Homebuyer/Renter CheckList

Checklist

Educate yourself about the home and the community

  • Educate yourself about the hazards that most commonly affect the county that you are interested in. You can find this information on HazardAware.org by entering the address of a potential property, then going to the “Know Your Risks” tab.
  • Check the “Know Your Risks” tab on HazardAware.org to see if the property is potentially located in a floodplain and if other hazards have occurred in the past nearby.
  • Check the “Know Your Risks” tab on HazardAware.org to see how many flood insurance claims have been filed in your community in the past.
  • Educate yourself and/or ask your real estate agent about the hazard disclosure laws in your state.
  • Educate yourself about the disaster resilience of your community. While your home may still be standing after a disaster, slow disaster recovery can affect your children, your job security, quality of life, and more. You can find this information on HazardAware.org by entering the address of a potential property, then going to the “Know Your Community” tab.
  • Look for properties built with hazard-resistant construction practices. Learn more about this on HazardAware.org in the Learn More section.

Additional Questions for Renters and Homebuyers

  • Ask the landlord, seller, or real estate agent if the home has been damaged in the past by floods, thunderstorms, tornadoes, hurricanes, or other natural hazards. The landlord or seller may decline to answer, depending on the state disclosure laws.
  • Contact your local building official and ask whether the 2015 or newer International Residential Building Code is in effect in your community. For most communities, the IRC 2015 or newer requires stronger wind and flood construction practices than any previous building code.
  • Check with your local building official to ask if this property is built to the current building code, or whether it was built to a previous building code. Older building codes tend to be less disaster resilient.
  • Contact your local building official and ask whether the 2015 or newer International Residential Building Code is in effect in your community. For most communities, the IRC 2015 or newer requires stronger wind and flood construction practices than any previous building code.
  • Check with your local building official to ask if this property is built to the current building code, or whether it was built to a previous building code. Older building codes tend to be less disaster resilient.
  • Check with your local floodplain manager or real estate agent to see if this property is officially located in a FEMA-designated Special Flood Hazard Zone, a high-risk flood zone. The Special Flood Hazard Zone is the area that will be inundated by a flood event having a 1-percent chance of being equaled or exceeded in any given year. The 1-percent annual chance flood is also referred to as the base flood or 100-year flood.
  • Check with your local floodplain manager to see if this property is in a so-called repetitive flood loss area as that may be indicative of a high flood risk. A repetitive loss property is a property for which two or more flood insurance claims of more than $1,000 have been paid by the National Flood Insurance Program within any 10-year period since 1978.
  • Contact your insurance agent and get a price quote for homeowner’s insurance. Be sure to verify if and how wind damage from hurricanes, tropical storms, and tropical depressions, tornadoes and wildfire damage are covered. You may need to purchase a separate policy for each hazard.
  • Get a separate price quote for flood insurance. Be sure to insure both the building structure and contents (for homeowners) or content only (for renters).
  • Ask your insurance agent to run a Comprehensive Loss Underwriting Exchange (CLUE) report which lists all past flood insurance claims made on the property in the last 5 to 7 years. Keep in mind that if the past owner did not have insurance or did not file a claim, there will not be a record of flood history.

Additional Question for Homebuyers

  • Check with your local floodplain manager or real estate agent to see if this property is officially located in a FEMA-designated Special Flood Hazard Zone, a high-risk flood zone. The Special Flood Hazard Zone is the area that will be inundated by a flood event having a 1-percent chance of being equaled or exceeded in any given year. The 1-percent annual chance flood is also referred to as the base flood or 100-year flood. The Special Flood Hazard Zone is the area where the National Flood Insurance Program's (NFIP's) floodplain management regulations must be enforced and the area where the mandatory purchase of flood insurance applies should you seek a mortgage from a lender that is regulated or insured by the federal government. While HazardAware.org may show the property located in the Special Flood Hazard Zone, you should seek official confirmation.
  • If you determine that the property is inside the Special Flood Hazard Zone, check with your local floodplain manager that the home is elevated sufficiently to be unaffected by a 100-year or 500-year flood. Your flood insurance premium (and flood risk) will be higher if the property is not elevated sufficiently.
  • Ask your home inspector to inspect the home for hazard-resilient construction practices (e.g., FORTIFIED Home™, FORTIFIED Roof™, hurricane straps, etc.) Your inspector may also know whether these practices can lead to an insurance discount. Learn more about this on HazardAware.org in the “Learn More” mitigation strategies section.