Fire Factor to Become Buyer Factor

Daiga Ellaby

A simple score means no more playing with fire.

Up until now, the probability that any given house will burn down in a wildfire has been largely hidden from public view — a matter of guesswork on behalf of homeowners, and secret assessments leveled by insurance companies. But a new tool has changed that overnight, giving everyone and anyone access to high quality fire risk data on every property in the country.

  • The Fire Factor was developed by the First Street Foundation, a nonprofit known for its sophisticated flood mapping. The program employs the same type of catastrophic modeling used by the insurance industry to give every home a simple Fire Factor score from 1-10. The score measures fire risk over the next 30 years, or the length of an average mortgage.
  • The score will be attached to every listing on Realtor.com, and may eventually become standard across the MLS. But you can look up the Fire Factor for any property, off-market or on, simply by entering the address on RiskFactor.com. That information can and should be used to inform homebuyers, and may have some effect on home values and the market at large.
  • The model has already turned up some interesting data. Areas of the country not associated with wildfire activity — places like Texas, Florida, Mississippi — will face some of the biggest increases in fire danger in the coming years. California’s risk is of course off the charts, but that risk varies greatly property by property. Many people may be surprised to find that the home they own or want to buy is actually less vulnerable than it seems.

Either way, with wildfires now an urgent and obvious threat to homes across the country, it’s better to know. And now you can.

Read more at Axios: Where Homes Will Face the Most Fire Risk in the Next 30 Years

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