Would you be crazy to buy land that might flood?

Discussion in 'Homesteading Questions' started by Maman to three, Aug 17, 2005.

  1. Maman to three

    Maman to three Member

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    My dh and I have seen a house I really like, but in theory at least, the land is down on the land register as being in an area susceptible to flooding. The house dates back to pre 1900, and to the knowledge of everyone in the area, there has never been flooding in the little village, only on some arable land lower in the valley.
    Dh has got kind of cold feet about the whole thing. I just wondered if anyone here had taken the risk, and whether they felt it was a risky investment, or OK for the future. The insurance company that currently insures the house is prepared to go on doing so (despite the new flood-zone laws that were created in 1995 (last sale of the house 1992, so not concerned by the flood legislation at that time).
    Can anyone help me out here? Tell me I must be crazy ... or maybe not.
    ;)

    - x - x - x - x - x - x - x - x - x - x - x - x - x -

    "Everyone knows they're going to die someday, but no-one believes it. If they did, they'd live differently."
    Mitch Albom, "Tuesdays with Morrie"
     
  2. culpeper

    culpeper Well-Known Member

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    In your shoes, I wouldn't touch it. While flooding might be a rare event, any floods that do occur are likely to be doozies. If nobody alive can remember such a flood, it probably means one is about due. Of course, if it IS one of those 'once in a hundred years' things, you'll probably only have to worry about it once in your life-time. But - you really wouldn't want it even that often, would you?
     

  3. Maman to three

    Maman to three Member

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    Hmmm, Culpeper, I guess you're right. I just don't get a "bad feeling" vibe about the whole thing, which makes me think maybe it will be ok. The previous mayor owns a house and land just a short distance, and at the time everyone bought land in the 80's and 90's, the land was considered OK. Then in 1993, I think, another river valley flooded and there were 47 deaths, I think, due mainly to modification of the natural river course (dams, etc) downstream. A campsite got flooded during the night, a flash flood, I think, and so the govt. changed all the rules in all the river valleys all over France. Now a whole load of houses, and lot of land is labelled floodable, although the risk is minimal in some cases.
    How can one tell where the next big one will occur?
    Don't millions of people live on the San Andreas fault, I keep asking myself?
    I think the govt. wants to provide themselves with some legal protection, above all else ... Sounds familiar?
    Thanks for your advice, anyhow. I'll keep you posted!
     
  4. agmantoo

    agmantoo agmantoo Supporter

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    Only buy property with "issues" that you can change, control or influence. Flooding is not one of them.
     
  5. moonwolf

    moonwolf Well-Known Member

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    The road down below has a small river that rises from time to time, but never has it 'flooded' as bad as it did a little over 3 years ago. It took out roads, bridges, culverts and a few houses 'floated'. One in particular I remember was up for sale that stayed put, but never the less it 'floated' from it's basement perch and settled back down. The house sold at a discount. The new owners never expect that to happen again, and take into consideration for that because at least they know how to prepare by saving their 'discount' for that eventuallity. Never has water came up from that river in over 67 years according the the oldtimer up the hill from the river, and it may never happen again, or it may happen every year. Nothing can be predicted for certainty.
    The benefit of a floodplain is enriched soil after flooding for terrific crops or gardens in the 'non flood' years following.

    Would you be 'crazy' to buy such property? maybe.
    But you also might be 'crazy' to buy property on the gulf coast that gets blasted surely by hurricanes, or on the west coast that can drop off the face of the earth via earthquakes. But then you can also take a chance being in the path of a twister in 'tornado alley'. They're all 'floodplains' waiting for disaster. I live in a 'fire plain' because of the possibility of forest fires that threaten about every 30 years like this year. Guess I should move.
     
  6. LittleJohn

    LittleJohn Well-Known Member

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  7. rzrubek

    rzrubek Flying Z

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    No, from your description it sounds like it may not be a true floodplain. You'll have to consider how the house and other buildings sit on the land and see what you could do to protect yourselves. Every square inch of this earth is suseptible to some kind of natural disaster.
     
  8. shawnee

    shawnee Well-Known Member

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    Absolutely! It flooded 24 years ago in the town we moved out of; we didn't live there then but my family did. Mother's place had water well above her chest. With changing climate and weather patterns no way would I have a worry like that in the back of my head. Enough to worry about. Just because a piece of land doesn't flood every year or so doesn't mean all that much. I'd talk to locals. Small creeks flood fields in no time at all. That was the one draw back to where we had our couple acres to build on; 1 1/2 miles from us was a creek that flooded back 24 years ago.
     
  9. HOB

    HOB Active Member

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    IF it was something I truly wanted I would buy it.I have a house in the So. Cal area that is a in a flood plain so they say but noone can ever remember it flooding here even this year after all the rain there was no problems and this year was a 100 year rain fall.Flood insurance is available here and it is a must eith the mortgage.
    If you think about it everyplace has sometype of natural disaters that happen
     
  10. Cygnet

    Cygnet Well-Known Member Supporter

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    You know, in northern AZ, there was a canyon that got 17" of rain in one day on the headwaters. It was a narrow canyon, and the resulting flood took out some Indian ruins that had been there 800 years. First time they'd ever been flooded. The resulting debris flow also created a new rapid on the Colorado River that is still there, a few decades later.

