Flood Plain…Flood Pain!…Westboro, MA 01581


Half of Norfolk County is under water right now….This was a terrible storm and many are suffering financial loss from it.


Flood Plain = Flood Pain!

After watching my local DPW trucks haul sandbags around town to hold back the floods caused by recent rains, I have the flood plain on my brain!

I took a listing recently that was in a flood plain but nobody knew it. The house was built in 1959. The owner was a church, and the house served as a home for various clergy over the years. The church was disbanded and liquidation of assets included the rectory. There was no mortgage on the property. Apparently there was no insurance either, since it is likely the issue would have been picked up there.

My inspection of the property showed a babbling brook on the left property line. The immediate source was drainage from the street, and wetlands appeared confined to the brook (ie. No swamp land around the brook). The basement of the property was finished, and showed evidence of past water damage. The church caretaker explained a trench was dug across the back yard and the gutters were tied to it. The pipe emptied out at the brook.

When I list a house I pull the plot plan. Although these documents show streams and wetlands, they do not show flood plain boundaries. An offer was accepted and the buyer applied for financing. One of the requirements of the lender was confirmation the house was not in a flood plain. Low and behold…the brook and the area immediately surrounding was in the flood plain!

Flood Insurance is only offered through one agency in Massachusetts (the Fair Plan) – and the premium was $2,000 per year! We were able to close the deal by paying the flood insurance premium out of closing proceeds, and escrowing another year’s premium.

In the end we were able to hire an engineer to prove us out of the flood plain. Since it takes time for the flood maps to be adjusted, the funds were escrowed for another year’s premium to protect the buyer.

If there is a wetland or water on your listing, check the flood maps. These are available at town hall (although in my case the particular one for this location was inexplicably MISSING!), or even more up to date maps are on line at : http://gis1.msc.fema.gov/Website/newstore/viewer.htm

About susanmorrison

After living in Walpole, MA for many years, our family was transferred to the west coast when I was a senior in high school. In 1983, I graduated from Mission San Jose High School in Fremont, California. I am also a 1987 graduate of Providence College with a major in liberal arts and a minor in business administration. I bring to the table many years of sales experience beginning with thirteen years in Corporate Sales at Delta Air Lines. I'm the mother of three children and I'm very active within the Franklin, MA community. I am also a cancer survivor and support the American Cancer Society Charities.

My husband and I have built five homes and I've lived in a variety of other locations including Toronto Canada, Irving Texas and my current home in Franklin, MA. As a result of all my moving around, I came to the conclusion that I was an expert at moving...why not become an expert on the other side of the table? I earned my real estate license in 2004 and believe that I have found my true niche'. I can empathize with my clients on a variety of levels; whether they are buying or selling. And, like so many other good realtors out there, I believe that possessing good communication skills is one of the many keys to success.

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