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




Parkside Seafood House and Oyster Bar

Ok, I’m just going to say this. The Parkside Seafood House and Oyster Bar is the best restaurant in town.  It is located on 1902 Scott St, Lafayette.  Eric is from Massachusettes, home to the best cod in the world. We have vacationed in Maine, home to the best lobster in the world. We have lived in Puget Sound, home to the best Halibut in the world. We have lived in Pescara, Italy, home to so much good fish it takes your breathe away. Our favorite waiter always used to say “This fish is our ocean!” So we are picky.

Meg is enjoying our favorite oyster.

The oysters are so fresh that you feel the sea breeze in your face. We have dined here 3 times and have enjoyed it every time

We would also like to do a gratuitous plug for our amazing bungalow that is one block away from the best restaurant in town. This house has so much going for it. There is a complete Mother-in-law/rental/teenage get-away in the back of the house. Check it out! 1902 Thompson St, Lafayette Home for Sale

Only 2 Blocks from Parkside Seafood House, this cute bungalow on 1902 Thompson St is for sale.

We are holding an open house on November 16th from 1-3 and are holding a drawing for a $50.00 gift certificate to the Parkside Seafood House and Oyster Bar.

Come and visit us!


Architecturally Specific Home Staging

Team Howlett had a big challenge this week. We’re offering a rustic real estate property in West Lafayette IN for sale.  We wanted to give it a cabin feel without turning the property into a cliche.  In the master bedroom, we chose mission style furniture and warmed it up with a Martha Stewart quilt.

1st Floor MBR. Mission Style, wood floors and sunny windows.

The large dining room was large enough for seating for eight, so we chose one of our traditional sets and set the table for a feast! Simple white dishes, mason jar mugs, and quilted placemats add to the homey feel.

Dining Room seating for 8. Classic dining room set with simple country decorative items.

In the living room, we paired simple off white furniture with rustic coffee and end tables.  We’ve been getting the property ready for the market since the beginning of the year, so Meg has been on the prowl for decorative items with a cabin feel for several months. The feedback from the agents so far has been really positive!

Modern furniture with rustic style wood balcony. Large windows & deck access with nature views.

Please call for a showing.

Meg Howlett, Realtor, Associate Broker, Coldwell Banker Shook, 765-414-6531,

Flipping your own house

There’s a lot of talk about getting rich quick by “flipping” houses. Fueled by the HGTV

Before. Dark paint, burns in the carpet, patches in the walls, windows covered, and clutter.

shows, you simply find a distressed property, fix it up, sell it and voila! You’ve made money! Right? Well, the thing is, this is much easier said than done. You have to be prepared for the unexpected. Who knew that the tub would fall through the second floor bathroom into the kitchen the day after closing?! (This happened to a client of mine when I was a broker in Washington State)

After. Living Room: Freshly Paint and Fixed Walls, New Carpeting, Sunny Windows, and Team Howlett Staging. Move-in ready home for sale!

Here’s a safer bet. If you are considering moving for whatever reason, how about flipping your own house? New carpet, paint and other more minor repairs can make a world of difference. If you want to do the work yourself, please have Eric and I stop by ahead of time to give a free consultation on the best way to proceed.


Before. Lots of clutter. Damaged walls, burn marks in floor.

Check out these before and after pictures from our seller in Lafayette! Our seller was out of town, so Team Howlett, with the amazing help of Property Solutions, did the “flip” for him. Jeff Martin,owner of Property Solutions, is a genius in getting the biggest bang for the buck for our sellers. He painted the entire interior, including walls and all trim, replaced both bathroom floors, recarpeted all bedrooms and great room, and put a new counter top

After. Freshly painted walls, repaired flooring, cleaned, cleared and staged. Then fantastic photos to market.

and mirror in the master bath. All materials and labor were only 5,000 and the seller stands to make at least twice that from putting the money in ahead of time.




Before. Master bedroom. Dark, damaged walls, stained carpets.


Then Team Howlett came in and worked our FREE staging magic!  This transformation of real estate in Lafayette is astonishing!  Click on any of the photos to expand!




After. Newly painted, sunny windows, new carpets, and staged to perfection.

We never get tired of seeing a job well done.  Give us a call to see how we can help you!  We pride ourselves on pre-sale project help, great staging and then fantastic photos!





Before. Master bath. Burn marks on sink, worn sink, damaged mirror, scratches on walls.

Team Howlett.

Meg Howlett, 765-414-6531.

Eric Howlett, 765-414-1795.

Realtors. Residential Real Estate Experts.  Coldwell Banker Shook Broker Associates.


After. New countertop, new mirror, new vinyl flooring, freshly painted and staged with decorative items. A bathroom you would be proud of.

Snow & Ice = winter weariness!

I honestly don’t know anyone over the age of 10 who is happy about all the snow we’ve

Hard to park for an hour if the space has snow piled in it!

received in 2014! The hardest thing is all the ice. I know the businesses are trying to clear their parking lots, but it’s just impossible to get rid of the underlying ice until we have a melt. Private citizens are doing the best they can too.  If you are within the city of West Lafayette, here are the guidelines for snow removal from the website.

“Property owners or occupants are responsible for clearing snow and ice from sidewalks that are adjacent to their property? Section 66.01 of West Lafayette City code requires that the owner or occupant of a property adjacent to a sidewalk removes snow and ice within six hours after daylight and after snow fall has ceased.

If you live in West Lafayette IN then you will need to clear your sidewalks. Or you will get a fine. Community service is a good thing.

Failure to remove snow and ice from sidewalks may result in fines and costs for clearing the sidewalks. Fines up to $50 can be issued to the property owner or occupant if a sidewalk for which they are responsible is not cleared. Also, failure to remove the snow and ice may result in the clearing of the sidewalk by the city and the owner being charged for the costs, which start at $80.

Enforcement priorities are elementary school routes first, followed by commercial and retail areas, and then residential neighborhood streets.”  Think spring everyone!!!

West Lafayette IN Home for Sale

Meg & Eric, Team Howlett, are your West Lafayette Real Estate Experts. Buying or Selling. We Help!

Meg, 765-414-6531, or Eric, 765-414-1795.  Please call us today to help you buy or sell your home.  We’ve been selling homes in the current conditions! We just harness up the Huskies and get to work! We are full time real estate agents and care for you!