Cobra Zones

Real Estate Agent with Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices | Pen Fed Realty 3107554

A closing that was supposed to happen, didn't.  Along the beach areas of Destin, Florida there are several neighborhoods that are in a Cobra Zone. Cobra Zones are insurance zones where the Federal Government will deny flood insurance to home or commercial owners.  Flood Insurance is available but only through insurance companies like Lloyds of London and at a high cost.  The deal that went south recently had a yearly flood insurance cost of $30,000 per year.  That was enough to make this buyer walk.  I am now unsure how this bank owned property will ever sell.  Of course a cash buyer can buy it at risk and later find this information out.  Not one of my buyers, because what I know they know.  However, it could happen if the buyer's agent does not do a good job of investigating and disclosing.

Walton County has several Cobra Zones.  You can visit this website to see the full list:

Okaloosa County, Florida also has many more Cobra Zones than Walton County does.  Walton County, in fact, only has a few zones that fall into this category primarly due to the elevation of the land.  It sits pretty high in relative terms to the Gulf of Mexico's floor.  Approximately 26 feet in most areas.  No basements here, but some really beautiful views of the Gulf of Mexico.

You can learn more about Okaloosa's Cobra Zones by reading this:

The Okaloosa County Department of Growth Management can help you determine if your property is in a Special Flood Hazard Area and also provide you with more flood hazard information. Copies of Elevation Certificates can

also be obtained at these offices. These certificates are required when construction is done in a flood hazard area. The Flood Insurance Rate Maps are available to view at the department offices in Crestview and Ft. Walton Beach. You can contact the department in the Ft. Walton Beach area at (850) 651-7180 or in the Crestview area at (850) 689-5080. The maps and information are also available at the Public Libraries in Crestview, Destin, Mary Esther, Niceville, Valparaiso, and Ft. Walton Beach. The FEMA website is another good source of information on the National Flood Insurance Program. Visit:

Make sure you work with an agent who knows before you buy.  Don't waste your time and find this information out on closing day.  Know the zones before you look.

Kelly Klein, Buyer's Agent

Lifeguard Real Estate, Inc.


Destin, FL ~ Santa Rosa Beach, FL ~ Panama City Beach, FL



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Jane Jensen
Century 21 New Millennium - Arlington, VA

Always good to know the real estate issues involved in your area.That's why it's good to have a good realtor. Thanks. 

Dec 20, 2010 12:32 AM #1
Rita Norman
Walnut Creek, CA
Your Agent in Walnut Creek CA


My husband and I are thinking about looking for a second home in FL. This is good info you've put out there. Thank you, We will have to stay on our toes. We are still exploring where in FL we want to look. Any suggestions? 

Dec 20, 2010 12:36 AM #2
Kristin Johnston - REALTOR®
RE/MAX Realty Center - Waukesha, WI
Giving Back With Each Home Sold!

Wow...that does seem like a really high figure...I sure hope you find someone to buy it and close the deal!

Dec 20, 2010 01:39 AM #3
Betina Foreman
WJK Realty - Austin, TX
Realtor, C.N.E., with WJK REALTY

Dear Kelly,

You consistently provide valuable information on your market to potential home Buyers. Any Buyer would be very lucky to have your knowledge and expertise on their side.



Dec 20, 2010 02:52 AM #4
Dan and Amy Schuman
Howard Hanna Real Estate Services - Solon, OH
Luxury Home Specialists

This goes to show how real estate can be so different across the country. Yet another reason to find a great local agent who knows the local nuances.

Dec 20, 2010 02:59 AM #5
Kelly Klein

I want all of you to know that this was a referral that I gave to another agent in our local area in my absence.  It was not my listing.  It was a buyer that I had to refer out.  There really is no way to know the Cobra Zone until a Certification of Elevation is completed which is an additional cost to the local survey.  This usually is between $350-$450 extra.  If the buyer is paying cash, then this step is not necessary and they can buy at "risk".  However, when a buyer is obtaining a mortgage, the mortgage company makes this a necessary step.  Until the Certification is returned for a determination of Flood Zones, then the buyer and the seller are left in the dark.  It would be wise to get this step of the process out of the way early on instead of waiting for a surprise on the day of closing.

As far as safe areas to buy in, make sure you work with a local expert when purchasing.  They should already be aware of Cobra Zones vs Insurable Flood Zone Areas.  If the elevation is at least 11 feet above sea level, the property is usually insurable.

Dec 20, 2010 03:14 AM #6
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Kelly Klein

"Doing Great Things Today to Improve Tomorrow"
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