Important Information for Everybody !

Services for Real Estate Pros with Certified Mobile Notary Signing Agent NMLS #268590

   @Patricia Kennedy just wrote a post on "Do you understand flood planes (plains)" ?   In the comments, an ActiveRainer asked, "Can you give us a place to start when wanting to obtain a flood plain map for our area?"   In answer to that, Yes: I'd be glad to.   Obviously, living on and working in the lake area, this is a question I deal with on a regular basis.

   To determine if your own property, your listing or the house your client is considering buying is in a flood plain, use this link:  

   Once there, enter the property address you want to know about in the search box.   This will take you to an overall view of the specified property.   Once here, click on the "Interactive Map".   Re-enter the property address in the search box here and it will give you a close up map of the property and tell you what flood zone it is in.

   Now then, is your property of concern in a SFHA (Special Flood Hazard Area) ?   If that is even a possibility, you NEED to be sure and you then have two options.   The first option is to use local resources.   You can contact your local clerk's office and ask to see their FEMA maps.   If you have a working relationship with a quality appraiser, a quick phone call may get the answer.   Most have topographical map information on area properties and can easily answer a "yes it is" or "no it isn't" in the flood plain question.

   The second option is a little more involved.   You can use this link: 

to get a list of, . . . . . you guessed it; . . . . . flood zone determination companies.

  (Gold Star for your correct answer)   Some are specific to one area or the other of the country while some are nationwide.   These are the companies most lenders use to determine if the property used as collateral on the loan is in a flood plain.   For a nominal fee, they will certify the property one way or the other.

   One additional side note.   Don't let a SFHA designation immediately close the door to doing a deal.   Prime example; my sister-in-law who lives next door.   Though her property shows as being in the flood plain as a whole because she has lake waterfront, her house is well above (nearly 100 feet) the actual flood plain by elevation.   We got a certification on the property showing the "residence" was NOT in the flood plain and she was exempted.   A simple waiver based on the certification allowed the loan to proceed without delay.

   As we have seen this past week in South Carolina and in past incidents around the country, people frequently say "I had no idea we could have a flood like this"   Unfortunately, floods occur most anywhere and being aware and prepared in advance is critical.

  Serve your client well and know the answer to this important question in regard to every property transaction before they ask.   It only takes a minute or two to find out.   Sharing this information with your client could literally mean the difference between life and death.


** SPECIAL NOTE:   For those of you who haven't read it yet, please go to my blog of 10-05-15 titled "Help, if you can !"   In that blog I gave the web links to the American Red Cross and the Salvation Army.   We just had volunteers leave from here headed to a two or three week deployment in South Carolina to help those folks.   Those trucks don't run on empty !   They are fueled up and loaded up with supplies that cost money.   As the blog asked, please . . . . . "Help, if you can !"   Thank you.




Deanna Early is a Nationally Licensed Mortgage Loan Originator at Smith Mountain Lake, Virginia.   She is the residential loan originator for American National Bank and Trust.   She provides home mortgages, construction loans and lot loans.   She does both purchase and refinance loans.

Her website is

Please contact her for your financing needs at (540) 721-2349 or by email at  "" 

Comments (33)

Carol Williams
Although I'm retired, I love sharing my knowledge and learning from other real estate industry professionals. - Wenatchee, WA
Retired Agent / Broker / Prop. Mgr, Wenatchee, WA

Great article, Deanna Early .  We have a number of flood zone areas in our region... due to the large number of canyons.  Thanks for the info and the links!  

Oct 08, 2015 10:43 PM
Barbara Calwhite
Keller Williams Realty of Southwest Missouri - Joplin, MO
417-438-7387 Specializing in Relocation

Thanks for the great information.  I am bookmarking this for the links.  In our area the surveying companies are also helpful.

Oct 08, 2015 10:45 PM
Joe Pryor
The Virtual Real Estate Team - Oklahoma City, OK
REALTOR® - Oklahoma Investment Properties

On many of our new properties we get flood certs before we start from Core Logic, just $10 each. In other cases we get a LOMA letter, Letter Of Map Amendment, that can remove the property from a flood zone that requires flood insurance. Typically this can mean that the property is above the flood plain. However, not all mortgage companies will accept this but just about everyone we deal with does.

Oct 08, 2015 11:23 PM
Richie Alan Naggar
people first...then business Ran Right Realty - Riverside, CA
agent & author

Nice little relevant goodie to toss out there...thank you Deanna Early 

Oct 09, 2015 12:22 AM
Sally K. & David L. Hanson
EXP Realty 414-525-0563 - Brookfield, WI
WI Real Estate Agents - Luxury - Divorce

Great information...and a question every homeowner or potential homeowner should get answered.

Oct 09, 2015 12:25 AM
Margaret Goss
@Properties - Winnetka, IL
Chicago's North Shore & Winnetka Real Estate

We have many flood plain areas here - thank you for the additional information.

