Pat Kennedy - Your Washington, DC Real Estate Connection


Flood Plains Impact Home Values

Before he retired after a long career at the US Geological Survey, my father headed the office that drew up the federal flood plain maps.  Throughout the time he worked there as a hydrologist, it just bugged him that people would build homes on flood plains at all, or that after a huge storm they would rebuild on the same lots.  While I was growing up, this was a frequent topic of conversation around the Kennedy dinner table.

A couple of years ago, I considered buying a house that was on a flood plain.  It was just gorgeous, looking out over the beautiful Occoquan River, and I could hear my father tolling over in his grave!  And I decided to pass on the house.  Of course, where I live in now isn't on a flood plain at all, but after a few major storms, I've had a flooded basement. 

You just never know what Mother Nature has in store, for you or your home.

Flood Plains Impact Home Values 

coastal RI real estate view

Looking at a waterfront property in a community today all I can think of is how do I price this home now.  Many of these RI coastal real estate homes are in a high risk flood plain and due to FEMA insurance changes, over the last 60 days, have home values that have been impacted.
From real estate agents to home appraisers, the professionals are wondering how now to value a home for the market place with the new subsidies on second homes going away.  Oh yes, the flood insurance changes are held up in a Congressional committee for implementation because it a national crisis for over a million homeowners who pay subsidized rates.  Now these numbers do not include the coastal homeowners who don't carry flood insurance.  Yet a home buyer would need to have flood insurance if the coastal home is purchased with a mortgage (another 4+million homeowners here) and in a flood plain. 
So what do you see as the price of my home the homeowner asked me?  Yes, anyone can figure the physical replacement cost and land value on a home but that is not the real value now. It is a primo listing to have but I have to be honest it is tough to price now.  I am envious of this fantastic waterfront location with dock next to the ocean.  I am thinking a price somewhere less than the homeowner may have in mind because this home is in a high risk flood zone 'AE' zone.  He carries no flood insurance on the home since it has no mortgage on it.  I can not price right to the current market until I find out about the insurance costs here.  
Who would have thought that flood zones would have such an impact on home values now. As a real estate agent I need to be clear to my clients on value.  This could work against you I have to say.  There will always be home buyers for the waterfront....just not as many buyers as before.
As Congress wrestles with what to do, homeowners are hanging in there trying to figure out what they do.  And this real estate agent needs to know how they are going to implement this flood plain insurance change sooner rather than later.
Home prices for coastal homes will await what the insurance costs will be (homeowners with a mortgage are notified at renewal time of increases). If you do not willingly carry flood insurance on your home because you own it outright, you should find out what those flood insurance costs are in case you at some point want to sell your home.  We will know more on this home once the homeowner talks with his insurance company to get a quote.  Pricing will need to be weighed with desirability as well as cost in a buyers eyes.  Coastal ownership will change in the future it seems.
  Ginny Lacey Gorman is a Rhode Island coastal real estate agent who works and knows the RI geographic area of homes for sale, schools, happenings and important tidbits of information well.
Coastal, water view, ocean front, luxury and waterfront Rhode Island real estate are my specialty.  If you are considering Buying, Selling or Relocating to Rhode Island and need a real estate Professional it would be my pleasure to help you!    When you are in need of an internet savvy RI realtor® who sells homes in this real estate marketcall Ginny today at 401.529.7849 or email at 

This blog © and its contents is original to Ginny Lacey Gorman

Ginny L. Gorman a purveyor of Fine Waterfront RI Real Estate  

Specializing in waterfront, ocean front, vacation, coastal and luxury homes for sale in North Kingstown, South Kingstown, Narragansett, Jamestown, Charlestown, East Greenwich, Exeter, West Greenwich, Westerly RI and beyond ...  I sell dreams!  because there is no place like home...the RI Realtor in the Sparkly Red Shoes.

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cell: 401.529.7849   office: 401.884.4100 ext.268   Ginny Lacey Gorman, Realtor



Comment balloon 5 commentsPatricia Kennedy • November 07 2013 08:10AM
Flood Plains Impact Home Values
Before he retired after a long career at the US Geological Survey, my father headed the office that drew up the federal flood plain maps. Throughout the time he worked there as a hydrologist, it just bugged him that people would build homes on… more
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