In the wake of both rising concerns and pervasive uncertainty about climate change, The New York Times’ Ron Lieber advises potential home buyers to consider potential climate change or future disaster risk in the process of buying a home – and find out all they can about what those risks might be in their new area.
A real estate market shift away from residential properties in high-risk areas is already underway. In those areas of the country, large numbers of people are staying away from any place where they might have to, say, pay for flood insurance. Maureen Green, a real estate professional in Harwich, Mass., on Cape Cod, with the firm Kinlin Grover, hears it from more than half of her buyers, given that even inland properties often have high premiums that will only grow, plus significant flooding risk.
A local insurance agent and municipal flood expert can provide information on the area’s history of natural disasters, as well as local insurance requirements and regulations and the cost of additional disaster insurance, Lieber says. FEMA’s flood maps are a good place to start, but Lieber notes that the maps are “backward-looking”, and do not account for future projections. A buyer moving into an existing home can also ask their insurance agent to track the property’s previous insurance claims, or survey neighbors about previous disaster events.
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