Dear Dave,

I am considering buying a home that is on some property with river access. My concern is flooding. The news has had stories of flooding the past couple of summers and it has us a bit wary of making the purchase.

Can you give me some advice on buying a home that has the potential to flood? What do I need to consider other than flood insurance? I want to enjoy the potential benefits of having a home near the water, but I also want to factor in potential problems that could come up.

I would really appreciate your advice!

Thank you,

Steve and Michelle - Fruita, CO

Steve and Michelle,

I totally understand your hesitations and purchasing a home that is in the floodplain. If you live in a floodplain then there is always the chance that your home will flood, but remember that is what flood insurance is for! Clearly if you are going to purchase the home and receive a mortgage to purchase then you will be required to obtain flood insurance to get your loan. If you are going to live in a floodplain, then you have to realize that your home may flood and your belongings and home have the potential for extensive damage. Can you live with that? Do you love the house and property enough to live with the threat of flooding? How significant is the threat of flooding?

Let’s put some perspective behind flooding in Western Colorado. Not intending to minimize the impact or the chances for flooding here, but this is not southern Louisiana where you are at risk of flooding nearly year round. Our main concerns for flooding are heavy rains that cause flash flooding in creeks, washes and ravines or high water in the rivers from spring run off after heavy winter snow in the mountains and a quick thaw. According to FEMA maps, the Colorado River is a high risk flood area in Grand Junction, however this is in areas along the river banks and adjacent areas. If you are considering a purchase that is along the Colorado River, you must accept that the possibilities of a flood are real. My bigger concern would be the potential impact on resale down the road.

Rest assured that if you are struggling with the decision, others will follow suit. The threat of flooding will always cause some to back away, however I believe most will understand that the risks are relatively low and not let that impact their willingness to purchase if the property is the right fit. The last issue would be to talk to your insurance professional and make sure that flood insurance costs are not prohibitive. It is my understanding that flood insurance is a fairly low cost insurance policy to have here and not something that will typically break the bank. Checking with your insurance professional should clear up any cost questions as you work through the process.  

I am of the opinion that living near water, whether it is a creek, canal, wash or river is special and likely worth the risks. Remember, just make sure you have flood insurance and make sure to make your payments…just in case! Enjoy!

Dave Kimbrough

The Kimbrough Team