FHA Rules for Homes in a Flood Zone
Many consumers are shopping for a home that may be in a FEMA designated flood zone. If you plan to have a mortgage on the home in a flood zone, you will likely need flood insurance. However, you also need to determine whether you are able to finance that property with an FHA loan.
Can I Get an FHA Loan in a Flood Zone?
You can get an FHA loan but the FHA has rules for obtaining a mortgage for homes that are in a flood zone. There are certain types of Flood Hazard Areas that simply are not eligible for an FHA loan. However, in some flood areas an FHA loan can be obtained to purchase a home there.
You can read about the FHA Flood Guidelines beginning with row 358 in the Section 4000.1 of the Hud Handbook.
Existing Homes – FHA Rules for Homes in a Flood Zone
Flood Insurance Requirements for Existing Homes – A property is not eligible for FHA insurance if it is located in the following areas:
- SFHA Zone A
- A Special Flood Zone Area
- Zone V
- A Coastal Area, and insurance under the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) is not available in the community
According to the FHA, flood insurance coverage must be maintained on the home for at least the amount of the remaining mortgage OR the replacement cost of the home (whichever is lowest). You can look up a property address using this FEMA Flood Zone Website. Simply input the address and a map will display. In the center of the map, it will indicate what zone the property is in.
New Construction FHA Rules for Homes in a Flood Zone
FHA Flood Insurance Requirements for New Construction – First, you or the lender need to determine if the property is located in a Special Flood Hazard Area (SFHA) as indicated by FEMA. If so, the home will require a Life of the Loan Flood Certification and it must be secured prior to the loan closing.
If any portion of the home or property are located in a special flood zone area (SFHA), then the property will not be eligible unless:
- “A final Letter of Map Amendment (LOMA) or final Letter of Map Revision (LOMR) that removes the property from the SFHA is obtained from FEMA”
- You or the lender obtain a FEMA Elevation Certificate (FEMA Form 81-31), that indicates the lowest floor (including the basement) of the residential building and all related improvements is built at or above the 100-year flood elevation line in compliance with the NFIP criteria. The flood elevation certificate must be prepared by a licensed engineer or surveyor.
Read our article on FHA construction loans.
Condominium FHA Rules for Homes in a Flood Zone
FHA Flood Insurance Requirements for a Condo – First, the condominium complex needs to be FHA approved. Then, the condo association must obtain flood insurance sufficient to cover the borrowers’ interest in not only the unit they are purchasing, but also the common areas.
This means the flood insurance is protecting both the owners of each unit within the condominium but also the areas of the project that are commonly owned.
Manufactured Housing FHA Rules for Homes in a Flood Zone
FHA Flood Insurance for Manufactured Housing – According to HUD guidelines, FHA approved manufactured homes must be at or above the 100-year return frequency flood elevation.
The HUD documentation also states the following:
“If any portion of the home, other buildings or structures (including equipment) essential to the Property Value and subject to flood damage for both new and existing Manufactured Homes are located within an SFHA, the Property is not eligible for FHA mortgage insurance unless the borrower/lender obtains:
- A FEMA issued LOMA or LOMR that excludes the subject property from the SFHA area or
- A FEMA National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) Elevation Certificate stating that the finished grade beneath the Manufactured Home is at or above the 100-year return frequency flood elevation, and insurance under the NFIP is obtained.
What this basically means is the requirements to get an FHA loan for a manufactured home are identical to that of a traditional home. Read our article on the FHA rules for manufactured and mobile homes.
What FHA Flood Zone Documentation is Required?
The following FHA flood zone documents will be needed:
- Life of Loan Flood Certification
- FEMA Letter of Map Amendment (LOMA)
- FEMA Letter of Map Revision (LOMR)
- FEMA National Flood Elevation Certificate (FEMA 81-31) if applicable
Who is Responsible for Determining Whether Flood Insurance is Needed for an FHA Loan?
The lender is solely responsible for making the determination as to whether the property is located in a SFRA flood area and for obtaining the life of loan flood certificate.
If you have any questions at all, I suggest having a discussion with your loan officer. If you would like to speak with someone now about your FHA loan option, then contact us and we will help.
How Much Does Flood Insurance Cost?
Flood insurance is not something that is covered by your homeowner’s insurance policy. You will need to secure separate flood insurance coverage and it may end up coming from a different insurance company.
You can expect flood insurance to cost $500 per year on the low end. If you live in one of the high risk areas identified as zone A, AE or V, and your elevation is low, then your flood insurance premium could be a few thousand dollars per year.
Does FHA require flood insurance?
If the home is in a designated flood zone then you will be required to get flood insurance.
What is a FEMA Special Flood Hazard Area?
The FEMA SFRA is an area designated by FEMA as being in a special flood or mudflow area. The areas are identified on the flood hazard map in the following codes: Zone A, AO, A1-A30, AE, A99, AH, AR, AR/A, AR/AE, AR/AH, AR/AO, AR/A1-A30, V1-V30 or V.
How do I know if a house is in a flood zone?
You can do a property search in this FEMA Flood Zone Website to see whether the property is located in a flood zone.