Today we are discussing the availability of flood loss history on a property. How will the release of this information be beneficial? How will it impact realtors, sellers, buyers, and banks?

For many years the public has been pushing for FEMA to make flood loss history on a property available. However FEMA has always made this information private and only available to the current property owner. As of June 2019 this information now available, so what does the release of this information mean?

Well lets talk about how it can help benefit possible home buyers first. Historically when it comes to buyer beware states like Alabama property owners did not have to disclose the flood loss history since FEMA did not make it available. As you can imagine many people are shocked to find out that their property has flooded before. Many property owners may not have purchased a property had they known it has flooded before. So the June 2019 flood insurance loss release can really help these potential property owners make the best buying decision with the correct information.

Now lets talk about how it could hurt sellers a little bit. As you can imagine if a house has flooded it can scare off a lot of buyers. It can also have a big impact on getting the most for your home when selling. One reason is if it has flooded multiple times a property could be on the severity loss history list. This can make flood insurance very expensive and very difficult to sell a house in the future. 

As a realtor having this information can be very valuable because now you can be prepared if you are going to list a house and if you are a buyers agent you can help protect your clients better. Some areas where this is going to have a huge impact are areas like Muscle Shoals, Centre, Owens Cross Roads, and Hokes Bluff Alabama. Knoxville Tennessee, Houston Texas, and areas of New Jersey will also see big impacts. All these areas have seen historic flooding in the past. So this release of flood insurance loss history will protect the buying party.

What will be interesting is how banks treat the release of this information. Certain loan types like FHA have strict appraisal guidelines. So could the release of this information lower appraisal values? Yes it absolutely could if appraisers are able to use verified flood damage in determining values of homes.

Lets be clear the release of this information is a good thing. While it may have a negative impact on some parties like sellers, it gives the public the information they need to make the best decision. So how do you get this information in your hands.? Well it is available at OpenFEMA if you have questions about flood loss history on a property or you want to see how it could impact your flood insurance rates then visit our website Flood Insurance Guru. You can also subscribe to our YouTube Channel or like our Facebook page where we do daily educational videos.

Chris Greene


Chris Greene

President of The Flood Insurance Guru
M.S. in Emergency Management with a focus in Flood Mitigation