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Who Should Pay for the Elevation Certificate?

Real Estate Broker/Owner

The issue of Elevation Certificates is in the forefront now with the changes in the flood insurance rates.  As a buyer it is necessary to have an elevation certificate to determine the amount of insurance premiums you will be paying for flood insurance;  your bank if you are financing the purchase will insist you have flood insurance.

If a homeowner doesn’t have a flood elevation certificate is it their responsibility to provide and pay for one at the time of sale?  Should the buyer pay for one since they are the ones who need it to determine what their premium will be?  Should the buyer and seller share the cost of obtaining an elevation certificate since they are both working to get the house sold?  Should the seller pay for the elevation certificate and if the sale closes the buyer pays the seller back ?

There is no right or wrong answer.  Whatever a buyer and seller agree to is what should happen.

The cost is in the $250.00 range, BTW at lease in the metropolitan New Orleans area.

FEMA and Elevation Certificates - Things to Know



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New Orleans Property Lady, LLC

Broker/Owner and REALTOR (r) 

New Orleans, LA 70125

504-908-2268 (C)            

 Licensed in the State of Louisiana, USA

New Orleans Property Lady 


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Copyright 2012, Miriam Bernstein, All Rights Reserved

Jimmy Faulkner
Florida. Homes Realty & Mortgage - Wantagh, NY
The Best Of St. Augustine

It is all part of the negotiations and who knows the outcome. When you throw to much at a seller they sometimes walk away.

Dec 23, 2013 11:20 AM
Laura Cerrano
Feng Shui Manhattan Long Island - Locust Valley, NY
Certified Feng Shui Expert, Speaker & Researcher
Is that not why it's called homeownership? We have to take ownership over the things that happen sometimes. It only seems logical. Love and light, Laura
Dec 23, 2013 12:45 PM
Jan Green - Scottsdale, AZ
Value Added Service, 602-620-2699 - Scottsdale, AZ
HomeSmart Elite Group, REALTOR®, EcoBroker, GREEN

I'd have to say that at leat it's negotiable.  In Arizona, whoever is seeking the information has to pay for it.  Tough call!

Dec 23, 2013 01:50 PM
Andre R. Aragon
Greater Tampa Real Estate Photographer - Tampa, FL
Real Estate Photographer

Hi Miriam, having worked for FEMA myself during Hurricane Sandy in NY, I can agree that there is a ton of confusion and questions about flood elevations and maps in the general population. The maps were revised earlier this year, so everyone really should take a look at the FEMA.gov website to protect their interests.

Dec 23, 2013 07:33 PM
Christine Smith
Buyers Brokers Only LLC - www.BuyersBrokersOnly.com - Canton, MA
Exclusive Buyer Agent & Attorney, Canton, MA

I agree that it's negotiable.  But to move things along quickly so that the Buyer has all the necessary information up front, I would think it would make sense for the Seller to pay for it and get it ahead of time.  

Dec 23, 2013 08:11 PM
Gita Bantwal
RE/MAX Centre Realtors - Warwick, PA
REALTOR,ABR,CRS,SRES,GRI - Bucks County & Philadel

I call an insurance agent that I work with and ask for the information so my buyer clients will know if they need flood insurance before making an offer on the house.

Dec 23, 2013 08:20 PM
Raul Rodriguez
Covenant Partners Realty - San Antonio, TX
Looking out for the client's interest and not my p

It's ironic that a $200-$300 certificate can be an obstacle in closing a sale. Who pays for the survey...in my opinion, the buyer.

Dec 23, 2013 09:37 PM
Miriam Bernstei
Rochester, NY

Raul, not sure I said it was an obstacle to a sale but an issue to negotiate...survey's in this area are only done in about 30% of sales and there has been no change to the process of obtaining survey's the way there has been with flood elevation certificates.


Gita, we can call an insurance agent as well but in my area the proposed flood maps have not been approved so we don't know in each case what the flood zone will be down the road.

Dec 23, 2013 09:52 PM
Kat Palmiotti
eXp Commercial, Referral Divison - Kalispell, MT
Helping your Montana dreams take root

So far, in instances where an elevation certificate was needed, the seller already had one, but I agree - it's negotiable between the buyer & seller.

Dec 23, 2013 10:19 PM
Michael Setunsky
Woodbridge, VA
Your Commercial Real Estate Link to Northern VA

Miriam, I think it makes sense for the seller to have one ready in preparation for the sale. As already stated, I would also think it is negotiable. Have a great holiday. Merry Christmas!

Dec 23, 2013 10:23 PM
Miriam Bernstei
Rochester, NY

Michael, I agree however not all sellers feel that way.  Great holiday to you too.

Dec 23, 2013 10:55 PM
Sandra Rubio
Real Estate Consultant

I believe its negotiable between the buyer and seller, but if I represent the seller I will advice to have one ready. 

Dec 23, 2013 10:58 PM
David & Annette Rollins
Century 21 Elite - Shreveport, LA

In North Louisiana, if the property is determined to be in a flood zone, I advise my sellers to get it upfront. Many buyers on a strict budget won't even look at properties in a flood zone without knowing the additional cost involved. If the seller's wont, I advise them of the disadvantage this puts them in, since most of their competitors will!The cost here ranges from $250 to $350.

Dec 23, 2013 11:19 PM
Rob Spinosa
US Bank - Larkspur, CA
Mortgage Loan Originator, Marin County

I really feel for you in that part of the country.  While we do have flood zones here in Marin County, CA, I would think the percentage of properties affected by them, as a whole, is far less.  It's a new world when it comes to financing, thanks to Biggert-Waters, Dodd-Frank, etc.  It's up to all of us to steer our clients through it safely.

Dec 23, 2013 11:28 PM
Richie Alan Naggar
people first...then business Ran Right Realty - Riverside, CA
agent & author

Good in the business posting here...thank you

Dec 23, 2013 11:44 PM
Miriam Bernstei
Rochester, NY

David and Annette- have the proposed flood maps in your area been approved?  Down in NOLA they haven't so we don't know until that happens for sure what the premium will be.

Rob  - so ture.

Richie - happy holidays.

Dec 24, 2013 01:04 AM
Irv Shnidman
Movement Mortgage - Pikesville, MD
Mortgages Underwritten in 1 Day! 410-581-9100

If not in contract, it's always the buyer who would pay for it.

Dec 24, 2013 03:50 AM
Greg Miller
Ruoff Home Mortgage - Sarasota, FL
Florida Home Loans - Conventional,FHA,USDA,VA

If I were the listing agent, I would want a elevation cert. before hand so that I could have a estimated cost of flood insurance to share with prospective buyers. I would not want deals falling apart after they go to pending because of flood insurance costs.

Dec 24, 2013 10:09 PM
Miriam Bernstei
Rochester, NY

Greg, I agree.  The problem is that the estimated cost of flood insurance might mean not selling in this area.  A buyer might not want to use your insurance agent and might want to do their own due diligence which might lead to a different premium cost;  just not that simple...

Dec 24, 2013 10:58 PM
Sandy Wade

I am the Listing Agent for a property that was suppose to settle today. The building is a 2 unit condo, located on the coast, in NJ. Flood insurance is currently in place, under the condo Association. Closing did not happen because Lender said that current coverage on the property is not sufficient. We were informed at the 11th hour. The Lender had the current policy in hand, since Nov. 11th. I would have thought that we would have known about a discrepancy prior to settlement.

Dec 29, 2014 11:01 AM