Flooding and Miami Real Estate Tips

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Tell me about flooding in Miami.

Flood Zones

Miami is located in a particularly flood vulnerable area. Identifying where floods are most likely to happen may influence your choice of neighborhood and home when shopping for Miami Real Estate. Miami Dade County has developed a terrific internet application to identify how prone your address or neighborhood is to flooding.

They will give you your Flood Zone type which can be: A, AE, AH, VE, X and X-500. Each zone is determined by measurements of Base Flood Elevations and hydraulic analysis. If you are in any flood zone you will be required by your mortgage company to take out flood insurance. This can be expensive so you should consider the ramifications of living in a flood zone before you sign on the dotted line.

How can I get a discount off my Miami home flood insurance?

Miami Flood Insurance Discounts

A Miami Real Estate Tip: Did you know you can get a flood insurance discount if you live in an unincorporated Miami Dade county? For those within a flood zone, a 25% reduction should be noted on your policy. If you aren't in a flood zone but you still want flood insurance, you can get a 10% discount. For more information, hop online and go to: http://www.miamidade.gov

How can I minimize flood damage to my Miami home?

Miami Flood Tips

Once you live in the Miami area, you may experience flooding in your Miami home or Miami condo. To minimize the damage to your home and the contents of your home here are some helpful tips on what to do in case of flooding:

  • Try to grade your property so that drainage is effective.
  • Try to elevate and secure electrical appliances. Keep wooden, plastic or metal risers on hand.
  • When wiring your home, put all low electric fixtures on separate circuits.
  • Use flood resistant materials on the outside of your home and on doors.

If you are in a flood emergency, you can use sandbags to shore up structures against an onslaught of water. You can also elevate and cover your furniture to minimize dirt and damage. Miami Dade County is currently assessing and updating local drainage projects.

What kind of coverage does flood insurance offer?

Flood Insurance

Flood insurance is a requirement for any mortgage company if you live in a special flood zone. Obviously, coastal cities like Miami are suceptible to flood hazards, so in many cases, flood insurance is going to be a part of your expenses.

Here is a quick synopsis covering the amount of flood insurance available for various building types through the National Flood Insurance program. Single Family and all other residential homes can get coverage up to $250,000.00. Non-residential buildings can get up to $500,000.00 in coverage. If you want to insure the contents of your home, you can insure residential contents up to $100,000.00 and non-residential contents up to $500,000.00.

What is an elevation certificate and why do I need one for my Miami home?

Elevation Certificates

If you are buying an older Miami home, or even a new construction Miami home, you need to ensure that the home has a proper elevation certificate. Homes and home sites in Florida must be above a certain elevation in order to secure a building permit. If you are substantially renovating your home you'll be required to provide this certificate as well.

If you don't have a valid elevation certificate, or if your home is below the required elevation, you may be put into a precarious financial position if your home is flooded. If you are in a flood zone and your home is damaged such that it loses more that 50% of its assessed value, if you try to collect on your flood insurance policy and your home does not have an elevation certificate, it will have to be raised before it can even be repaired.

What are the Miami Dade county emergency flood guidelines?

Emergency Flood Warning Tips

Because South Florida neighborhoods are susceptible to flooding, it's important as a new resident to be aware of emergency flood guidelines and procedures. Follow these instructions carefully and you'll protect yourself and your Miami home:

  • Never drive, walk though or wade in flood waters, especially those that appear to have a strong current. There could be unseen hazards in the water. You could damage your vehicle or yourself and contract infections from sewage in the water.
  • Do not go near any broken power lines or electrical wires. Be aware of any that are contacting pools of water and avoid the water as well.
  • Turn the power in your home off as soon as you see rising waters. You should also turn off gas lines and propane lines.
  • Wear smart shoes and be wary when walking around in flood areas. You can slip and fall in a puddle in your home.
  • Be wary of small wild animals and creatures displaced by a flood in your area. They may be stressed and frightened causing them to attack. Keep your residential pets close at hand.
  • If you were not able to turn off the gas in your home, be aware of any leaks. If you smell gas, do not smoke or light candles or strike matches, open all the windows to vent the gas and leave your home immediately and call local authorities.

How can I get an elevation certificate for my Miami home or Miami condo?

Obtaining an Elevation Certificate

You can obtain an elevation certificate in one of two ways. These certificates have been mandatory since 1995, so if your home was built in 1995 of after, you may be able to pull a copy of the certificate online.

If your home was built prior to 1995 you may have to have surveyor come out and do an analysis to make sure you meet the requirements. You can also try to contact the prior owners. In many cases, people wait until they are improving their home or until their home has been signifigantly damaged before securing their elevation certificate. It really is better to be ahead of the game, so if you don't have your elevation certificate, do what you need to do to get it in your hands.

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