Welcome to the Flood Zone! A nationally distributed resource for those interested in flood zone issues, land surveying, real estate, history, and edu

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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.

Happy Independence Day!

We wish you all a safe and fun holiday weekend!

Jim New

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

Message from Jim

Over the past month, we have been asked to review a handful of flood zone determinations on behalf of potential clients. In each case, an out-of-state Flood Determination Company had placed the improvements to be used as loan collateral into a Special Flood Hazard Area (SFHA). This is a horizontal determination which does not use elevations, and requires the loan applicant to purchase mandatory flood insurance. This is an important process within the flood program when performed correctly, but unfortunately, it appears that many Flood Determination Companies are using the flood overlay available online through a municipal Geographic Information System (GIS). Having utilized GIS often, it is not uncommon to identify the shaded SFHA running parallel and, in some cases, a noticeable distance from the actual watercourse. This is not an approved method recognized by the program.

This is a concern for several reasons. The first pertains to the public perception of the program. This incorrect determination adds fuel to the fire that the program is not run well and the maps are deficient. Secondly, the Flood Determination Company is unwilling to change its determination even when provided with supporting data from a professional consultant. Third, the insurance agent does not question the determination and requests an Elevation Certificate for proper rating. As a result, a homeowner ends up paying mandatory flood insurance which should not be required, or the real estate transaction dies due to the applicant’s inability to qualify for the loan because of this unexpected expense. A process to remove the mandatory flood insurance does exist, but at the expense of the applicant. Emotionally, anyone involved in this process will, at a minimum, distrust the program a bit more.

As I have mentioned in previous messages, opportunities await the land surveyor, engineer, Realtor, insurance agent, lender, or other real estate professional who desires to provide guidance to the homeowner. Perception is important for the program and poor flood determinations inhibit the program from being recognized as a very important component of our national lending process. Creating a standard set of questions to evaluate current circumstances when a client is placed into a SFHA will be very beneficial to you and your clients. A business model based on a sincere passion to help others will aid greatly in building reputation and becoming a successful consultant.

~ Jim


Remember: Preliminary data is for review and guidance purposes only. By viewing preliminary data and maps, the user acknowledges that the information provided is preliminary and subject to change. Preliminary data, including new or revised FIRMs, FIS reports, and FIRM Databases, is not final and is presented on the Map Service Center as the best information available at this time. Additionally, preliminary data cannot be used to rate flood insurance policies or enforce the Federal mandatory purchase requirement. FEMA will remove preliminary data once effective data is available. (FEMA, 2014)


FEMA Digital Flood Insurance Map Schedule (Maine)

Counties with current DFIRMs already in effect: Androscoggin, Kennebec, and Oxford.

Counties with preliminary maps in progress:
Cumberland, Hancock, Knox, Lincoln, Sagadahoc, Waldo, York, and Town of Fort Kent.

Washington County is expected to be released in August 2014. Final effective dates for the above counties, with the exception of Hancock and Washington, are currently listed as July 2015.

The following counties are still waiting on funding: Aroostook, Franklin, Penobscot, Piscataquis, and Somerset.

We will keep you posted with updates as the DFIRM schedule progresses.

Click here to access the Maine Floodplain Management Program's Mapping Resources web page.

To view more information on effective and future Flood Insurance Rate Maps nationwide, click here.

Per a Recent Notification from the Maine Floodplain Management Program:

The start of the municipal appeal period for the FEMA Preliminary Maps in York and Cumberland County has been delayed. According to Robert Gerber, Senior Engineer/Geologist for Ransom Consulting, Inc., there is currently no indication of how long the delay will last, as it is pending further review of the methodology used to calculate "wave setup" by a 3rd party Scientific Resolution Panel, an independent panel of experts managed by the National Institute of Building Sciences.

ben franklin quote

Insurance Corner

Effective as of June 1, 2014:

"Other Residential Building" coverage increased from $250,000 to $500,000 for the building itself; coverage for contents remains the same at $100,000. According to the 2014 NFIP Flood Insurance Manual, "Other Residential Buildings" are those that contain more than 4 apartments/units, including condos and apartment buildings, dormitories, and assisted-living facilities. Hotels, motels, and tourist homes are also included if normal occupancy of a guest extends six months or more.


Learning Events

Beyond the Boundary, the Educational Component of Nadeau Land Surveys is sponsoring "Land Surveying, Flood Zones, and Real Estate" as an Advanced Course at the 67th Annual Maine Property Tax School in Belfast, ME on August 6, 2014 from 1:00 - 4:30 pm. This program is administered by the Property Tax Division of Maine Revenue Services through its Training & Certification Program and is designed to address the state's need for a sufficient supply of competently trained municipal tax assessors.

"Land Surveying, Flood Zones, and Real Estate" is approved by the Director of the Maine Real Estate Commission (MREC) for 3 Real Estate Clock Hours. Please note that these are separate from the 3.5 CE credits offered by the Property Tax Division for Certified Maine Assessors and Certified Assessment Technicians. Real estate licensees who register for our course will be required to follow MREC guidelines for receipt of a certificate of completion. Please also note that there is a fee (daily or weekly) for attending the Maine Property Tax School event, and the deadline to register is July 18, 2014.

Click here to learn more about the week-long event, the individual classes offered, and the registration process.

Thank You!

We would like to thank the Maine Commercial Association of Realtors for the invitation to present our "Understanding Land Surveying and Flood Zones" class on June 12th. And as always, thank you to The Real Estate Learning Group.


Real Estate News

"Coming Soon" Properties Can Create Consumer Confusion

The National Association of Realtors, June 16, 2014
We fully support taking those extra steps that can minimize consumer confusion. Always consider your marketing approach and educate your clients whenever possible. Check out this recent publication from NAR about restrictive marketing and identifying the client's best interest.

online lomc

Flood Fact

Did you know you can check the status of a Letter of Map Change application online? When you submit your application you will create an Online LOMC Account which allows you or your client to check the status. Click here to find information on status definitions.


July Flood Funny

hurricane cartoon

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