Oct 09, 2015 12:27 AM
Tony and Suzanne Marriott, Associate Brokers
Serving the Greater Phoenix and Scottsdale Metropolitan Area - Scottsdale, AZ
Haven Express @ Keller Williams Arizona Realty

Deanna Early Thank you for the very useful information - heading up to bookmark this for future reference!

Oct 09, 2015 12:31 AM
Nicole Doty - Gilbert Real Estate Expert
Zion Realty - Gilbert, AZ
Broker/Owner of Zion Realty

What a great article Deanna. It is extremely important in many areas to deterimine whether a property is vulnerable to floods. Luckily I am not personally in one but there are many other areas of Arizona that are. 

Oct 09, 2015 01:11 AM
Michele Connors
The Overton Group, LLC Pitt & Carteret County - Greenville, NC
Your Eastern North Carolina Realtor

Great info in one place... I am a coastal realtor and understand flood maps and elevation certificates but buyers often have no idea what all this means. We have a heft wind and hail insurance requirement too with coastal homes which is determined by map location and past storms. 

Oct 09, 2015 02:20 AM
Tracy Lee Parker
RE/MAX DFW Associates - Royse City, TX

I emailed the post to  myself so I can share with my office! Thanks so much for the detailed information on Flood Plains!

Oct 09, 2015 02:35 AM
Andrew Mooers | 207.532.6573
Northern Maine Real Estate-Aroostook County Broker

Great information for anyone holding their breath, over their head wondering about flood insurance.

Oct 09, 2015 02:58 AM
Tammy Lankford,
Lane Realty Eatonton, GA Lake Sinclair, Milledgeville, 706-485-9668 - Eatonton, GA
Broker GA Lake Sinclair/Eatonton/Milledgeville

2008 is when FEMA first mapped our area and they were well off the mark on where the lines should be causing major grief for many mortgage holders then and sellers since. 95% of the time we have to get a letter of map amendment because what FEMA says is in the flood zone is clearly really not. Less than 5% of our homes actually require flood insurance. (my market is on a 15,000 acre lake with over 400 miles of shoreline).  I've become well versed in the process over the past 7 years.

Oct 09, 2015 05:13 AM
Susan Jacobsen
The Alliance Group Realty - Hilton Head Island, SC
20 Years Providing WOW Real Estate Service

So Deanna (and Patricia of course), this is indeed timely but is really just so very common. I am sooooo glad that you, Deanna wrote this because we all need to band together - people think that flooding can only occur on the coasts - this week here in SC people are realizing that this question and information is important no matter where you are - and that includes the lake and river regions across the country.

Oct 09, 2015 06:32 AM

You are so right, everyone can be effected.   To you and all South Carolinians; our thoughts and prayers are with you all, . . . . . or ya'll as we say it in the south.

Oct 10, 2015 02:37 AM
Michael Jacobs
Pasadena, CA
Pasadena And Southern California 818.516.4393

Deanna - not much of a concern in our market but good to be aware -- thanks for the links and the very useful information.  Bookmarked.  

Oct 09, 2015 06:37 AM
Hannah Williams
HomeStarr Realty - Philadelphia, PA
Expertise NE Philadelphia & Bucks 215-820-3376

Deanna Early  great links  I did bookmark it . Our new Trend MLS will have this information  there for us . It will not be 100% accurate but if there is a problem or questionable it will let us know ..Congrats on the Feature

Oct 09, 2015 08:52 AM

Thank you.   Not for self glory, but being featured is great because more will see it.

Oct 10, 2015 02:39 AM
Carla Muss-Jacobs, RETIRED
RETIRED / State License is Inactive - Portland, OR

This is one of the things I know to look for when I find my clients homes in the Portland Metro real state market.  Very important to consider . . . 

Oct 09, 2015 09:46 AM
Dr. Paula McDonald
Beam & Branch Realty - Granbury, TX
Granbury, TX 936-203-0279

Excellent information.  Here in the Houston area, we deal with these issues a lot.

Oct 09, 2015 10:31 AM

Don't I know it.   Lived there many years ago and a simple rain storm caused flooding

Oct 10, 2015 02:41 AM
Evelyn Johnston
Friends & Neighbors Real Estate - Elkhart, IN
The People You Know, Like and Trust!

Our local GIS sight also has flood zone overlays that are easy to turn off and on.

Oct 09, 2015 10:47 AM
Bill Reddington
Re/max By The Sea - Destin, FL
Destin Florida Real Estate

Fema site is OK. I would also suggest talking and getting a quote from a local Insurance agent. They will know for sure and what flood insurance will cost.

Oct 09, 2015 11:45 AM
Praful Thakkar
LAER Realty Partners - Andover, MA
Andover, MA: Andover Luxury Homes For Sale

Deanna Early excellent information about the flood zone.

In fact, this should be applicable for listing agents - list a home and if possible, get a waiver, disclose it in MLS and it will be easy to sell.

Oct 09, 2015 01:14 PM

Great point.   Answer the question before it is one

Oct 10, 2015 02:42 AM