Kathleen, Home Buyer in San Diego, CA

the property we are in escrow with is located in a Seismic Hazard Area. as well as in a Supplemental Seismic/Geologic Hazard zone

Asked by Kathleen, San Diego, CA Mon Aug 23, 2010

The disclosure source report from Calif residential disclosure report states we are in a Seismic hazard area, should we have problems either selling the home, or purchasing home owners insurance?

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Bob Georgiou’s answer

That is my favorite disclosure since anywhere in the Bay Area and the better part of the LA are pretty much fall into SOME sort of earthquake zone. This is good information to know and helpful when considering the purchase of earthquake insurance. Generally speaking zones are figured into comparable home pricing and all other things equal should not significantly affect a single homes value (though it may for an area and would consequently be factored into the price of recent closed properties)
Web Reference: http://bob2sell.com
1 vote Thank Flag Link Mon Aug 23, 2010
Yes because the soil is not solid, there is no way to stabilize the foundations on an old house I assume, and if it was to be bought for selling then you'd need a good foundation done using a soils report, calculations by an architect and details for construction done with a permit and a licensed contractor so it is documented. But it will not work to just go out there like a cowboy like people do and add on to a house using the wrong foundation system, and think it will increase the value of a house, because the old existing house is not stable. A good stable foundation or perhaps a foundation in a non- flood prone area as the case may be along the shore, would be a floating mat foundation and I do those if you want the plans, poured in place, not piers, perhaps post tension as I also have done, is a reliable solution instead of the old spread footing\s on old houses here. They are no good. A foundation like that is not cheap but it is permanent. Also, if the house is subject to flooding over the next hundred years it needs to be jacked up or the whole site lifted using engineering methods and earthwork for sea keeping. Architects do that.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Sep 26, 2012
I believe that all of California is in a seismic hazard area, but we live here anyway! Look at the U.S. Geological Survey web site here:http://www.usgs.gov for lots of information , for example, where the faults are, what kind of soil your house is built on, how to retrofit your house to better withstand a quake, and maybe most important of all, how to prepare for one.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Fri Sep 7, 2012

Welcome to California!!

As stated below, homes sell even though they are in fault zones. Or on top of a fault, even. The purpose of the Natural Hazards Report is to disclose, on the seller’s behalf, any and all known geological issues. I’m guessing every home up and down the block on either side of the home you are buying is occupied – it’s a part of the life in the sun we all enjoy in the Golden State. And every once in a while, we grab onto solid objects and ride out the next one …
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Aug 23, 2010
Hello Kathleen:

Most of the homes I sell fall into that category. Sometimes they are even sitting on top of a major fault. Does it effect re-sale possibilities? It doesn't appear to. Most of the buyers, especially California natives, just take the view that "Hey, it's California. We have earthquakes!". Buyers from outside California vary in their levels of concern. These are generally the ones that buy earthquake insurance policies (which are not inexpensive, even with high deductibles). Locals tend not to buy such policies.

Once you have a purchase agreed, one of the first things you should do is to contact an insurance company ( I personally like Farmers Insurance) and make sure that there will not be any problem getting it insured. This is essential as you won't be able to get a loan unless the home is covered by home owners insurance.

Good luck with your purchase.

Bernard Gibbons

Bernard Gibbons, J. Rockcliff Realtors
DRE License # 01331583
Phone (925) 997-1585 - bernard@bernardgibbons.com

0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Aug 23, 2010
If you are buying a home in most parts of California you are buying a buying a home in a Seismic Hazard area. Are homes in your general area selling? The comps you have been presented factor in Natural Hazards in the aggregate. Therefore your offer and subsequent appraisal, that you are now presumably paying for, will factor that in as well.

Part of your inspection process is to call your insurance company and give them the address of your new property and get a quote for homeowners insurance. You should also get a quote for Earthquake with as high a deductible as you can mentally tolerate.

Reality Check; How old is the house you are buying? How did it do in the Loma Preita quake? Next one is coming, today or years from now, but it is coming. Do your homework, be prepared, be insured and enjoy your new home!
Web Reference: http://www.aprpconline.com
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Aug 23, 2010
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