Selling A Flood Damaged House: How To Get Top Dollar In Houston

Houston, aka the Bayou City, is known for its good food, diverse population, top-rated medical centers…and swampy rivers. Built along bayous and on flat terrain, the big city has always struggled with flooding.

In 2017, Hurricane Harvey dumped a year of rain in less than a week. It resulted in the worst flood in Houston history, with a third of Houston covered in floodwater. Imagine more than 300,000 flooded homes.

Scientists predict that in 50 years, Houston’s weather will be hotter and rainier, with more hurricanes and a significant rise in sea level.

In 2020, a survey revealed that 20% of their respondents, whom Hurricane Harvey displaced, are still in temporary housing. Numerous people still need to rebuild or renovate their homes and properties.

The choice to sell a flooded house and move out of a flood zone is one that many face in the Houston area. It’s tough to hope for a good home value after a flood, even after flood damage restoration. 

Despite the best efforts of a real estate agent, selling a flood-damaged house can be a challenging endeavor. It can take years before you find a buyer. Much like a car totaled in an accident, it’s difficult to prove the reliability of the home after such significant damage. In many cases, the wisest course of action for a homeowner is to sell to cash home buyers. 

Effects of Flooding On House Value

Let’s talk about how much flooding devalues a house and how to sell a flooded house. If you wish to sell your flooded house at full price, prepare to be disappointed. Flood-damaged houses see reduced selling prices by 20%.

It’s also nearly impossible to sell a house fast and at a profit in a flood plain. Unfortunately, as much as 40% of Houston homes are in a floodplain. A house in a flood plain needs to have additional flood insurance coverage. Potential buyers aren’t often keen on the extra charges (and worry). 

If predictions are correct – that natural disasters will cross Houston’s path more frequently – then Houstonians must prepare for the likelihood of a flooded home. 

But what if you’re lucky and your home was simply water-damaged? Is it any easier to sell? Does water damage decrease home value? 

House buyers in the open market carry out home inspections to check for water damage before purchasing any property. Any diligent home buyer knows what water damage can do to a house. The water damage inspection cost is worth their investment compared to surprises in the long run. The structural damage alone can lead to collapse and sinking. Mold leads to many health problems – some severe or even potentially fatal, including pneumonia, migraines, asthma attacks, and allergic reactions.

It may look impractical at first to disclose the history of a water-damaged house or a flood-damaged house, but you will be better off legally, plus it is the right thing to do. A cash buyer who buys houses as-is could be your best option to do away with all the trouble.

Repairing A Flood-Damaged Home

85% of Houston residents had no flood insurance when Hurricane Harvey hit. The government proposed a buyout offer to only a small percentage of survivors. If you’re among the ten to twenty percent of Houston residents fortunate enough to have flood insurance, you should be able to cover the complete restoration or replacement expenses of your property after filing a timely claim with your insurer.

But will it be worthwhile to renovate a house with flood damage? With recurring “500-year” floods like those from Tropical Storm Allison and Imelda, a house flood and the aggravation it brings are likely in the future of Houston residents. 

For those who will brave the repairs, with or without an insurance company’s support, the restorations that provide the most value are pipe repair and removal of water, mud, and debris. Excavation and reinforcing the foundation of your home are also critical. 

The average price range for these services is $3,538 per 200 square feet. Expect prices to increase due to the high demand. Are you repairing the house or selling your home? The choice is up to you.

Selling A Flood-Damaged Home

With A Realtor

A real estate agent will help you know how best to sell a flooded house, with leaky roofs, broken pipes or gutters, and all. But anticipate doing water remediation and other repairs first, as you cannot sell or not disclose a damaged home. Also, brace yourself for staging your home as part of the process.

To An Investor

Sell to an investor who will buy your house as-is to skip the repairing and staging ordeal as well as the realtor’s commission. These investors may have plans to develop the area, but it could take years and many storms before they can transform a flood-prone place into a prime location again.


One day, we will reap the benefits of mitigation projects like banning construction in floodplains, widening bayous, elevating homes in flood-prone areas, and creating new reservoirs. County and city officials will be more experienced in preventing the negative impacts of future flooding. And then maybe, just maybe, we’ll be better prepared for future storms. 

Until then, get ahead by cutting your losses, finding real estate investors who will take the flood-damaged house off your hands, and get to higher ground.

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