Should I Buy a House in a Flood Zone?

Residential home with flooded front yard

Living close to water is extremely appealing. Who doesn’t want to look out their window and gaze out at a shimmering body of water? Or only have a few minutes’ walk to a beautiful beach?

But there’s a tradeoff to the beauty and convenience of waterfront or water-adjacent property. The likelihood of water damage increases substantially for property owners who choose to reside in a flood zone or floodplain.

This doesn’t mean you should avoid buying a home in a flood zone, especially if you’ve found the home of your dreams. But it does mean you should be aware of the insurance needed for buying a house in a flood zone as well as the resale value of homes in a flood zone. Know your risks, and you can mitigate them if you do indeed experience flood damage.

Buying a House in a Flood Plain—What You Need to Know

Before you purchase a home in a flood plain, you should be aware of the different levels of risk. Flood zones are divided into three distinct categories. Each category is associated with a different level of risk.

  • High Risk Flood Zone: Homes in high-risk flood zones are known as Special Flood Hazard Areas, or SFHA. If your flood plain code starts with an A or V, your house is in a SFHA. The letter V is used to designate coastal areas.

  • Moderate Risk Flood Zone: Living in a moderate-risk flood plain means it’s less likely that you’ll experience flooding, but it is possible. These zones are labeled Zone B or Zone X.

  • Minimal Risk Flood Zone: If your home is in a minimal risk flood zone, your risk is small. However, flooding still is possible. These zones are known as Zone C or Zone X.

Knowing your flood risk level is important as you’re weighing whether to purchase a home in a flood zone. If you’re not sure, just enter the address into The Federal Emergency Management Agency’s (FEMA) Online Flood Zone Map Center.

Related Topic: What Is a 100-Year Flood?

Before Buying a House With Flood Damage…

According to FEMA, a single inch of floodwater can cause tens of thousands of dollars’ worth of damage to a home.

If you decide to purchase a home in a flood zone, you’ll need to determine if there is any existing flood damage. Although sellers are required to disclose any sort of damage to the home, they may be unaware of existing flood damage.

When walking through the home, look for signs of previous or unmitigated flood damage:

  • Inspect the ceiling and walls for dark or wet spots, especially around corners.

  • Look for cracking, bubbling, or flaking paint, wallpaper, drywall, or paneling.

  • Listen carefully for the sound of dripping or running water.

  • Smell the air—is it damp or musty?

It’s not just obvious water damage that poses a problem for potential buyers. A poorly completed cleanup can leave future property owners underwater.

Always opt for a professional home inspection before signing on the dotted line. A home inspector is trained to seek out potential damages and will alert you to any concerns, big or small.

Related Topic: How to Prepare for Floods

What About the Resale Value of Homes in Flood Zones?

There are over 13 million people living in flood zones in the United States. That alone proves that homes in flood zones sell often. While you may face some challenges selling a home in a flood plain, it’s no different than trying to sell a home on a busy intersection—the reward just needs to outweigh the risk.

If there is any existing flood damage in your home, be sure to have it professionally remediated and repaired before listing the property on the market.

Always Choose Professional Water Damage Restoration

When deciding whether to buy a home in a flood zone, be aware of the risks involved. But know that with the proper insurance, research and support, any home you choose can end up being perfect for you and your family.

Whether you’re a potential seller looking to remediate old damage before a sale or a homeowner recovering from a recent flood, choose Rainbow International for professional water damage restoration. For more than forty years, homeowners like you have put their trust in our restoration specialists. Our technicians are trained in the latest flood damage remediation techniques and all of our work is backed by the Neighborly Done Right Promise. To learn more give us a call at (855) 724-6269 or request an appointment online.