Flood of Misinformation


In January 2011 Brisbane suffered its worst flood in 37 years. Some suburbs were hit hard, especially riverside suburbs upstream of the CBD. Other areas that were hit were low lying areas that actually flood on a semi-regular basis. As a result there are now some flood affected properties on the market for sale. The question is, would you be able to tell if the property you are looking at flooded?

Beware of misleading or evasive information 

We have seen an alarming number of misleading advertising from agents who are selling flood affected property. You do feel sorry for both them and the owner – after all they both want to sell so you do want to promote the positives and not the negatives. But as buyers it is difficult to feel sorry for too long.

Here is a list of some of examples you may come across

Examples where floods are mentioned:

Flood free! Pretty straightforward and technically speaking correct. But it might be that the street flooded right up to the front fence, so while the property remained ‘flood free’, it was far from free of the affects of the flood.

House did not flood. Ask the questions “did the land flood?” and “did under the house flood?”. Remember, a lot of Brisbane’s houses are highset.

Examples where you are given a reason why the owner is selling:

Owners have bought elsewhere! This might be the case, but the property also flooded and there is no mention of this in the ad, so you do wonder whether it is the real reason.

Owners moving interstate. Just like the above example there is no mention that the property did flood.

And then there are ads that make no mention whatsoever of a reason for selling or the floods. This is probably the most common.

Steps to protect yourself

So how do you find out if a property flooded? There are a few steps you can take.

  1. Firstly ask the agent. Legally if they know that the property flooded and you ask them, they need to tell you. You may get a reply like “I don’t believe so” or “I will need to check with the owner”. This immediately sets off alarm bells.
  2. Ask tenants and neighbours.
  3. Do a flood search. This won’t tell you whether the property flooded, but will give you an indication as to whether the property is susceptible to flooding.
  4. Know the flood hit suburbs and then ask lots of questions and assess the elevation of the site within the suburb.
  5. Look around you. There is still plenty of evidence of flooding to be seen, like water marks on trees, fences and buildings and playgrounds that are either closed or have new mulch in them.
  6. A great way is to check out Near Map. www.nearmap.com took aerial photos of the worst hit areas of Brisbane on the 14th January, 1 day after the worst of the floods. In these photos you can clearly see the flood waters, but you can usually also see the high water mark. If there is no indication of flooding to the subject site, find out where it flooded nearby and then when inspecting the property take a look around you and work out for yourself what would have to happen for the flood waters to reach the property you are interested in.
  7. Probably the best method is to employ us. We do all the above research and more on every deal we source, and we always have. This is the reason why no properties sourced by us since we started 5 years ago flooded in January.

Click here to find out how to become an Investigate Property client and protect yourself.

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