AgentMarkets & Economy

How to prep buyers in high-flood-risk zones

Encourage your buyers: don't wait to appraise your house when it's underwater
  • Global rising sea-level is drowning beachfront properties.
  • Housing economists are struggling to predict the future of Special Flood Hazard Area homes.
  • Real estate agents can be proactive with new homebuyers to ensure they are fully aware of risks.

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The torrential downpour Houston saw last week left the fourth largest city in America with billions of dollars in damages. The resulting floods claimed the lives of eight human beings, and an unknown or otherwise unreported number of pets and animals. After the news stories stopped fawning over the destruction, the questions began to mount: What could be done to prevent this type of disaster? And, unfortunately, the answer is nothing. But then it raised the fringe questions about FEMA, flood insurance policies, and how other areas of the country potentially affected by disasters such as this can be proactive in their efforts. "Currently, under federal law, flood insurance is mandatory for all federal or federally-related financial assistance for the acquisition and/or construction of buildings in Special Flood Hazard Areas (SFHAs)," said Sean Becketti, chief economist at Freddie Mac. "In addition, Freddie Mac requires flood insurance before it will purchase a loan for a...