I'm looking at a house in Mill Valley. How concerned should I be if a house is in very high risk fire zone and slope stability zone 4 (least?

Asked by Templeton, Mill Valley, CA Tue Aug 17, 2010


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Liz Williamson Williamson’s answer
Liz Williams…, Agent, Mill Valley, CA
Thu Aug 19, 2010
Ryan is correct to suggest talking to an insurance agent. Choose a local Insurance agent as well who is familiar with the area. Alot of Mill Valley as I'm sure you've figured out by now, is in a zone 4, espciallly if you are looking at the hills surrounding downtown. A good home inspector will or should also let you know if further investigations are necessary, especially when dealing with retaining walls, steep driveways, the foundation of the home, he/she will recommend getting an engineer if necessary. Home Inspecters should look at water drainage on the property. I would walk the property and neighborhood to check out where the culverts are. In heavy rains, the culverts can get clogged with debris. It is good to know where they are and who is responsible for keeping these clear. Ask your agent, I'm sure he/she has the name of a good home inspector as well as insurance agent. If you would like me to give you some names, I'd be happy to do so as well. Just drop me an email.
Good Luck!
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Tristan Cela…, , Marin County, CA
Wed Aug 18, 2010

Be concerned enough to question the listing agent/seller and your agent about recent and existing inspection reports that address your concerns.

Ryan's point about insurance is dead on, often a deal maker/breaker.

After Acceptance of your offer site specific investigation will be money you risk when professional inspection and advice is used since investigation may disclose unsolvable problems. Make certain your Agreement includes sufficient time to complete, review and possibly attempt to renegotiate/withdraw prior to the end of the inspection period.

Slippin' and slidin' is a large concern as are wildfires. Geology and construction both need site specific professional investigation to determine risk. Fire risk needs to be determined and mitigation executed. The costs and efficacy of mitigating these risks is very site specific.
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Ryan Smith, , 92563
Tue Aug 17, 2010
It would be a good idea to talk with an insurance broker that can rate the property with multiple carriers and let you know the rates, some carriers may not even insure it. We have areas around here in high fire areas with slops that are 200ft maintained and irrigated to provide a good fire break, even then some insurers will not issue policies on these homes
Web Reference:  http://www.helpmyhomenow.com
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