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Welcome to the Flood Zone!

A nationally distributed resource for those interested in flood zone issues, land surveying, real estate, history, and educational opportunities. If you no longer wish to receive this newsletter, simply click the unsubscribe link in the footer of this message.

Explore Floodplain Jim

Jim Nadeau, PLS, CFM, CFS, ANFI, Realtor

Message from Jim

Below are a list of 6 common misconceptions present in the real estate industry.

A boundary survey does not show ownership. Boundary surveys depict the location of record lines as described in the original deeds and/or plans (operative documents) which created a parcel or line. A title attorney renders an opinion of title. The attorney may base the opinion of title on survey documents, but a land surveyor does not render a title opinion.

Boundary Surveys and Mortgage Loan Inspections are two very different products. Since Mortgage Loan Inspections (improperly called a Class D survey) do not accurately identify any boundary lines, or the exact location of a structure on a lot, they should never be used for permitting and design, or for any purpose other than determining investment risk for the mortgage note created.

The term “Class D” has nothing to do with level of survey effort relative to research, original evidence, or operative documents. The term pertained to a land surveyor’s ability to measure due to survey equipment accuracy by creating levels of acceptable mathematical tolerances in field data collection. Technology has eliminated these levels of acceptable tolerances.

If a municipality accepts a Mortgage Loan Inspection for permitting/approval purposes, this document does not become a boundary survey or site plan. A Mortgage Loan Inspection drawn to scale does not have any more value than an inspection which is not to scale. In our opinion, fences, iron pipes, monuments, etc. used to make a determination on setback compliance should not be shown on the Mortgage Loan Inspection. Municipalities should not accept Mortgage Loan Inspections in lieu of a boundary survey.

shaw quote

If a Professional Land Surveyor does not assume any evidence found in the field as immediately correct (such as a metal stake, pipe, monument, tree, fence, etc.), all other real estate consultants should not either. Field evidence can change, be moved, or be placed incorrectly. A found marker could be the property corner, the abutter’s property corner, could mark an easement or a former boundary line, be an animal tie-up, be set by a homeowner, or nothing at all - make no assumptions!!!

Land Surveyors are professional consultants in the real estate industry and understand deadlines, but performing a land survey properly is not a process that should be rushed. Boundary surveys, site plans, and construction stakeouts are products often used for permitting and design, and accuracy is vital for long-term sustainability, cost-effectiveness, and safety. Performing extensive research, seeking the best evidence, collecting accurate data, and creating reliable plans to meet the needs of clients and consultants takes time and effort—attributes of a thorough survey.

fema fact sheet


FEMA has released another helpful fact sheet, "How Recent Legislative Changes Affect Flood Insurance", available for download on their website. Take some time to read through all the information and think about how it may impact you or a client. Chances are you have already dealt with a real estate transaction where flood insurance became an issue. Next time, you can be more prepared! As always, we are available to help if you are unsure about which changes apply. Click on the photo to learn how flood insurance reforms impact the phasing out of subsidized rates for different types of policies.


Insurance Corner

Rate Changes When Properties Are Sold
The 2014 Homeowner Flood Insurance Affordability Act protects policyholders from significant and unanticipated increases in flood insurance costs that could impact their property sales. Subsidized rates continue to apply, and as of May 1, 2014, both the policy and its subsidized rates can be transferred to the new owner. Grandfathered rates can also be transferred at the time of sale. (FEMA, 2014)


Learning Events

September 9, 2014: Jim will be joined by Charlie Katz-Leavy of Verrill Dana, speaking on flood insurance rate maps and policy reform at MEREDA's "Reversing the Tide" Portland-Area Breakfast event.

September 13, 2014 Jim is presenting two one-hour sessions titled, "Understanding Flood Zone Mapping & Risk" at The Real Estate & Title Section of the Maine State Bar Association's 2014 Real Estate Institute, at the Augusta Civic Center.

September 18, 2014: We will provide a brief presentation and Q&A session on flood zones and flood insurance to the Greater Portland Board of Realtors at their September Membership Meeting and Class.

September 30th, 2014: Jim will be presenting our Maine Real Estate Commission-approved course, "Understanding Land Surveying and Flood Zones" at the Greater Bangor Association of Realtors Membership Meeting & Continuing Education event.


We would also like to announce that our "Understanding Land Surveying and Flood Zones" class is now available online 24/7 through The Real Estate Learning Group!, for 3 Real Estate Clock Hours. Please note that this session was recorded just prior to the passing of the Homeowner Flood Insurance Affordability Act in March, so there are a few slides that are slightly outdated. For updates on that information, please refer to the FEMA document referenced above.

nmfpw logo broomfield

The Association of State Floodplain Managers (ASFPM) is offering a National Mitigation FloodProofing Workshop, October 27-30, 2014, in Broomfield, Colorado.

Post-Disaster Mitigation, Floodproofing and Watershed Restoration: Investing in Resiliency will teach tools and techniques that floodplain managers, emergency managers, property owners, and others can use to reduce flood risk. Activities include plenary sessions, mini-workshops and concurrent track sessions with detailed presentations, exhibitions, and field tours.

Visit ASFPM's website to learn more about this great event!

portland flood

In terms of rainfall throughout the whole day, it ranked as a 50-year storm. From 9-10 PM, we received 2.57", qualifying the storm as a 100-year flooding event. From 10-11 PM, we received another 1.64" of rain, bringing the 2-hour total to a whopping 4.21", officially qualifying the event as a 200-year storm! (National Weather Service)

In the News

200-year Storm Hits Portland, Maine!

If you are a Southern Maine local, you are well aware of the record-breaking rainfall we received on August 13th. In Portland, the storm dumped a total of 6.43" of rain, making it the highest amount of precipitation from a non-tropical storm in a single day to date. (Portland's precipitation records date back to 1871).

You have likely heard plenty of discussion about the 100-year storm, as it is used as the basis for determining base flood elevations. As a reminder, this means there is a 1% annual chance of this occurring. (This does not mean it will only occur every 100 years. Please be aware of the many news reports phrasing it as such.) For a 50-year storm, there is a 2% chance, and a 200-year storm, a 0.5% chance. Rare as it may seem, it can happen. Remember: everyone lives in a flood zone!


September Flood Funny

zeppelin flood

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