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Susan F., Home Buyer in Central Business Dis...

What does flood hazard area mean when it is listed on the contract?

Asked by Susan F., Central Business District, Newark, NJ Thu Dec 11, 2008

My husband and I recently say a house that we fell in love with. We prompted our agent to come up with the contract. After reviewing it carefully there is a clause on the contract that the buyer acknowledges that the property is within a flood hazard area and buyer waives buyer's right to void this agreement for such reason.
When we saw this property we were not told this by our agent. We have not signed the contract yet. But we are a bit hesitant now to sign after reading this clause.

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9
Please pursue your options with professional surveyors who specialize in flood plain issues. They will do all the paperwork for you and advise you about your options. Locally, in Michigan we have Flood Zone Specialists 877-863-3069. They are absolutely terrific!

Pat Mueller
734-709-8540
PatMuellerRealtor@gmail.com
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Mar 2, 2016
Your lender will require flood insurance if there is a risk. The best source for info here is your local insurance agent.
Don't try to interpret the flood zones yourself. Go to the experts--insurance agents.
Web Reference: http://GayleCausey.com
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Dec 11, 2008
I would like to point out that the mandatory property disclosure in Louisiana requires that the flood zone be disclosed. (redundant but I'm sure you know what i mean) It's p. 2. You have said yiou have not signed the contract.Have you signed the disclosure yet? You will should have been given a copy w. the contract if not before. my standard practice is to have this in hand at the time of the initial showing & then go over it line by line when i am showing the property. Flood insurance is relatively inexpensive,but I am sure you don't want to become an unsuspecting victim. I was a katrina victim(12 miles from the lake)and I don't want anyone else to go through this unprepared. Gayle makes some very good points. All the houses on my street got water but one. I recently listed & sold a house which has never flooded(since construction in 1975) while all the neighbors did. They still have to have flood insurance.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Dec 11, 2008
Susan, Give your homeowners insurance company a call and see what they have to say before signing the contract. This way, there will be no surprises when closing time comes around. Congrats on your new purchase!
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Dec 11, 2008
I have looked at the FEMA website. According to FEMA, the land where the house is on (1/3 acre) is not in a flood zone. The property is quite high and drops off on the side-yard and backyard to a "basin" type of area...where water collects and drains off. At most the house is 75 feet from where the property "drops".
However, other nearby streets (less than mile away) are listed as zone A4. Per the website, Zone A is an area of 100-year flood; base flood elevations and flood hazard factors are not determined.
Buying a house is already taking on a huge risk and I'm not sure if my husband and I want to have a free pool in the backyard.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Dec 11, 2008
If you are unaccustomed to parts of the country that have flood zones, this can be scary. But, don't let it stop you from buying a home you love. There are different types of flood zones (A, C, X, etc) and none of them can guarantee that the property will or will not flood. For instance, my 55-yr. old house IS in a flood zone. I carry flood insurance, but it has never flooded. Other houses on my street have flooded, however.
Your lender will require flood insurance if there is a risk. The best source for info here is your local insurance agent. Flood insurance is a federal program, so cost is the same from any agent.
In high risk areas, it will be very difficult to get insurance at all. Check your contract to see if there is a sentence saying that the agreement is voidable if you are unable to get insurance at cost acceptable to you.
Good luck!
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Dec 11, 2008
I recommend using the lamapping.org website. You can search by parish & then by specific address to locate the flood rating. there is also explanation for what each rating means. It's snowing in Baton Rouge & slidell this am!
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Dec 11, 2008
1) Based on what you are saying, you have an inexperienced or an agent that is not reading the contract.
2) The truth is according to FEMA, all areas are in some kind of flood zone...some zones good/some zones bad...on their website they have a map that will show where this house is...so long story short...this commentary means nothing.
3) Before you sign anything, if you do not want to live in an area that floods, I would add a line item to your proposal/contract that specifically says" Buyer does not waive this right noted on Page___, As per line #____ stating "buyer waives buyer's right to void this agreement for such reason"
4) Next, add another line item that says, " Buyer will only purchase this property if the flood zone is deemed acceptable to the buyer." This covers your basis and gives you time to research through insurance agents, and get an elevation certificate to see what your insurance will be and if this property ever flooded.

Be very careful...some homes never flooded but Post Katrina all over the country, FEMA maps reflect a different basis for what they consider areas that could potentially flood.

If your agent does not understand how or why you want to add these line items, find another agent..a seasoned one or go to the agent's broker to get it done.
Web Reference: http://iansellsnola.com
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Dec 11, 2008
Just in case anyone need to fill out an elevation certificate form, I found a blank form in this link http://pdf.ac/6LB10. This site PDFfiller also has several related forms that you might find useful.
Flag Fri Mar 20, 2015
Susan,

This is a statement from the seller disclosing that the location of the home is prone to "flooding." We would recommend, prior to making any committment that you investigate the history of recent floods affecting the home and general location.

Trust your reservations.....until you have gathered the facts and clearly understand the implications involved.

Good luck,

The Eckler Team
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Dec 11, 2008
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