Is it stupid to buy a home that has flooded?

sun2007October 6, 2011

We have found a house we like that is waterfront and has flooded in the past. We like the house but it's a fixer upper and the whole house would have to be remodeled (50 year old house).

Does anyone have experience / advice on homes in flood zones? We live in a hurricane zone, so future flooding is imminent (who knows to what degree). No one in this area seems to mind, as waterfront homes are still selling quite well and at a steep premium. We just moved here from another state so we feel like we're missing something!

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Have you ever had to deal with a flooded house? It doesn't sound like you have cause if you had you'd be running not walking in the other direction. My little part of the world got hit by a major flood the beginning of September, Upstate NY. Places that never flooded before flooded. Places that have flooded in the past were hit even harder than in the past.
#2 son and DIL bought a house that had been flooded in the past. They are now homeless with two small kids and a baby.
They have no idea if or when they will ever be able to move back into their house. The inside needs to be gutted. They just got the okay from the insurance company to do so. This weekend they start the gutting of the house. Then it all has to be scrubbed down and then bleached. After that they have to wait for the studs to dry out, which can take weeks even months.
They lost all their mechanicals..........furnace, water heater, AC. They've lost time from work. They lost a car. Their kids lost their sense of security. They spent hours at a laundry mat washing clothing and bedding trying to get the smell out of stuff. The stench from a flood is ecthed in their minds. That and the skeeters it brings as well as the brown dust that remains after the flood waters have gone. You walk around in thick mud for weeks afterwards and then things start to dry and you have this dust on everything you own. We're into the first week of October and things are no where near normal.
They have flood insurance BUT it only covers so much on belongings and so much on the house. Repairs and replacements will be much more than what they will get from insurance company. Because of the size of the flooded area alternate housing is very limited so they are staying with family.
It's been emotional and stressful. They are young and will recover eventually with some help.
95% of our community was affected by this flood. I think if you asked any of them if they'd knowingly buy in a flood zone they'd tell you no.

    Bookmark   October 7, 2011 at 12:42AM
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Well, a healthy percentage of the most expensive property in the country is in a "flood zone", so obviously lots of people are buying there.

However, "in a flood zone" and "recently flooded" are very different things. Generally, anything that touches flood water is ruined and needs to go. Has that been done?

Before you buy any sort of fixer-upper, you should price out how much it is going to cost to fix it. Have you done that? That might double or triple the real cost of this home.

    Bookmark   October 7, 2011 at 8:38AM
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We tore down a 1950's ranch and built new on the old foundation (plus some crawls). The basement flooded during construction. Mold began to appear as framing began. Cost to remediate the mold was $17K. This was shortly before insurance companies stopped paying for mold remediation so we 'only' lost $1K plus testing costs.

BTW, I would think a LONG time before I 'remodeled' any 50-year-old hoouse that has flooded. Unless it is historic, you'll be money and comfort ahead to tear down.

    Bookmark   October 7, 2011 at 11:46AM
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Ask anyone in Minot ND or Fargo/Grand Forks ND about this. Minot is going thru this problem with at least 4000 homes because of the flooding. Besides the mold, etc, they are not telling people if they can even rebuild in the flood zone. No I would NOT buy a home that has been flooded. Can you get flood insurance?

    Bookmark   October 7, 2011 at 12:11PM
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The only way that I would buy a home that has flooded in the past was if it were to be torn down and rebuilt to current FEMA flood and high wind standards. You just quadrupled the price of the "bargain" but at least it won't cost you that in flood remediation in the future when it floods again. Plus the cost of flood insurance, if you can even GET flood insurance for a previously flooded home at any price.

    Bookmark   October 7, 2011 at 5:08PM
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"flooded in the past" . . . "We live in a hurricane zone" . . . "flooding is imminent"

Are you really sure that the waterfront location is worth dealing with repeated floods, being displaced for whatever time it takes to continually "remodel" the home after a flood, being subject to mold on an ongoing basis, losing your possessions either due to the flood or looting, all the while paying a "steep premium"?

If your answer is "yes," then I say go for it.

    Bookmark   October 9, 2011 at 3:20PM
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DON'T buy a house that has a history of flooding!
No. Don't buy it.

    Bookmark   October 10, 2011 at 12:04AM
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