How to check and negotiate flood zone properties: Buyer beware

Posted: 7 April 2022 8:23 am
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Caveat emptor – the buyer purchases at his own risk. But how "risk-aware" should you be regarding flood zones?

With recent flooding across various states and suburbs along the eastern seaboard, it's more important than ever for property buyers to check the flood zones as part of their due diligence before committing to a purchase.

The great news?

It's easy to do this and only takes a few minutes to find out.

Flooding information is readily available through various state planning portals. It's as simple as adding in your property address and selecting the right filter (e.g. flood, bushfire, heritage, zoning, etc.). You can then see the flood zone results of your property.

Pro tip: I guide you through some practical "how-tos" on checking flooding examples if you are looking to buy in NSW or VIC via the links below from my TikTok account:

@trentmuffett

Warning: Check flood zones before buying property. Turn on this ONE filter to save you thousands. #dd101 #buyersagent #ddtips #propertybuyers #nsw

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@trentmuffett

Answer to @michellexmatthews Thanks for liking my content! Flood overlays on Vicplan video for you. #tutorial #learn #buyingproperty #buyers #duedilligence #vicplan#propertybuyers #research #beforeyoubuy #trentmuffett #buyersagent

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Sometimes, the state planning portals may not show all the flood zones. Be sure to check with your local council or town planner and its Local Environmental Plan (LEP).

You can also request a certificate from your local council that shows the zoning of the property, its relevant state and regional and local planning controls such as flooding- and bushfire-prone land.

In NSW, this certificate is called a Section 10.7 (2) Planning Certificate. It costs $53 and is processed within 5 working days. If your lawyer is reviewing your contract of sale on a property you are looking to purchase, this certificate will be included in the review.

Negotiating offers due to flood zoning

If a property is in a high-risk flood area, there could be room for price negotiation depending on the vendor's motivations to sell.

Keep in mind that you will also need to factor in the higher ongoing flood insurance premium that you would have to pay due to the flood risk.

Sometimes, this insurance increase can be significant, up to several thousand dollars a year.

Engaging with an experienced buyer's agent during this process may pay dividends and will remove the buyer/vendor emotion typically associated when purchasing a property.

Recent floods and the impact on property prices

Recent floods may see buyers rethink their purchase and look at sea or tree change locations that are not (and/or don't have the potential to be) flood-affected.

For example, markets like Brisbane could have less buyer competition in the short term, as some buyers will sit on the fence as they take a wait-and-see approach.

The supply of properties is still very low across most marketplaces and it's unlikely that buyer demand will decrease due to the floods.

Overall, supply and demand trends and strong fundamentals should lead to a quick recovery.

Caveat emptor holds true for property buyers and is a reminder to do the necessary research before committing to buy. There are lots of free and paid resources out there that you can easily tap into before making the leap into buying a home.

Here are some links to the various state planning portals to supercharge your research:

Trent Muffett is a buyer's agent and site acquisition specialist who helps property developers and buyers acquire their next property through the Developer Network.

Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article (which may be subject to change without notice) are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Finder and its employees. The information contained in this article is not intended to be and does not constitute financial advice, investment advice, trading advice or any other advice or recommendation of any sort. Neither the author nor Finder has taken into account your personal circumstances. You should seek professional advice before making any further decisions based on this information.

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