Buyer Beware: A Checklist

Consider the following checklist as a starting point. Seek professional advice from a qualified geologist before buying a homesite or building.

Flood Hazards

  • Is the site in a flood zone?
  • Are logs and driftwood scattered on the site?
  • Is the site facing sheltered or open water? Sites facing a big stretch of open water should be up high and set as far back as possible.
  • Do nearby homes and businesses have any flood damage or wave erosion damage?
  • Can federal flood insurance be purchased for the site?
Bluff & Slope Hazards
  • Is the site on solid rock or loose till?
  • Does the bluff appear solid and covered with stable vegetation such as mature Douglas firs or madrones?
  • Does the site show signs of sliding or erosion?
  • Do you see bare tree roots, sliding debris, or other signs of sliding?
  • Can you see springs or ground water seeping from the side of the bluff?
  • Are there signs of active erosion such as gullies etched into the side of the bluff?
  • Do neighbors have seawalls, bulkheads, revetments, groins, or riprap on their properties?
  • Have you asked neighbors about erosion problems?
  • Is there enough room on the site for driveways, septic drainfields, and a safe setback from the bluff or slope edge?

Does The Site Meet Your Needs?

  • Don't purchase a site that does not meet your needs. Making big changes to natural features can lead to expensive problems such as slides and erosion.

Related Links

Flood Topics, King County. Links to Flood Plain maps, Flood Buyout and Home Elevation Program, and Hydrologic Information Center.  

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Comments? E-mail: Shellyne Grisham