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Would you consider buying a house at risk of flooding?

(22 Posts)
sugarhoops Tue 03-Jun-14 17:15:24

We're looking to move out to somewhere a little more rural and have spotted a gorgeous doer-upper that has been on the market for some time (ok, not currently that gorgeous, but an old cottage that could be gorgeous!).

I've not viewed it yet, but have been told that its at risk of flooding and apparently a friend living in the next village believes it might have flooded at the most recent floods (end of last year / early this year).

It has been rented out for years (old farm cottage) and has 3 close neighbours - one of which is a brand new house, that surely wouldn't have been built on a high flood risk area?

Driving by today, both neighbours houses looked in good order. I don't know whether to go view, or just steer clear. MY worry if I view is that i'll fall in love and never be able to forget it!


starfish4 Tue 03-Jun-14 17:25:58

I personally wouldn't want to buy a property that had already flooded. If you decide to view, ask the agents to get vendors to confirm whether or not property (or ones either side) have ever flooded, gentley pointing out that risk of flooding will be revealed on any searches and enquiries, so better to know now.

If it has flooded, do get a home insurance quote before you get too far into your purchase to get an idea of premiums.

forago Tue 03-Jun-14 17:27:55

seeing the trauma and damage people experienced near me in the recent floods, not in a million years.

I think it would make it difficult to get insurance too.

I think it is quite easy yo check whether it is in a flood risk area? it comes up in all the searches.

ThatBloodyWoman Tue 03-Jun-14 17:29:59


CQ Tue 03-Jun-14 17:31:27

No, TBH I would never now consider a house at risk of flooding, after last winter's heartbreaks.

I'm in the Thames Valley and the number of different ways you could get flooded are legion - not only being near the river, but being in a depression of land that suddenly becomes a river when the main river bursts its banks, being near an innocent culvert that becomes a sewer when the sewage works overflow, being at the bottom of a hill near the low point in the mains drainage that then back up over your garden and into your house.

All this and more. Just life destroying. I will always buy at the top of a hill from now on.

brittanyfairies Tue 03-Jun-14 17:34:59

I bought a beautiful cottage that was at risk of flood new houses built nearby. I was flooded on Christmas Eve had water in the house for 9 weeks and am left with a ruin and wrangling with the insurance. The houses neArer to the river didn't flood. Water is a funny thing. Don't touch it. If I'd had my time again I wouldn't buy my house. Now I can't sell it.

fishybits Tue 03-Jun-14 17:39:15


Might you will have trouble getting a mortgage, getting insurance and reselling.

Not worth the heartache .

jellyandsoup Tue 03-Jun-14 17:41:45

I have lived in a house that flooded once it was horrendous and that was nothing on the scale of last winters floods, the water was gone from ours in days bit it was heartbreaking. I would check with vendors neighbours but if it is at risk no I wouldn't buy.

TunipTheUnconquerable Tue 03-Jun-14 17:42:05

For a perfect house (say a Georgian mill house by a river....) I would but it would have to be blooming cheap to offset the possibility of it happening, the difficulty with insurance and above all the difficulty of selling it again.

I've seen a lovely converted boathouse house with a river frontage that nearly ticked the boxes but it was only about 100k cheaper than it would have been without the flood risk and it just didn't seem worth it.

And OP, yes, brand new houses absolutely are still being built in high risk areas - don't make any assumptions based on them not being! When I was a student I worked on a massive archaeological excavation on a water meadow where there had been a Romano-British town which was abandoned in the Anglo-Saxon period due to rising water levels. It was being dug prior to a new housing estate being built - which needless to say, floods regularly....

ToFollowJulie Tue 03-Jun-14 17:46:58

You can check the flood risk for any property on the Environment Agency website here

Mitzi50 Tue 03-Jun-14 17:53:07

No - water damage to my home resulted in a six figure insurance claim. We had to move out for 18 months and during that time dealing with loss adjusters and builders took over my life. We lost many things of sentimental value like photos and letters. Luckily my ex husband bought me out so I don't have to live there any more.

