Moving to a Different Home to Protect Against Flooding

Floods November 03, 2015 Print Friendly and PDF

Moving out of the existing home and into one at a location with less risk is one way to prevent future flood and hurricane damage. Start with these steps:

Consult the city or county zoning or building department officials to obtain information about flood-prone areas or regions of the community. Ask how recent the information is. If the maps are not recent, the flood potential may have changed. New housing, commercial developments, streets and surfacing may have been added since the maps were created or the area zoned. Water drainage may have changed. This may impact water run off and flooding.

Obtain information about flood-prone areas of the community or region before choosing a location. Source: USDA Photograph Center, Ken Hammond


  • Ask for the survey or file of the properties you are considering for purchase. Pay attention to elevations, stream and river flow, urban run off, and drainage ditches. Ask about any dams in the area that could impact the property if they overflow or were damaged.
  • Look for houses that are on lots with the drainage areas sloping away from the foundation. There should be a visible slope of the soil away from the foundation – at least a 5 percent to 10 percent slope away for at least 10 feet.
  • Have a construction or architectural engineer or qualified housing inspector inspect the structural integrity of the house to assess potential problems and the structure’s ability to withstand water, flooding and high winds. Inspect for signs of previous water damage or excessive moisture.
  • Look for other water control or flood mitigation features in the home.
  • Compare the costs of purchasing another home to the risk and costs of future potential events, cleaning and repair, insurance and other related costs of the existing home.

If you find homes that are possibilities, talk with neighbors and area residents about past flood, water, wind and hurricane events. Before making a decision to move, consider the risk and safety of the new location. Compare properties and houses.

Selling your own home in a flood or hurricane prone area may not be as easy to sell as a home that is not in hurricane or flood prone areas. Check with real estate sales persons to obtain information about their experiences in selling homes in the hurricane and flood prone areas and what could be done to reduce any barriers to selling the home.


Federal Emergency Management Agency. Homeowner's Guide to Retrofitting. Chapter 5.

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