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FEMA SFHA Zones

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D-Max

Thread Starter
Junior Member
Joined
Apr 26, 2003
Professional Status
Certified Residential Appraiser
State
North Carolina
I performed an appraisal last year of a property that the zoning on the flood map indicates zone AE (100 Year flood). The new owner wanted to add a building to the property. The local building inspector told him that his property was located in the floodway and that the property cannot be improved further and in the unfortunate event that the was destroyed by fire or storms it could not be rebuilt.

The selling agent called me tonight in a panic because the onwer is very upset. She was accusing me of falsely reporting the flood zone. Upon review of the maps the only designation for the floodzone is AE. The only way you can determine that the property is located within the floodway is to review the markings on the map and compare them to the legend. The map states that the floodway is defined as an area of zone AE. Formerly the floodway was designated as zone AEFW however none of the newer (2005) FEMA maps for my area show this designation even in the legend.

I have a comment in all of my reports about the flood mapping was a proximate caluculation and should be verified by a surveyor.

Ok here's my questions...

1) Has anyone else run into AEFW not being shown on the map?

2) Should I be worried?

Thanks!
 

JRS at OBX

Elite Member
Joined
Jun 13, 2006
Professional Status
Certified Residential Appraiser
State
North Carolina
I think you are getting too involved in a flood zone determination. State what your maps say and suggest a survey and elevation certificate.
 

Mztk1

Senior Member
Joined
Dec 3, 2006
Professional Status
Certified Residential Appraiser
State
Florida
You did the right thing. You had it subject to a survey. I wouldn't lose any sleep over it if I were you.
 

AnonApprsr

Elite Member
Joined
Jan 21, 2008
Professional Status
Certified Residential Appraiser
State
Massachusetts
I'm not sure if the appraisal you performed was for financing purposes but if it was the lender usually gets a flood zone determination on its own. An appraiser isn't an expert in flood maps. As an aside, if it's even relatively "close" to a flood zone, in the appraisal I note that it can not be accurately determined by the appraiser, and I recommend a further survey to be performed.

Edit: Don't be worried at all about it.
 
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D-Max

Thread Starter
Junior Member
Joined
Apr 26, 2003
Professional Status
Certified Residential Appraiser
State
North Carolina
Just found out from the agent that the bank used an elevation certificate from 1995 for the purchase in 2007.

Of course the closing attorney, bank, building inspector and agents all said it was the appraiser's fault. The agent told me that the buyer didn't even know it was in a flood zone until they bank read my report.

Thanks for the advice!
 

Restrain

Elite Member
Joined
Jan 22, 2002
Professional Status
Certified General Appraiser
State
Florida
Since the early 90's, I always include a disclaimer, "the flood map data is for information only and no formal determination has been made. The client is encouraged to obtain a formal, bonded determination from such companies as provide such services".

The reason is that an appraiser in Dallas got involved in a mixup on where the flood zone (AE) went through a yard. A very expensive home was having a very expensive, very large addition made to it, when the building inspectors took a hard look at the flood maps. The addition was extending into the flood zone. A red tag was issued and the homeowner told to REMOVE THE ADDITION. The lawsuits flew fast and furious. Now, the appraiser was off the hook as he disclosed the data, and made appropriate disclaimers, but it was still expensive.

So, you are supposed to look at flood maps as part of the appraisal process, but you are not to make a flood determination, and you should always say so.
 

RSW

Elite Member
Joined
Feb 18, 2002
Professional Status
Certified Residential Appraiser
State
Tennessee
We used to use FEMA Flood Way maps in Southern WV when I lived there in the early 90's. The flood way maps are different than the FEMA FIRMs. You can order then from FEMA just like the FIRMS.
 

Couch Potato

Elite Member
Joined
Mar 15, 2004
Professional Status
Certified Residential Appraiser
State
North Carolina
Need to read the report.

3. The appraiser has examined the available flood maps that are provided by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (or other data sources) and has noted in this appraisal report whether any portion of the subject site is located in an identified Special Flood Hazard Area. Because the appraiser is not a surveyor, he or she makes no guarantees, express or implied, regarding this determination.
I think you are on reasonably safe ground. The homeowner is just looking to blame someone else for their own stupidity.
 

Ted Martin

Senior Member
Joined
Jan 17, 2002
Professional Status
Certified General Appraiser
State
Kansas
Hopefully you used other A zone comparables or addressed the subject's location in an A zone in some manner that reflected the actions of "an informed buyer". If so then don't get your tail in knot. These type of properties are a pain regardless. Everytime I do one and comment on the building restrictions everyone unloads on me, buyer, seller, agents, broker, and lender, because other appraiser's don't have to mention the limitations on the property. The response is always the same, it's not that important, how come you had to mention it. If it's not that important then my mentioning it shouldn't have had any impact on the sale. My opinion is if full disclosure kills the deal then it should probably have died anyway.

I'm sick of sellers trying to pull one over on the buyer, buyers trying to slip one by the lender and agent/brokers/lenders only being concerned with "the deal".
 

RSW

Elite Member
Joined
Feb 18, 2002
Professional Status
Certified Residential Appraiser
State
Tennessee
Hopefully you used other A zone comparables or addressed the subject's location in an A zone in some manner that reflected the actions of "an informed buyer". If so then don't get your tail in knot. These type of properties are a pain regardless. Everytime I do one and comment on the building restrictions everyone unloads on me, buyer, seller, agents, broker, and lender, because other appraiser's don't have to mention the limitations on the property. The response is always the same, it's not that important, how come you had to mention it. If it's not that important then my mentioning it shouldn't have had any impact on the sale. My opinion is if full disclosure kills the deal then it should probably have died anyway.

I'm sick of sellers trying to pull one over on the buyer, buyers trying to slip one by the lender and agent/brokers/lenders only being concerned with "the deal".

It's all about the getting their commission and the seller getting rid of their property.
 
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