Moving? Answer These 5 Questions to Avoid Flood Risk Area


When moving to a new place, we consider many factors, such as cost of living, crime rate, public transportation, schools, etc. Flood risk should also be one of them.


With the changing climate these days, 15 million homes are at risk of flooding, or 70% more than the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) estimates. This means that places that flooded a little in the past can flood a lot in the future, putting lives and properties at risk. In fact, this is already happening.


In September this year, many people died in the US north-east after Hurricane Ida caused a devastating flood in the region. In addition to fatalities, floods also damage your home, making you sick when molds grow or when you’re exposed to contaminated water. Plus, it also damages your cars, appliances, and other valuables.


Here are questions you should ask yourself before moving to a new location:

1. Has This Area or Building Flooded Before?

Remember that an area that was flooded will flood again, especially with the changing weather. Since real estate agents or landlords may not share this information, researching online for reports and long-time residents are your best resources.

2. Is the Building Currently in the List of FEMA-Designated Flood Zones?

FEMA publishes a map tool that shows if your address is in a flood zone, as well as the floodways and your home’s risk level. Other information includes levees, coastal barriers, and base flood lines. 


Flood zones are labeled alphabetically – from Zone A, B, C, D, etc. FEMA has listed over 20,000 communities in the country into a category of flood zones. If you’re in high-risk areas (zones B, C, or X), expect at least one in four chances of flooding during a 30-year mortgage. That’s why all business owners and homeowners are required to purchase home insurance.


Though moderate to low-risk flood zones (zones B, C, or X) have reduced flood risks, the possibility of flooding is not completely removed. Locals are not required to buy flood insurance but are recommended to do so.

3. How Likely That the Building or Area Will Flood While I Live There?

Aside from the flooding history of your building and neighborhood, you also need to know how sea-level rise and extreme rain contribute to flood risk in the future. If you’re buying a house with a 35-year-mortgage, you’re more likely to experience a flood than when renting the same house for a year.


Look online for websites, forecasts, and mobile apps that publish local information about flood risks.

4. Is the House or Building Nearby an Open Water Source?

There can be a high risk if the house or building you’re planning to buy or rent is near an open water source, including a river, lake, sea, stream, drains, or ditches. When heavy rainfall occurs, a high volume of water can burst the river banks, resulting in flooded dry areas. 


In addition, a house or building with a basement or a hollow or low-lying area where floodwater could collect is at risk of flooding.

5. How Many Homeowners Took a Buyout?

Some local governments try to move people out of the high-risk areas by purchasing homes that have flooded repeatedly. They demolish these homes to allow water to spread out without putting harm to residents. 


Though this only applies to a few, you may want to know before moving. Find your ZIP code in the NPR database to see if homes were purchased and demolished between 1989 – 2017. 

What If You Moved to a Flood-Prone Area?

If you moved to a flood-prone area before finding out it’s high-risk, you must prepare before it happens. First and foremost, consider buying flood insurance to save you from expensive repairs and restoration in the future. Safely place your important documents in a waterproof container after creating password-protected digital copies.


If you know there’s a storm coming, clean your gutters, check your pipes, and gather basic supplies (flashlights with extra batteries, food, first aid kit, etc.). Also, make it a habit to keep emergency contact numbers, such as your fire department, Red Cross, and others.

If your home is flooded, despite your preparations, contact your local water damage restoration professionals right away to prevent further damage. PuroClean, a top property restoration company with branches across the States and Canada, offers emergency and quick cleanup, repair, and restoration services.

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