As Floridians, we tend to take for granted that we live in low-lying areas. Sure, we’re easily impressed when we see mountains (what a foreign concept down in these parts, right?), but we’re also completely unaware of the flood zones we might be living in. If you're moving further North of Miami, Broward flood hazards are something to take into consideration when buying a home.
I mean, I get it, the point of living in South Florida is to be near the beach! But there are certain areas in South Florida that are prone to Broward flood hazards, and this is an important factor to consider when buying a home.
Today, I wanted to talk about the C-11 Basin. The C-11 Basin is a region in Broward County that includes Cooper City, Pembroke Pines, Sunrise, Weston, and the Towns of Davie and Southwest Ranches. The C-11 Basin is part of the original Everglades—which is used to being flooded and staying that way for long periods of time (it is the wetlands after all).
If you look at the map of Broward county, you’ll see that it’s full of flood zones. It's hard to completely avoid flood zones. But it is good to be aware of how bad the flooding could actually be near the home you’re looking to buy. I mean think about it, if it floods badly enough, you may buy a cheaper house now, but spend thousands repairing it after flood damage—probably more than once over the next 30 years.
So here are some questions you should ask before buying:
Has the home or area been flooded before?
While there are about 21 states that legally don’t have to disclose any flooding history to buyers, you can always use local news reports to see if the area you’d like to move to might be at high flood risk.
How likely is the house to flood in the time that I’ll be living there?
Special Flood-Hazard Areas (SFHA) are areas where flood water equaling a 100-year flood can occur. A 100-year flood has a 26% chance of happening in a 30-year period—so it’s something that you might potentially be around for if you take on a 30-year mortgage.
Is this building in a FEMA-designated flood zone right now?
You can use this local FEMA flood map to find out whether or not you’re in a flood zone. Keep in mind that these maps may be out of date and can take a while to load, but it’s a good way to get a lay of the land.
How much does flood insurance cost, and what does it cover?
The approximate annual premium for flood insurance is $420, but policies vary in price and coverage. To learn more about flood insurance in Broward county, you can click here.
Has anyone in the neighborhood taken a buyout?
Sometimes, due to Broward flood hazards, local governments try to move people out of risky areas by buying up homes. They end up clearing them for demolishment soon after. Rather than having to go through a painful process like this after you’ve moved into what you thought would be your forever home—use this online data tool to find out if there have been any recent buyouts near you in the past couple of years.
I hope these pointers help as you get ready to settle down in South Florida!