Hwy 141 at Hwy 44 is under water with the flooding this week.With the flooding this week in Pacific, Eureka and Fenton, Missouri residents have had a big reminder that many homes throughout the St. Louis area are located in flood zones.

Keep in mind that flood zones aren’t just limited to the areas on the edges of the Mississippi, Missouri and Meramec Rivers.

The St. Louis region has a spider web of small creeks running throughout the land, and there are many areas designated as flood zones that are miles from the major rivers.

Check out these maps of the flood zones for:

Anyone considering purchasing a home needs to check to see if the home they are considering is located in a flood zone.

The standard contract used in the St. Louis area has a provision that allows a buyer to terminate a contract if they determine that the house is located in a 100 year flood zone AND it was not disclosed prior to the contract offer. Make sure you read the fine print before writing a contract. There is a field in the MLS that allows the agent to disclose that a home is in a flood zone, but the information is buried in a section of the MLS report that I think gets less attention from buyers than the pictures and marketing remarks. There is also a section on the seller’s disclosure that identifies if the home is in a flood zone. It is extremely important that a buyer read the seller’s disclosure thoroughly before making an offer. If buyers skim over the disclosure and miss that the flood zone box is checked ‘yes’, they could be forfeiting their right to terminate the contract when they later discover that the house is in a flood zone. (Lenders always check to see if homes are located in a flood zone that mandates flood insurance be paid on the property).

In addition, the contract does not allow for termination if the home is located in a 500 year flood zone. If you are one of the many buyers that would opt to pass on a house if you found out it is in a 500 year flood zone, then you need to have your agent check on it before writing a contract. Your agent can check the flood zone status through a mapping function in the MLS.

If you are thinking of buying a house on your own without having your own representation…this is one of those things you could discover too late. If you aren’t already working with an agent to represent your interests in your home purchase, contact me to discuss how I can protect your interests.