It may look like a boring document but from its name, a Natural Hazard Report determines if a property is within a designated hazard zone. These zones may include natural hazards such as floods, earthquake faults, and wildfires.
In California, home sellers and real estate agents are required by the law to provide potential home buyers with a Natural Hazard Report. If you think of its purpose and how it can affect your insurability and the thousands of dollars you’ll potentially use to pay for your home insurance, it probably will not look as boring anymore.
Here are the parts you should look out for when reading the Natural Hazard Report:
1. Flood Zones
If you’re planning to buy a house in the Bay Area, as well as in areas such as Montclair where there are creeks and rivers, you should definitely look at the flood maps. In addition, the flood maps for these areas has just been recently redrawn and implemented in 2019. If your property fall inside these flood zones, you definitely need to get a flood insurance.
2. Fire Zones
If you’re looking at a house up the hill in Oakland or in Berkeley, you should definitely look if your property fall inside the fire zones. There are also some things you need to do if it does.
The first one is to get a quote for a fire insurance. You need to call your insurer and ask them if they can cover your home and what’s it going to cost. As a heads up, expect that a lot of national insurers won’t be interested in covering California properties. However, if they say no, there are still a lot of other great local options. If you’ll need the names of these insurers, I have many and I’m willing to share those with you. Just hit me up, my contact details are down below.
Second, if your property falls within the fire zone, you need to create a defensible space by cutting back all vegetation and bush. This may be expensive depending on the size of your property but this is very important, especially with all the wildfires that we currently have. In addition, this is also something that your insurance agent will look at when you ask for a fire insurance quote.
3. Mello-Roos and other thing’s that’s going to end up on your property tax bill
Around 30 pages into your Natural Hazard Report, you’re going to find exactly what’s going to show up on your tax bill, other than your property tax, of course. This may include Mello-Roos, Park Redevelopment Fees, Shoreline Redevelopment Fees, and re-parcel taxes, among others.
Some neighborhoods have requirements that others don’t so this is something you should really look at. It will also give you a better picture where exactly your money is going, what’s going to show up there that’s not yet implemented, and how it’s going to change your insurance cost.
A few last words:
That’s it for my overview of the Natural Hazard Report. With its 50 or more pages, it may look boring but I definitely recommend investing a few minutes reading it. After all, it can save you a ton of money and headache from having to find someone at the 11th hour to insure your home.
I hope this list has helped you. If I can give you more context on the process of buying your first home, please do not hesitate to reach out. My information is below.
Here’s to all your success!