Relocating your Home to Protect Against Flooding

Floods April 20, 2016 Print Friendly and PDF

This information focuses on relocating the house to a higher area away from flood-prone or flood-risk areas.

If the house is structurally sound, it may be possible to move it to a higher elevation on the same lot or to another location outside of the floodplain and away from high-risk areas.

When selecting a new lot location, pay attention to the lot drainage, urban runoff, drainage ditches, and maps that indicate elevations, soils, and rock beds in the area. Consult the city or county zoning or building department offices to obtain information about flood- and hurricane-prone areas in the community or region and local building requirements. A survey of the properties under consideration should be on file. Ask to see a map of the lot and area and ask about other potential hazards. Note that Flood Insurance Rate Maps depict the required base flood elevation, the 500-year floodplain, and the flood insurance zones.

Before deciding to move a house, follow these steps to make an informed decision:

  • Consult a structural engineer and qualified moving professional to decide if a move is possible.
  • Discuss insurance, liability, bonding, and previous experience with the house moving company.
  • Consider total costs. The cost may include a new lot and changing or adding electrical, plumbing, and sewer connections along with other utilities. A basement, slab, or other type of foundation is needed. Obtain estimates for securing and moving the home, lot costs, grading, foundation work, and adding utilities, landscaping, sidewalks, and driveways. Estimate repairs that may be needed for cracked plaster and possible damage to the structure or to others’ property. Compare the costs of all the expenses to that of buying another home outside the flood- or hurricane-prone areas.
  • Before finalizing a decision about a lot or location, be sure the house can be moved via the roads and bridges and under or around utilities, buildings, and trees in the area. The moving contractor should be able to assist with this analysis.
  • The lot being vacated in the flood- or hurricane-prone area must be sold or disposed of in some manner. Depending on local regulations, the old foundation may have to be disposed of, utilities removed, and the land leveled and restored. Check local requirements. Zoning and codes may restrict future types of use for the lot.

There are many factors to consider in moving a home. Seek out as much information as possible to make an informed decision. For more information, visit the resource sites below.



Federal Emergency Management Agency. Homeowner's Guide to Retrofitting: Six Ways to Protect Your House from Flooding, Chapters 5 and 7.



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