A woman bought the ideal home in Florida in 2015 but had no idea of the little secret it held: It was prone to flood damage.
And under state law, that was perfectly legal.
The sellers and her real-estate agent made no mention that the street had a history of floodwaters pooling on the street. Or in the yards of her neighbors. Or even that water came all the way to her door in big rainstorms.
She found out herself in 2017, when floodwaters came inside her home and caused more than $100,000 in damage – which was at least half the value of her home.
While Texas – another flood-prone state – recently enacted comprehensive rules detailing just how much information a seller must divulge about floods when selling a home, Florida has no such regulations, according to the Miami Herald.
It wasn’t until the insurance company informed her that this was her home’s fourth flood with damage that exceeded $5,000 that she knew her home’s full story.
“I never would have bought this house if I knew it had the flood history it had. I probably wouldn’t have bought it if I knew it had one flood,” she told the newspaper. “If I had known what was going to happen no way on earth I would have gone near this house.”
In Florida, there is only a voluntary form passed out by the Florida Realtors Association that asks questions about flooding.
If you’re considering buying a home in Florida, it pays to ask questions. Ask the seller. Ask your agent. Ask the neighbors about the street’s history. Do a Google search to see if there have been any news reports of damage. And finally, ask the city or town planning department to give you some guidance toward determining if the property is in a flood plain.
Make sure to complete your research before signing on the dotted line.