On August 26, 2020, realtor.com® rolled out a new property listing feature called Flood Factor™, an online flood risk visualization tool developed by the First Street Foundation. Realtor.com is the first to integrate a feature like this enabling consumers to access comprehensive flood risk information specific to each individual property, including the FEMA flood zone and a risk score between 1 (minimal risk) and 10 (extreme risk). During a search of realtor.com®, users can now access this flood data along with other filters, such as Schools, Noise, and Crime.
Flood Factor™ supports NAR policy to provide accurate flood mapping with full transparency and disclosure. Because FEMA flood maps cover only the high NFIP population areas along major rivers and some of the coast, many consumers could be buying or selling a home in harm’s way and not know. NAR recently commissioned a Legal Research Center study, which found a number of lawsuits against real estate professionals for not taking more steps to disclose flood risk. Flood Factor™can help provide another credible flood risk tool for consumers while filling in the gaps on FEMA maps.
NAR has developed a Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) Sheet to help members field questions from customers about Flood Factor™ data. In short,
- Please share the facts that every home in the U.S. has some flood risk and many in FEMA “low risks” zones receive millions of dollars in FEMA disaster aid and flood insurance claims each year.
- Flood Factor™ is a credible diagnostic tool that can help detect more high-risk properties than FEMA maps alone, but can only provide a strong indication and not proof of a flooding problem.
- In order to confirm the risk or specific issues with a property, clients should consult a qualified flood professional, such as the local floodplain manager, home inspector, or licensed surveyor/engineer.
- Real estate professionals are a source of property information, and not flood experts. As always, avoid making statements beyond your license and training or discouraging clients from considering credible flood risk tools or flood insurance.
- Please be ready to identify the local floodplain manager, insurance agents, and other flood professionals who can help answer detailed client questions and identify some options to mitigate the risk.
- You may also hand the client this brochure, which NAR developed in collaboration with FEMA.
- If any user has an issue or question about their property, neighborhood, city, county, or state, he or she can submit a question through realtor.com®‘s Customer Care team at 877-909-6640, and the Customer Care staff will submit a ticket to the Flood Factor™ helpdesk
- Watch this video to learn more about flood disclosures and your duties as a REALTOR® under NAR’s Code of Ethics.
- NAR also recently featured Flood Factor™ in Realtor Magazine and a Pivot-in-Place Video by NAR VP Mabél Guzmán.
NAR will continue to work with Realtor.com, First Street, and others to build on, refine and enhance flood mapping tools so more property owners and buyers can make better-informed risk decisions.