Is your home in a flood zone? You may not even know it is until you sell your home. Flood maps change often and what’s marked as a flood zone can change with it. FEMA updated their flood maps in 2009, so if you owned your home prior to then, you could now be classified as a flood zone, even though you were never required to purchase flood insurance or thought you were in a flood zone. And flood zones aren’t just about creeks, rivers, and other waterways. Those of us here in the San Antonio area know well that what looks like a dry creekbed can become a raging waterway in no time at all. The same goes for the rolling landscape of just about any area – thanks to development, the way water moves through a given area can change drastically in a short period of time.
Are You in a Flood Zone?
The first step is to figure out if you are in a flood zone. You can do this by searching public data on flood maps. FEMA provides a searchable system via their Map Service Center. The maps can be a little difficult to interpret, but give you the starting point you’ll need to figure out if your home lies within a flood zone. If your home is in or near a flood zone, you may want to contact an insurance company who can perform a more targeted search and give you more information on your next steps.
Flood insurance will be required by a lender if the home is found to be in a flood zone. For homes that are deemed to be at risk of flooding because of their location, insurance through the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) may be the only avenue to get coverage. Flood insurance can be costly, but so can not having it. If you’re selling your home and you find that your home is in a flood zone, the added cost of the required insurance may put your home out of reach for some buyers. Knowing before you sell can help as there will be certain items you’ll need to assist with in order to get the home sold. One such item is a Flood Elevation Certificate, which is used to show the elevation levels of the property (and show where the home lies in relation to the elevation and the source of the flood zone). A Flood Elevation Certificate can be purchased through most survey companies and run about the same cost as a typical survey. A certificate will be required by the insurance company, so having one up front can be a handy tool and help any potential buyers.
As always we recommend a little preparation before you sell your home. Knowing about your home and flood zones can be important information to help with a smooth transaction. No one likes surprises and since you may not even know the flood maps have changed and you are now located in a flood zone – you don’t want to be the one surprised!
image courtesy of skochkarev
Kate Hansen says
I am about to move to a home that might be in a flood zone, but I’m not 100% sure. Your article is really helpful because I didn’t know that flood insurance will be required by a lender if the home is found to be in a flood zone. It sounds like I might want to look into Flood Elevation Certificates as you pointed out so I can know what the final price of my house will be.