FULL DISCLOSURE: I am not a scientist and I don't want to debate whether climate change is real or fake news; that said, I do believe it's important to discuss the impact of extreme weather regarding real estate purchases.
In Orlando and elsewhere in the country, properties are categorized by their exposure to flood risk. Zone X is the preferred rank because flood insurance isn't typically required by mortgage companies as a purchase condition. Other rankings, like Zone A, E or AE, etc., will likely mean the lender will require flood insurance on the property.
When Houston, Texas, flooded a couple years ago, data compiled by Corelogic and reported by CNBC indicates 80% of the flooded dwellings had no flood insurance. Seems kinda irresponsible, right? Not really. These properties were in Zone X, which indicates insurance wasn't a requirement at time of purchase.
When federal officials determine whether an area is pre-disposed to flooding, they are looking at historical data then determine whether an area is or is not prone to flood.
All of this is fine and good, but what happens when anomalies occur due to extreme weather events? Hurricane Harvey stalled over Houston, dropping copious amounts of water that broke all records for that city. Thousands and thousands of property owners in Zone X were stunned to see floodwater covering their homes, especially since they thought their homes were in "safe" areas.
So how does one plan for crazy storms with scant historical records offering predictive guidance? You can't.
You can be proactive though.
I have a conversation with all my customers regarding flood insurance and the need to have it, in my opinion, even when the flood maps say otherwise.
Greater Orlando is flat, and many areas are low. We are 1 extreme weather event away from repeating the sad stories from Houston. My husband and I carry it on our house, which is located in flood Zone X, but like all insurance it's a precaution and a way to financially manage a horrible "what-if" scenario. It adds $500 onto our annual insurance bill, but it gives us some peace of mind when hurricane season heats up.