’t consider a home in a high-risk area. If you purchase a house that’s at risk of flooding, you may have a hard time selling it later on. Buying a house in a flood zone is not necessarily a bad idea, but you have to carefully weigh the pros and cons.