Buying a home in a flood plain or flood zone

It's a well-known fact that Lawton has a few different neighborhoods that have flooded in the past or flood regularly when it rains heavily. Oftentimes when someone is interested in buying a home here, we are asked many questions about the history of the home, where the flood zone is in regard to the property line and more, all related to "What do I need to know?". Here are some of the more frequent questions we have been asked...

How can I know if the home I'm interested in buying, or have already purchased, is at risk of flooding?

Regardless of where you live, there are a few ways to determine if your home is in a flood zone. The best way is to visit the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) website and put in the address of the home in reference to see where it lies within any flood zones. You can also check with a local insurance agency to determine if the property is in a flood zone.

How can I find out about the history of flooding a home?

Some states require that the seller discloses whether the house has flooded or has had any water damage from flooding, if the property requires flood insurance, and also the flood zone status of the property. Oklahoma is one of those states that has the seller fill out a Residential Property Disclosure Statement answering these questions. You will want to do your due diligence to find out these details before you buy, in the event you live in a state that does not require it.

Can flood plains change over time?

In short, yes! Several factors influence the frequency with which flood maps may be updated, such as the extent of new development and the completion of flood-control projects.

What kind of insurance will I need if I purchase a house in a flood zone?

The type of insurance you will need will depend on what type of flood zone you are in, and if your mortgage company wants you to carry a certain amount to cover damages to your home in the event it is flooded. As a homeowner or potential homeowner, you would also want to look into coverage for your personal items as well. FEMA uses Flood Insurance Rate Maps (FIRMs) to help determine what you should pay for flood insurance. You can look up a current FIRM on the FEMA Flood Map Service Center, free of charge.

Am I required to carry flood insurance?

If you have a mortgage or a loan on your property, then yes, you are required to carry flood insurance. However if you own your home outright, then it's not a requirement, though highly recommended if you're in a flood zone, so that you're not paying out-of-pocket for any flood damage.

How hard is it to resell a home that's in a flood plain or that has been flooded?

You can still resell a property that's in a flood plain. It may be a little bit more challenging due to the additional cost of insurance to a buyer that is trying to stay within their pre-approved spending amount.

Posted by Reedy Daly and Stace Bohlender on
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