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7 Ways to Prepare for a Flood



7 Ways to Prepare for a Flood

Did you know that in the United States, 14.6 million properties are at risk of flooding? And of that number, as many as 6 million aren’t in FEMA’s flood risk zones.

That should be a good enough reason to prepare your home for a flood, even if it’s not on a floodplain or a high-risk area.

To that end, we created this guide on how to prepare and protect your home from floods. So, read on to learn what they are so you can implement them as soon as possible.

1. Purchase Flood Insurance

No matter how much you prepare your home for flooding, some degree of damage may still occur. That’s why it’s better to be safe by purchasing flood insurance for your home. Remember: Most standard homeowners’ insurance policies don’t cover flood damage.

Flood insurance can cover your property’s structure itself and its contents. You can and should get it for your home, business, and rental properties. Read more here to learn how to save when purchasing this coverage.

2. Ensure You Have Positive Yard Grading

Positive yard grading is a landscaping method used to alter the soil around a house. It aims to create a downward slope from a home’s foundation.

With positive grading, your home sits on higher ground than the rest of your yard. That helps prevent rain or flood water from moving towards your house. Instead, the slope helps direct the runoff away and into a nearby drainage system.

To check if your yard has good grading, you need the following tools:

  • A couple of sticks (such as a pair of disposable chopsticks)
  • A piece of string, such as yarn, at least 11 to 12 feet long
  • A ruler or a tape measure

Insert one of the sticks into the soil next to your home’s foundation. Tie one end of the string around it and push the knot down until it touches the ground.

Next, move 10 feet away from your home and put another stick on the soil on that spot. Grab the other end of the string and tie this to the second stick at a 90-degree angle.

Get your ruler or tape and measure the distance between the second knot and the ground. You have adequate grading if it’s over six inches. If it’s less than that, your best bet is to call a professional landscaper to regrade your yard.

3. Keep Your Yard Organized and Clean

Two feet of flood water can lift and carry a small car away. So, it’ll be easier for the water to lift lighter objects like bikes and garbage bins.

If that happens, you can lose those items forever or see them crash into your home and cause damage. For instance, they can break glass doors and windows. From there, they can let even more flood water into your home.

That’s why it always pays to keep your yard tidy, especially in preparation for storms and floods. For added security, tie loose objects like bikes and bins to permanent structures.

You should also regularly check and clean outdoor drains to ensure they’re clog-free. You want them that way, as blocked drains can’t divert rain and floodwater away from your home.

Also, consider building a sandbag barrier around your home’s perimeter. Do this as soon as you get a flood warning. You can place them across doorways, including garage doors.

Sandbag barriers don’t guarantee 100% water-tight seals. However, they can help minimize flood penetration into your home.

4. Fix Damaged Exterior Walls

Cracks and holes in exterior walls let water from outside seep into interior walls. The penetrating water can also pool by your foundation, exposing it to water damage.

Flood water is even worse since it takes longer to recede, so more can pass through the damage in the walls.

Therefore, part of your house flood plan prevention should be to fix all those cracks and holes. Start by patching up the damages with high-quality filling compounds. Once they harden, sand away any excess or protruding filler.

Finally, apply waterproofing materials to your exterior walls.

5. Get Some Flood Vents

Also known as flood ports, flood vents are permanent wall openings where water can enter and exit. They help minimize the hydrostatic pressure of flood water, especially flash floods. You want to reduce that pressure as it can be powerful enough to damage walls and foundations.

The best places to install flood vents are garages and foundation walls. You can also place them in unconditioned crawl spaces.

6. Invest in a Sewer Backflow Valve

Also called a backwater valve, a sewer backflow valve is a device that can sense sewer backups. If it detects a backup, it automatically shuts and closes your home’s sewer line. That helps keep sewage from a public sewer from entering your home’s plumbing system.

Public sewers can cause such backups at anytime, but they’re more common during storms. That’s because they can get overtaxed by rain and flood waters. As a result, they fill up faster and with more water than they accommodate.

A local licensed plumber is the best person to install a sewer backflow valve. For one, the pro can determine the area of your home most susceptible to sewer backups. Then, the expert will install the backup and flood safety device in that location.

7. Fix and Waterproof Basement Surfaces

Since the basement is the lowest floor of a home, it’s also where the most flood damage often occurs.

So, prepare your basement from flooding by inspecting all its surfaces for damage. Then, fill cracks and gaps with epoxy as soon as you see them. Once the epoxy is completely dry, apply a waterproof coat so that the surfaces can repel water better.

