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Hurricane Laura; As storm season hits, site measures home flood risk



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Hurricane Laura is expected to make landfall in southwestern Louisiana as a major hurricane.

Accuweather

With hurricane season in full swing, digital real estate site Realtor.com will help buyers figure out if the home they’re eyeing is at risk of being flooded.

The measurement, dubbed “Flood Factor” and created by the nonprofit First Street Foundation, will offer a score ranging from 1 to 10 to assess the risk of flooding to a home over the course of a 30-year mortgage.

The digital tool sheds light on a calamity that can financially devastate homeowners but which many are unaware of when they buy.

“Historically, determining a property’s flood risk was an onerous process,” Leslie Jordan, senior vice president of product for Realtor.com, said in a statement. “In some cases, potential buyers would have no idea a property was in a flood zone until it was flagged by the mortgage company prior to closing, or in some cases not at all.”

The model looks at both the current flood risk and what risk a property faces in the future from four potential events—rainfall, storm surge, tidal sources and river overflow, noting that the danger posed can shift with a changing climate.

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Users can access the rating by going to a listing and clicking below the map on the right, or by tapping the “flood” button on the search results page and map.

The tool covers areas that are not mapped by FEMA, the official gauge of flood hazards for the National Flood Insurance Program. Homes in a designated flood hazard area require the owner to buy flood insurance.

The site says having the additional source of information can help those on both sides of a real estate deal, arming sellers with information so they can mitigate the hazard, or alerting buyers to the need to buy a flood policy if necessary.

Follow Charisse Jones on Twitter @charissejones

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