"Inundation area" - Should we avoid buying homes around?

Asked by K R, San Jose, CA Tue Jun 23, 2009

What is the risk of living around inundation area. More precisely Guadalupe River in Cambrian, San Jose area since I see "An area of potential flooding" on disclosures

Thank you!

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Mark Burns, , Cupertino, CA
Tue Jun 23, 2009
You are probably referring to a 'D - a - m* Inundation Area.' This refers to areas that may have flooding due to the failure of a d - a - m, a levy, etc. usually because of an earthquake. You are not required to buy flood insurance when you are in these areas.

There is no easy way to explain how minor of an issue this is. There is always a chance that some water may run down your street after the reservoir breaks in a major earthquake. These areas are usually in '500-year' flood zones or zones of indeterminate flooding.

A 500-year flood zone is an area where it is expected that it will flood once in 500 years. The same definition holds true for '100-year' flood areas. Once in 100 years - for sure! In those zones you will likely be required to get flood insurance. It could happen this year, it could happen next year, it could happen in 2082. You never know . . .

Two ways to go: 1) Stay away from there; let other people buy and be swept away in the potential 2-3 foot tsunami from a reservoir 5-7 miles up the road right after the giant earthquake. 2) Take the big risk and worry about more important things like radon gas, lead paint, asbestos in the air, fluoridated water, mercury in the soil, the next 9.0 earthquake, leaking underground tanks, neighbors with kids in garage bands, etc.

Our Valley is one of the most wonderful places in the world to live. There are always some drawbacks. How did your agent explain it?

Mark Burns
Coldwell Banker - Premier, Top 2% Worldwide
Cupertino - De Anza Branch
President - PRDS, Contracts and Forms for Silicon Valley Real Estate 2008, 2009
President - Silicon Valley Association of Realtors 2007
Realtor of the Year - Silicon Valley Association of Realtors 2006
Chair - Region 9, California Association of Realtors Board of Directors 2009
DRE # 00896552 licensed since 1985

PS Don't take my word for it on this. Peace of mind for you may mean buying $900 worth of flood insurance every year along with $1500 worth of earthquake insurance. While you're at it, get a $2-$3 million umbrella policy for liability (this is only $400-$500 a year). That ought to do it . . .

*I spelled it that way because Trulia thought I was using profanity.
Web Reference:  http://www.markburns.com
4 votes
Terri Vellios, Agent, Campbell, CA
Tue Jun 23, 2009
Mark summed it up pretty well.

In addition to your question pertaining to Cambrian.. ..(not as a result of the flood report) In the Cambrian area there are some neighborhoods which are at the low end of our neighboring hills. During high water tables and storms the water run off from the hills has caused ponding in the streets. These "floods", have in the past, been minor and temporary. Most often it is the start of the rain season when the drains need clearing, and/or over saturation. It always seems to make for a lot of fun for the kids - I've seen them riding their bikes soaking wet. Heck, as a kid, I did the same thing.

The Guadalupe River has gone through much flood renovation over the years and we've seen significant improvement.

When you read through the Natural Hazard Report in these disclosures there are websites and phone numbers to call, makes for great bed time reading.

As Mark said, there are greater risk than this. Reading all the required disclosures are over whelming even to the experienced. It is best to sit down with your trusted agent who will help sort through the disclosures.
Web Reference:  http://www.terrivellios.com
1 vote
Michael Robe…, Agent, San Ramon, CA
Tue Jun 23, 2009
Good question KR, Inundation referred to in the Cambrian area is considered to be the 100 year flood potential so, it may be less of a concern than living in some of the lower lying land in San Jose near the Guadalupe corridor. These are often in relation to the potential failure of Anderson Dam.

The new flood maps are out and have addressed the areas (Cupertino/Palo Alto and San Jose) that may also see potential floods. See update here.... http://michaelrobertshomes.com/?s=flood.

1 vote
Stephen Whit…, Agent, San Jose, CA
Mon Apr 6, 2015
You should engage a real estate expert to help answer all of your real estate questions and find the perfect home and negotiate the best possible terms.
0 votes
That is a completely useless reply! If you can't add anything constructive in regards to the question being asked then I would keep my fingers off the keyboard. I, for one, would never hire you. The purpose for posting a question is to get constructive feedback. Maybe they did ask their realtor and want to make sure the information they received is accurate. Most people do not know much about their realtor before hiring them, so additional fact seeking is a wise move...trust but verify!
Flag Mon Nov 9, 2015
Sam Shueh, , San Jose, CA
Fri Apr 3, 2015
someone has to live there. Have you been to Alviso see these newer homes can snatched up next to the River?
0 votes
Bill Mccord, Agent, San Jose, CA
Tue Jun 23, 2009
K R,
The whole of Santa Clara Valley is in an innundation area. This means that if any of the reservoirs around the valley collapse there will be flooding in the valley. In itself it does not mean that flood insurance is needed.
0 votes
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