Prepare and Protect Your Home From a Flood

Please remember that one inch of flood water can leave your home with damage worth $25,000. Unfortunately, flooding incidents far more severe than that are occurring more frequently. So, the next one that may hit your home may be several inches deep.

Thus, it’s better to prepare and proof your home for a flood now rather than later. The sooner you do, the greater the flood protection you can give your home and loved ones.

For more informative articles like this, check out our most recent news and blog posts!


Buying Land For The First Time? 4 Mistakes To Avoid



Buying Land For The First Time? 4 Mistakes To Avoid

Whether planning to build commercial buildings, rentals, or your dream home, buying land can be exciting yet overwhelming. The buying process may seem easy and seamless, but it requires careful consideration to avoid making a lifetime mistake.

Land buying requires extensive research to find the best land rates and location that fits your needs. Unfortunately, many first-timers fail in this area, buying unproductive lands or areas with low security, and some even fall victim to fraud.

If you’re a first-timer looking to purchase land, here are four mistakes to avoid:

  • Skimping On Research

The first mistake many first-time land buyers make is skimping on research. You must conduct thorough research to understand the current market valuations and to make informed decisions.  Here are some of the reasons why research is crucial for your investment scheme:

  • Understand Market Value

One of the most important reasons why research is crucial is that it helps you understand whether or not you’re getting a fair price. It’ll help you understand the various factors affecting the land value too, such as the location and property age. From there, you can estimate the price and create a reasonable budget.

  • Choose The Best Location

The location of the land is crucial, especially when you have kids or when building rentals and commercial buildings. For one, you must choose land with access to roads, electricity, water, and other facilities, such as hospitals and schools. And researching will help you get the precise location that fits these needs.

  • Identify Potential Hazards

If the land you want to purchase faces significant concerns, like legal disputes and environmental problems, researching will help you spot it. You’ll find articles about such disagreements, and you can conclude to help you make informed decisions.

  • Understand Zoning And Land-Use Regulations

Land-use and zoning regulations dictate how you can use land in specific areas. There are areas where only commercial buildings are allowed, while others only allow residential ones. Therefore, researching will help you determine the best zone that suits your intentions.

  • Evaluate The Developer’s Credibility

Research helps you evaluate the seller’s credibility as well. You can check if they’re authorized operators with an operating license. Plus, you can examine if they have a good record by reading reviews from other clients. 

Generally, research will help you understand how to choose land for your home that suits your requirements to help you avoid costly mistakes and make sound decisions.

  • Underestimating Your Expenses

Another mistake most first-time land buyers make is underestimating their expenses. There’s more to buying land than making the downpayment for the real estate deal. There are other hidden costs associated with land buying, such as closing costs, land clearing or site preparations, utilities-associated costs, property taxes, and zoning fees. Understand your expenses and make reasonable adjustments to your budget to avoid surprises.

  • Not Hiring Qualified Professionals

As mentioned, buying land can be overwhelming, especially for first-time buyers. You need the proper documentation and know your way around the buying process, which is impossible if you’ve never purchased one.

Therefore, hiring qualified professionals is an excellent approach for better investments. They’ll help you with legal protection, property inspection, and expertise. Here’s a list of the experts you need to get your money’s worth:

  • Realtor: The law allows you to buy land yourself. But it’s not advisable for first-timers like you. Hire a real estate agent as they better understand the market, have access to the off-book listings, negotiation skills, and legal access. 
  • Real estate attorney: You can buy land without an attorney too, yet you’ll need one for legal advice, dispute resolution, and contract review.
  • Environmental Consultant: When buying land in areas that have environmental concerns due to industrial activities, it’s crucial to have an environmental consultant inspect them before buying for compliance with applicable regulations.
  • Surveyor: A surveyor will help you determine land boundaries when they’re unclear. Further, they’ll prepare a survey document you can use once you purchase the land.

These professionals will help you avoid the common mistakes, and pitfalls investors fall into when buying land. However, the expertise you need will depend on the purpose of the land. For instance, you may need an architect if you plan to erect a building, but you won’t need one for an irrigation scheme.

  • Visiting The Site Only Once

Another major mistake first-timers make when buying land is conducting a single site visit. One visit isn’t enough to assure you about the land’s condition. Ensure you revisit the land several times to gather information about the location and the utilities available in the area.

In addition, several visits will allow you to interact with the neighbors who can offer insider insights to help you negotiate better deals. They’re likely to know the owner, and such information will keep you safe from fraudsters.

Conclusion Generally, purchasing land for the first time can be daunting, especially when you don’t hire experienced professionals. It’s vital to research adequately to avoid making the common mistakes many first-timers make. Follow the guidelines highlighted in this discussion to make sound decisions and avoid unnecessary costs.

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