It's been nearly six months down the road, but it’s still hard to forget the hurricane that stormed our city and left behind more than a quarter of a million homes damaged in its wake.
And Harvey created a real estate market that’s now full of questions.
“One of the first things we want to find out is if this property has ever flooded," Realtor Bobby De La Rosa with DLR Properties said.
If you're in the market for a new home, there's a new website that might help you make your decision.
The website, designed by a professor at Texas A&M will show you the flood risk in any and every home in Harris and Galveston counties.
“Our goal was to put out basic information in an easily digestible format that people can use to factor in with all the other factors they use to buy a house," Texas A&M Galveston Professor Dr. Sam Brody said.
De La Rosa said to find a home’s flood history, realtors had to study FEMA flood maps and rely on the seller’s experience.
But today, there’s a new tool.
“That may be a game changer," De La Rosa said. "If a buyer can find out exactly what they’re buying above and beyond whatever they’re looking at, it will definitely help a buyer make an informed decision.”
Brody's website, called "Buyers Be-Where", uses Google Maps to break down residential risk by home.
It calculates flood zones, past flooding and even hazardous waste.
“Proximity to surge, tidal based flood areas, hurricanes. We’re looking to incorporate wind as well. We have some fire risk tools in there," Brody said.
He says it’s information they’ve been gathering for 15 years, but have just now put it in the hands of potential buyers.
“We can turn Houston and Texas as a whole from a laggard to a leader in dealing with these flooded problems and Hurricane Harvey is a perfect opportunity," Brody said.
Dr. Brody says his dream is to make this website nationwide, adding on counties across the country. He hopes to have Miami on the map in the next couple of months.
The website cost also about $45,000 a year to run so it may become a subscription based program in the future, but It is free for now.
Here is the link to the website: http://www.texascoastalatlas.com/buyersbewhere/