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AE flood zone water front home

Old 11-05-2018, 11:19 AM
  #21  
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Federal Elevation requirements began generally in the early to mid 1970's. Those structures built before 1970 "prefirm" as far as flood insurance were grandfathered in at a certain nominal rate no matter the actual elevation. All that changed a few years ago because of large number of repeated flood claims on the prefirm structures. There is a gradual transition where the owners of the prefirm structures will have to pay their fair share, so flood premiums will be very high unless the structure is raised.

Between the mid 1970's to the late 1980's or early 1990's even though federal elevations requirements were in effect the local communities didn't have much leverage to make home owners comply so many didn't.

Starting in the early 1990's until present communities found out various ways to make homeowners comply with the requirements. There are still several who aren't in compliance because someone added on or remodeled with no permit after the main structure was completed and approved.

Keep in mind the hydrabarrier will not change your flood insurance premium but raising the structure will.
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Old 11-05-2018, 11:44 AM
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Originally Posted by LI32 View Post
Around here, people whose homes flooded in 2011 during Hurricane Irene, a once in 50 year storm, were told the same thing, and then came Sandy, a once in 300 year storm in 2012 - no home that flooded in Irene did not also flood in Sandy.
Yup, I was one. Bought it in 2010, Irene hit in 2011, had water just up to the front door, crawl space and garage were flooded. Neighbors said highest they'd seen in 50yrs, I figured well none got in the house so I'm good to go. My first kid was born 2 days later. Just over a year later we got destroyed. Had to bounce between places to live for 6mos while we fixed the house....with a 1yr old.

The state offered to raise the home or buy it out, I took the money and split. It is now raised up about 8'. As is much of the entire neighborhood and most all waterfront neighborhoods in and around the area, (this was in Lindenhurst for you LI guys).

What has been the common practice here is, the houses are jacked up about 10' and put on temporary cribbing, then helical piles are screwed into the ground until they reach a pre-determined torque spec, then a concrete foundation is poured anywhere from 6-8' high. Once it's set and ready to go the house is lowered of the cribbing with hydraulic jacks back onto the new high foundation. I've watched it done many, many times. It's essentially an above ground basement and a lot of people make it into a garage. Of course nothing in there is covered under flood insurance, it's made specifically to flood, so anything stored in there is on you.

It's made some neighborhoods look interesting and up here at least with smaller waterfront plots, the new egresses infringe on a lot of yard/deck space and you of course have about 25 steps to get into your house now.

At the time it wasn't for me, couldn't deal with that process. Moved a block away from the water/boat now, in flood zone X even though I can walk to the boat in 2 minutes (I've timed it). Even so....a few years later now and I wish I had stayed on the water.
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Old 11-05-2018, 11:58 AM
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Originally Posted by LI32 View Post
Around here, people whose homes flooded in 2011 during Hurricane Irene, a once in 50 year storm, were told the same thing, and then came Sandy, a once in 300 year storm in 2012 - no home that flooded in Irene did not also flood in Sandy.
Originally Posted by Southbay View Post
Yup, I was one. Bought it in 2010, Irene hit in 2011, had water just up to the front door, crawl space and garage were flooded. Neighbors said highest they'd seen in 50yrs, I figured well none got in the house so I'm good to go. My first kid was born 2 days later. Just over a year later we got destroyed. Had to bounce between places to live for 6mos while we fixed the house....with a 1yr old.

The state offered to raise the home or buy it out, I took the money and split. It is now raised up about 8'. As is much of the entire neighborhood and most all waterfront neighborhoods in and around the area, (this was in Lindenhurst for you LI guys).

What has been the common practice here is, the houses are jacked up about 10' and put on temporary cribbing, then helical piles are screwed into the ground until they reach a pre-determined torque spec, then a concrete foundation is poured anywhere from 6-8' high. Once it's set and ready to go the house is lowered of the cribbing with hydraulic jacks back onto the new high foundation. I've watched it done many, many times. It's essentially an above ground basement and a lot of people make it into a garage. Of course nothing in there is covered under flood insurance, it's made specifically to flood, so anything stored in there is on you.

It's made some neighborhoods look interesting and up here at least with smaller waterfront plots, the new egresses infringe on a lot of yard/deck space and you of course have about 25 steps to get into your house now.

At the time it wasn't for me, couldn't deal with that process. Moved a block away from the water/boat now, in flood zone X even though I can walk to the boat in 2 minutes (I've timed it). Even so....a few years later now and I wish I had stayed on the water.
We were thinking about raising it but I think to raise a concrete block home would not make financial sense at the price we are paying. FEMA recommends with concrete block to remove the roof, add a second floor , make the first empty then place the roof back vs attempting to raise the foundation. The issue is the house is only one story and was remodeled recently after the irma damage . The remodeled is awesome we love the flooring,cabinets, and everything. if the price was lower and the house needed to be remodeled then I would consider added a 2nd floor. However at the price point we are discussing its not even worth fantasying about.

