DAVIDSON COUNTY, Tenn. (WKRN) — A couple of weeks ago, hundreds of Davidson County residents received a letter in the mail stating that their properties were now classified as being on a flood plain. On Friday, February 25, 61 updated map panels went into effect. For many, this means that they will need a flood insurance policy.
The new maps from FEMA, the Army Corps of Engineers, and Metro Water Services now show areas within the flood plain that were previously unmapped.
Flood maps show how likely it is for an area to flood. Any place with a one percent chance or higher of experiencing a flood each year is considered high risk, according to FEMA. Those areas have at least a one-in-four chance of flooding during a 30-year-mortgage.
“We know at least 1,000 homes are being impacted,” Eric Wyse said, who sits on the Board of Directors for Greater Nashville Realtors. “Some of those are some new houses being built, new construction, so the builder starts building it thinking it’s not in a flood zone then finds out it is, or maybe it’s people who have lived there for a long time or moved in recently.”
No matter what the circumstance, Wyse admits it’s a costly surprise.
Districts 24 and 33 in Metro both have many new homes, even some under construction, that will now be in a flood zone.
Also impacted, District 26, where homes were impacted heavily in the March Floods in 2021.
“I went through a personal experience of buying a condo two years ago and finding out afterwards new maps showed that the corner of it was in a flood zone and I had to go buy private flood insurance, which is kind of a rude surprise when you budget for exactly what you’ll be paying for with your housing costs then there’s an additional insurance premium,” Wyse said.
All of this impacts home values and the number of offers a home might receive. Those building homes right now in these new flood plains may not be able to sell them for what they once hoped.
“For anyone selling a house in a flood zone they know the buyer is going to take into account what that insurance might cost as part of their overall ability to buy at that level,” Wyse said. “I have certain clients that will tell me when searching for a home ‘I don’t want to look at any homes in a flood zone.'”
The reason for the change is more research contributing to better mapping, identifying more sites prone to flooding, even though the risk remains the same.
Even so, many homeowners will now need to purchase flood insurance.
“Flood insurance can be a few hundred dollars a year to several dollars a month, it depends on how the house is constructed, the elevation, it depends on what part of the flood zone they’re in what the greater risk is,” Wyse said. “There is a misconception that you have to buy flood insurance through [the] national flood insurance program but it’s been opened up several years ago and you can buy through private insurance so you can shop for the kind of coverage and amounts you need.”
If you find your house is in a flood zone call your realtor and they will help you figure out the next steps.