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How To Check If Your New Home Has A Flood History

Before you buy a home, get a home inspection to uncover any past damage or future issues that could arise based on the home's history. Sometimes homes have a flood history. While some flooded homes are irreparably damaged, many manage to survive the flood. 

As a new home buyer, you'll want to know how to check the flood history on any new piece of property.

Do You Live in a Flood Zone?

First, before buying a new home, check whether or not you live in a flood zone. The official definition of a flood zone, as determined by FEMA:

Flood zones are geographic areas that the FEMA has defined according to varying levels of flood risk.    These zones are depicted on a community's Flood Insurance Rate Map (FIRM) or Flood Hazard Boundary Map.   Each zone reflects the severity or type of flooding in the area

Check your flood zone using my custom home risk report. If you are in a medium or high risk area, you are highly recommended to buy flood insurance and also check if the property has a history of flooding. 

Has The Home Been Flooded Before

Researching a home's flood history is difficult and can vary state to state. Certain states do not require sellers to share flood history information. A home inspector can look at potential water damage by looking for stains near the baseboards or ceiling. Additionally, as water follows gravity, the basement is a common place to locate signs of water damage

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Another trick is checking contours of the ground outside the house. If the ground is flat and then drops a few inches suddenly, it could be a sign of previous flooding. 

As most sellers might neglect to inform you that the property has been previously flooded, it is up to you to do your own diligent research. You can start by looking at NFIP claim data by state to see if your state has a higher frequency of flood claims.

When all else fails, ask your insurance agent. Your insurance agent can run a Comprehensive Loss Underwriting Evaluation (CLUE) report on the past claims on the property. This will be the most concrete way of determining whether or not the home has flooded in the past. This reports past flood claims filed by the owner, but NOT flood damage at the property when no claim was filed. If the owner did not have a flood policy at the time of the previous damage, it is unlikely they filed a claim. 

Know your home’s flood history or future flood risk before buying. When in doubt, always purchase flood insurance. Hope that helps!

At your service,
Young Alfred