Buying a Home in New Jersey after Superstorm Sandy

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In New Jersey, Hurricane Sandy severely damaged or destroyed more than 5,000 buildings and less-severely damaged 74,000 structures.  However, in a state that consists of over 3.5 million housing units, the number of buildings or structures that sustined direct physical damage actually represents a relatively small percentage of the total. While a large portion of the state did not sustain any direct physical damage from the storm, if you are currently looking to buy a home in New Jersey, it is still advisable that you keep the following storm-related home-buying-guidelines in mind during your search for the perfect home.

How to Buy a House in New Jersey

New Jersey is located on the Atlantic Coast and is identified as a Special Flood Hazard Area (SFHA) where certain regions of the state, designated as Zone A or Zone V, have a high risk associated with flood hazards. It is important for potential home-buyers to be aware of such-designated areas when house-hunting.  Anyone who is evaluating whether or not to live in or near any of these potentially flood-prone areas should take into account the following tips:

  1. Hire a Certified Home Inspector: This professional can tell you whether the house you intend to purchase was affected by any recent flooding. He will check the foundation, fascia, soffits, gutters, windows, vents, doors, decks, floors, baseboards, and any other areas that may indicate water damage or mold growth.
  2. Check Floodplain Maps: Floodplain maps can show you how vulnerable each house in New Jersey might be in the next flood. Checking these maps is necessary to identify areas to avoid.
  3. Ask for a Comprehensive Loss Underwriting Exchange Property Report: It’s important to ask for this report before buying any of the available homes in New Jersey because it provides a seven-year insurance loss history of a house, including loss type, date of loss, and amount paid. You can get this report together with a Natural Hazard Disclosure Report.
  4. Consider Future Plans and Rebuilding Efforts: Keep informed about local government policies and commissions and the progress they are or aren’t making with rebuilding and recovery efforts.  Policies from these groups may or may not affect neighboring or nearby areas.

Buying a Home

Following these tips is imperative if you wish to get a good house in New Jersey. But, besides the points mentioned above, you should take the time to purchase appropriate insurance and learn flood safety procedures before moving into the new house. Never forget that safety comes first!

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