What You Need To Consider Before Building On Waterfront Property & Floodplains In Maine

If you’re a property owner in Maine and you’re planning on building a waterfront home on the ocean, a lake, or a river, working with Herrick & Salsbury is the best way to ensure that you’re not building in a flood risk area – and you can avoid the high cost of flood insurance.

In this blog, we’ll discuss the benefits of working with a surveyor before you break new ground and begin building on your waterfront property in Maine. Let’s get started.

Herrick & Salsbury Can Determine the Most Appropriate Location for Your New Home and Keep You Out of the Flood Plain

A surveyor can assess your property lines and proposed building site, and compare them to the Flood Insurance Rate Map (FIRMs) from The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), and determine if your home falls within a Special Flood Hazard Area (SFHA).

Basically, a surveyor can help you find out whether or not your potential building site is on a floodplain – and which parts of your property are within a floodplain and which areas may not be part of the SFHA due to higher elevation.

This is very important. It’s likely that a home built in a flood plain will be more prone to frequent flooding – and if your home is built in a flood plain, you most likely will be required to purchase flood insurance if you have a mortgage on the property, the cost of which can be extremely expensive.

In addition, building a home in a flood plain can make it more difficult to get a loan for your home build. Many lenders will be less willing to finance a waterfront property that’s in a flood plain.

At Herrick & Salsbury, we’ll provide you with a comprehensive survey and plan of your property to show you the flood hazard boundary line, and ensure your new home will be located outside this boundary.

A LOMA Or LOMR-F Can Eliminate The Need For Flood Insurance, In Some Cases

If you want to build on your waterfront property and you believe it’s not part of the floodplain – for instance, if the site is located on a high-elevation part of your property or you have raised the grade using fill – you will need the help of a surveyor to remove its floodplain designation.

FEMA cannot always provide a high level of detail for each property, so the Flood Insurance Rate Map (FIRM) of your site may not be accurate. A LOMA or LOMR-F (Letter of Map Amendment/Revision) can be used to remove your property or building site from the SFHA if a surveyor finds that it is not part of the floodplain.

FEMA anticipated these small areas of mapping inaccuracies referred to as “inadvertent inclusions” and created the administrative LOMA process.

To obtain this letter, Herrick & Salsbury will:

  • Visit the site and determine the lowest adjacent grade elevation (lowest ground touching the structure or ground supporting a structural support like stairs or a deck post).
  • Fill out an Elevation Certificate
  • File an Electronic Letter Of Map Amendment (eLOMA) or Online Letter of Map Change (LOMC) through our FEMA on-line portal.

Once FEMA accepts the application and issues the LOMA, your building site will be removed from the SFHA, and flood insurance is no longer mandatory, though some lenders may still require you to carry a “preferred risk” rated flood insurance policy, which is much less expensive than a higher risk-rated premium flood insurance.

Stay Informed When You Build – Contact Herrick & Salsbury, Inc.!

If you are planning to build a waterfront property, working with Herrick and Salsbury to check on its floodplain status can save you a lot of money and headaches in the future.

So stay informed – contact us today or call us at (207) 667-7370 for a comprehensive property mapping, and make sure that your waterfront property building site is not part of the floodplain.