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. http://www.outerbanksthisweek.com/things_to_do/


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)

Flood Insurance Update

Recently WAVY TV-10 interviewed several locals involved in fighting the Biggert-Waters Act of 2012.

To see the Flood Insurance segment WAVY TV10 did click here.   There are a couple of different segments so use the cursor to the right to scroll through the coverage.

The segments were edited from lengthy interviews and did not focus attention on the detrimental impact of the loss of “grandfathering”. Under the Biggert-Waters Flood Insurance Reform Act of 2012, when flood maps are revised and updated and the zone and base flood elevation changes on a structure – then the policyholder has to pay the rate that corresponds with that risk. What this means is that if your home was built to or above the FEMA base flood elevation at time of construction, and a new map shows that your home is now in a riskier zone (VE, AE) and below base flood – you could see a premium increase of up to 2000%. The increase would be phased in over five years. Preliminary flood maps are expected to be released in various counties in North Carolina in 2014 but won’t be final and approved until 2015.

Additional concern for selling a home with a changed flood zone or base elevation.  The buyer does not get the 5 year phase in, they are billed the entire new risk amount upon purchase.  This will greatly affect prices and qualification of buyers.

Affordability studies MUST be done.  It doesn’t seem that Congress took this into consideration before passing this bill.

We need everyone to CALL TODAY.

Although there is a government shutdown, you can still contact your representatives regarding changes to the National Flood Insurance Program.

Call Senators Burr and Hagan’s office to support our efforts to delay implementation of the bill.

Please take 5 minutes and contact Senator Richard Burr’s Office (202) 224-3154 and Senator Kay Hagan’s Office (202) 224-6342.

Ask to talk to their Chief of Staff. You may get voice mail – please leave a message with the following three points:

   1. I am ________________from _________ and I am asking you to first “do no harm”.

   2. Delay the rate increases to flood insurance created by the Biggert-Waters Act until the affordability study is completed.

   3. Amend the Act to create true affordability and fairness for all homeowners.


Summer is officially here in the Outer Banks!

While the calendar may say summer begins June 21st, locals and visitors would disagree! Memorial Day weekend has come and gone and we are in full swing here on the Outer Banks. There are just a few noteworthy items to report this month.

Mid-Currituck Bridge – Recently H817 was sent back to the NC State Senate for discussion. This bill basically removes the gap funding for the bridge among other projects. The likelihood of this bridge being built is fading more and more. If you are a supporter of the bridge you can voice your support here: http://www.buildthebridge.org

Dare County Tax Rate – The Board of Commissioners approved a 3.25% tax hike for Dare County property taxes recently. When property values declined on average 29%, the rate needed to break even at the previous budget would have been 39.75%. This change will make the new tax rate for the county at 43 cents per $100 of value.

Beach Nourishment – A $20 million beach widening project was approved in Kill Devil Hills in mid May. Duck is also looking into a project to pump sand onto nearly 2 miles of beach there. As well, Dare County is hiring a firm to design a project for Rodanthe and Buxton.

Flood Insurance Update – Your help is still needed to get some changes made to pending flood insurance rate hikes. My recent blog post breaks down new information obtained by our local Association of Realtors.

Buying or Selling – If you have any questions about the real estate market for the summer months on the Outer Banks, be sure to contact me. Having had a slightly slower spring, we are expecting higher than normal numbers for summer. We know rents are strong, and that gets buyers excited! Let me know how I can help.

Stay cool!