Flooded Houses in Louisiana

12 Replies

Hi BP community!  Just looking to get a little help on flooded houses in Baton Rouge and surrounding areas.  I've been presented with 2 really good opportunities on flooded homes that took on 7' of water but I think I can get them at really low prices.   My question is would investors be interested in flooded homes that took on this much water or should I pass on them.  Repairs on both of them are well below 50% of the homes value.  

I welcome any advice on what to do with these 2 properties!

I'm no expert on this, but just some thoughts as a landlord and property owner.  Water damage sucks.  If not taken care of reasonably quickly bad things start to happen.  Everything starts to mold.  My guess would be that all drywall and plaster has to be removed down to the studs.  My understanding is that drywall is food for mold(at least the toxic black mold).  Anything made of cellulose is food.  So that's rugs,   I think eating wood is a bit harder for the mold, but you may have to replace studs too.  At the very least a power wash and bleach to clean them up.  So you're probably talking about knocking it all down to the frame if not to the foundation.  Now based on my knowledge of flooded cars, i'd guess that all electronics are dead too.  Hvac is probably dead from being submerged.  Water heater is probably gone too.

Personally, I wouldn't touch this type of deal unless I could get it at a price not much more than the land. It's probably a rebuild or a near rebuild. Foundation might be ok. The thing is, if it usually costs more to build new than to buy existing in your area, this might not be a great deal. I have a hard time believing that it is going to cost less than 50% of the ARV to repair it.

You might also consider the disclosure laws in your area.  Will telling someone the house was previously flooded reduce your potential tenant pool?  Will it hurt your ability to resell?  Ask yourself, why hasn't anyone else bought it to make a huge profit?

Here are a few links that might help:

Garden Web - Is it stupid to buy a home that has flooded?

Mister Money Mustache Forum - Buying a house in a flood plain

Good luck,


The key questions @Ralph Dicharry are:

1. What flood zone? Flood zone (FZ) = X, I'm interested.  FZ = AE I'm not interested.

2. For those who will buy in AE,

a. Do you have an elevation certificate?

b. What is the lowest floor elevation of the house in relation the the base flood elevation (BFE)?

NOTE: if the lowest floor is below BFE, a determination of substantial damage by FEMA may require elevation! The lowest floor elevation is also used to determine the insurance rates on the property. So this is a critical piece of information for anyone considering buying flood damaged properties.

Any buyer needs to know the FEMA guidelines as well as the local ordinances that may add to FEMA requirements.

Be aware, in most areas if the Reno costs exceed 50%, or maybe less, of value.....entire house must be brought up to current codes, which can include a higher floor elevation, which may be impossible.

Augustine please PM me so I can give you the numbers I do have

Thank you Brian for you input.  It is greatly appreciated!

Hey Robert thanks for this valuable info.  

It is in flood zone = AE.  

At the last REI meeting I attended in BR the panel of experts that were there said that there were 3 criteria that had to be met in order for the house to be elevated. It was repeated that all 3 had to be met for it to be elevated. They do have an elevation certificate. However, none of that really matters to me if my buyers are not interested in buying in FZ = AE.

Very good point in mentioning that the lowest floor elevation is also used to determine the insurance rates on the property! And yes I agree that all buyers need to know the FEMA guidelines as well as local ordinances.

I'll tell you that being new to all this flood housing market, it can get a little overwhelming at times.  We really need to do our homework before making a decision on moving forward on a property.

Thanks again Robert for all your input  into my situation!

@Ralph Dicharry , @Robert Leonard , i tend to agree with both of you guys approach to getting clearance for proper flood elevation and requirements, FEMA guidelines can be daunting sometimes because of the updates, some areas might not have the data necessary at the time, a good trusted realtor can fill in where data is not available, we try not to buy or acquire in flood mandated areas, the problem with the scenario we are facing since the recent flooding are areas that have never flooded before now require some due diligence before buying, good luck and much succes in your endeavors, if the #'s work for you then pull the trigger, do you work with any realtors?......keep posting but most of all keep sharing

Hurricane Mathew has caused 3-4 feet of water to surge  into a subdivision Where I own 8 units. I had to gut everything 4 ft up from the ground in all 8 units. I was told by the Fayetteville NC inspectors that anything that was under water has to be replaced. That is including the outlets as well as wiring and meter base. They are also requiring elevation of HVACs and meter bases. Keep in mind that everything that is being replaced must be up to code causing additional expenses. I have gutted all units and am waiting on City to determine if dwellings will be habitable once fixed or will they condemn area. This has been a learning experience for me and didn't know how adversely the flood waters can affect property. So in saying such it is imperative to do your due diligence to see if this is an endeavor you would like to pursue. Proceed with caution.

Best regards


Thank you Bridget!  Great information!

Who would I call to find out if a property needs to be raised? I looked up the property and got the lot elevation, but that doesn't really mean anything to me. I'd prefer to call the authority on the issue and talk to someone who knows what they're talking about.

I am likely going to buy a flooded house in a flood zone AE, but I want to make sure it doesn't need to be raised. I'm getting it from my best friend, who is a contractor and has flipped and rehabbed numerous flooded homes. He already got the permit to do the work and said it does not need to be raised, but that is something I want to verify for myself.

Should have mentioned, the house is in Denham Springs.

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