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When you’re looking to build a house, you probably have a list of concerns to be aware of. You’ll need to consider the weather for the timeline of your build, the climate of the location, the surrounding neighborhoods, and the changes to the landscape.

But, geological concerns often get overlooked in the home-building process.
Unfortunately, there are potential geological hazards that could occur at any time. Building a home in the wrong place could put you at risk of severe damage, or even danger. So, what geological risks should you be aware of when you want to build a home? How can you keep yourself, your family, and your potential property safe from disasters?

What to Look For in a Place to Live

There are a few red flags to be aware of when you’re looking for a place to live. Are there a lot of homes for sale in that area? If so, it might mean people are moving away – for a reason. The same can be said if the prices for those homes seem too good to be true. People don’t just leave, especially not in droves, unless there’s a good reason. If a location experiences regular disasters like earthquakes, landslides, or flooding, it could be why homeowners there don’t stay very long.

While no one can predict if/when a disaster will occur, you should look at the likelihood of such things. For example, 15-20 earthquakes with a magnitude of 4.0 or greater happen in California every year. Wildfires are also common in the west, while hurricanes and flooding happen frequently in southern coastal states.

Thankfully, there are resources in place for nearly every type of natural disaster and the risks that come with them. If you’re concerned about wildfires, for example, check the Homeowner Wildfire Assessment information to see where the greatest threats are located. If you’re worried about potential flooding, survey the land you’re considering to make sure it’s not in a low-lying area. Scared of a landslide? Look for bulges in the ground or leaning trees and telephone poles.

Ultimately, however, talking to an actual geologist or someone who knows the land can help you make the most informed decision.

Geological Dangers to Be Aware Of


Unfortunately, there are multiple geological risks that people tend to ignore until they become a problem. Most people know about the dangers of earthquakes and the damage they can cause. But, there are plenty of other natural dangers that are important to be aware of. These geological concerns should be at the forefront of your mind when you consider building a home. Some of the more prominent dangers include:
  • Landslides
  • Wildfire threats
  • Flooding
  • High wind
Just because people are flocking to popular areas like the San Andreas Fault and the Cascadia Subduction Zone doesn’t mean you should follow suit. Places like these are at high risk of experiencing natural disasters from earthquakes to hurricanes. If geologists and realtors were able to work together more frequently, people would be well aware of the potential dangers lingering around a specific location.

Do your research ahead of time if you’re looking into a specific area for building. Learning about some of the natural disasters of the past or heeding warnings from geologists can help you from making a big mistake.

How to Protect Yourself and Your Home

One of the best things you can do to protect yourself from geological risks is to listen to actual geologists. By doing your research, you can easily find out what you should look out for as a homeowner before you even lay the foundation of a new house.

Again, geological concerns go far beyond earthquakes. You can protect your home from some major problems by doing things like:
  • Caulking around windows and doors
  • Bolting the house to the foundation
  • Using flexible gas and water lines
It’s also a good idea to protect yourself financially if you end up building in a high-risk area. Having homeowners’ insurance can ensure you won’t lose everything if something like an earthquake or landslide occurs. Your home might get damaged or even destroyed, but you can rebuild. At that point, however, you might find yourself being one of those people who move away from those situations to a safer location.

The best thing you can do to keep your house and family safe is not to build on areas of land that are considered high-risk. The land isn’t going to stop moving. Seismic activity isn’t going to automatically cease because a house is there. Listen to the potential hazards geologists consistently warn about and do your research to learn about potential disasters that have occurred on that land in the last. Your dream property is out there, but if it comes with dangerous geological consequences, it’s best to keep looking for a safer place to build.