Elevation Certificates in Demand as Flood Insurance Rates Rise

first_imgContractors elevate a home at 10th Street and the bay. Properties above a specified ‘base flood elevation’ will pay far less in flood-insurance premiums under new legislation and knowing an existing property’s elevation becomes increasingly important. Photo credit: John BallIn Ocean City’s bustling real estate market, “location, location, location” has been replaced by a new adage: “elevation, elevation, elevation.”But home buyers are no longer required to produce an elevation certificate to learn the actuarial (full risk) rate of insuring their property against a flood before they close a deal.The April 2014 Homeowner’s Flood Insurance Affordability Act (HFIAA) undid a provision of the 2012 Biggert-Waters Flood Insurance Reform Act that included the elevation certificate requirement.Although that actuarial rate might remain a mystery for those who have recently purchased “pre-FIRM” homes — built prior to the 1975 adoption of the first flood insurance rate map — ignorance is not necessarily bliss.After decades of taxpayer subsidies to bolster the National Flood Insurance Program, now billions of dollars in debt, the HFIAA calls for annual increases in flood insurance premiums until actuarial rates are achieved. Without an elevation certificate it is virtually impossible to know when a homeowner has paid too much, according to Bill McMahon III, president of the McMahon Agency.“A lot of times [a home’s elevation] isn’t as bad as you think.  But you need to know where you are at, you need to know that worst-case scenario, because the rates are only going to go up,” he says.Tom Heist, president of Thomas H. Heist Insurance Agency of Ocean City, says that even owners with no intention of selling their homes can benefit from ordering an elevation certificate.  In addition to specifying the elevation of a home’s first-floor of living space, the certificate documents whether a home has adequate flood venting, its crawlspace grade and the location of mechanicals like central air conditioning condenser units, each of which can dramatically affect premiums.“If we have an elevation certificate on file, we will rate the property both ways — with the elevation certificate and without — and give the owner the lesser of the two,” Heist says. “It won’t be used against you.”While some sellers in Ocean City have been reluctant to obtain an elevation certificate, leaving buyers to foot the bill while in escrow on a home they don’t yet own, Coldwell Banker agent Lauren Perkins says others are taking the initiative.“If you are a smart seller you will find out everything you can about your property before you list it, and that includes the elevation,” Perkins maintains. “Sellers should do their homework up front.  Ultimately, it makes their property more marketable.”The question of which party — buyer or seller — bears responsibility for obtaining an elevation certificate appears to have no clear cut answer.Edward Rogan, a spokesman with the New Jersey Department of Banking and Insurance, which regulates the real estate industry, says that agents are required to “disclose all information material to the physical condition of the property which they know, or which a reasonable effort to obtain such information would have revealed.”FEMA, in a fact-sheet for Realtors, maintains only that “buyers can ask sellers to provide an elevation certificate” but sellers are under no obligation to comply.Adam DeSanctis, a spokesman with the National Association of Realtors, says that elevation certificates — like most home inspection-related issues — are negotiable between a buyer and seller and are “not something that one or the other should be responsible for paying.”Despite that lack of consensus, business has been brisk for Egg Harbor-based land surveyor Jim Boney as warmer temperatures spark home sales along the Jersey Shore.  “People want to know what their insurance liability will be, especially when buying in a coastline area” according to Boney, who estimates that the requests he has fielded have been split “about 50-50” among buyers and sellers.“The seller’s agent is asking, ‘What do I have to do to make this house sellable?’ And so they will get the seller to order an elevation certificate, just so that it’s on hand and it becomes part of their package for a buyer. If they are the buyer’s agent, they will go to their client and say ‘If you’re serious, and you’re interested in this house, order the elevation certificate and incur the cost,’ ” Boney says.“Some agents that are really proactive will actually pay for the elevation certificates themselves,” he adds. “It’s worth it to them if they can move a sale along and get the deal done.”Ocean City Board of Realtors President Gloria Votta notes that the need to order an elevation certificate can often be negated with a quick phone call to McMahon or Heist.  “If they already have one on file for a property, they will usually let us know what the elevation is,” she says.But when no pre-existing elevation certificate can be located, or when a pre-existing elevation certificate has become outdated, Votta believes that buyers should strongly consider ordering it themselves.“It’s too important, too big of a deal, to not know your elevation. If you’re going to invest half-a-million dollars in a house, spend the extra few hundred on the certificate. It’s a small price to pay,” Votta says.  “Especially when not knowing the elevation could cost you more money down the road.”McMahon agrees.“Investing in a shore property is one of the largest assets you’re ever going to have. An elevation certificate is money well spent,” he says.last_img read more

30-35 Syrian troops killed in Turkish counter-fire: Erdogan

first_imgThe Turkish strike on regime positions south of the flashpoint town of Saraqeb wounded another 20 regime fighters, the Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said.It followed Syrian regime shelling in Idlib that killed four Turkish soldiers, according to Ankara’s defence ministry.Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan called it an “ongoing operation,” and said that 30 to 35 Syrian forces were killed in the counterattack.He urged regime ally Russia not to stand in the way of Ankara’s response. Turkey has killed dozens of Syrian forces in retaliatory fire after four of its soldiers died in shelling on positions in the northwest of the country, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said Monday.”There is an ongoing operation right now and… according to initial findings around 30 to 35 Syrians on the other side were neutralised,” he told reporters at an Istanbul airport before leaving for Ukraine.Meanwhile, at least six Syrian government troops were killed by Turkish shelling on Monday in the northwestern region of Idlib in retaliation for a deadly regime attack, a war monitor said. The clash is a rare confrontation between Syrian forces and Turkish soldiers who are based in parts of Syria’s north and northwest where Ankara backs a host of rebel groups.It risks a serious escalation in a region that has come under heightened attacks by Damascus and Moscow in recent weeks, displacing hundreds of thousands of people.Erdogan last week warned that Ankara would use military force against Damascus if any of its positions in Idlib were threatened by attacks.Turkey has 12 observation posts in the region as part of a Turkey-Russia deal to prevent a regime offensive.Turkish media on Sunday reported that Turkey’s military sent reinforcements to the region to bolster the forces stationed at the posts.Topics :last_img read more

Saha calls it a day

first_img The former France international, who enjoyed spells with Newcastle, Fulham, Manchester United, Everton, Spurs and Sunderland, took to his Twitter account to deliver the news. Saha said: “Want to thks all managers, all staffs, all teammates, all opponents, all fans, for all support and love towards me during my football career. Louis Saha has chosen the occasion of his 35th birthday to bring the curtain down on his professional football career. Press Associationcenter_img “I’m a proud man but without you all I won’t be myself now. Thx for the challenges thx for the help thx for the memories thx for the passion. “I will stop to be call a professionnel footballer and wish many young talent to enjoy as much as me my football. Love you and thx again.” After starting his career at Metz in 1997, Saha initially played on loan at Newcastle in the second half of the 1998-99 season, making 12 appearances. Fulham then signed Saha on a permanent basis in the summer of 2000, the Frenchman enjoying a prolific spell with 64 goals in 144 games. That sparked a £12.8million move to Manchester United in January 2004, with Saha weighing in with 42 goals 124 appearances. After four and a half years at Old Trafford, Saha then joined Everton where he scored 35 goals in 115 games, before moving on again to Spurs in January last year, followed by brief spells with Sunderland and Lazio at the end of last season. Saha also made 20 appearances for France, scoring four goals. last_img read more