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Helping Consumers Understand the ‘Flood Factor’

For those considering purchasing a home, an understanding of flood risk is invaluable, market experts say. Real estate brokerage company Redfin recently announced a partnership with science and technology nonprofit First Street Foundation and the collaborative introduction of Flood Factor, a tool for tracking flood risk information for most homes on Redfin's website in regions where data is available.

Users can plug in a zip code and determine a particular property's risk ranging from 1 (minimal) to 10 (extreme) over a 30-year period.

"Buying a home is the biggest purchase most people will make in their lifetime," Redfin Chief Product Officer Christian Taubman said. "By publishing the Flood Factor score, we're making it easier to understand the risk each home faces of being damaged by flooding, meaning everyone can make better-informed decisions about buying and selling. Most homebuyers and sellers say that the frequency or intensity of natural disasters factors into their decision about where and whether to buy or sell a home, so this is information they can really use."

In tandem with the Flood Factor score, users can view the estimated Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) zone, Redfin reported. Consumers can use the tool to learn more about Flood Factor, FEMA, and flood insurance, and they can visit FloodFactor.com for additional insights on a property's flood risk, how to protect against flooding, and more.

Matthew Eby, Founder and Executive Director of First Street Foundation said the organization's goal in partnering with Redfin is to help current and future homeowners understand the extent of the flood risk facing a property, its severity, and how—with changes to the environment—risk is changing over time.

"Integrating with Redfin significantly expands our ability to enable home shoppers and owners alike to understand otherwise complex, difficult-to-find information about flooding and the sources that contribute to and exacerbate it. By providing them with this data when preparing to buy or sell a home, Redfin is an invaluable partner in contributing to the public's understanding of flood risk."

The flood-risk score is determined by hydrologists, researchers, and data scientists, and reviewed by some of the world's leading research institutions, Redfin noted in a press release. "First Street Foundation's flood model is the most comprehensive in the industry. It provides a climate-adjusted, property-parcel-level assessment of risk today and over the course of the standard 30-year mortgage."

About Author: Christina Hughes Babb

Christina Hughes Babb is a reporter for DS News and MReport. A graduate of Southern Methodist University, she has been a reporter, editor, and publisher in the Dallas area for more than 15 years. During her 10 years at Advocate Media/Dallas Magazine, she published thousands of articles covering local politics, real estate, development, crime, the arts, entertainment, and human interest, among other topics. She has won two national Mayborn School of Journalism Ten Spurs awards for nonfiction, and has penned pieces for Texas Monthly, Salon.com, Dallas Observer, Edible, and the Dallas Morning news, among others.
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