Sandy-hit homes on the market at bargain prices

Associated Press


It sounds like the premise for a new reality TV series: “Hurricane House” — people scouring waterside communities looking to buy homes damaged by superstorm Sandy at a discount.

Though there are bargains, ranging from 10 percent off pre-storm prices for upscale homes on New York’s Long Island and the Jersey Shore to as much as 60 percent off modest bungalows in Staten Island and Queens, it’s still a game of buyer beware.

Not only are buyers on the hook for repairs and in some cases total rebuilds, they’re also wading into potentially expensive uncertainties about new flood maps and future insurance rates, zoning changes and updated building codes.

Before Sandy, prospective buyers rarely mentioned issues such as flood maps and building elevations until the matter of flood insurance came up — often at closing.

Even if potential buyers plan to tear down and build new, they ask about the pending changes in flood maps proposed by the Federal Emergency Management Agency, because flood insurance rates will depend upon the new zones.

Real-estate agents in New York and New Jersey say the majority of homes for sale in these areas have some damage from the Oct. 29 storm, and it appears that a rising number are being put on the market as the spring home-buying season approaches.

New listings range from destroyed oceanfront properties being sold for the land, to flooded bayside homes untouched since the storm that must be gutted.

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