It’s pretty easy to hire a Land Surveyor to perform and Elevation Certificate (EC) for you. But before you spend your hard earned money to have one performed, consider exploring one these options to find out if a EC has already been done on the property.
- Current Owner.
Ask the current homeowner if they have a copy of an EC which could have been performed when they purchased the home or could have been required by their mortgage company the last time they refinanced. Chances are, if they currently have flood insurance on their home and property, they will have had an elevation certificate performed at some point in time. They may have to dig through their old records, but they should have received a copy.
- Insurance Company.
Find out who is currently insuring the home, especially if they have flood insurance. Chances are if they currently have flood insurance, they will have had a EC performed. The only caveat to this is that homes built prior to 1975.Those built before 1975 were not be required to have an EC performed in order to obtain flood insurance. Now, most companies require an EC, regardless of when the home was built.
- Mortgage Company/Lien Holder.
Chances are, if the property is in a flood zone, they are going to require a homeowner to carry flood insurance if they are located within a flood zone. There is a chance that the lender may have a copy of the EC in their records. Again, you’re asking someone to go through old records and search for buried treasure, but it could save you money.
- Flood Plain Administrator.
Each county, and some municipalities, have a flood plain administrator. This is the liaison between local government and the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). Sometimes, when an individual has an EC performed, they will file a copy with the local flood plain administrator. It is NOT required for anyone to file the EC, and very few take it upon themselves to do it. But, if they do, then you may be able to obtain a copy.
If none of these options produce the sometimes elusive Elevation Certificate, you will need to hire a Land Surveyor or Engineer. The EC requires that a licensed surveyor or engineer sign and seal the certificate in order to make it a valid document.
Land Surveyors and Engineers have the skill set needed to gather elevation data and interpret the data which is then reported on the EC. The information on the EC will then be used by an insurance agent to determine if the property is in the flood zone or at risk of flooding. You can visit www.FEMA.gov for more information regarding ECs and flood zones.