House in Flood Zone. How to Possibly Reduce Flood Insurance or Remove!

Is it possible to reduce flood insurance or remove from flood zone if identified in FEMA Special Flood Zone?  Answer: Yes. It is possible.  Depends on exact elevation of house compared to official base flood evaluation.

Team Howlett was recently helping a wonderful client help sell her log cabin house in Rossville.  There was some difficulty since the house was designated in the hundred year flood zone from a nearby creek.  The exterior and interior were beautiful with 5 acres of land.  Great lighting, exposed glowing wood, and lots of room.

From a quick check with online FEMA flood maps, the property did lie in a flood zone and the edge of the flood zone appeared to butt up against the back of the garage.  The seller was paying approx $900 / year in flood insurance for many years.  Based upon the map and after talking with a local survey company, we found we had a chance to either reduce the amount of flood insurance or remove from flood zone completely.  And thus we would be able to complete the sale for our client.

We worked with Pat Jarboe from T-Bird Design Services to help us manage the entire process.

Step 1: Obtain from Indiana DNR a Floodplain Analysis.  This will get the exact official base flood elevation at the residential building.

Step 2: Surveyor needs to conduct an elevation survey at the residential building.  They will determine the exact height of the top of bottom floor, top of attached garage floor slab, lowest elevation of machinery, and lowest adjacent finished grade next to building.  Then, the surveyor will put information on an Elevation Certificate.  This certificate can be used to submit to insurance companies and lenders to help lower the amount of flood insurance is needed based on how much of the structure is above or below the official base flood elevation.

After we got the Elevation Certificate completed, we sent to the buyers.  From this certificate, the lender said that separate flood insurance was not required for them to get the loan.  Yay!  We closed on the transaction 2 weeks later.  SOLD!

So, even if you’re not selling, if may be worthwhile to do this process.  In our situation since we had T-Bird manage the entire process, the cost to get the certificate was $1500. Since the annual flood insurance was $900 / yr.  So, you would recover your cost in less than 2 years.  Caveat, there is no guarantee that the elevation survey and certificate will indicate a reduction.

This Elevation Certificate does not actually remove the residential building from the FEMA flood maps.

Optional Step 3: Submit Letter of Map Change to FEMA.  Again you can have someone manage this process for you or you can do on your own.  You would need to submit the Elevation Certificate showing all parts above the base flood level.  Even the finished adjacent grade would need to be above.  If there are parts of the grade below, you can use construction grade limestone to bring above the flood level, then re-survey.  Beware the time frame for processing these letters can be 3-6 months.  If FEMA does accept the Letter of Map Change, then the building can be officially removed from the flood zone.

We were so glad to have helped our out of town seller complete this deal.  In the meantime I learned more about how it is possible to reduce flood insurance and / or remove completely.  Another wonderful real estate day for Team Howlett.  Learn more About Us.

Login Cabin House in Rossville

Meg Howlett and Eric Howlett, Realtors, with 2018 Angies List Super Service Award

 

 

 

Fixing Old Homes Leaking Basement Walls

Meg and I (Team Howlett) had the pleasure to help a wonderful client sell her house in southern Tippecanoe County.  Beautiful country farm house with charm, acreage views, and lots of potential.  Of course, there are issues with older farm houses.

One of the biggest issues with older homes built with block foundations is weeping basements.  The appraisal identified an issue with the weeping foundation.  Sellers had a structural engineer review the basement.  He noted that the foundation was structurally sound but soil grading and downspout drainage near the weepage would reduce the water in the basement.

With the review from the home inspector, it was noted there were low spots next to the house and the downspout discharged right next to the house.  These contributed to the weepage in the basement.  It was an appraisal issue so it needed to be addressed.

The seller agreed to address the drainage / water weepage issues.  Now, here comes the issue.  How to address?  The engineer identified 2 issues: lot level and downspout drainage.  Sellers agreed to address the issue.  A big issue.  No.  This is a DIY project.

Need to clear vegetation and underbrush from any area to be graded.

Grading the dirt away from the house is a relatively easy process.  In this project, we used Wrede Rocks.  They have an online tool to calculate the dirt needed.  Then, they have a rental truck with dump back for easy delivery.

All you need to do is grade the dirt so it slopes 3-4′ away from the low spots.  I used a 4′ plastic level to ensure the grade sloped away.  Recommend tamping down or walking over the dirt to ensure the ground is sloping away.

Now, add the downspout extensions to move water away from the house.  With the grading and downspout extensions, you will have addressed most of any old house basement water weepage issues.  Do it now.

We added a basement casement to reduce any water penetration.  Approx cost $20.

Repairs were done by the seller, the appraisal issues were addressed and we closed. Done!  If you would like free consultation about any homeowner issues, please call Meg at 765-414-6531.

