“Anyone buying property this winter will be acutely aware of the issues and risks of flooding,” says James Greenwood of Stacks Property Search. “Anything that looks remotely at risk should obviously be scrutinised surgically.

“Your first stop should be The Environment Agency and the Flood Maps. The former will tell you the nearest property to yours that has flooded, and the latter will tell you whether the property you are looking at is in an area of risk. 

“Neighbours and local knowledge are equally useful resources – if there are any flooding stories to be told, you will hear them if you ask the right questions. Ask specifically about the last five years – if a property hasn’t flooded in this period, the risk is probably good.

“If you do fall in love with a property that, on balance, you think is at risk, you need not necessarily write it off altogether, but go further in your investigations. Find out if you would have a problem obtaining a mortgage and whether the property is insurable. If it’s a ‘no’ to either of these questions, you are taking on a big risk, not least in terms of resale. If the risk is sufficiently low for mortgage companies and insurers to be happy, then you may choose to go ahead, there are many ways you can go about adapting a property to reduce risks and minimise potential damage. But be very cautious, extreme rainfall isn’t a weather event that’s likely to go away.

“People who know their property runs the risk of flooding may well choose high summer to market when the warning signs of flooding are least apparent. This is the most dangerous time to be viewing property in a climate that is likely to see more of the kind of extreme weather we have been experiencing.

“Look out for any hint of water anywhere – a trickle of a stream, or even a dried-up riverbed, can present a very different picture after the deluges we have endured. Equally, beautiful water meadows, full of summer wildflowers, and dry underfoot, can present a potential hazard. Look out for evidence of water, and if you find it, investigate further. Properties in a valley, or in a dip at the bottom of a steep hill may be at risk, even if there is no evidence of water.

“Whatever the season, and whatever the weather, run all the usual checks you would immediately after an extreme weather event; our memories are short, and for those who haven’t experienced flooding first hand, it may be hard to recall the misery that we have been seeing in the media this winter.”

Stacks Property Search, 01594 842880 / www.stacks.co.uk

Ends – 

    • For more information, jpgs and interviews, contact Amanda MacCaw, 01386 700068 / 07977 238175 / amanda@wildmaccaw.co.uk

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