By Dayv Morgan
One of the overlooked aspects of house-hunting in Maricopa is the floodplain.
Although Maricopa has not had a serious flood in decades, flood zone areas established by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) impact homesites in eight subdivisions throughout the city and the Heritage District.
A buyer cannot get a loan on one of these properties without flood insurance, which could affect how quickly the home sells. Flood insurance can cost $500-$2,000 annually, depending on the value of the home and the zone rating, so homebuyers are usually more concerned about the cost of flood insurance than about an actual flood.
And buyers typically don’t budget for this unexpected cost, which gets added into the mortgage payment. This means that even though they may like the house enough to move forward with a contract, the added expense may cause their monthly payment to be higher than they qualify for.
Long-time residents may have purchased or built their home at a time when FEMA did not consider it in a flood zone. That changed in 2014 when FEMA remapped flood zones in Maricopa, affecting areas from Palo Brea to Tortosa.
Sellers are responsible for full disclosure and should have all current flood-zone documentation and land surveys available. However, it’s possible that some homeowners may not even realize these changes happened and that their home is now in a floodplain. If they had a mortgage on their home they would have been notified by their mortgage company about the need to add a flood insurance policy.
If their house was owned without any liens, then they likely were never informed about the change to the floodplain.
You can research a specific address and find flood zone maps and other useful information at FEMA.gov.
Most of Maricopa’s floodplain issues affect areas that have plans for commercial development. That is why the city is developing a solution to reroute washes to potentially move the direction of any floodwaters and bring acres of Maricopa land out of the floodplain.
These changes are years in the making, so even though we are in a desert town, residents should continue to monitor changes to the flood maps and how it may affect rentals and sales.
Dayv Morgan is a Maricopa Realtor and owner of HomeSmart Success.
This column appears in the July issue of InMaricopa.