Welcome to the Flood Zone!> > A monthly publication intended to guide, assist, and educate all interested parties in regards to flood zone issues, in

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Welcome to the Flood Zone!

A monthly publication intended to guide, assist, and educate all interested parties in regards to flood zone issues, including the transition from the currently used paper Flood Insurance Rate Maps (FIRMs) to the Digital Flood Insurance Rate Maps (DFIRMs), flood insurance, FEMA submittals, and disaster preparedness, as well as information on land surveying and real estate.

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Jim Headshot

Message from Jim

Every mortgage note created is an investment for several parties. The homeowner enjoys the benefit of the improvements with the promise made at closing to conform to terms of the loan. An investor benefits from interest earned assessed as a loan condition. Risk is one of many key components of each transaction, and a mortgage loan inspection (improperly called a Class D Survey) aids in defining risk by determining if the improvements used as loan collateral comply to municipal building setback compliance at the time of construction and if said improvements horizontally scale in a Special Flood Hazard Area (SFHA) resulting in the mandatory purchase of flood insurance. These determinations do not take vertical elevations into account at this point.

To improve the analysis of flood risk, the Flood Insurance and Mitigation Administration (FIMA), a component of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), which manages the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP), initiated Risk Mapping, Assessment, and Planning (Risk MAP) to deliver quality data, increase public awareness, and reduce risk to life and property. This process includes the implementation of Digital Flood Insurance Rate Maps (DFIRMs) intended to more accurately map flood risk. All the paper maps were created based on communities and the new DFIRMs will be based on counties.

Oxford and Kennebec Counties have made the transition to the DFIRMs and the remaining counties are still using the paper maps. Eventually, all counties in the State of Maine will implement the DFIRMs. The participation into the program will remain optional and will remain at a community level. Most communities in Maine currently participate in the program and each homeowner in a participating community can purchase flood insurance. Coverage is available for residential, commercial, condominium, contents, and investment properties regardless of location relative to the SFHA. Premiums are based on the horizontal or vertical location of improvements in relation to the flood zone.

The program acknowledges map imperfections and has created options to challenge apparent incorrect determinations. Future or current policy holders who have identified risk can benefit from premium savings prior to a map change. The "it won't happen to me" mentality is slowly being removed from homeowners' thoughts, because it did happen to them or someone they know. Homeowners should be made aware that flood damage is much more likely to occur than a house fire, and proper flood mitigation will protect infrastructure and resources, enhance public awareness and safety, and save tax dollars. With large local and global changes continuing to occur, flood problems will increase, not decrease.

It is of great importance that homeowners understand they can transfer policies to buyers if certain conditions are met, because extinguishing a flood policy prior to closing, or even at closing, can have a negative impact on the parties involved. Also, 25% of all flood claims occur outside the SFHA because of outdated flood studies and maps, increase in development, incorrect Base Flood Elevations, vegetation loss, poor designs, improper fill, etc.

If the National Flood Insurance Program understands that errors exist in these maps and it has avenues to challenge flood determinations which erroneously place a home in a SFHA, isn’t it safe to assume the opposite scenario could exist? Actually, it would be naïve to believe a home could only be incorrectly placed in a Special Flood Hazard Area and never outside of one. Very few applicants will question this logic if their home scales out, since mandatory insurance is not required and often viewed as an unnecessary additional cost. These homes would be at high risk and are often without a Preferred Risk Policy. This policy provides the same coverage as a high risk policy, but at a much lower premium. Understanding flood risk for any real estate investment could prove extremely valuable for all involved.

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What's New With Us

Last month we attended the Realtor Appreciation Day events, hosted by the Real Estate Learning Group, as well as the Maine Building Officials & Inspectors Annual Code Conference! As always, it's a pleasure to network with local professionals and share insight on the industry.

We've also put our Topcon GPS surveying equipment to good use this spring. More of our projects are requiring the use of this equipment because there is an increasing demand for GPS survey data to be collected in the commonly used Maine State Coordinate System, or other globally referenced systems, to ease integration into GIS programs or with data collected by others.

We are also able to reduce costs for our clients' because of the efficiency and range of these instruments.

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Flood Funny

Be Aware of the Weather!

Click on the photo to link to the National Oceanic & Atmospheric Administration's National Weather Service flood prediction page.

The site has helpful information about warnings, observations, and forecasts, for areas throughout the country.

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In the News

U.S. Flood Insurance Debate Resumes As Deadline Nears

Ben, Burkowitz, Reuters, May 2, 2012
"Federal law requires that homes in designated flood-rich areas have flood insurance before a mortgage can be completed. Because the NFIP is effectively the only flood insurance available in the United States, a lapse in the program means home sales cannot close in designated flood areas."
Read More...

7 Questions For Your Next Real Estate Agent

Beth Braveman, Money Magazine, May 9, 2012
Tips for buyers, sellers, and agents!
Read more...

Housing Starts Rev Up, Although Permits Slip

Mike Blake, Reuters, May 17, 2012
"Building permits, which are a sign of future construction activity, dropped 7 percent, but the decline was mitigated by permit hitting a 3.5 year high in March."
Read more...

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History Corner

The History of Father's Day

Did you know that throughout much of the 20th century there was a debate about whether or not fathers should have a holiday comparable to Mother's Day? This was due in part to the "sentimental attempts to domesticate manliness with flowers and gift-giving", as one historian recalls. Presidents Wilson and Coolidge both fought for its recognition. Advertisers during World War II argued that the holiday would be a way to honor the American troops. Finally, in 1972, under President Nixon, Father's Day became a federal holiday.

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Resources

The Maine Floodplain Management Program has moved!

Maine Floodplain Management Program
Department of Conservation
22 State House Station
17 Elkins Lane
Augusta, Maine 04333-0422
Maine Phone: 207-287-2801
Fax: 207-287-2353
www.maine.gov/spo/flood

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Contact Us!

Do you have a question about land surveying, flood zone issues, or real estate?

Frequently Asked Questions
Email: info@nadeaulandsurveys.com or call (207) 878-7870

Need to Request a Survey or a Mortgage Loan Inspection? Click on the links below to fill out a form on our website.

Request a Survey
Request a Mortgage Loan Inspection

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