FREA Flood Analysis

Frea is offering flood analysis reports for a mere $9.95 at What a deal! NOT…

I’m not sure what type of flood information you’ll receive from FREA for the $9.95 fee, but I know you can get FREE flood information by going here.

Let’s see…FREE or $9.95. Hmmmm…The decision isn’t too hard to make. Is it?

Almost everything in that report (with a couple of items) is already determined when you purchase a property. First off a home being in an official flood zone is a required disclosure under most disclosure laws. After all it is a potential detrimental condition of the property.

Next most purchase contracts have a clause (if the RE Agent representing the buyer did their job) specifying that the purchase is contingent upon financing acceptable to the buyer. One of the first things a lender will do is verify if it is or is not in a flood zone. The lender is then going to require the loan holder to purchase flood insurance as a condition of the loan. If that is not acceptable to the buyer they have an opportunity to kill the deal.

Thirdly, you’re exactly correct the buyer can easily look it up on the FEMA flood zone mapping system. I tell anyone I speak to that is considering making an offer to check this out, along with other checks, before making the offer.

About the only thing they are proving that the above items don’t is an aerial view and whether the property is within 1000 feet of the flood zone. As we all know aerial and mapping of virtually any property is free and available through many sources.

I want to offer one caveat when using FEMA flood maps. That is the local Controlling Authority may and will often have some additional requirements that a buyer or homeowner will not find on the FEMA website. I am involved in a case now dealing with upgrades and required elevations of properties along flood plains. Original home was wiped out in Ivan. It was a slab on grade, but the county requires any replacement home to have a 12 foot elevation while the FEMA maps show only a 9 foot requirement. In other words the County requirements trumps the FEMA. Just something to file in the back of your mind. Always check first for local requirments. Someone going by FEMA only could have a surprise or two.

Doug is absolutely correct!

Local AHJ’s do have the authority to make additional requirements including modifying an areas designation for flood potential if they feel the FEMA maps do not accurately reflect local conditions. This is called a Letter Of Map Revision and does not automatically cause the FEMA FIRM maps to be updated. These LOMR’s can be submitted by any AHJ from a community up to the state level (whoever controls that particular area of change and however it is agreed on that LOMR’s will be submitted). In my area the county government controls any changes and local AHJ’s must submit them to the county.

That brings up an interesting point. Does the FREA offering just use FIRM data or do they actually research for the existence of LOMR’s?

You’ll have to ask them.

I think they’re just devising another way to make money.