Home Buying: Is Your Potential Home a Flood Risk? | Pittsburgh | Terry's Plumbing

Home Buying: Is Your Potential Home a Flood Risk?

You’ve found the perfect home–beautiful kitchen, the right number of bathrooms, and a big, beautiful fenced in yard. And then someone mentions a case of flooding in the area. You start to wonder, could my dream home be at risk for flood damage?

The fact is home buyers need to pay attention to their flood risk and the need for flood control. Which is why in this article we give you pointers on how to assess a home’s flood risk and who to ask for more information.

Flood Zones and Flood Risk

If you start your home search on popular sites such as realtor.com or zollow.com, you’ll find flood risk information baked into some of the listings. Some might also include a link to a map that shows the ratings from two popular flood risk tools: FEMA flood maps and Flood Factor.

The FEMA flood map ratings use letters to indicate risk level:

  •       An A or a V — high-risk flood area
  •       B, C, or X — moderate-to-low-risk area
  •       D — area that hasn’t been mapped, so the risk is unknown

The Flood Factor rating system works on a scale of 1 to 10:

  •       1 — minimal risk 
  •       2 — minor risk 
  •       3 to 4 — moderate risk
  •       5 to 6 — major risk 
  •       7 to 8 — severe risk 
  •       9 to 10 — extreme risk

The more consumer-friendly of the two sites–Flood Factor– lets you search by property address. You can see an aerial image of the property and a summary explaining overall flood risk. Given its newness, the database is evolving and updated quarterly.

How a Floodplain Manager can Help

If you’re having a hard time understanding the flood risk associated with a property you’re interested in, the next step may be to consult your local floodplain manager. They are trained to decipher FEMA flood maps for consumers and answer flood risk-related questions, and those services are normally free.

This step is an especially good idea if the FEMA flood maps and Flood Factor both show that a property’s flood risk is high and flood control is an issue. But even if one shows moderate risk, a floodplain manager will probably point you in the right direction of a reputable insurance agent.

How your Home Inspector can Provide Insight

When you’re ready for a home inspection, you’ll want to work with an experienced home inspector. Ask your inspector of choice if a moisture meter is used or if they have experience with flooding. Water lines in a basement or crawl space, or a musty smell from behind the walls may be a warning sign of flooding in a home.

However, you cannot rely on a home inspection to tell the whole story. If the area has been repaired, flood damage may be hidden behind the walls. The damage would then be ‘out of scope’ and not accessible to the home inspector.

Call Super Terry Today

We hope you found our newest blog informative and helpful! If you need more information or would like to get in contact with Terry’s Plumbing give us a call 412-364-9114 at or click here to fill out our form.