There are a lot of factors you need to take into account when purchasing property. After all, buying real estate is likely to be the most significant financial decision you’ll ever make in your life, so it’s important to arm yourself with as much information as possible to guide you in that process. It’s easy to become focused on the structure itself and overlook other important issues, including floodplain designations.
For many buyers, floodplain designations never even cross their mind. However, if a piece of property is located on land that has been determined to be a special flood hazard area, this could be a major financial liability for the buyer. There are many buyers who would prefer to avoid purchasing homes on a floodplain altogether, and even those buyers who wouldn’t be completely deterred would do well to use that designation in their price negotiations, and to purchase the appropriate level of flood insurance.
Here’s what you should know about floodplain designations and flood certificates in Guadalupe County, TX when you’re in the process of purchasing a piece of property.
You are not technically required by federal law to purchase flood insurance if you’re on a floodplain, but you’ll find that almost every mortgage lender you encounter will require it as a condition of getting a loan on a property within a designated special flood hazard area. You can determine whether or not your property is in such an area by reviewing your local flood insurance rate map (FIRM).
The amount of insurance you’ll need for your property will vary depending on whether the building was constructed before or after the creation of the flood map, also known as pre- and post-FIRM. There are some structures that might not require flood insurance at all if you hire a licensed professional surveyor to produce an elevation certificate indicating that the building, despite being located on a floodplain, is situated above the height to which the floodwaters would be estimated to rise.
Floodplains vs. floodways
There is some technical terminology that you may find helpful to know as you investigate whether or not you’ll need flood insurance. Two such terms that people often get mixed up are “floodplain” and “floodway.”
A floodplain is the low-lying area that runs adjacent to the floodway, which contains the 100-year flood. All buildings and fill (referred to as “encroachment”) may be allowed within the floodway areas without encroachment analyses. The floodway is the channel of the stream and all overbank areas that must remain undeveloped to ensure water flow is not diverted to other properties, increasing water depth and flood hazard risk as a result. There may not be any new development in a floodway without an analysis from an engineer that demonstrates there would be no impact to other properties in the surrounding floodplain or flood hazard areas.
For more information about flood certificates in Guadalupe County, TX to ensure you’re approaching your land purchase with all the knowledge you need, contact the team at Bettersworth & Associates, Inc. today.