Meg Howlett and Eric Howlett, Realtors, with 2018 Angies List Super Service Award

Team Howlett 2018 Angies List Super Service Award for Real Estate Agent

Team Howlett Earns 2018 Angie’s List Super Service Award

Award reflects team’s consistently high level of customer satisfaction

Lafayette, IN, Jan 31, 2019 – Team Howlett (Meg Howlett and Eric Howlett) is proud to  announce that it has earned the home service industry’s coveted Angie’s List Super Service Award (SSA).  This award honors service professionals who have maintained exceptional service ratings and reviews on Angies List in 2018.

“Service pros that receive our Angie’s List Super Service Award represent the best in our network, who are consistently making great customer service their mission,” said Angie’s List Founder Angie Hicks.  “These pros have provided exceptional service to our members and absolutely deserve recognition for the exemplary customer service they exhibited in the past year.”

Angie’s List Super Service Award 2018 winners have met strict eligibility requirements, which include maintaining an “A” rating in overall, recent grade and review period grade.  The SSA winners must be in good standing with Angie’s List and undergo additional screening.

Meg Howlett and Eric Howlett, Realtors, with 2018 Angies List Super Service Award

“It is so incredibly gratifying to hear such great feedback.  We are deeply humbled and honored to help our clients buy and sell homes in the Greater Lafayette IN area,” said Meg Howlett.  “We have been listed on Angie’s List for 8 years and have been awarded the Super Service Award for the past 2 years.”

 

 

See the Reviews at Angies List Meg Howlett

Learn More About Team Howlett at www.TeamHowlett.com/about

 

Greater Lafayette IN Real Estate Market Conditions $100,000 – $200,000

Low Inventory Driving Short Market Times and Higher Prices

In the $100,000 – $200,000 single family residence market, houses are selling extremely fast.  In many situations, there are multiple offers with escalation clauses resulting in sale prices above list price. What is an escalation clause, you ask? We didn’t know the answer to that until last year either. It is a one page form that says “We offer X for the house. We will pay 1,000 above any other offer up to a cap of X.”

Buyer anxiety is high.  What is causing this situation?  It is relatively straight forward.  Its all about supply and demand.

The Greater Lafayette area has had a strong growth in employment over the last couple of years.  For example, SIA hired an additional 1200 workers starting in 2015, who are potential buyers of affordable entry level houses.

Conversely, the inventory levels for houses in the $100,000 – $200,000 has gone down consistently over the last 2 years.  See graph below which shows sold houses in blue and the inventory level in green.  When the market is balanced the active inventory is 3 – 4 times what is sold each month, which was the case back in 2015.  Now fast forward to 2017.  You can see that the houses sold in the spring and early summer months were greater than the average active inventory.  This was not a balanced market and was definitely a sellers market.  Houses sold in days.  Multiple offers.  Rising prices. And some houses not appraising.

Why is the inventory going down?  Active listing inventory is driven by how many houses sell each month and how many new listings are placed on the market.  See graph below.  When the new listings in orange are greater than the sold listings in blue, inventory goes up.  When solds are great than new listings, inventory goes down.

Starting in mid-2015, sold houses were on average greater than new listings.  Thus, the trend of the inventory has continued to decrease.  Anecdotally, it appears that builders have gone upscale, are building fewer affordable houses which is adding additional downward pressure on inventory in this price range.

Finally, there is a vicious cycle going on.  Since inventory is low and buyers are finding it difficult to find the right house, current homeowners who are interested in selling their current home and upgrading to a nicer home are reluctant to put their house on the market.  This is reasonable!  Especially for our senior clients, Team Howlett will not let our clients put their house on the market until we know FOR SURE where they are going to go.

Looking into the future, we do not see a change in the near future (ie 2018) for single family houses $100,000 – $200,000.  Inventory will continue to be low.  Market times will be short.  Prices will continue to rise.

These are generalizations and do not accurately reflect all situations.  When you are ready for Team Howlett to come and understand your specific real estate need, contact Team Howlett or call 765-414-6531.  We will prepare a plan that is specific to your needs that entails Passionate Customer Care and Market Expertise.

Team Howlett 2017 Angie’s List Super Service Award

Team Howlett (Meg Howlett, Eric Howlett, Kelli Stump and Billy Brand) is proud to announce that it has earned the home service industry’s coveted Angie’s List Super Service Award (SSA). This award honors service professionals who have maintained exceptional service ratings and reviews on Angie’s List in 2017.

“The service providers that receive our Angie’s List Super Service Award have demonstrated the level of excellence that members have come to expect,” said Angie’s List Founder Angie Hicks. “These pros have provided top-notch service to our members and absolutely deserve recognition for the exemplary customer service they exhibited in the past year.”

Angie’s List Super Service Award 2017 winners have met strict eligibility requirements, which include maintaining an “A” rating in overall grade, recent grade and review period grade. The SSA winners must be in good standing with Angie’s List, pass a background check, record a current trade license attestation and abide by Angie’s List operational guidelines.

See our Angie’s List Reviews here: https://office.angieslist.com/store/10449430/reviews