One of the most common questions we get about a property is “what’s the flood zone?”
That can actually be a tricky question, because many long time residents are grandfathered in to old zones that have changed over the years. When the seller completes the property disclosure, they typically take the information with the old zone right from their flood policy. Many times, they are not even aware that the zone has changed over the years.
What buyers really want to know is what flood zone a property is in NOW. Enter the FEMA Map Service Center.
The online FEMA Map Service Center allows anyone to search the flood maps for information on a particular address to determine the current flood zone of a property. If there are certain zones that buyers don’t feel comfortable with, they can avoid them in their home search. Conversely, the information is there to allow buyers to target areas that are in the lowest risk flood zones.
Many sellers will allow buyers to assume their existing flood insurance policies, but this does not change what zone the property is actually located in. It only changes the annual cost of insuring the property if they were grandfathered, which can be significant depending on the current flood map location.
Disclaimer #1: Flood waters don’t care what zone you are in and living in a low risk flood zone does not mean that you are in a NO risk zone. Those don’t exist in this area.
Disclaimer #2: Even if your lender doesn’t require you to purchase flood insurance, we always, always, always, always (got it?) recommend that you spend the money to insure your property. Premiums for low risk zones are less than $400 per year.
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