Let’s not forget the flooding

Our way of life in Wisconsin has been devastated by COVID-19. With nearly 3,000 confirmed cases and over 100 deaths, it hurts my heart to think of the pain our friends and neighbors are feeling. As we continue to fight and recover from COVID-19, I hope we, as a society, begin to take natural disasters more seriously. Every year, flooding and severe weather are the costliest and most common natural disaster we face.

In March, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) released its flood forecast indicating that 123 million Americans in 23 states, including Wisconsin, could be impacted by spring flooding.

As a realtor, it troubles me that the families and individuals I help to purchase their new home are often completely in the dark about the property’s flood risk. The reason? Wisconsin real estate flood disclosure laws are inadequate at best.

Wisconsin and even the federal government should follow the lead of other states who require full flood risk disclosure for all new homebuyers and renters. Sellers must disclose if a home is in a floodplain, has had past damages or claims made, or whether you need to carry flood insurance.

COVID-19 is a reminder that natural disasters are something we can plan for, and with good public policy, can mitigate and protect people. Local, state and federal leaders in Wisconsin should enact common-sense policies like flood disclosure so people can make informed choices and prepare. Taking action will help businesses, homeowners, and local communities be safer the next time floodwaters rise.