Just talked to my family member who is an insurance agent and he talked to his buddy who owns a house in the same city on the water and his elevation is 7' while the house we are looking at is 4'. In the last 3 years they have flooded twice and that was with 2' sandbag barriers. so they had 9' elevation with the sandbags in place and the house still flooded. I guess the 10' required elevation had some real science behind it.

It flooded one time with a storm (not hurricane level) during high tide and a blue moon .
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Old 11-05-2018, 12:05 PM
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Originally Posted by rod-n-reel View Post
Keep in mind the hydrabarrier will not change your flood insurance premium but raising the structure will.
Yep, I'm working on the insurance quote but that is not as much concern as the dealing with insurance companies and repairing things after a flood.

I'm actually in a home now that was damaged (flat roof was lifted and dropped back down in part of the house and shingles no more, no flooding) with irma. Over one year later I still have water damage,electrical damage, and other things and can't fix anything but the roof due to litigation with the insurance company

Not sure I want to deal with such a thing every 5 years or so if lucky.

I was hoping that using barriers would atleast prevent the water from coming into the house. Eventhough the home owner has said it only flooded 1 time since 2012 i'm not sure the numbers make sense being 6' below the new required elevation?
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Old 11-05-2018, 12:52 PM
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Water always wins, anyone with a boat should know this.

You are not going to be able to cost effectively and reliably put up any kind of system that is going to keep flood waters out. Also, any such solution would also mean that you are likely locked in (or out) of your house until the flood waters recede.

Buying this house is going to mean higher insurance rates, which will be significant over time. I would pay no more than the value of the land, the house itself is a liability to long term value.
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Old 11-05-2018, 12:59 PM
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Originally Posted by dev View Post
Water always wins, anyone with a boat should know this.

You are not going to be able to cost effectively and reliably put up any kind of system that is going to keep flood waters out. Also, any such solution would also mean that you are likely locked in (or out) of your house until the flood waters recede.

Buying this house is going to mean higher insurance rates, which will be significant over time. I would pay no more than the value of the land, the house itself is a liability to long term value.
Yep I know this but its very tempting. The cheapest lots themselves are about or around half the price as the home we are looking at. So for for double the price of an empty lot with no fill, no dock, no boat lift we get an updated home , boat dock , lift , and even a grandfathered in boat ramp, which is why it makes it very tempting.
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Old 11-05-2018, 01:02 PM
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Originally Posted by alfnator View Post
Yep I know this but its very tempting. The cheapest lots themselves are about or around half the price as the home we are looking at. So for for double the price of an empty lot with no fill, no dock, no boat lift we get an updated home , boat dock , lift , and even a grandfathered in boat ramp, which is why it makes it very tempting.
Depends on what "half" is in this case. If "half" is $250K or less, it probably makes sense to buy the house, live in it for a bit, but plan for a tear-down/rebuild. If "half" is more than that, then I think it takes more consideration.

If you do buy it, I would look into all the details of permitting and requirements for new construction, even if right now you think you would never go that route. Make sure you could build what you want, and you are not going to be stuck with current footprint, setback changes, height restrictions, etc.
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Old 11-05-2018, 02:00 PM
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Originally Posted by dev View Post
Depends on what "half" is in this case. If "half" is $250K or less, it probably makes sense to buy the house, live in it for a bit, but plan for a tear-down/rebuild. If "half" is more than that, then I think it takes more consideration.

If you do buy it, I would look into all the details of permitting and requirements for new construction, even if right now you think you would never go that route. Make sure you could build what you want, and you are not going to be stuck with current footprint, setback changes, height restrictions, etc.
after looking some I found one lot that we could likely get for 155K and it already has some fill on it (15 or so truck loads supposedly) and its in a wider canal .

the house we are looking at is around 435K with dock,llift, small (jet ski ,canoe,et) grandfathered in boat ramp and completely remodeled and 2k sqft. However the remodeled doesn't mean much if its going to get flooded in the future.

However it looks like to build is around $200 a ft. so to build the same house 400K + lot 155K + dock and lift +30K +impact fees 15K around 600K .
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Old 11-05-2018, 03:01 PM
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If you decide to buy in the flood zone, consider Dam-It-Dams water inflatable cofferdams. Yes, you have to store it, but if concerned, best way to keep flood water away.
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Old 11-05-2018, 05:38 PM
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Originally Posted by alfnator View Post
Yeah I'm going into it knowing "not if" , "but when" it floods kind of thinking.

