Lynn Watts, Real Estate Pro in Decatur, AL

My house was recently added to the flood mitigation plan. Does being in a flood plain lower the value of my home?

Asked by Lynn Watts, Decatur, AL Tue Jul 30, 2013

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From a marketing standpoint the simple answer from un-informed buyers is probably yes, but it is not a simple question. What you are saying is that your home was determined by recent studies to be within the flood plain. I wrote an article in Life on the Water here in the Tennessee Valley where I said:

Before you buy your dream lot (home) or acreage on the water, be sure to have a survey to locate the 100 year flood line also known as the boundary of the flood plain. The flood plain is divided into the flood fringe and the floodway. Generally speaking, you will be required to build your finish floor one foot above the 100 year flood elevation on any site in the flood fringe. Beware the floodway line! It is difficult if not impossible to get approval to build in the floodway unless it is at existing grade with no fill. For example, you could pave an area to park or store you boat or RV. Appreciate the flood way for what it is area clear of buildings and other obstructions so that flood elevations will not be
increased significantly during a flood event. The flood way can be the most beautiful part of your site.
Just make sure you have enough area to build your dream home which is not in the flood way.

An existing home does not allow you to plan your finish floor elevation. You must work with the existing conditions. If your existing finish floor is below one foot above the 100 year flood elevation, you will have to pay flood insurance. The price varies ( I think) according to how much below the required building elevation you are. It could be relatively cheap or expensive. If you are lucky and the existing house is one foot above (check local regulations and you financing institution) the 100 year flood elevation, then you "may" not have to pay for insurance. Assuming your lot, or parts of, is in the flood plain, they will probably try to charge you for flood insurance. You may be able to avoid flood insurance if you will get a surveyor to certify the elevation of your finish floor (or bottom of wood where you have a crawl space) is one foot above the 100 year flood elevation and file for a Letter of Map Amendment (LOMA). As always check with your local officials, but being in the flood plain shouldn't be scary...just do your due diligence.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Jul 30, 2013
Hi lwatts
This will all depend on the buyers who are in your market. Flood insurance can be very pricey and in my experience no one wants to have the extra expense or the worry of possible flooding. You may also want to check with your lender because here in Pa there are 2 flood plans and one is not required to carry flood insurance. Hope this helps and best of luck to you.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Jul 30, 2013
There is no definite answer to that question. Having mandatory flood insurance will add an extra expense to the Buyer's monthly payment. There are some Buyer's who may not be able to afford that additional cost.

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0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Jul 30, 2013
That's a good question, and the answer is a firm "it depends". If your home is in the first time homebuyer price range, it could be burdensome to a buyer to add the cost of flood insurance. Some buyers from other markets such as the Mississippi River delta area, where being in a flood plain means it's likely the eaves of your house will go underwater, will not go near a flood plain. However, local residents who desire to live in your location are more likely to see it as simply an added expense of home ownership in the area they want to live.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Jul 30, 2013
We can't say, to many variables. Here we are all in a flood plan because the Atlantic ocean is 300 yards to my east. Does that raise the value? Yes. Does it increase the value of the same home in a flood zone near a pond? yes it does.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Jul 30, 2013
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