Fishhawk Lake Real Estate-The Aftermath From a Flood

Real Estate Agent with John L Scott Market Center 700512026


Fishhawk Lake Real Estate-The Aftermath From a Flood


In some areas of the country, you worry about hurricanes, or snow for months, or other forms of nature that can wreak havoc on a community. As a realtor you sometimes get forced into becoming an expert about dealing with what happens after Acts of God. Never in my wildest dreams did I have the goal of learning about floodplains. But, real estate presents a constant learning curve, so if you’re going to be successful you better be ready to learn, ALWAYS.  Floods--the aftermaths and how it relates to insurance can be one of those painful conversations you have with potential buyers as well as sellers, trying to list or buy a property in a floodplain.


In our little town of Vernonia, Oregon, where my real estate office is located, they got hit with TWO floods in 1996 and 2007, which in a 100-year floodplain, in theory, isn’t supposed to happen. But, it DID. TWICE in almost exactly 10 years.(Photo taken of Vernonia school under water along main street in Vernonia)



  In 2007, it also hit the area I reside in, Fishhawk Lake. In a short span of about 4 and a half hours, due to a “perfect storm” (as some called it later), about 75 homes on the lake were flooded for the first and only time. Considering that Fishhawk Lake is mostly a vacation area, where only about 20% of the 300+ lots are owned by full timers, this meant that on that fateful December day, most weren’t here to protect their properties. What a horrific day. Roads were taken out, mudslides happened, boats, docks and other items plummeted over the spillway, and came out the other side under our dam. (My photo of the spillway,located on the left before the flood. The fishladder is to the right The spillway and fishladder still exist).


 (Photo by Gayle Rich-Boxman Copyrighted All Rights Reserved)



 This was the beginning of my second year in real estate. I thought, “Well, there goes MY career!” Amazingly, I was able to stay afloat (sorry about the bad pun) and keep my burgeoning business going. However, the repercussions were enormous for some. With no flood insurance AND often a second home, some just couldn’t fix their places up and ended up selling AS IS. The one below had water that wicked up to the ceiling. This photo was taken on July 4th 2007,(before the flood it was listed) and only a few months later, it was almost completely ruined inside. The owner, an older gentleman had moved out months earlier and had been living here fulltime, after he built this himself. I sold it to a cash buyer years later, who completely refurbished it.




 Others bit the bullet and remodeled. (This home had been remodeled and was ready to go on the market in 2007 and they got flooded. They have done extensive remodeling again and it is once again on the market!)

 As owners decided to sell, if they'd had flood damage, I asked them to write about it in their own words, what happened and what was fixed and how. This honest disclosure has been received favorably by buyers. But, the costs of flood insurance with “re-zoning” can vary widely. This is where, with each property, you learn something about how to deal with floodplains and all that this entails.


Honestly?  Not everyone has the answers. Each insurance agent can tell you something different. Be careful, as a consumer. Do your due diligence. is one site to visit to determine your own quotes. There are agents out there who’ve had to deal with this in the past and I would suggest you call them, rather than your regular agent who may not be a specialist in the inner workings of flood-damaged homes and FEMA standards and whatnot. The agent on your primary home may have no prior experience with flood damage, and may cause you to pay ridiculous amounts of coverage that an agent with a history of dealing with flooded properties may not. Just because you have an insurance agent handling your car and home “in town”, doesn’t mean that you will get a cut rate if you bundle your vacation home into the already established package. You can sometimes “grandfather” in old insurance policy pricing if you go through the necessary steps. It can buy you time for a couple of years at least, before it gets bumped up to (potentially) exorbitant amounts.


As a realtor at Fishhawk Lake for over six years who has dealt with this both personally and professionally, I may not have all of the answers, but I certainly know some experts who can help us BOTH get those for you. 





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Laurie Clark CRB Angel Realty LLC Your Monument Realtor 719-502-6572
CRB-CCSS-ASD-HBS-RSD-Denver Short Sale Agents - Monument, CO
Angel Realty, LLC

Congrats on the feature! Wow, acts of God can leave a long lasting impact on markets. Great advice. Sounds like you now know more than you ever wanted to about floods, flood plains and the insurance after effects. Thanks for sharing and have a great week.

Feb 14, 2012 12:20 PM #7
Gary Woltal
Keller Williams Realty - Flower Mound, TX
Assoc. Broker Realtor SFR Dallas Ft. Worth

I guess Gayle, if you exceed the 100 yr flood people are wise NOW to carry flood insurance. Great photo of the water when it got out of control. I hope you had a Happy Valentine's Day.

Feb 14, 2012 03:10 PM #8
Phil Leng
Retired - Kirkland, WA
Phil Leng - Retired

Hi Gayle,

Interesting write up.

