real estate

7 questions to ask before buying a home

Is this home in a flood plain?
Is this home in a flood plain? | Art Wager/E+/Getty Images

Is this home in a flood plain?

Living in a flood plain can require flood insurance, which can affect the cost of living in the house, Foltz says. Be sure to ask if the home is in a flood plain.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency, or FEMA, posts free online maps that show if your home-to-be is in a flood plain. It doesn't hurt to double-check with the county, and talk with your property agent, too.

If you discover that the home you want is in a flood plain, you need to know what type of flood plain (some ratings indicate higher risks than others), and how much flood insurance will cost. (One way to find out: Ask to see the seller's flood insurance bills.)

Once you have some information, you can weigh your options. Can you afford any additional costs that might be associated with this type of flood plain? And are you still comfortable with the property?

"In most cases it is possible to assume the seller's flood policy," says Graham Stiles, now president of the commercial division for Re/Max Trinity, in Fort Worth, Texas.

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