by Jane Ebury
on Wednesday, March 7th, 2018 at 9:04am.
Living the beach life is healthy, beautiful, and offers peace of mind - especially in the winter when you can relax at the beach and remind yourself that you no longer have to bundle up or shovel snow.
I hear from northerners that they don't know if they can "weather" the hurricane season. Like anything else, being prepared is the key to not only reducing worry, but protecting yourself and your property. Essential to what I bring to the home buying process is an understanding of flood insurance regulations, how to navigate the paperwork, lenders' requirements, and information about types of coverage and what it means to you as the future homeowner.
According to FEMA, floods are the most common natural disasters across the United States. Amazingly, even wildfires can increase the risk of flooding as a result of the alterred terrain. Many residents along the Gulf Coast - though their propery has never flooded - prefer that extra bit of protection. Part of the appeal of living the Florida lifestyle is being able to relax in the sunshine, not worry about the weather.
What may seem like common sense, is often misunderstood – buying waterfront properties on the Barrier Islands, depending on the elevation and location to water, will affect the flood insurance premium considerably. At the moment, the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) is keeping the flood insurance rates at an affordable price and buyers/new homeowners will be grandfathered in with the lower rates if the NFIP expires. Flood insurance on the main land of Sarasota can be 25-50% less than the Barrier Islands, but again, the premium will depend on where the house is situated in relation to intercostal waters, flood maps and Gulf of Mexico, as well as the elevation of the house.
All new construction has to abide by the elevation building codes i.e., Longboat Key is 12 ft. elevation where Bird Key is 12 – 14 ft. elevation, etc. If you are looking at older homes, you may want to investigate whether or not it is beneficial to assume the current homeowner's flood insurance policy. Because flood insurance is such a hot topic with buyers, particularly if they are new to the area, Michael Saunders & Company has Nate Kochilaris, risk consultant with Baldwin Krystyn Sherman, on site at the Main Street office to answer any questions regarding home and flood insurance. Being local and experienced in the area for 8 years, Nate can help advise buyers about the pros and cons of each property they are considering, which can be a deciding factor!
As your Realtor, it is my job to look out for your best interests when purchasing a home. I help you find a place you'll love, but also make sure it falls within your comfort zone as far as proximity to the Gulf or inland bodies of water. This means knowing Sarasota and Manatee County well, keeping up with the latest in permitting requirements for new builds, and making sure you are aware of all the options for flood insurance coverage that are available to you.
Contact me if you have questions about flood or other insurance, or if you are thinking of buying or selling a home in Sarasota or Manatee Counties.