Flood Zones- What Sellers need to know to be Prepared

In the last two years, Morgan and Miller counties, and as of June 16, 2011 Camden County has entered a new era.  A multi-year project to re-examine flood zones and develop detailed, digital flood hazard maps is nearing completion.  The new maps reflect current flood risks and areas of recent growth, replacing maps that are up to 30 years old.  As a result, lenders and property owners will have up-to-date, reliable, Internet-accessible information about Miller, Morgan, and Camden counties flood risk on a property-by-property basis.  Owners of more than 1,000 properties will learn that their risk is higher, or lower, than they thought.  Most importantly, these changes may affect closings and existing loans for both residents (including condo owners) and business owners throughout the area.

The areas most drastically affected seem to be the Linn Creek, Gravois, and Niangua Arms of the lake, but there are property owners all over the lake now being required to prove their home is not in a floodplain; including Osage Beach, Porto Cima, and Lake Ozark.  Many may have lived in their home for several years with no flooding issues, but because the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) updated the maps, residents are being required by insurers, lenders, and FEMA to prove that they are out of the flood plain.  When an insurance provider or a lender views the new maps, they are almost guaranteed to deem lakefront property as part of the floodplain even though the property has never even been close to flooding.

Homeowners CAN ask FEMA for reconsiderations of their classification in a flood zone.  All the homeowner has to do is hire a surveyor to produce an elevation certificate, proving his home is not in the floodplain.  Hiring a surveyor to come out and check the flood elevation can be expensive, plus there is no guarantee your home will be out of the floodplain; however, there are local companies who are offering low cost options and even group discounts for neighborhoods.  Once the surveyor comes out to shoot the property, if it shows that it is not in flood plain, then a Letter of Map Amendment (LOMA) will be provided and they can then provide it to their lender or insurer.  If it turns out the house IS in the floodplain, then the surveyor can see if the home is in possibly a cheaper flood zone, possibly saving the homeowner money on their required flood insurance.  Either way, homeowners all over the lake need to be aware of the map change, the possible ramifications to their property and loan, and all possible solutions.  Homeowners with their home CURRENTLY listed need to be aware of this issue and prepare for the possibility of having to provide a LOMA letter in order to close.  Please contact me for more details on this issue, I would be happy to help you.

Susan Ebling

Buyer’s Specialist, ABR, GRI

Susan is native to Lake of the Ozarks and has been serving the public all of her life, starting at her family owned and operated restaurant and bar, The Topsider.  She began her real estate career in 2000, and has earned numerous awards, including Realtors Honor Society.

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