Not long ago I posted instructions for finding flood zones in Pasco County, Florida. That posting was viewed many, many times. So I am assuming that this is an issue that is important to my blog's readers. Therefore, I am now posting instructions for finding flood zones in Hillsborough County, Florida.
Often buyers and sellers want to know if a property is located partially or completely within a designated flood zone. Sellers like to know this so they can decide if their homes are at risk, and 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.
The Hillsborough 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 Hillsborough County Property Appraiser
- Click on the link for Real Estate and Tangible Records
- Enter the owner's name (last name alone, or last name, first name). Or alternatively you can click on the menu item to the left for Address Search and enter the street number and the street name (leave off St., Rd., Ave. etc).
- Click on the property's Parcel ID to open the property's data page.
- 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.
- On the right side of the page you will see a link for Map It!!. Click on this link.
- A new page should appear showing the property in question outlined. 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 Layers.
- Click on this link and drop down to the spot that says FEMA, then release your mouse button. The map should redraw itself and will shade in any flood zones, if they exist near the parcel.
- Next, click on the link to the left of the map that says Open Legend.
- Look to the upper righthand side of your screen and you should see three boxes in different shades of blue. These will tell you which types of flood zones the shaded areas stand for. If no blue shaded areas appear on the map itself, then the parcel is probably not in a designated flood zone. However, you should confirm this to be sure.
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. I suggest very strongly that you speak with the seller, neighbors, your real estate agent, a surveyor, and/or the county if you have any doubts or questions about flood zone issues.
Other counties besides Pasco and Hillsborough 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. If I can locate flood zone maps for other counties I will include instructions for using their sites in future posts.
I hope you have found this information to be useful.
John Elwell - REALTOR
Bill Nye Realty, Inc.
Licensed in Florida