I did talk to an engineering company today and they did say they can do an elevation inspection ($1500) and recommend best type of barriers for the doors to prevent a flood and manufactures.

The Engineer is also familiar with the area and said that where the house is you are better off because its in the wider part of the river versus up the river near the downtown area.

She said she wouldn't walk away from it.
However , I'm debating to order the $1500 test now or later after when the sale is complete incase we walk away from the deal. She appeared to be confident in measures that would minimize the risk on a 2' foot flood range as she has done them in business areas befoer in downtown where it floods more. She estimated 3 doors around $5K to barrier, but forget to ask if that included the garage.
a simple elevation certificate will cost a third of that. Sounds like she knows her stuff, but may be better off getting the simple elevation cert. first.

I live in a flood zone AE BFE 11 lowest floor 12.3'. I live with it. It's a great area, great house. Suck it up and pay my premiums. Think it's around $1300.

sure I'd love a new elevated home but dirts expensive. And in my zip code vacant lots don't exist, you need to tear something down.

edit to add: we've had three big water event storms last few years. Zero water intrusion, though I do run a pump system at times to keep water at bay. If there were recent flooding, like in your scenario, I'd be way more concerned.

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Old 11-05-2018, 05:55 PM
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Any one hear of this? On my block there was a house that was flooded during Irene. It was rebuilt Owner had flood ins. Sandy hits and it was flooded again. Owner rebuilds a second time. flood ins. paid again. The owner gets relocated and the Company she worked for bought her house. They put it on the market . It goes to contract and at that time the buyer finds out no C/O will be given unless the house is raised. The town states if a dwelling has received more the 50% of it’s value from FEMA , no C/O will be approved without lifting.
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Old 11-05-2018, 06:05 PM
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My elevation certificate says 15.5 feet
New construction within the area is generally at 19 feet.

Higher is better today, especially if you have the legs for those stairs or installing powered lift.

If I was to do this again, would not consider any property that is in the danger zone.
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Old 11-05-2018, 06:23 PM
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Originally Posted by Double tyme View Post


a simple elevation certificate will cost a third of that. Sounds like she knows her stuff, but may be better off getting the simple elevation cert. first.

I live in a flood zone AE BFE 11 lowest floor 12.3'. I live with it. It's a great area, great house. Suck it up and pay my premiums. Think it's around $1300.

sure I'd love a new elevated home but dirts expensive. And in my zip code vacant lots don't exist, you need to tear something down.

edit to add: we've had three big water event storms last few years. Zero water intrusion, though I do run a pump system at times to keep water at bay. If there were recent flooding, like in your scenario, I'd be way more concerned.

We got a copy of the elevation certificate and the house is in a AE10 zone, but the house elevation is only 4' and code is 10' so its 6' below the current code.

supposedly the current owner is paying around 1800 a year for flood insurance so while not great its not 10k either .
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Old 11-05-2018, 08:22 PM
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As you know premiums are based on amount of coverage and deductible. FEMA requires you to have coverage on the amount of the mortgage with a max limit on the structure of $250,000 and personal property of $100,00. If the mortgage is more than $250,000 the lender may require a third party coverage for the difference.

If the current owner has coverage only on a $50,000 mortgage and $0 of personal property coverage, the premiums might seem low and attractive to you but now for the rest of the story.

Get a quote based upon your situation of probable mortgage amount and personal property coverage.

