Currituck County’s PRELIMINARY Updated Flood Maps

The following information is copied with permission from the Outer Banks Association of REALTORS(R) .

Currituck County’s PRELIMINARY updated flood maps have been released. Information pdf on how to access the site. The link will take you to the flood map FRIS page, click on ok and then select the County (Currituck).In the upper right corner you will see “effective”. Go there and select “preliminary”. You will be able to look at the new proposed maps that will hopefully be adopted within the next year.

If you zoom in, you will start to see aerial views. By clicking on the map in a particular area you will get the information on the right side of the screen or you can search by using magnifying glass on menu at top left. Most of our county is seeing a significant change to elevations being lowered and many homes will come out of the flood zones or be classified into a lower zone (VE to AE for an example According to the NC Floodplain Mapping Office, the preliminary maps show that Currituck County has 11.5 square miles of V Zone (89.5% decrease from current maps) and 249.5 square miles of A Zone (24.75% increase):

  • ‪Under current mapping, there are 1,097 buildings in the V Zone; new maps show 126 buildings in the V Zone;
  • ‪Current maps show 7,020 buildings in the A Zone; new maps show 2,767 buildings the A Zone.

There are oceanfront V Zone properties that are coming completely out of the special flood hazard area – being changed to an X Zone!

Please keep in mind that these are only preliminary maps. They will have to undergo a 90-day appeal process, a public meeting process and final FEMA approval. This entire process could take up to 18 months. In the meantime –  good news overall for homeowners in the special flood hazard area!

July Update for the Outer Banks

We are half way through the season and the traffic is an unkind reminder. Saturdays have been a bear for sure. The weather has been quite pleasant for the most part. With the exception of good old Arthur swinging through over the 4th! The beaches north of Oregon Inlet were spared from any major damage. Not even an evacuation! That was odd for sure.

There are a few noteworthy topics this month. 

Mid-Currituck Bridge After months and months of silence on this topic there’s been a few rumblings. Not good news at all, even though two local Reps are staying positive, it’s an unlikely project to be revived any time soon.

You be the judge – Article 1 and Article 2:

Insurance for NC Unless you act today, thousands of NC property owners could continue to face sharp increases in their insurance rates, as much as 35% for barrier islands and 25% statewide. The North Carolina General Assembly is considering a bill right now that would protect them. It would create transparency, accuracy, and fairness in the insurance rate-setting process. The House passed the bill unanimously, and now it’s time for the Senate to take action. Please contact NC State Senator immediately and request a vote on HB 519, Property Insurance Rate-Making Reform.

Click here for more info.

Market Update  Not much has changed since last month. Activity is strong, while prices continue to be affected by the large inventory numbers. Average days on the market is still over 200 days for most areas. The month’s supply of inventory for most locations is at least 12 months with Duck showing 18 and Corolla at a whopping 30 months. What does this mean? It means we are still recovering. This is not a short term process.

I’m putting together a special email with a full Fall Forecast for the Outer Banks Market. If you want to receive the Fall Forecast, email me at [email protected] with the words “Fall Forecast”. 

Do you still need a LIVE real estate agent?

Beach Realty and Costruction Agent of the Year 2012As the article I read recently proclaims, America’s favorite springtime sport does not involve a stadium, peanuts or cracker jacks. It is browsing the real-estate market.

Zillow is a great tool if you’re a novice to the market and just want to look around an area, city, or use a zip code to look at property. However from my recent experiences with several clients there is nothing that beats a good agent.

Buying a house is really hard work these days.  Between flood insurance issues, the never ending and increasingly more difficult lending process, navigating the 11 plus addenda page legal contract, and the home inspection issues that arise…going this process without a proven professional will ONLY result in frustration and a deal not closed.

The fact is, YOU already have a full time job.  So do I…dealing with all of these issues.  It used to be that we would advertise, find a buyer, negotiate the terms and then turn it over to the attorney to close in 30 days.  Boy those were the days!  Not today.  I’m finding that I’m more needed in the transaction at day 20 to 45 than even before negotiation.

Sadly most of the lending problems don’t show up until the last minute.  The flood insurance issues don’t pop up until the appraisal is done and elevation certificate is issued or turned over.  It’s not the same to buy a house today, as it was when I started my career nearly 18 years ago.  We had a simple 2 page contract then!

