Buying a Home Amid Climate Change

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Buying a Home Amid Climate Change

Climate change:  we’ve heard about it for years and have witnessed temperatures  extremes making certain times of the year unrecognizable.  We’ve seen examples of nature’s fury with massive wildfires, storms, drought and flooding. So what does climate change have to do with buying or selling a house?

Growing up in Montana, we would experience many days of below zero temperatures and lots of snow in December.  These days we’re seeing very little snow in December and unusually high temperatures (still cold but above freezing).  While that may be appealing to some, it’s alarming to others.  Climate change is affecting all areas of the world and it might influence where you decide to live.

Climate Change:
“A change in global or regional climate patterns, in particular a change apparent from the mid to late 20th century onwards and attributed largely to the increased levels of atmospheric carbon dioxide produced by the use of fossil fuels.”
- Definition from Oxford Languages 

As we burn fossil fuels and enjoy the comforts of electricity, heating, and transportation, we also witness changes in water levels, weather patterns and temperature.  As you search for a home to buy, especially if you’re moving to another area or state, you’ll want to consider what factors affect the climate in that area.  For example, you might want to learn what the drought risk is and how that could influence forest fires.  You could also investigate the flood and storm risk especially if you wish to live in a coastal area.  Keep in mind that all of these factors can affect the price of a home, now and in the future, for better or worse.

Besides conferring with your real estate agent about the climate in your desired living area, you could also use ClimateCheck™.  This website provides free climate information for the area you wish to live in.  Simply enter an address, area, or zip code to learn more about the level of environmental risk due to climate change.  If it’s determined that the area is high risk and you decide to buy a home there anyway, when you go to sell the home, you may not make a profit.  There’s no doubt that climate change affects house prices.

ClimateCheck_Leslie_RiskFactors_2020_12_23ClimateCheck™ Report Example


So before you consider purchasing a home, do some research on how climate change has affected the area you wish to live in and what you can expect for environmental risks in the future.  Knowing that you’re going to be in the home for 15-30 years (length of mortgage), educating yourself on the changing climate can make for a much more enjoyable and safer homeowner experience.

Janelle D.

I've worked in the real estate sector for more than a decade and enjoy sharing my knowledge on the subject and researching the latest trends. In my free time I like to craft, spend time with my family and dog, participate in outdoor activities like hiking, and I'm passionate about photography.

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