How to Gauge Your Property’s Flood Risk by Using Free Flood Maps [Video!]

by | BiggerPockets.com

With the recent extreme weather conditions hitting the United States, there is heightened concern among real estate investors about their ability to avoid buying in at-risk areas. Fortunately, FEMA provides a free flood map tool that enables buyers to locate their prospective investment property on a map and determine whether or not it is in a “flood zone.”

Related: The 6 Best Things You Can Do to Prep Your Home for Hurricane Season

Using one of our Houston properties as an example, this video takes you step-by-step through locating a property on a FEMA flood map. Before we purchased it, this property was identified as being likely safe from extreme flooding—a quality observed in practice during the recent Hurricane Harvey, the Tax Day floods of 2016, and the Memorial Day floods of 2015.

How to Locate Your Property on a FEMA Flood Map

Watch this video to learn how to screen investment properties for flood hazards before the floods hit!

Are any of your properties in high-risk areas? 

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About Author

Andrew Cushman

Andrew Cushman is a former chemical engineer who found his entrepreneurial calling in real estate. In 2007 Andrew left his corporate position to start a business in real estate investment, starting off flipping single family properties. Sensing a shift in the market, in 2010 Andrew transitioned to multifamily acquisitions and has successfully syndicated and repositioned just under 1,700 multi family units. Outside of the business world, Andrew has been a certified alpine ski instructor and when not working in real estate enjoys surfing, backcountry skiing, and trying to not be outwitted by his 5 and 3-year-old boys.

5 Comments

  1. Josh Stack

    Hey Andrew,

    Excellent explainer post. I particularly liked the mix up between the online tutorial plus the being there live and in person aspect of you reporting from the bayou.

    One aspect not touched on is the potential change – due to climate induced factors – of what was once being a 500 year flood zone now practically being a higher risk flood zone due to shorter intervals between great floods. If one takes it as a fact that the climate is changing and becoming more extreme and intense, what was once considered a 500 year flood may come at shorter intervals than 500 years.

    Similar to the idea that come earthquake zones expect major quakes every so often but then that period is run past so its expected, statistically, that the ‘big one’ could happen any day.

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