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Frequently Asked Questions

In general, once a buyout project has been established for a certain area and the funding is in place, we will try to hold a neighborhood meeting or send letters to residents to give an overview of the process. 

The first step for each property owner is an initial meeting with our buyout staff. During this meeting, the process will be discussed in detail, and our staff can learn more about each family's particular needs as they relate to the buyout.

We will then arrange for an independent appraisal to determine the property's fair market value. This value will be the basis for our offer. If the property owner accepts the offer, they may also be eligible for additional assistance to help secure replacement housing. 

The house must be vacant on the date that we acquire it. After acquisition, we are required to abate any asbestos-containing materials in the house and then demolish it. In most cases, the acquired land will be maintained as open space with minimal mowing to allow the natural and beneficial characteristics of the floodplain to be restored.

Please report any suspicious activity to 9-1-1. If you are in the Onion Creek area, please contact Leticia Campa, District Representative with the Austin Police Department, to discuss non-emergency concerns. Her number is 512-974-5490.

Property owners are encouraged find a real estate agent to assist with the search for a new home. Their services are usually free for the home buyer. Our buyout staff will also provide information on at least one comparable home that is outside of a floodplain. 

Depending on the value of available houses for sale, property owners may be eligible for additional assistance to help cover the cost difference between the house the property owner is selling to the City and the one they wish to buy. 

Many families who have been through the buyout have told us that this process worked well for them and they were happy with their new homes.

Appraisals are done by a third-party, independent appraisal company. There are various options if you do not agree with the appraisal, which will be explained during the buyout process.

Check the ATXfloods for road closures. NOAA All Hazards Weather Radio will alert you to flood warnings and evacuations. Also, local TV and radio stations often keep you posted during flooding conditions.

When listing your house for sale, you must disclose that the house is in a floodplain and any previous flooding on the property. Talk to you real estate agent about any other necessary disclosures.

Keep monitoring the situation and get ready to potentially evacuate or move to the second floor or roof. The flooding may get much worse very fast. In Austin, our creeks can rise several feet in just a few minutes. Keep in mind that the road providing access to your home may become impassible before water enters your house. Leave before the road is flooded. Do not attempt to drive or walk through a flooded road.

If there’s time, the following steps can help limit damage:

• Turn off all utilities at the main power switch and close the main gas valve if evacuation appears necessary. • Move valuables, such as important papers, jewelry, and clothing to upper floors or higher elevations. • Fill bathtubs, sinks, and plastic soda bottles with clean water. Sanitize the sinks and tubs first by using bleach and rinsing. • Bring outdoor possessions, such as lawn furniture, grills, and trash cans inside, or tie them down securely.

Find out what to include in an emergency preparedness kit.

Turn Around - Don’t Drown. Approximately 75% of flood fatalities occur in vehicles. Try to avoid driving during heavy rainfall. If you must drive, look for water over the road, avoid low water crossings, and turn around if a road is barricaded or if there is water over the roadway. Keep in mind that at night, during heavy storms, it may be difficult to see that a road is flooded.

There are many other dangers during a flood as well. In general, stay away from creeks and drainage infrastructure during rainfall.  

There is more information about flood safety on our Flood Safety and Preparedness page.


The City may use a number of different methods to announce an evacuation, including: • NOAA All Hazards Weather Radio • Local Radio and TV • Door to door • An automated phone call with a recorded message to landlines or registered cell phones.

Please keep in mind that floods can happen faster than emergency personnel can respond, so you should monitor the situation yourself as well. There may not be a warning from the City.