How To Sell A House In A Flood Zone

Flooding in the United States has grown dramatically due to climate change. Homes that have never been flooded before are being affected, while those that have a history of flooding are more regularly and severely affected.

You’ll never forget the devastation wreaked by rushing water if you’ve ever been through a flood.

For homebuyers, one of their greatest fears in the homebuying process is purchasing a home that has had a history of flood damage. The muck and dirt a flood leaves in its wake are just one of the many inconveniences. Mold and wood rot can weaken floor joists; floodwaters can crack once solid home foundations; and homeowners can be left with nearly irrevocable damage. 

When purchasing a property, many people avoid buying a home in or near flood zones, even if the home has no history of flood damage. Selling a home in a flood zone may be tricky, putting homeowners in a difficult position to negotiate a listing price for their property. Potential buyers are put off by the risk of flooding, even if your house is on higher ground.

Knowing the anxieties that homebuyers face is an important part of the selling process, as is understanding the precautions to be taken for your particular flood zone. Read on for extra tips on how to sell a house in a flood zone.

What Is A Flood Zone?

There is a possibility of flooding inside a defined flood zone. There is not one “flood zone,” but types of flood zones. In other words, differentiating between high and low-risk flood zones is possible through flood zone variances or tiers. Markings on the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) map indicate where severe flooding can take place in a particular area. 

Flood Zone Tiers:

  • A or V is the flood zone designation for a Special Flood Hazard Area (SFHA) on FEMA’s map, which indicates that your area is classified as high risk. Base flood elevation or “100-year flood” is another term for this;
  • In Zone B or Zone X, you have a moderate flood risk and a 0.2 percent greater chance of flooding annually;
  • When it comes to floods, you’ll fall into Zone C or Zone X if you reside in a location that doesn’t get much flooding.

How To Determine If Your House Is In A Flood Zone

Is your house in danger of flooding? The first step is to visit the FEMA website to find out if your home is in a flood zone.

If you cannot enter the address of the residence in question because it is too new, write in the closest established address instead. Then, check the FEMA website to see whether the flood map includes your home’s location.

Use the Search By Address function of the FEMA’s Flood Map Service Center to determine whether the home you’re selling is in a flood zone.

Flood Zones And Home Values

Homeowners may wonder: how to value flood land? Rigorous disclosure regulations regarding flood risk protect home buyers in Texas, and this information is accessible to them at any time. Legal requirements mandate flood zone discounts varying from -0.7 percent to -7.3 percent. 

100-year floodplain properties sold for 3.1% less than comparable properties in the market overall. For a Harris County average-priced property, this drop in value is around $10,125.

An increased sense of flood danger is to blame for the more significant reduction, especially after Hurricane Harvey.

Selling A House In A Flood Zone

Get An Elevation Certificate

Elevation certificates are required by a lender and insurance agency when a buyer purchases a property. These certificates state if a house is theoretically above the height of the expected floods or whether it is in danger of being submerged. Insurance companies use this document to calculate the cost of flood insurance.

As a seller, you may want to request an elevation certificate from your local floodplain manager before you put your home on the market. You might browse for insurance rates from a few firms to keep ahead of the curve.

This is a step that can help alleviate some of the pressure and fears buyers can feel in the buying process. Peace of mind and certainty from certified professionals is something you can aim to provide. 

Offer A Discount On Flood Insurance

Discounting the insurance cost for a year from the purchase price is a wonderful way to convince buyers that you have their best interests at heart. This will make it easier for the buyers to move into the home and budget their flood insurance premiums for the following year.

Mortgage lenders need flood insurance for properties in high-risk areas. There was a time when private insurers ceased providing flood coverage, and the real estate market was badly affected. Real estate agents and lenders suffered as well as home buyers. When the private insurance market failed to provide enough coverage, the federal government established the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP).

Take Preventative Measures

  • Consider building a micro-elevation on your own land. Re-grade your property while you’re constructing or remodeling your home;
  • Install waterproof flooring. You can easily clean up hard-surface, waterproof floorings such as plank, sheet, ceramic, or porcelain floor tiles and tile floors;
  • As an alternative perhaps to a flood insurance discount, consider moving utilities like a heat pump to the attic or a raised platform above the ground level. Also, a professional electrician can relocate your outside GFCI outlets. An extra foot of clearance above flood level is recommended for all outlets.

Always Disclose The Information Or Flooding History

Selling a house in a flood zone requires full disclosure of any relevant information about the property. The flood information is readily accessible online, and prudent homebuyers will do their homework before signing the contract. Your job is to ensure that they are aware of the fact that the property is located in a high-risk area and that it might be flooded at any time.

You’ll also need to factor in the cost of flood insurance and declare any water damage to prospective buyers. 

Buyers do not want to be surprised or duped, so be sure that you are doing your due diligence and you are more likely to get a sale. 

Price Smartly

People will be reluctant to purchase a property in a high-risk flooding zone because of the high cost of flood insurance and the possible loss in the resale value of homes in a flood zone. 

A higher level of discernment is required to sell a home. You may be seen as an unrealistic home seller if you anticipate the price of your property to rise before it does. It’s also critical that the price of your home accurately reflects the additional expenses of purchasing flood insurance.

Be considerate and factor in the relevant costs of insurance and/or necessary renovations to make the home resilient to flooding.

Sell To An Investor

How to sell a house in a flood zone? Whether your home has been damaged by flooding or is just in a high-risk neighborhood, selling to a cash buyer is usually your best choice.

You won’t have to worry about renovations, staging, listing the house with a real estate agent, or waiting for bids since cash buyers buy properties as-is. Instead, get a fast sale and move on with your life without wasting any time, energy, or money.

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