HORRY COUNTY, SC (WBTW) – The National Resources Defense Council has South Carolina down for a grade of ‘D’ on a map on their website because the state’s property disclosure form doesn’t include a spot to list previous FEMA flooding claims.
Many who may be looking to buy a home in flood prone areas like Rosewood may not completely be aware of any previous flood damage.
“There really is no real law or regulations on the books to ensure that that process is followed,” said April O’Leary, member of Horry County Rising, an organization created to inform and educate the community on issues like flooding, growth and development.
“Currently, on the disclosure, it basically says is there any flood hazards, wetlands, or is there flood insurance on the property,” said SC Real Estate Network broker-in-charge Cherie Hardy.
The property disclosure form Hardy is talking about must be filled out in South Carolina if you’re selling a house, but it doesn’t include a spot to fill out previous FEMA claims made on the home.
They’re looking to change that, though.
Hardy says the state is rolling out a new form January 1st that will include a spot to list previous FEMA claims.
“An individual owner should always fill out a property disclosure form, so if you’re signing a contract, and you don’t have a property disclosure form, that may be a red flag,” said Hardy.
It’s up to the seller to disclose the history of their property to whoever is the listing agent, and for that listing agent to make sure that the buyer is aware.
“There’s really an alarming example, actually out of Charleston where we’re working with an individual there who bought her home and her home had flooded I think it was like four or five times when she purchased it, and then it flooded an additional two or three times after she was the owner,” said O’Leary.
If the seller doesn’t disclose previous flooding history, the buyer has rights.
“They have a right to pursue through the court system that they weren’t honest,” said Hardy.
Hardy recommends you go to a trusted realtor who will look up FEMA flood maps for the area you’re looking to buy in.