Also check with the one who prepared the certificate to see if the BFE has changed.
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Old 11-05-2018, 09:24 PM
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you need 10 ' pf elevation more or be under water
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Old 11-06-2018, 03:08 AM
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The only thing I would add based on my experience, We purchased our house in 2015, I thought I did my research based on fema maps, it showed the house in a X zone. about a week before closing my mortgage co informed us that that use a different map or criteria and we were AE because a portion of the house was below BFE (not living space) My flood insurance went from $700 to $2700, no choice to pay it or not close. After closing I got a elevation certificate, I think BFE around here is 7', I had a back garage at 6.2 a main but the main living space is 14', the house is cinder block foundation. I ended up working with smart vent and got my premium reduced to $637.00 for flood.
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Old 11-06-2018, 03:50 AM
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Originally Posted by alfnator View Post
We got a copy of the elevation certificate and the house is in a AE10 zone, but the house elevation is only 4' and code is 10' so its 6' below the current code.
supposedly the current owner is paying around 1800 a year for flood insurance so while not great its not 10k either .
From my experience with SANDY, in both NY and NJ, code was 8' in both NY & NJ, 10' was the FEMA height in NY and 12' in NJ (barrier island) and if you weren't at 11'6" in NY and 12'3" in NJ you had water in your house; new FEMA BFE heights are 12' where we are in NY (AE Zone) and 14' in NJ (VE Zone). We were/are 12'2" for the house and 11'4" for the ground in NY, and still had some water (about 2') in the basement due to foundation crack leaks. In NJ we were at 8'1" and the house was a total loss with over 4' inside - the new house is 15'8" to the first floor.
For the OP, there is just no way I would buy a house in coastal Florida that is below 10' in an AE Zone. Having gone through SANDY and seen what most people had to live with for months/years after they were hit hard in their primary residence, there is no way I would buy knowing that is likely to happen again.
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Old 11-06-2018, 04:27 AM
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Originally Posted by LI32 View Post
From my experience with SANDY, in both NY and NJ, code was 8' in both NY & NJ, 10' was the FEMA height in NY and 12' in NJ (barrier island) and if you weren't at 11'6" in NY and 12'3" in NJ you had water in your house; new FEMA BFE heights are 12' where we are in NY (AE Zone) and 14' in NJ (VE Zone). We were/are 12'2" for the house and 11'4" for the ground in NY, and still had some water (about 2') in the basement due to foundation crack leaks. In NJ we were at 8'1" and the house was a total loss with over 4' inside - the new house is 15'8" to the first floor.
For the OP, there is just no way I would buy a house in coastal Florida that is below 10' in an AE Zone. Having gone through SANDY and seen what most people had to live with for months/years after they were hit hard in their primary residence, there is no way I would buy knowing that is likely to happen again.
I’m in a LOW town. Always on the news. BFE is 6’ my elevation is 7.5’ . No water from Sandy by inches. Maybe your #’s are new. I just had elevation certificate done. Ins. Went down to $500.00. There was not 12’ of water here. The city and Jersey I have no doubt
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Old 11-06-2018, 04:39 AM
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Originally Posted by alfnator View Post
We got a copy of the elevation certificate and the house is in a AE10 zone, but the house elevation is only 4' and code is 10' so its 6' below the current code.

supposedly the current owner is paying around 1800 a year for flood insurance so while not great its not 10k either .
so it's an "AE" zone with a base flood elevation of 10', and yuore 4' below that?

Yeah that sounds like a recipe for disaster to me. A foot or so under compliance I may roll the dice but 4' down, that's concerning.

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Old 11-06-2018, 04:54 AM
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Originally Posted by fireisland1 View Post
Any one hear of this? On my block there was a house that was flooded during Irene. It was rebuilt Owner had flood ins. Sandy hits and it was flooded again. Owner rebuilds a second time. flood ins. paid again. The owner gets relocated and the Company she worked for bought her house. They put it on the market . It goes to contract and at that time the buyer finds out no C/O will be given unless the house is raised. The town states if a dwelling has received more the 50% of it’s value from FEMA , no C/O will be approved without lifting.


Kind of, but there may be a few facts missing. Sounds like owner, or contractor, may have pulled a fast one - 50% claim and accepting money from FEMA (ICC moneys) is sometimes referred to as "substantial damage." Typically, but not definitively, at least in NJ, a "letter of substantial damage" is filed with the appropriate town's building department and goes in the property file (on your permanent record).

In theory, in order to receive the ICC (grant) funds, the homeowner admits that the structure received 50% or more damage in relationship to total structure value. Homeowner agrees that the repairs conducted will include bringing the structure up to current building and compliance codes. (ICC stands for Increased Costs of Compliance). There are several cases where these grants have been abused - taken, but not satisfying increased compliance. In NJ after Sandy, fed and state are prosecuting the offenders - typically contractors but have also gone after a few homeowners.

This is germane to this thread in that, IMO, whenever buying a home in any A or more risky flood zones, buyer (and/or representatives) should actively search for and, failing to find, should receive active verification from seller that such a letter/situation does not exist. Buyer should also find someone well versed in the flood zone requirements of the specific area. Many towns in NJ have recently adopted requirements more stringent that the general FEMA requirements - for example requiring builds to be 1 to 2 feet above the BFE requirements, and little nuances such as "finished floor height" versus "lowest structural member height". An elevation certificate alone won't alert the buyer to all the factors.

As in the above scenario, the company may not have done all their due diligence when purchasing the home from the employee, especially if they are unfamiliar with buying flood zone properties.

Without a C/O, company is basically screwed. Situation will not end well for someone. Maybe watch for the property to go cheap; but whatever it goes for add about 100k to the price, because that is what is going to take for starters to get it to comply

Last edited by chrisjb; 11-06-2018 at 05:18 AM.
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