Two hundred year floods in 10 years. Wow!

So you have 200 years of experience with 100 year floods...


Feb 14, 2012 11:21 PM #9
Mike Cooper
Cornerstone Business Group Inc - Winchester, VA
Your Winchester, VA Real Estate Sales Pro

Excellent, Gayle.  We're not in a flood plain, but I've seen those crazy "perfect storm" situations erupt here locally and flood areas.  It's always amazing.  

Feb 14, 2012 11:34 PM #10
Cheryl Ritchie
RE/MAX Leading Edge - Huntingtown, MD
Southern Maryland 301-980-7566

Really good post. Of course it makes me think of my Dad to see the name Fishawk.  I bookmarked the site, too.

Feb 14, 2012 11:35 PM #11
Fernando Herboso - Broker for Maxus Realty Group
Maxus Realty Group - Broker 301-246-0001 - Gaithersburg, MD
301-246-0001 Serving Maryland, DC and Northern VA

That is why a local Realtor makes a compelling argument about their services. . you have that town under your belt Gayle

Feb 15, 2012 12:04 AM #12
Peg Barcelo
Fluff My House! Home Staging Inc. 250.486.6369 - Summerland, BC
The FlufftasticStager from Summerland, BC

Gaylefriend*snap*, great post! What heartrending stories, I can't imagine what that must have been like for some of those folks. It's so great you have so many contacts for people who can help your clients!

Feb 15, 2012 12:24 AM #13
Dee Nofziger
|Key Realty | Maumee Toledo Real Estate Blog - Toledo, OH
Maumee Real Estate, Toledo Homes, Key Realty

Very interesting post. A blatant reminder that dear sweet Mother Nature doesn't follow the actuary tables sometimes! My heart breaks for the elderly gentleman who wrote about. How traumatic for him.

Feb 15, 2012 01:36 AM #14
Pamela Seley
West Coast Realty Division - Murrieta, CA
Residential Real Estate Agent serving SW RivCo CA

Gayle, thanks for sharing your experiences. We agents have to be able to help our clients. You are the local expert! 

Feb 15, 2012 04:28 AM #15
Adam Brett
The Adam and Eric Group - Fullerton, CA
The Adam and Eric Group, Fullerton's Finest

Gayle, this was an awesome post. You can and definitely should consider yourself an excellent real estate agent. I loved this posting. 

Feb 15, 2012 04:38 AM #16
Debb Janes EcoBroker and Bernie Stea JD
ViewHomes of Clark County - Nature As Neighbors - Camas, WA
REALTORS® in Clark County, WA

Hey Gayle - congrats on the star! Interesting and entertaining way to promote the importance of knowing flood zones, and the importance of having some knowledge about flood insurance.

Any word as to a "friend" date yet?

Feb 15, 2012 04:45 AM #17
Michael Setunsky
Woodbridge, VA
Your Commercial Real Estate Link to Northern VA

Gayle, very good information and the importance of complying with Article 11 of the NAR Code of Ethics. Thanks.

Feb 15, 2012 07:18 AM #18
Gayle Rich-Boxman Fishhawk Lake Real Estate
John L Scott Market Center - Birkenfeld, OR
"Your Local Expert!" 503-755-2905

Wow--a Flood Feature! Thanks AR Gods and Mother Nature for spurning me onto creating this post. It's not as dramatic as some of the news this week, but regardless, Mother Nature touches all of us, in good ways and in ways that make us stand up, take notice and learn from her lessons on life.

I've actually been busy with a new listing and clients just ready to make an offer, so how's that for good reasons why I haven't responded to your lovely comments? (Plus, the fact that the site went down a couple of hours after getting my Gold Star, but a nice Valentine's Day present nonetheless).

Rose~Houston and Texas in general is one of the few states I haven't visited yet. So, I was unaware that you go through this, TOO! Obviously, insurance rates have many gray areas, state-to-state, county-to-county, agent-to-agent. (Thanks, by the way, for being my first commenter).

Mary~So glad you got some good info for a direction to go to for your client.

Thanks, A for the thumbs up!

Sharon~Anyone who's been through this can really have empathy for those who also have to deal with it. Thanks for your comment, friend! (You sure have had many tumultuous experiences in life!)

Gretchen~What was a great compliment to Vernonia, was when I spoke with the insurance adjustor for FEMA, who stopped by our office and he said that in 40 years of doing this, he had never seen a community more organized after a flood than Vernonia. (And thanks for liking my rainbows...)

Debra~wow, you could write your own blog on this, huh? Flooding creates so many financial situations for people afterwards. Re-zoning raises insurance rates, elevating homes, trying to sell in a floodplain, oy vey!! I'm preachin' to the choir, huh?

