Buying A Home

Basement in Flood zone?(HELP!)house is prefect!

We found a house that is perfect! I'm sure you don?t want to hear all the details but it is so perfect! We fell in love then right after we fell in love we found out the basement is in the flood zone! The house is out of the flood zone but it still scares me that the basement is. What is your advice or input! It does have a cleanup system... and in the last 15 years it had flooded twice.

We are going to look into getting it insured that?s one problem we think we may have!

Re: Basement in Flood zone?(HELP!)house is prefect!

  • thanks to my job, I know a lot about flood zones... I'm actually the flood plain admin for the city I work for.

    There is no such thing as your basement being in the flood zone and your house isn't. Either the property is in a flood zone or it isn't.

    If your property is in a flood zone, your mortgage lender will require you obtain flood insurance. If your property is in a zone inundated by 100-year floods (in urban areas, they are usually known as Zone A or Zone AE, aka the 100 year flood plain)  and the cost of your flood insurance WILL be astronomical. Residents in my community who own houses in the flood zone have told me they pay $1500-2000 in flood insurance annually. Even if your house isn't in the flood zone but a tiny corner of your property is, you're at the mercy of the flood insurers, and it's at their discretion as to whether they want to charge you the same rate as someone who's house is in a flood zone.

    The sellers or the house may or may not be already paying this... if they've owned the house long enough, they may be grandfathered in and have normal insurance rates.

     Living in a house with a basement that floods isn't just an inconvenience every now and then... it can erode your property or damage your foundation and your pipes and sewer. If there is standing water on the property in times of heavy rain, you'll get mold and mosquitoes.

    IMHO it's not worth it.

  • thanks so much...as bad as I hate to hear it I really needed to! I hate to let such a nice house pass me by but then again better to know what kind of problems may come later on.
  • fyi-

    you can find the official FEMA-issued flood zone map which all insurers follow here: http://msc.fema.gov/webapp/wcs/stores/servlet/FemaWelcomeView?storeId=10001&catalogId=10001&langId=-1

    You can put in the address and then click "view". The map that shows up will be ancient, it will not be centered on your property, and it does not show parcels, so you have to guess where the house is. Oh, and the top of the map is not necessarily north, some are rotated.

    You can also visit the official FEMA flood insurance site here: http://www.floodsmart.gov/floodsmart/ and put in the address to get your flood risk and insurance rate estimate, although I'm not sure how useful that actually is.

  • We didn't have many deal breakers when house hunting, but being in a flood zone was a definite deal breaker for us.  Not only did we not want to pay the cost of flood insurance, we also didn't want to live in a place where we'd have to worry about our belongings and house getting destroyed.  I rented an house on a creek before marrying DH, and I'll never forget the day police officers knocked on my door and told me that my neighborhood was under evacuation.  Trying to decide what to take with me and packing as much as I could in my car sucked.  It's also sucky to look in your backyard and see a creek running through it.  Luckily in the end the flood waters went down, my house was fine (yay for the house being raised off the ground!), nothing was damaged in the house and I got to go home.  But that is an experience I never want to relive. 
  • I agree with the information the others gave you already.  I'm not sure what you mean by clean-out.  Do you mean a sump pump in the basement?  A lot of basements have these, but it's important to know they run off electricity.  Which means, you could have storm that knocks out your power and the sump pump would stop working, causing the basement to flood.

    I love the water, but living in a flood zone was a deal breaker for me.  Some people really want a view over the water.  It's up to you to decide if it's worth the cost and risk.

  • image LilyAnna06:

    thanks to my job, I know a lot about flood zones... I'm actually the flood plain admin for the city I work for.

    There is no such thing as your basement being in the flood zone and your house isn't. Either the property is in a flood zone or it isn't.

    If your property is in a flood zone, your mortgage lender will require you obtain flood insurance. If your property is in a zone inundated by 100-year floods (in urban areas, they are usually known as Zone A or Zone AE, aka the 100 year flood plain)  and the cost of your flood insurance WILL be astronomical. Residents in my community who own houses in the flood zone have told me they pay $1500-2000 in flood insurance annually. Even if your house isn't in the flood zone but a tiny corner of your property is, you're at the mercy of the flood insurers, and it's at their discretion as to whether they want to charge you the same rate as someone who's house is in a flood zone.

    The sellers or the house may or may not be already paying this... if they've owned the house long enough, they may be grandfathered in and have normal insurance rates.

     Living in a house with a basement that floods isn't just an inconvenience every now and then... it can erode your property or damage your foundation and your pipes and sewer. If there is standing water on the property in times of heavy rain, you'll get mold and mosquitoes.

    IMHO it's not worth it.

    Not necessarily true. I've seen a lot of flood policies in FLORIDA sell for $100-400 annually. It depends on the flood zone.

  • I refused to look at houses in a flood zone.  I had a really hard time getting home owners insurance on my first house because of it's location and proximity to water, so when FI and i started looking, I said NO WAY.  Not to mention that depending on what zone you are, you are just asking for flooding.
  • Yes a Sump pump! I wasn?t sure what it was called. I really wish I would have known the house was in the flood zone before looking at it... I'm so disappointed... but I'm not taking a chance on it! The house is overpriced anyways and if it wasn?t in the flood zone then I would have done whatever I had to do to get it... so I guess it was good in a way!

  • Personally, I would walk away.  I would just not want to deal with this headache.  I've been in your shoes - we had a 'perfect' house & when we found out how many problems it had during the inspection it was literally heart breaking.  I think you could probably find something better - a place where you wouldn't have to worry about floods!  GL!

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