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How to Sell Your Flooded House

Climate warming, severe floods, and unusual weather patterns across the globe have put many homeowners in flood-prone areas that were not flood-prone when they purchased their homes years ago. Now many homeowners think their houses are not sellable.

Most prospecting home buyers fear the damages and risk that floods would cause to their families and homes. And they have every justification to feel this way because recent weather events have proven the risks are quite real. In spite of all of these, there are strategies a homeowner can use to sell a flooded house and have a successful sale in the wake of all the impending challenges.

When a house is located in an area that has the history of floods, any prospecting buyer might ask the question as to whether there has ever been a flood event in the neighborhood and the specific house. A homeowner clearly cannot lie about this since it would be both highly unethical and illegal.

The most radical and expensive solution is to raise the house out of the floodplain. Raising an exiting structure, plus its foundation, is a task only a few construction companies are qualified to do. There are some other physical improvements that can be made to help "water proof" a house against minor water intrusion, although there is no perfect solution. The slope of the grade of the soil around the house should divert all rain and other water away from the house. This should be checked and if this is lacking then re-grading and landscaping the entire house lot would be the required repair solution.

Other less intensive preventative measures include replacing doors and windows with flood resistant doors and windows, replacing carpet with tile floors, raising electrical outlets on all interior walls, and applying waterproof sealants to your exterior walls. These preventative measures can help with minor flooding but when the flood waters are three feet or higher inside the home then the homeowner is at the mercy of mother nature. Potential buyers and current homeowners should consult with all of the local authorities about flood prevention steps that they can apply to their specific situations.

Many potential buyers will look into flood insurance as a protective measure. Unfortunately, in areas that have a history of flooding there may not be any flood insurance available. If this is the case then all the homeowner can do is "self-insure" by setting aside money every year to pay for damages if a flood occurs during his or her period of ownership.

Another implication is financing a home in a flood prone area. A new buyer may not be able to borrow money to purchase such a home because the lender knows that flood insurance is unavailable. Therefore institutional lenders will not lend money if they cannot protect their investment. In these cases a potential home buyer is limited to borrowing from private lenders or paying 100% for their home purchase.

Another less discussed option for the owner of a flooded house is to sell his house in "as-is" condition to real estate investors or home buyers for 100% cash. These companies are experienced in home repair and remodeling and they will assume all of the risk of repairing the home and finding a retail buyer. It is a no hassle solution for the flooded homeowner and that is probably what he or she needs after living through a flood that has done so much damage to their home and their possessions.


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