You have spent several months helping your client search for homes. The happy couple has found a house they like and want to make an offer. During your research, you remember to take a look at the floodplain map and find that the house is partially in the 100-year floodplain…oh no 🙁
Flood map analysis
As you can see from the image, the house at the top is not located in the 100-year floodplain. However, it is very close the floodplain, and a lender may require a buyer to purchase a Preferred Risk Flood Insurance Policy.
The house in the middle appears to also be out of the critical 100-year floodplain, and may be partially touched by the 500-year floodplain. The owner of this house, if they have a federally backed mortgage, may also be required to purchase a Preferred Risk Flood Insurance Policy.
At the bottom of the image is the final house. It is fully covered in pink, which means it is definitely in the 500-year floodplain. However, if you look closely, a corner of the house is in the 100-year floodplain (see the blue arrow in the image below). I know it is hard to see, but it is there!
Time for the elevation certificate
If you read my earlier post titled: “The Early Bird Realtor Gets the Floodplain LOMA“, I step through the basics of the Letter of Map Amendment or LOMA. To acquire a LOMA, you will need a licensed Surveyor to create an Elevation Certificate (EC) for the structure on your property. Once you have the Elevation Certificate, it will help your lender and insurance agent determine if you need flood insurance, and if you do, that your premium reflects your risk level. This is because your insurance premium is based on your elevation in comparison to the 100-year floodplain level.
Check out this FEMA fact sheet called the “Homeowner’s Guide to Elevation Certificates” for more information.
Parts of an Elevation Certificate
Section A of the EC has general information about the structure, such as address, size,use, etc. I commonly see errors on this part of the EC in A7 (building diagram number) and in A8, where information about flood openings is provided.
Section B lists the information about the FIRM used.
Section C is where the elevation data is listed. This is the part of the EC that has a number of details and accuracy is required. I commonly see errors in C1 (the LOMA needs the “finished construction”, not “proposed”). I also find occasional errors in C2.
Section D is where the licensed Surveyor signs off,
There are some other sections to the form where photos can be added etc., but the front page of the EC is where the majority of the excitement takes place.
The City of Jeffersonville, nor the Town of Clarksville, pays for an Elevation Certificate of an individual’s private property. We are definitely willing to assist residents with the process to the best of our ability. If we have an EC on file, we will certainly give it to the property owner. However, Elevation Certificates are not required, so we only receive them sporadically.
The flood finale
I hope that you can see how difficult it is to determine the risk of the third (bottom) house in the image I used with the arrow. It is possible that an Elevation Certificate can be acquired for that structure which shows that the corner of it is not in the 100-year floodplain. The reverse is also feasible and the EC will validate the need for flood insurance.
In the end, if you can get a LOMA, you may be possibly saving your client a significant amount of money. If you can work the financial part of the deal, have someone pay a licensed Surveyor to take a look.