Buying A Home

Buying a home in a flood plain?

Hi! This is my first time posting on this board, my husband and I started looking for houses about 2 weeks ago and I've been lurking here for a while. :)

Our realtor suggested we look at an adorable home that is on the low end of our budget and in great shape.

The clincher, it's in a 100-year flood plain. It has only had water in the basement once and that was 2 years ago during the "Flood of Floods" that destroyed a ton of homes and flooded homes that were not even in flood plains.

What would you do? I know we'd have to get flood insurance for the house, but would something like this be a deal breaker?

 Thank you for your help!


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Re: Buying a home in a flood plain?

  • My last home and current home are in 100yr flood plains. So no, not a deal breaker for me. But neither of my homes had ever flooded, so I'd be very careful about how things were repaired.

    And get a quote on that flood insurance, because it can be pricey.

    - Jena
    image
  • My mom lives on a flood plain and she has for the past 12 years and it has never flooded. We have had 2 major hurricanes since she has lived there and the street flooded but not the house. 
  • No, not a deal breaker. Lots of properties are located in 100 year flood plains.

    Flood insurance is a great idea. You can go to floodsmart.gov and find a local agent who will quote you on this. It's a national program, administered through the government, so it's not like homeowners insurance where you can select a carrier. But an agent can tell you the cost for insuring the property with flood insurance.

    By the way, flood plains change every so often. FEMA engineers are currently re-evaluating part of Atlanta (where I live) that was underwater in September of 2009.

  • I live in New Orleans so pretty much the whole city is a flood area. For us it was finding the right insurance. You just need to do your research and know the potential risk.
  • We're buying a house in a flood plain, so not a dealbreaker for us. A few things to consider though-

    -We kept the flood plain/insurance in mind when negotiating for the house. We knew that we would have to discount the house when we sold it because of the flood plain thing. If you had to choose between a great house in a flood plain, and a great house not in a flood plain at the same price...what would you choose? So we know we'll have to drop the price. We're getting the house (a foreclosure) at $70K less than the tax value of the house (and most of the time around here, houses sell for the tax value), so we're comfortable with our purchase price.

    -research flood insurance. Its all done through a national program called NFIP-National Flood Insurance Program, through FEMA. If the house is in the flood plain you will HAVE to have flood insurance. Its not an option. Our lender is requiring 15 months of flood insurance paid at closing. For us that comes out to just over $1K. But we don't have to pay flood insurance for the first year. So it works out if you have the extra cash for closing.

    -while it is all done through a national program you can (and will!) get differing quotes from different insurance agents. Get at least 3 quotes. We got 5. Agents can often do more work, more research on a property to bring the insurance quote down a bit. Our quotes ranged from $1200-$850/year. Keep in mind you can select your deductible just like with regular insurance. We chose a $5K deductible. Its the highest option they had, and we were discouraged from doing so. However the house we are buying has NEVER flooded. It was built in 1962, and we had a 100 year flood last year...and it didn't flood. So we aren't concerned. We also have the $5K in savings if we needed it.

    -See if the sellers have an elevation certificate. Sometimes this can help you get a lower quote. We had one, and it didn't help us, but often it can. Also see if your realtors can communicate to find out what they are paying in flood insurance. I've heard of buyers taking over the sellers flood insurance policies before...that might be able to prevent having to pay 15 months up front at closing. See if its an option.

    Thats all I've got. It took us about a week and a half to work out the flood insurance details before we were comfortable enough to put an offer in on the house. During that time we were told (by uninformed people) that flood insurance could run us anywhere from $300-$2500 a year. Make sure you talk to people who know what they are talking about. The NFIP website has a list of local providers. I live in a somewhat rural area, and there were several to choose from in my area-so I'm sure you'll have some options. Our realtor didn't really help us, and neither did our lender...it required a lot of leg work on our part....but it will be worth it when we close and we aren't surprised. GL!!!

    image Madeleine Suzanne, born October 30, 2011
  • Honestly, the buying a house in a flood plain (especially a 100 year flood plain) wouldn't really bother me. I'd be more worried about the quality of the repairs done after the flood on this house! 

    If you do decide to go through with it, make sure you get a great inspector who will do a really thorough job of inspecting for foundation problems, structural problems, any potential undetected mold problems, etc

  • We avoided houses in flood plains.  It will affect your resale value (just like it is making the purchase price cheaper).  When you say it has only had water in the basement once - what do you mean?  How long have the current owners lived there?  If less than 20 or so years, that isn't much history.

    The way I look at it, a 100 year flood plan is a 1/4 chance that it will flood in the next 25 years - our expected time frame in a house. Flood damage is something I don't want to deal with. However, if most of you region is in a 100 year flood plain that would be a different matter.

  • Awesome! Thank you so much for all your help!!!

    Image and video hosting by TinyPic Due May 10, 2012
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