Zillow is not in a position to assist with any of these issues.  Only a full time, professional real estate agent with lots of experience is going to be able to successfully navigate the way from contract to closing.  Finding the buyer is the easy part…getting the deal closed is where the blood, sweat and tears come in.

Financially Zillow looks even less attractive, at least to me. They are expected to lose 27 million this year. A loss that is double of last year. Wall Street loves the stock and it has done well for many but a company losing double of last year’s earnings is not for me.

In my humble opinion, you cannot beat the real life experience of a live real estate agent.


A vote is expected this week on a newly revised version of H.R. 3370 – Homeowner Flood Insurance Affordability Act.  Please continue making calls this week to other NC House members and ask that they VOTE YES on the bill:

District         Name           Party       Phone

1      Butterfield, G.K.           D                  202-225-3101
2      Ellmers, Renee             R                  202-225-4531
3     Jones, Walter B.            R                  202-225-3415
4     Price, David                    D                  202-225-1784
5     Foxx, Virginia               R                  202-225-2071
6     Coble, Howard               R                  202-225-3065
7     McIntyre, Mike             D                  202-225-2731
8     Hudson, Richard           R                  202-225-3715
9      Pittenger, Robert         R                  202-225-1976
10   McHenry, Patrick T.    R                  202-225-2576
11      Meadows, Mark     R                  202-225-6401
12      Vacant
13      Holding, George    R                  202-225-3032

The latest version of the bill can be found here

The legislation does the following:

  • Reinstates Grandfathering – This bill permanently repeals Section 207 of the Biggert-Waters Act, meaning that grandfathering is reinstated. All post-FIRM properties built to code at the time of construction will have protection from rate spikes due to new mapping – for example, if you built to +2 Base Flood Elevation in an AE zone, you stay at +2, AE zone, regardless of new maps. Also importantly, the grandfathering stays with the property, not the policy.
  • Caps Annual Rate Increases at 15% – This bill decreases FEMA’s authority to raise premiums. The bill prevents FEMA from increasing premiums within a single property class beyond a 15 percent average a year, with an individual cap of eighteen percent a year. Pre Biggert-Waters, the class average cap was 10%. Biggert-Waters raised the class average cap to 20%. The bill also requires a 5% minimum annual increase on pre-FIRM primary residence policies that are not at full risk. The updated legislation also states that FEMA shall strive to minimize the number of policies with premium increases that exceed one percent of the total coverage of the policy (e.g., 1% of $250,000 = $2,500).
  • Refunds policyholders who purchased pre-FIRM homes after Biggert-Waters (7/6/12) and were subsequently charged higher rates after their 10-1-14 renewal.
Permanently Removes the Sales Trigger – This bill removes the policy sales trigger, which allows a purchaser to take advantage of a phase in. The new purchaser is treated the same as the current property owner.
  • Allows for Annual Surcharges – This legislation applies an annual surcharge of $25 for primary residences and $250 for second homes and businesses, until subsidized policies reach full risk rates. All revenue from these assessments would be placed in the NFIP reserve fund, which was established to ensure funds are available for meeting the expected future obligations of the NFIP.
Funds the Affordability Study and Mandates Completion – This legislation funds the affordability study required by Biggert-Waters and mandates its completion in two years.
Includes the Home Improvement Threshold – This bill returns the “substantial improvement threshold” (i.e. renovations and remodeling) to the historic 50% of a structure’s fair market value level. Under Biggert-Waters, premium increases are triggered when the renovation investments meet 30% of the home’s value.
  • Additional Policies Included: This legislation includes several other provisions including preserving the basement exception, allowing for payments to be made in monthly installments, and reimbursing policy holders for successful map appeals. It also includes a study of voluntary community-based flood insurance options that would assess options, methods, and strategies for making available voluntary community-based flood insurance policies through the NFIP; gives states authority to regulate private flood insurance; and mandates that regulations and rate tables be published in the National Register and open for comment for not less than 45 days before becoming final. 

Information courtesy of the Outer Banks Association of Realtors Legislative Council.

Outer Banks Area Update

I hope your pre-holiday season is going well.  We’ve had quite the cold spell hit the entire East Coast this week and who knows, we could even see another flurry or two here at the beach.  Just hope it doesn’t stick!  I have a few things to update you on this month.

