Tuesday, May 01, 2007

Flood Zones: Don't ask, Do tell!

These days, it's hard to look at a "value-priced" home listing in river towns like Wayne and Little Falls without assuming it's had flood damage. Some street-names like Riverlawn, or Riveredge are giveaways, but all MLS listings are required to state whether or not any property is in a flood zone or requires flood insurance. Even in non-flood areas, sellers are required to disclose if they have ever had water damage -- even in unfinished basements. This can be the best time to find bargains since even two weeks after the record water levels have receded, tell-tale garbage piles can still be found in front lawns. We're starting to see new listings proudly proclaim "No April '07 flooding!" We just checked out two listings west of Rt. 23 in Wayne --both in the 350k range. One had a finished basement with wood stairs and rugs that were totally dry. The other (by an out of county agent) claimed not to know. A brief talk with the owner revealed the sad story of the Big Nor'easter. Fortunately he was insured -- still no mention of Insurance in the listing.

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