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Flood Zone

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Travis McGee

Senior Member
Joined
Sep 18, 2004
I'm working on appraisal of a 5 acre rural tract. They are placing a manufactured home on the property but I am only appraising the land. It seems that some of the property may be in a flood zone. However, it is impossible for me to tell how much. The tract is very narrow and long. There is a small flood zone along a creek which crosses the road approximately 400 feet east of the property line. The creek then turns toward the property and I believe it flows somewhere the near the property line, then turns away and then back to form the back boundary. The problem is the part of the property most affected by the creek and most likely the flood area is too densely covered in brush for me to adequately inspect it. I've seen the survey which only mentions the creek at the back boundary. The plat from the tax office shows the creek running through the middle of the property which is clearly not accurate. The property slopes and I have no way to know how much of it is in the flood zone. I tried very hard to inspect the property. I even hiked around to the rear of the property on the neighboring tract and hiked in as far as I could. I got to a point where the brush was just too thick to go any farther. Even the area I could get too the surrounding brush was so thick I couldn't tell how far I was from the property line. There is a fence along the western side but there is nothing separting the subject from the tract on the eastern side and this is where the creek is.

Also, there is a problem with comps. I have been unable to locate any similar sized tracts in flood zones in the same county. I have located a handful in neighboring counties but they are in different areas and not really very comparable. However, from analyzing these it seems, while there is some inconsistency, that the flood zone issue doesn't have a major impact on value.

Any suggestions or advice would be greatly appreciated.
 
Joined
Jan 13, 2002
Professional Status
Retired Appraiser
State
Florida
Good job trying so hard to see all of the site!

Call the client and see if they have a current survey. Using that survey, figure out an approximate 'usable' area of that site. This will give you a good beginning.

If they don't have a survey, decide on what you believe is the approximate usable area of that site and state that this is an estimate only, subject to a current survey. Even designated wetlands have value so you'll need to find out approximately what that is in your area. Your appraisal is based on your assumption of X.X+/- acres of usable area with X.X area of flood zone area, subject to a current survey that could change the appraisal and your opinion of the subject maket value.

This is a complex assignment. It would be a good idea to talk to other local appraisers that would have experience with something like this. Especially since this is for a MH land/home package where they tend to inflate everything, the land too when they find an appraiser that will do that. Please be very careful on this.
 

Joshua Fookes

Junior Member
Joined
Jan 15, 2003
Professional Status
Certified General Appraiser
State
California
I came across a situation where I thought the house was sitting on a piece of property that was in the flood zone when I tried to verify that through the city they said that they could not tell me either because apparently FEMA had slapped them on the wrist a couple of times in the past.

you could say that the building site is assumed to be out of the flood zone. But it might be in the flood zone. Unless you are a surveyor you would not be able to tell where it was. but do not guess, go off of a current survey. Or, make it very clear that you are assuming the building site is not in the flood zone, with that assumption being subject to change should the appraiser be presented with a current survey.

good luck,

Josh
 

Travis McGee

Senior Member
Joined
Sep 18, 2004
Thanks for your advice. As far as the survey, the client did provide a recent survey. It does not address the flood status and only mentions the creek as the back boundary of the property. I'm not sure how the surveyor surveyed the east boundary since you can't get through there.
 

Charlotte Dixon

Senior Member
Joined
Jan 16, 2002
Professional Status
Certified Residential Appraiser
State
Delaware
I would make no determination regarding the flood zone under those circumstances. This is what I say......never any questions in 15 years:

A portion of the subject property appears to be located in a designated flood area. However, without the benefit of an elevation survey, the appraiser is unable to determine how much land is impacted, nor the boundaries of the flood plain in relationship to the subject lot. A flood certification is recommended and professionals in that area should be contacted. ....don't check either box......, just put the flood map # and date.

I don't physically walk the boundaries, or the flood area.....just view the FEMA map and the land.
 

Restrain

Elite Member
Joined
Jan 22, 2002
Professional Status
Certified General Appraiser
State
Florida
1. DO NOT make a flood determination. It is not your job. It is the job of the third party flood company to make the DETERMINATION. You are not bonded to make a determination.

2. I would make make the statement that it appears that a portion of the site along the creek MAY be within an identified flood zone. Note-just because there's a creek doesn't mean that it's a flood zone. Then I would state that it appears that the subject proposed homesite is outside of the flood zone.

3. I would make any flood information subject to a third party determination (see 1 above) and a survey.

Remember, it is not your job to make flood determinations or calls. The liability is way too high. Just report what you see and base your report on what you see.

FYI, I put a disclaimer in all my reports that any flood map data is for informational purposes only and is not to be considered as a determination.

Roger
 

Mike Garrett RAA

Elite Member
Gold Supporting Member
Joined
Jan 14, 2002
Professional Status
Certified Residential Appraiser
State
Colorado
I concur. Very typical out here for portions of a parcel to be located within a 100 year flood zone but the structures are not. Identify the map and as for a determination by a third party source.
 

Bobby Bucks

Elite Member
Joined
Jan 27, 2002
Professional Status
Real Estate Agent or Broker
State
North Dakota
I'm curious how many of us simply leave the Flood Zone Yes/No boxes blank. I know of some appraisers who never check the box.....they get a lot of client call backs even though they have an addendum. I check the box, but always use the "appears" verbage in an addendum. Some lenders raise hell when I have "see attach." wedged into the map # line. Flood zone annoyances certainly make a case for the 2055......did I say that? :)
 

Mike Garrett RAA

Elite Member
Gold Supporting Member
Joined
Jan 14, 2002
Professional Status
Certified Residential Appraiser
State
Colorado
I mark mine either in or out but also disclaim it in the addendum.
 
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