Selling a home in a flood zone isn’t always easy. Some buyers will be completely risk-averse and avoid the home entirely. Others will have lots of questions before they commit to making an offer.
However, while having a home in a flood zone can add complexity to a home sale, it’s simply an added consideration—not a deal-breaker. Here are six tips to help you sell your home in a flood zone.
Know for sure which flood zone you’re in.
FEMA, or the Federal Emergency Management Agency, has three tiers for flood zones, with high-risk or “Special Flood Hazard Area” being the highest. You’re in this category if your flood zone on FEMA’s map has a code starting with A or V.
If you aren’t sure or want to double-check, which flood zone your home is in, you can look up your address on FEMA’s Flood Map Service Center.
Take another look at your flood insurance.
If you live in a high-risk flood zone, you’re legally required to purchase flood insurance. If you’re like the vast majority of homeowners, yours is through the publicly subsidized National Flood Insurance Program, overseen by FEMA.
If your buyers have never owned a home in a flood zone before, they may have questions about the insurance requirements. While their real estate agent should be able to answer those questions, you’ll want to be prepared to share information about your flood insurance policy as needed—especially how much your annual premium is.
Consider giving your buyer a credit to cover their first year’s flood insurance premium.
Credits can be a useful tool in negotiating a home purchase and are often used to cover repairs that buyers request.
But a credit can also be helpful when it comes to selling your house in a flood zone. If buyers are balking at the idea of flood insurance, it may be worth it to offer them a credit to cover the first one or two years of the premium.
As with any other issue, from mold to un-permitted renovations, it’s critical to always be totally transparent about any flooding or water damage you’ve had in the past.
Each state has different disclosure laws, but regardless of the laws in your state, it’s always best to disclose everything. That way, you avoid potential issues from derailed closings to costly legal battles down the road.
Keep your home maintenance up-to-date.
If you’re in a high-risk flood zone, it pays to take measures to decrease your flood risk. Installing a sump pump, keeping your roof in tip-top condition, and addressing any water damage as soon as it occurs are just a few of the things homeowners in flood zones should do.
What’s more, a buyer will be much more open to making an offer if it’s clear that you’ve done what you can to mitigate flood risk and be a responsible homeowner.
Price your home accurately, accounting for the additional risk a buyer is taking on.
Pricing your home accurately is important whether or not it’s in a flood zone. When it is in a flood zone, however, buyers will want to see that you’ve taken that into account in the pricing. Starting high and expecting to come down may mark you as an unreasonable or unrealistic seller.
Selling your home in a high-risk flood zone requires a bit more consideration—and a great real estate agent. But by applying these tips, you’ll be well on your way to closing!