Flood Insurance – Bipartisan legislation has just been introduced in Congress to remedy the unintended consequences of Biggert-Waters.  Senate Bill 1610/House Bill 3370 – Homeowner Flood Insurance Affordability Act of 2013 – will delay the loss of grandfathering for four years until several steps are taken to address the affordability of coverage. For more information and what you can do to help read the full article here.

Beach Nourishment – One step forward.  It’s looking really good for nourishment projects in Kill Devil Hills, Duck and Kitty Hawk.  Of course it takes a while to get the projects actually started.  KDH put together a really great page of FAQ’s that you can read here.

Loggerhead Turtles – Perhaps two steps back. Never a dull moment in the coastal/wildlife arena.  The push to throw a wrench in the beach nourishment plans have already begun.  Read more here.

Holiday Activities – If you’re going to be on the Outer Banks for the holidays this year, here’s a website to check for some local activities you might want to check out.  Be sure to click on the “Events” tab.


Senate Bill 1610/House Bill 3370 – Homeowner Flood Insurance Affordability Act of 2013

In North Carolina, please Contacting Senator Kay Hagan: (202) 224-6342 and Senator Richard Burr: (202) 224-3154.

To find the contact number for the Senator and Representative in your State/District go to:


Current Local impact examples:

LOWER MARKET VALUE?: Bank owned property (land and house) for sale in Avon at $189,000. Home was built in 2005 in an AE zone. Property is Sound side, three rows back from the water, is elevated and did not flood in Hurricane Irene. Prior owner paid $1,200 a year for flood insurance. 2006 revised flood maps put the house in a VE zone (highest risk zone). Prior owner was able to keep the rate premium based on the AE zone. Due to foreclosure, the bank did not carry a flood policy. Potential buyer was quoted $15,000 for a new flood insurance policy. Buyer walked away and a cash buyer purchased the property for $149,000. The new owner was not required to purchase a flood policy since there was not a mortgage on the property.

OUT OF BUSINESS?: An older motel property on the oceanfront in Kill Devil Hills was built before the first flood maps became effective. The owner received a discount on flood insurance and paid approximately $5,600 a year in premium. After asking his insurance agent what his ultimate flood premium would be after phased in rate increases, he was told approximately $55,000.

FORECLOSURE?: A home built prior to 2006 flood maps, located in an AE zone. Owner pays $800 a year for flood insurance. 2006 maps put the home in a VE zone. Owner was quoted $21,216 a year for $250,000 of structure coverage, $100,000 of contents coverage and a $10,000 deductible under the VE zone risk. The owner states that this will make the house unsellable and unaffordable to keep.

A CURRENT OWNER TRYING TO SELL THEIR VACATION PROPERTY RECEIVED THIS NEWS! Their policy is grandfathered to an AE Zone and their renewal premium is $363 a year. If they lose the grandfathered option the renewal would be rated to their current VE Zone and the premium will be $5,870 a year.

REASON… While the law phases in rate increases on older structures, it also removes the grandfathering option when new maps show a change in elevation or flood zone. Structures that weren’t in a flood zone when built may now be required to carry flood insurance. Homes that were built to flood standards in place at the time of construction will now be required to pay to the risk shown under any future revision to the flood map. Revised flood maps will be released in NC tentatively July 2014 but properties where no flood insurance policy exists are already being impacted when a new policy premium is quoted.

As REALTORS we have a responsibility to inform you of this change in the law and how it may impact you.  We continue to fight this law by asking for a total delay of the implementation.  BUT, we can’t do it alone.  We need you! It will take a majority of all US Senators and Representatives to reverse the impacts of this law.

(Written by the Outer Banks Association of Realtors Legislative Sub-committee on Flood Insurance Affordability)

Happy 4th of July from the Outer Banks!

Happy 4th!!!

As is typical for the Outer Banks this time of year, there’s not a lot of activity to report…other than everyone is having fun at the beach.  The weather has been rainy and humid!  We haven’t seen extreme hot temps which is good.  I hope you’re enjoying your summer so far!

Bridge – No news.  Don’t count on it in our lifetime.

Insurance – Rates hikes for homeowners insurance went into effect July 1st.  This will impact buyers and the amount of mortgage they can now qualify for based on the expenses.

