Often buyers and sellers want to know if a property is located partially or completely within a designated flood zone. Buyers need to know this information since their lenders will probably require flood insurance on the property.
One of the surest ways to find out is to have a survey done and have the surveyor make an exact determination. Of course, that can be pricey if you are just curious or are in the very preliminary stages of contemplating a purchase.
In Pasco County we are lucky since our county property appraiser has included this information on his website. Here are the instructions that should enable you to view a particular property and have the computer "paint" in any flood zones that might exist.
- Go to my webpage at: www.jelwell.century21bnr.com
- Click on the menu button for County Property Appraisers
- Click on the link for Pasco County
- Click on Record Search
- Click I Accept on the Disclaimer page after reading about its limitations.
- Enter the street address for the property in question (do not put in St., Ave, etc, just put in the street number and name), and hit Submit. (Alternatively, you can put in the last & first name of the owner, if you know it.)
- A page will appear with the properties that fit your search criteria. Click on the TAX ID Number of the property that you are interested in.
- An information page will appear that shows what the appraiser knows (or thinks he knows) about the property. This is a good time to check it for accuracy.
- At the top of the page you will see a link for Show Map. Click on this link.
- A new page should appear showing the property outlined, probably in red. You can do a lot of things with this map, but for now I will just concentrate on the flood zones.
- On the drop-down menus to the left, you will see one marked Select Additional Layers.
- Click on this link and drop down to the spot that says FEMA (Flood Zones 08/98), then release your mouse button.
- Next, click on the button that says Draw.
- The map should redraw itself with the flood zones showing, if they exist. A color key will also appear to indicate which types of zones are present. If the property is clear with no colors drawn in, this usually indicates that it is in a Zone X, which is determined to be outside of a 100 year and 500 year floodplain, according to FEMA. But you should confirm this to be sure with a survey before you buy if there is any doubt in your mind.
- If you wish to print a copy of the map, hit the Print button (next to the Draw button) and a new page without all of the menus will appear that is perfect for printing.
- To see and print a a chart that describes each flood zone designation, click here: http://www.appraiser.pascogov.com/codes/fema.asp?code=X
Of course, these maps are not perfect and they do not take the place of a survey. But they do help you become a better informed buyer and homeowner. Not a bad thing at all. It may be advisable to speak with the homeowner, neighbors, your real estate agent, a surveyor, and/or the county.
Other counties may have ways to find flood zone maps, but I am not as familiar with them. In many cases, it is necessary to visit the county property appraisers' offices in person or at least call them to find out this information.
John Elwell - REALTOR
Bill Nye Realty, Inc.
Licensed in Florida