They have just built 6 new houses on a flood plain in my new village.

BrianTheMole Tue 03-Jun-14 17:55:28

I wouldn't.

dingit Tue 03-Jun-14 17:56:32

Let me think. Erm, no!

sugarhoops Tue 03-Jun-14 17:59:20

OK, thanks all, v helpful replies. We currently live on much higher ground on the edge of a market town, we have a lovely house which I adore, but we'd like to move out to a surrounding village - most of which are on rivers confused. I wonder whether we're better off staying where we are.

Thanks for all the helpful advice and insight

sugarhoops Tue 03-Jun-14 18:00:04

ps and sorry to those who have been flooded, it does sound awful.

specialsubject Tue 03-Jun-14 18:17:46

I'm afraid that brand new houses ARE built on flood-risk areas. Look up the Glasdir estate near Ruthin in North Wales - ALL the houses flooded, some weren't even finished. A combination of causes but basically - built on a flood plain.

it is all about local knowledge and local flood defences; but if the place has flooded and nothing has been done to prevent it recurring, walk away. You can make a house flood-resilient but do you want to live there?

I also have great sympathy for those who own such places and those who have been flooded.

Jux Tue 03-Jun-14 19:00:27

A nearby town is bult not quite on a flood plain. A large supermarket bought lots of land so they could build a superstore. They got planning permission as long as they built a mass of affordable housing too. On a flood plain. All those lucky lucky people. Still, when they're all flooded out and camping in the old village hall (not on the flood plain) for weeks, at least they can get to a superstore to buy food.


titchypumpkin Tue 03-Jun-14 19:06:43

Nope. I have every sympathy for anyone that floods unexpectedly, but to actually buy a house in a area known for flooding?? Madness!!

sugarhoops Tue 03-Jun-14 19:15:05

Yes our town has a big supermarket wanting to build on a flood plain, which everyone is up in arms about. But i'm still shocked about new houses being built on flood plains shock

I think i've been well and truly put off the idea now!

BumWad Tue 03-Jun-14 20:19:18

What is the actual risk rating of the house?

We have just been through a similar thing however although the property we want to buy is in a flood zone 3 it is actually at 'medium' risk of flooding rather than high the reason it is in a higher zone is because there is a brook in the back yard.

We ended researching quite a lot into this house, turns out that it has never flooded and insurance is not a problem. I spoke at length to various people at Environmental Agency who explained how they band areas and do the risk maps.

After much panic and deliberation we have decided to proceed. Yes it may flood in the future but we have decided to take the risk. About 5.2 million homes in the UK are at 'risk' of flooding and yes loads of new homes are being built on these flood zones.

Gemma77 Tue 03-Jun-14 20:32:39

I would ask the estate agent upfront whether the house has been flooded before (and ask him to ask the seller he is doesn't know). Explain that you will only view when this query has been answered as you don't want to waste anyone's time (including your own).

It is not in the EAs interests to lie to you as any flooding will show up in searches later on and they would then lose the sale.

If it has flooded then I would stay clear.

I wonder if the reason it has been on the market a while is partly due to a flood risk...

laline1 Wed 04-Jun-14 11:41:35

We're in a similar position to BumWad as we've decided to buy a house in a flood risk area. The environment agency maps are useful for seeing the general level of risk from surface and river flooding, but if you contact them, they will also send you information (for free) about any specific flood events that have affected the house, and any mitigation works that have been carried out/ are planned for the area. In addition, you can call the local council for more information. Flood risk and impact varies hugely: our house is "medium risk" but hasn't actually been flooded in the last few serious floods, even this year when there was extensive flooding in the city. I feel comfortable about living there, but that's also because I know and love the area. If there is a risk of flooding, it will make insurance more expensive but you can usually get insured by a standard insurance company. If there have been actual floods affecting the house, it becomes a bit more difficult: to get insurance you do need detailed information, including previous claim values, any mitigation work carried out etc. Also, there is a piece of legislation going through at the moment, nicknamed "Flood Re", which would cap the amount that insurers charge for flood cover.

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