    My point is, you can spend a lot of time worrying about what "might be" versus what is likely. I suspect MOST homes in the world could, in theory, be flooded out. But the likelihood is slim.

    If you're there 50 years, might you get a flood? Maybe. Maybe not. If you move somewhere else, the house could get hit by lightning, or a tornado, or a fire, or a truck. There's always risk. You just have to chose a level of risk that you're comfortable with.

    Can you get flood insurance on the house? If so, I'd put all my sentimental valuables high off the ground (does it have a second floor?) and not worry about it otherwise.

    Leva
     
  11. Gary in ohio

    Gary in ohio Well-Known Member Supporter

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    A flood can happen pretty much anywhere near a creek, steam or river. If the flooding hasnt happend for 100 years then its pretty good odds its not going to happen anytime soon. If your in a flood plain then you will need flood insurance. A small price to pay for the house you like.
     
  12. Michael W. Smith

    Michael W. Smith Well-Known Member

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    We live near a town that has been flooded probably 8 times in the last 100 years. The flood in 1996 really hit hard, flooding houses that hadn't been flooded before. People remodeled, and life goes on.

    From the sounds of it, this property isn't likely to flood. As has been said, anyplace you choose is susceptible to something.
     
  13. Rick

    Rick Well-Known Member Supporter

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    I would beware, unless you will be building a new home, jacked up on piers, and even then, a low area could flood.

    We have owned our place since 2001.
    The closest town has flooded twice while we were there. Our low holler, (which is actually 2 holler's that merge) did not. That is because the volume of rain was was not equal to what it was in 1995. The previous owners told us that Mothers day, the water backed up over a mile along the road to town, and was 12 inches all around our holler.

    We had a switchback road bulldozed to a high spot, where we are building a log home.

    Rick
     
  14. rambler

    rambler Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Floods are so devistating.

    They built a road here with a 25 year flood rating - will be flooded once in 25 years, or 4 times out of 100 years.

    It was under water for 3 of the first 5 years. Two of those years it was under for months at a time.

    I guess I woulddn't want to build on a fault line, a flood plain, or the coast of a hurricane zone.

    Many people do tho.

    --->Paul
     
  15. CurtisWilliams

    CurtisWilliams Well-Known Member

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    On thing no one has touched on is the risk to reward ratio. To put it simply, if your buying a property worth $100,000 for $25,000 and can get coverage for the value of the house instead of what you paid for it, I'd jump on it. On the other hand a house worth $100,000 with a sales price of $100,000, sitting in a flood plain might not be a great investment.

    It all comes down to $$$. How much $ are you willing to risk for the reward of owning that particular property?
     
  16. mysticokra

    mysticokra Well-Known Member

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    Excellent point. The fact that your house is 90 years old should give you a certain level of comfort. People don't avoid buying houses in states that have torndadoes and they are a much bigger threat to life.

    Personally, we have taken advantage of the "local flooding" that occurs in our creek that is .25 miles away from the house. The yuppies would have id the price of the area up years ago, except for the common myth that we promote that "the valley floods". In truth, the creek jumps its banks every few years and floods my hay field for about a day. Since my house is over 90 years old and we have never been flooded, I don't worry about it.

    THe neighbors downstream have lived here 50 years and have told me that the worst they have ever seen was water in their back yard.

    The point is in a worst case scenario, you have to replace furniture and maybe the house. If you can get it insured, go for it.
     
  17. Janon

    Janon 993cc Geo Metro

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    Watch out for special building restrictions on flood plains - there may be a whole set of new rules for these properties.

    cheers,
     
  18. jassytoo

    jassytoo Well-Known Member Supporter

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    I'd be concerned about what type of flood the last one was. Are they talking gently rising water or some kind of river thundering through the place? Risking an investment is one thing, risking the lives of your family and animals is another. Around here, there have been floods that swept away everything in their paths. I wouldn't want any part of that.Since this area is prone to flooding in certain parts, we've always bought land on high ground. Worth the peace of mind in my book.
     
  19. LittleJohn

    LittleJohn Well-Known Member

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    Whether thier is a real risk of flooding or not its still crazy. If its listed as a flood plain you probably will have trouble getting insurance and if you do get some it will likely be double price. Crazy!
     
  20. foxtrapper

    foxtrapper Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Flood plain designations are truly bizzare. They are in part driven politically. They also can be drawn by minimum wage twits.

    I'm not on the flood plain because my deed is old. Interesting, I've never seen a flood turn because of an old property deed. A neighbors place is on the flood plain. Equally interesting, because it's absolutely impossible for his hilltop to flood.

    All by itself, buying on an official flood plain wouldn't stop me. But it would make me pause and think.