If you’ve lived in the Portland area for awhile now, you’ve probably at least heard of some flooding in the area — whether it’s the Willamette River, Johnson or Tryon Creek, or even just a storm drain that becomes clogged with leaves in the fall. 

Flooding is a serious problem that can cause thousands of dollars in damage and significant decreases in the property value of a home. In Oregon, research suggests anywhere from 97,189 to 268,020 properties have a 1% chance of flooding, meaning they fall in the high risk flood zone. 

Whether or not your home has flooded, if you live in a flood zone and decide to sell it, there are a few important things you should keep in mind. 


What is a flood zone?

Flood zones, also referred to as floodplains, are areas with varying levels of flood risk. These areas are identified by a variety of government entities and other organizations, but you’ll most commonly see flood zones as defined by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). 


Flood zone variances 

As a homeowner, you probably already know what flood zone your home falls in. But as you start thinking about selling your home, it’s a good idea to refresh your memory on what the different levels mean — and what a potential buyer might be looking for when they view your area’s flood zone map

Here’s a quick breakdown of flood zone variances, as classified by FEMA:  

  • High risk flood zone – You’ll see several names that describe this zone: “base flood,” “100-year flood,” or “Special Flood Hazard Area” (SFHA). Homes in this zone face a 1% chance of flooding annually. When referencing FEMA’s flood map, you’ll find them labeled in zones A through V.
  • Moderate flood risk – Living in a moderate flood risk zone means you live where there’s a 0.2% chance of flooding annually. This is labeled a Zone B or Zone X (shaded). 
  • Minimal flood risk – Areas of minimal risk are outside the SFHA and have a less than 0.2% chance of flooding annually. They are labeled as Zone C or Zone X (unshaded). 


Does selling a house in a flood zone affect the property value?

On paper, a 1% risk might not seem like that great of a risk, right? However, you may be surprised to learn that homes in a high risk flood zone have higher than a 1 in 4 chance of being flooded over the course of a 30-year mortgage. That’s 27 times more likely than a home fire! 

Generally, a home that falls outside the flood zone and that doesn’t require expensive flood insurance is going to be valued higher than a home within a flood zone that requires insurance. In fact, some studies have found that living in a high-risk flood zone may lower your property value by up to 7.3%. And those numbers tend to increase if your home has flooded in the past. 

Keep in mind that each home selling situation is unique, and when it comes time to sell your home in a flood zone, you should talk with either your real estate agent or a trusted local real estate investor about the property value of your home. 


Can you sell a home that has been flooded?

The short answer is yes! The longer answer? It can be tricky. If you are one of the unlucky Portland-area residents who has experienced flooding in your home — even if it was just your crawl space — there are a few important things to know. 

  • Mold and mildew grows very quickly after a flood — as soon as 24-48 hours later — and can cause extensive damage.
  • Improvements and repairs you’ll need to consider post-flooding include:
    • Dealing with mold problems and having your home inspected for mold 
    • Removing and restoring damaged carpet or flooring 
    • Repairing  damaged walls and repainting 
    • Replacing damaged furniture 
  • You’ll need to keep careful track of all of the documents, reports, and receipts you gather while repairing your flood-damaged home.

This will likely put you in the situation of weighing whether it’s worth the cost to repair your flooded home, or try to sell the home for cash to a real estate investor. 


So…who might buy my home if it’s in a flood zone?

If you’ve decided it’s time to sell your house in a flood zone, you’re likely going to be considering selling to two different groups: traditional buyers or real estate investors. 

Traditional buyers are just what they sound like — buyers who plan to buy and live in a home long term. Real estate investors, on the other hand, want to buy the home and then resell it or rent it out for profit. 

How you choose to sell your home — to traditional buyers through a real estate agent or to real estate investors like Columbia Redevelopment — will affect how you should prepare the home for sale. Let’s take a closer look! 


Traditional Buyer 

Some things that may help you sell your home in a flood zone to a traditional buyer: 

  • Include a clear disclosure that your home is in a flood zone. You’ll need to include information like:
    • The number of times the home has flooded 
    • How much the home flooded during each occasion 
    • Were repairs or remodeling done afterwards?
  • If your home has flooded in the past, clearly state that in your disclosure, too 
  • Get an elevation certificate you can provide to the buyer if they ask 
  • Learn about flood insurance and if it’s required where you live
  • Consider offering to cover some of the buyer’s flood insurance costs as an incentive 
  • Be ready to negotiate on price or make repairs depending on the buyer’s inspection report


Real estate Investor

When it comes to selling your home to a real estate investor, you can sell it as-is. You won’t need to do any repairs to the home or any additional research about insurance or flood zones. However, you do still need to disclose the home’s flood zone status. 

Selling to a real estate investor can be a great option for those who want to sell quickly, who don’t want to spend money on costly repairs, or who don’t want to go through the time required to sell a house in a flood zone to a traditional buyer. 


Contact Columbia Redevelopment today




If you’re thinking about selling your Portland-area home in a flood zone, contact Columbia Redevelopment today. We know selling a home can be stressful, and we’re dedicated to making the process as easy as possible for you. A few other benefits of choosing Columbia Redevelopment include: 

  • We will buy your home as-is, no repairs or inspections required 
  • We will make a cash offer within 24 hours of viewing your property 
  • We will make a $10,000 earnest deposit into your account 
  • The sale can close within as little as 2-3 days 

Learn more about how the process works and then reach out to our local, family-owned business online or by calling (503) 406-9874 today!