780 Palo Alto Ave on the creek--does this make it more flood prone, especially in an earthquake? Is that why it hasn't sold?

Asked by Julia, Palo Alto, CA Tue Mar 4, 2014

780 Palo Alto has a lot of character but it sits right on the San Francisquita creek. Yet according to the city website it doesn't have the highest flood risk categorization--how can this be? Wouldn't houses on the creek be the first to go if there is ever a flood? Was this house flooded in El Nino '98? I guess I want to understand if this house faces more risks than other houses in Palo Alto, all of which seem to be in some sort of flood/fault zone. Thanks!


Help the community by answering this question:

+ web reference
Web reference:


Juliana Lee…, Agent, Palo Alto, CA
Tue Mar 4, 2014
I don't believe the flood hazard at 780 Palo Alto Ave is what would worry buyers the most. Much of the damage from the flood of 98 was caused by the narrow channel at the Newell bridge causing water to overflow the banks and enter storm sewers. The water came up out of the storm sewers in neighborhoods closer to the bay, flooding houses and condominiums nearer 101. There is a low probability but real hazard associated with these zones. Many Palo Alto homes are in the same hazard zones. 780 Palo Alto Ave has some disclosures which were of concern to my clients and probably others. Liquefaction http://julianalee.com/reinfo/liquefaction.htm Palo Alto home values at http://julianalee.com/palo-alto/palo-alto-statistics.htm ... Work with a top experience agent and learn to be your own expert. ... Juliana Lee
Top 3 agent for 3 years nationwide at Keller Williams Realty, the nations largest
Cell 650.857.1000

Over 20 years experience
Over 1,000 homes sold in Santa Clara County and San Mateo County
Web Reference:  http://julianalee.com
1 vote
This is very helpful. Now I will go look moe into liquefaction.
Flag Tue Mar 4, 2014
GHPaloAlto, Home Owner, Palo Alto, CA
Tue Mar 4, 2014
Agree you should contact a home insurance agent and check the disclosures, but to answer your question about why despite being next to the creek, it doesn't have the highest flood designation: If you walk or ride your bike on the streets near the house, you'll see that the area isn't as "flat" as it may seem when driving in a car. Often, the houses a block or two from the creek are at lower elevation and flood waters in the past have done more damage there than immediately along the creek.
1 vote
Ah, ok, this solves the mystery for me! Thanks very much!
Flag Tue Mar 4, 2014
Marcy Moyer, Agent, San Ramon, CA
Tue Mar 4, 2014
this home is in the AH500 flood zone. The buyer will need to get flood insurance to get a loan. The severity of the flood zone is determined by the height of the house, not the closeness of the water. The determination is made based on what the flood level prediction is and how high the land is. The San Francisquito Creek did flood in 98 but most of the damage was closer to the freeway in Crescent Park as well as around the Duvenek area. This does not mean there will not be a flood here next time, just that last time there was a big flood a different part of the creek had a worse flood.
The flood zone that comes from the bay is actually potentially more damaging than from the Creek. However, it does not happen as often. this would flood south Palo Alto on the east side.

Marcy Moyer
Keller Williams Realty Palo Alto
Ca BRE 01191194
Web Reference:  http://www.marcymoyer.com
1 vote
Thank you! Hard to believe that home prices in Palo Alto are still so high when they are in the flood zone. I guess the city is just that wonderful!
Flag Tue Mar 4, 2014
Bill Mccord, Agent, San Jose, CA
Tue Mar 4, 2014
The best way to find out it's flood zone designation is to ask your Insurance agent whether his/her company would require Flood coverage on a Home Insurance policy (As would be required by your mortgage lender).
All other considerations are irrelevant as are it's nearness to the creek or an event from 1998.
Good luck, Bill
0 votes
Elena Talis, Broker, Palo Alto, CA
Tue Mar 4, 2014
I think that the house is on the market for 3 weeks is not related to the flood risks. It is a bit more challenging to obtain the flood insurance these days bit it would not be a deal breaker. I would recommend you to pick an agent who can represent you. You agent will be able to contact the listing agent and get details on what is holding the sale. There may be something in the disclosures...
Web Reference:  http://talisrealestate.com
0 votes
Search Advice
Ask our community a question

Email me when…

Learn more