Buying a home in a flood area: a beginner’s guide

Home Design

With our climate changing, news stories and footage of flooded homes are becoming more commonplace. The Environment Agency has worked out that one in six properties have some flood risk, and house-hunters need to understand and weigh up the risks.

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The most common causes of flooding are through burst riverbanks, unusually high tides washing inland, groundwater flooding, where a rising water table causes basements to flood, and surface-water flooding, where water can’t drain quickly enough during heavy rain.

To find out whether your property is in a flood risk area, enter the postcode into the https://www.gov.uk/check-flood-risk Government website. It grades the level of risk and provides flood maps. It’s a good idea to get information from other sources, such as estate agents. Your solicitor needs to be aware of flood risks too. Talk to them about it when obtaining conveyancing quotes.

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How does flood risk affect home insurance?

Home insurance premiums can be greatly affected by flood risk, especially if there has been flooding in the past. Some insurers will want a confirmation of the flood risk level from the Environment Agency. Such confirmation is also useful when applying for mortgages in a flood risk area, too, as lenders will need to be satisfied that the property can be insured.

Are there any extra costs involved?

Expect to pay higher insurance premiums for a property in a flood risk area. Checking on the elements of flood risk may affect your solicitor’s costs too – you can request conveyancing quotes online to get an idea. You may need to invest in materials such as sandbags, should the worst occur. However, the market price of at-risk properties will be lower.

Prevention

While it’s extremely difficult to prevent your home from flooding, there are some steps you can take to minimize damage. For example, avoid using carpets in rooms at risk, and make sure that power-points are located at a high level on the walls. Non-return valves in the drains can help during flash floods, and of course, store your valuables in the upper floors of your property.

Buying a property in a flood risk area is never out of the question. But it’s important to weigh up the risks versus the benefits to ensure you make the right decision.

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