Laurie~After this, you can really understand the monumental after-effects that Katrina folks had to go through.

Gary~I wish I could take credit for the flood photo...I was in Hawaii at the time, experiencing the same thing! Our hotel was flooded from the same storm that was hitting the Pacific coast. We had no electricity, either. Pretty much a bummer vacation.

Phil~loved this line:

"So you have 200 years of experience with 100 year floods..." Hysterical way to look at this!

Mike~I couldn't watch the movie "A Perfect Storm" more than once, and now I know why.

Cheryl~thanks for bookmarking--what a compliment!

Fernando~you are too kind and congrats on your feature.

*Peg*--there were many more stories, some turned out well, others....

Dee~to a certain degree, my heart broke for the older gentleman, too, "Grandpa Wonder" (his last name was Wonder....loved him), but thankfully, he wasn't here, because he couldn't walk, had an old dog, had been deaf since birth and would have been stranded without support for a time. AND, the family who bought it LOVE IT and put their hearts and souls into its refurbishment!

Pam~I sure LOVE helping my clients/neighbors!

Adam~you made my day!!!

Debb~I love that it was entertaining, as well as informative...a pretty dry topic (for a wet one)...and could've been quite boring. Had to throw some photos in, to spice it up for myself. No date yet...still waiting on our friend to call....

Michael~Thank you! I'll have to look up Article 11....refresh my memory.









Feb 15, 2012 08:09 AM #19
Mimi Foster
Voted Colorado Springs Best Realtor


Hello, Gayle of my heart.  Congrats on another star in your crown.  And it is hard to believe that our little slice of heaven could get buried like that.  Beautiful photos, as always.  And could you ride a flood out on a pontoon?  I'll help you bale if it ever happens again.  Family here, but let's try to talk in the next day or two.  Miss you, and Kris seems to have gone missing.  Love and hugs. (And hurry up and hit 200,000 . . . your AR rates will go down :) )


Feb 15, 2012 10:37 AM #20
Gayle Rich-Boxman Fishhawk Lake Real Estate
John L Scott Market Center - Birkenfeld, OR
"Your Local Expert!" 503-755-2905

Mims~I look forward (so much!) to your call...and I'm shooting for $200k soon! (the feature sure helps, huh?)

Feb 15, 2012 10:48 AM #21
Joy Daniels
Joy Daniels Real Estate Group, Ltd. - Harrisburg, PA

Good reading - thank you for sharing.  Your pictures are wonderful.  I lived through Hurricane Agnes, so my heart is with you and the people of Fishhawk Lake.

Feb 15, 2012 01:29 PM #22
Jay Markanich
Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC - Bristow, VA
Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia

Flooding is a huge problem and this is a great post!  And most people don't realize the insurance implications. 

Feb 15, 2012 10:31 PM #23
Roy Kelley
Realty Group Referrals - Gaithersburg, MD
Roy and Dolores Kelley Photographs

Very good reminders for home owners and prospective home buyers to consider the risks of floods and to have the proper insurance.  Many communities have experienced unexpected flooding and thousands of uninsured owners have lost everything.

Best wishes for continued success and congratulations as you prepare to pass another points level on ActiveRain.

Feb 16, 2012 01:34 AM #24
Gayle Rich-Boxman Fishhawk Lake Real Estate
John L Scott Market Center - Birkenfeld, OR
"Your Local Expert!" 503-755-2905

Joy~Going through any kind of natural disaster or fire can be very humbling.

Jay~From your perspective, especially, you know the implications if you don't pay attention to cleanup and restoration RIGHT AWAY. And thanks for seeing the importance of insurance info. Even FEMA has not been consistent in their swath of information that is out there!

Roy~I'm dealing with a woman right now who was flooded in Vernonia, lost her husband in Nov., has a manufactured home AND owes money on it and had no insurance and can't afford to get it elevated...and she is now in a floodplain. ALL BAD.

On another note: I'm inching along to that next "level" in AR!! Wish me luck!

Feb 16, 2012 04:25 AM #25
Carla Muss-Jacobs, RETIRED
RETIRED / State License is Inactive - Portland, OR

Oh, I remember the floods and right when we had the 1996 douse it happened so soon thereafter.  I feel for the folks in Vernonia.  Insurance is a must for loans in those flood plans.  They even added that clause in the Sales Agreement, i.e., that if the property is identified to be in the flood plans the buyer agrees to take out that rider. At least the folks aren't remodeling their home with 10 ft. stilts. ;-)

Feb 16, 2012 08:12 AM #26
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Gayle Rich-Boxman Fishhawk Lake Real Estate

"Your Local Expert!" 503-755-2905
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