Avoid buying a condo in flood-prone locations. Remember these tips the next time you go condo-hunting.
In the Philippines, monsoon or habagat season usually begins around June, but as predictable as this climate pattern may be, it’s not all the time that homeowners can really prepare enough for the destruction that severe flooding and heavy rains can bring. Those who are lucky enough to live in high areas get to enjoy not seeing their homes go underwater. The less-than-fortunate ones can only helplessly look on as deluges rush in and cause damage to their properties.
And don’t think that people who live in high-rise condos are safe from the problem. If they unknowingly purchased a unit in a neighborhood where flooding is a recurring issue, they’ll be facing flooded basements and lobbies, not to mention a weakened building foundation that could put the building at risk of collapsing in the long run. If you want to avoid these catastrophes in your search for a condo to buy, here are a few ways you can tell if an area becomes an underwater attraction during the rainy season.
1. Ask around
Practice your social skills by meeting your potential new neighbors. The condo’s developer or your real estate broker might downplay the severity of flooding in the community, so your best bet is to speak with the building’s residents or people who live or work close by.
"Howdy, neighbor! Seen any good flooding lately?" (Photo via Shutterstock)
2. Check out the neighborhood
If the condo building is built close to a river or any body of water, find out if it has a tendency to overflow during torrential rains. Again, you can ask the neighbors about this, or you can see for yourself by driving by during a heavy rainfall. In addition, if you see that the homes close to the condo are protected by walls of sandbags, it’s good indicator that the area is prone to floods.
This is one type of baggage you definitely don't want in your life. (Photo via Shutterstock)
3. Inspect the property
If the condo’s walls were poorly constructed, they will let water in whenever it rains. Feel the walls for moisture, and see if there are water stains running down them too. Also, if there are parts of the ceiling with dark stains, these could be signs of water leaks as well as the mold that usually follows.
Flood waters find different ways to enter the home. Doors and windows are just some of them. (Photo via Shutterstock)
Another way to check is to look for parts of the building that have walls with bubbled-up paint, because that’s a sure sign of moisture coming in. You may also check buildings or homes outside for water level stains on the walls—dried-up lines of water indicate how high waters tend to rise when the rain doesn’t let up. While you are it, make sure to also inspect the gutters and drainage system surrounding the building if they’re in good condition and if water is able to flow freely.
4. Do a thorough research
Go online to learn more about the area. Websites like nababaha.com and the Mines and Geosciences Bureau have maps indicating which parts of the country are prone to flooding. Project NOAH (Nationwide Operational Assessment of Hazards) by the Department of Science and Technology has also put together a partial list of flood-prone areas in Metro Manila.
Need to know which areas in the Philippines are prone to flooding? There's a site for that. (Photo via Shutterstock)
5. Know what flood-control measures are in place
You may also research whether the neighborhood has effective flood risk-reduction projects in place. Taguig’s Bonifacio Global City, for one, has a five-story cistern that collects rainwater and directs it to Manila Bay to keep the area from getting flooded. Parañaque is planning to construct a 300-meter diversion creek that will speed up the flow of floodwater from the Parañaque River to Manila Bay. And Quezon City has allotted almost Php900 million in 2015 for various flood control projects.
Diverting flood water through creeks and rivers is a common method of preventing flooding, but not all neighborhoods use it. (Photo via Shutterstock)
Finally, find out how populous the area is. More people means more solid waste, and when the latter is incorrectly disposed, they can cause drainage problems, which in turn will cause flooding.
Everything looks pleasant during a bright summer’s day, so you might not be able to spot these signs until it’s too late. As much of a hassle as it may be, you should grab an umbrella and slip on some galoshes to view condos while it’s raining if you want to see for yourself how things at the complex and its surroundings. And don’t forget to assess the situation of roads leading up to the condo. Even if the building itself was constructed on high ground, it’ll still be a hassle if the streets leading to it become impassable in the event of flooding.
Main photo via Shutterstock