Market – The real estate market usually slows down in July.  Barring a hurricane, we should see a spike in activity in about 4 weeks.  If you want to get a jump on the market of buying or selling check out my website (here) or contact me for more information.

Duck Oceanfront A second public hearing will be held on July 17th at 1 p.m. regarding the regulation of oceanfront accessory structures such as dune decks, walkovers and oceanfront pools. Information on the proposed ordinance which could greatly affect the construction or reconstruction of oceanfront pools and eliminate the development and redevelopment of any dunes decks can be found here.

Occupancy Tax – Looks like guests will be asked to pay an additional 1% tax on all vacation rentals soon! Click here for details.

If you’re on the Outer Banks for the 4th of July, here is a list of activities you can check out.

Major changes coming to the National Flood Insurance Program

There are major changes coming to the National Flood Insurance Program in 2013 and it seems second homes and vacation homes are the primary target.  If your home falls into certain criteria be prepared for discontinued subsidies and ultimately an increase in your premiums.

Another point of interest in relationship to this is the plans from CAMA to re-map our area effective in 2014.  This will directly impact what flood plain a home falls into and in the end the flood insurance premium paid.

I’ll report updates and new information as it becomes available.

The following was taken from a newsletter provided by the local Outer Banks Association of Realtors.


Below is additional information from last week’s briefing about new legislation that may affect flood insurance policy rates for home and business owners in your community.
The Biggert-Waters Flood Insurance Reform Act of 2012 (BW-12) requires FEMA to take immediate steps to eliminate a variety of existing flood insurance subsidies and calls for a number of changes in how the program operates. The new rates will reflect the full flood risk of an insured building, and some insurance subsidies and discounts will be phased out and eventually eliminated. Rates on almost all buildings that are, or will be, in Special Flood Hazard Areas (SFHAs) will be revised over time to reflect full flood risks. Based on various conditions set forth in the law, subsidies and grandfathered rates will be eliminated for most properties in the future.

Effective on January 1, 2013, flood insurance policy rates for some older non-primary residences in SFHAs that received subsidized rates based on their “pre-Flood Insurance Rate Map” (pre-FIRM) status will increase by 25 percent a year until they reflect the full-risk rate. A pre-FIRM building is one that was built before the community’s first flood map became effective (1974) and has not been substantially damaged or improved. If the building will be lived in for less than 80 percent of the policy year, it is considered to be a non-primary residence. Click here to read a National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) bulletin that provides additional details around the legislation.

Effective August 1, 2013, the NFIP will also begin eliminating subsidized premiums for other buildings as mandated by Section 100205 of BW-12. Click here to read the full bulletin and note that key changes include:

• Subsidies will be phased out for severe repetitive loss properties consisting of 1-4 residences, business properties, and properties that have incurred flood-related damages where claims payments exceed the fair market value of the property.
• Properties with subsidized rates will move directly to full-risk rates after a sale of the property or after the policy has lapsed.
• NEW policies will be issued at full-risk rates.
• Policyholders should be aware that allowing a policy to lapse could be costly. A new application will be required and full-risk rates will take effect.

Beginning in 2014, premium rates for other properties, including non-subsidized properties, will increase as new or revised flood insurance rate maps become effective and full risk rates are phased in for these properties. These premium rate increases will include properties in areas that have received new or revised flood insurance rate maps since July 6, 2012 (the date of enactment Changes in the Flood Insurance Program Preliminary Considerations for Rebuilding – Early Considerations for Rebuilding of the new law). Additionally, even if you build to minimum standards today, you will be subject to significant rate increases upon remapping if your flood risk changes in the future.

Important Note on Preferred Risk Policies (PRPs)As of January 1, 2013, PRPs issued on properties located in a high-risk area may continue beyond the previously designated two-year period until FEMA completes analysis and implements a revised premium structure put in place with BW-12. For some policyholders in areas flooded by Sandy, the impact of these changes could be substantial. For this reason, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) encourages property owners to consider flood insurance costs when making decisions about how high to rebuild. A brochure that details some of the legislation’s impacts on building is also available here. Scroll down and click on the download/print link.

For More Information:For the latest NFIP Bulletins about the implementation of these changes, visit For more details about flood insurance, visit