"7 Sea Level Rise Real Estate Questions" — The Book

“7 Sea Level Rise Real Estate Questions” helps buyers, sellers, owners, and real estate agents in coastal areas to determine their exposure to this creeping catastrophe. Click the photo to see the book on Amazon.com.

“The Little Book that Can Save You BIG $$$!!!”

Sea level rise flooding is already causing millions of dollars worth of property damage all along the Atlantic, Pacific and Gulf of Mexico coastlines. Cities and towns need billions of dollars to save private property and critical infrastructure from the salty floodwaters. Scientists say the rate of sea level rise will continue to increase for years, decades and even centuries to come.

In this risky environment, buyers, sellers, owners, and real estate agents in coastal areas need to stay informed about sea level rise. “7 Sea Level Rise Real Estate Questions” was written to give you the facts about global warming and sea level rise and to help you to assess the level of threat sea level rise flooding poses to your property of interest, which may impact how you decide to proceed in a real estate transaction.

The questions posed in “7 Sea Level Rise Real Estate Questions” are simple and direct:

  1. Does the property flood? It’s not as easy as you might think to determine if a property experiences sea level rise flooding. Laws governing how much information — if any — a seller has to disclose about sea level rise flooding vary greatly from state-to-state. And a federal privacy law prevents insurers from releasing flood insurance claims histories without a seller’s consent. “7 Sea Level Rise Real Estate Questions” provides a list of information resources that can help you to determine if a property floods.
  2. Is the property at risk of flooding? Sea level rise is not static. As humans burn more fossil fuels and create more greenhouse gases, the atmosphere continues to build up heat, which is melting ice and snow on land, primarily in Greenland and Antarctica. The run-off is causing the seas to rise, as is the heat-induced expansion of the oceans. Scientists say the rate of sea level rise flooding is increasing, which means everyone in coastal areas needs to know what to expect in the years to come. “7 Sea Level Rise Real Estate Questions” lists several resources that will help you to determine if and when your property of interest will be at risk of sea level rise flooding.
  3. How are local governments managing sea level rise flooding? In the absence of a comprehensive national approach to address sea level rise flooding, it’s up to state, county and local governments to decide how to deal with the threat. Their response varies widely. Some governments are taking on the challenge aggressively. They’re conducting studies to determine what steps should be taken to hold back the rising seas. Others, unfortunately, are burying their heads in the sand, which leaves property owners at risk of inundation. Ultimately, property owners and prospective property owners need to know what’s being done as it can greatly affect their tax rate, their level of risk to flooding, and the value of their homes. In addition, some property owners are surprised to find their properties physically impacted by the infrastructure — such as raised sea walls and pumping stations — needed to control the flooding. “7 Sea Level Rise Real Estate Questions” gives readers an understanding of the questions they need to ask those in government when deciding how to proceed in a coastal area.
  4. How is the flood insurance market responding to sea level rise flooding? Since the mid-1960s, the Federal Flood Insurance Program has relied on taxpayer subsidies to keep flood insurance artificially affordable. In recent years, flooding claims have outstripped the program’s resources, leaving it tens of billions of dollars in debt. Congress and the Federal Emergency Management Agency, which administers the program, are trying to close the funding gap by making policy-owners pay rates that are more in line with the actual threat faced by their property. In 2012, they tried phasing out the subsidies. Some property owners complained to their members of Congress when they saw ten-fold increases in their premiums. Congress restored the subsidies, but they may be taken away again in Fall 2021. “7 sea Level Rise Real Estate Questions will tell you what to ask a flood insurance provider so you’re not surprised by ballooning flood insurance costs.
  5. How is the mortgage market responding to sea level rise flooding? Some experts see the availability of flood insurance and mortgages as they lynchpins to owning property in coastal areas at risk of sea level rise flooding. Most mortgage providers require buyers to purchase flood insurance policies in when they buy property in at-risk areas. If chronic sea level rise flooding makes it impossible for buyers to get flood insurance, or if mortgage providers stop writing 30-year mortgages because they believe an area will be inundated before the mortgage could be paid off, buyers won’t be able to purchase properties and owners won’t be able to sell them. “7 Sea Level Rise Real Estate Questions” discusses the risks this poses to homeowners, governments struggling to cope with sea level rise flooding, and entire real estate markets.
  6. How is the homeowners association or condo association dealing with sea level rise flooding or the threat of flooding? Many coastal properties are governed by homeowners associations or condo associations. Buyers, sellers, owners, and real estate agents need to know how the associations are addressing sea level rise flooding and what the costs are to each owner to avoid surprise hikes in association fees and special assessments.
  7. How much sea level rise flooding risk can a buyer or owner realistically manage? This question is truly where the rubber meets the road for everyone involved in coastal real estate. When you’re finished reading “7 Sea Level Rise Real Estate Questions”, you will have an understanding of the challenges sea level rise flooding poses to a coastal property of interest directly and indirectly. You will then be able to decide if you have the stamina and financial resources necessary to deal with a property that may need to be protected from sea level rise flooding that may lead to a substantial hike in maintenance costs, flood insurance costs, taxes and association fees and special assessments. Many of the increased costs might be due even though the property of interest doesn’t actually experience flooding but is located in an area that floods.

“7 Sea Level Rise Flooding Questions” poses questions instead of firm answers because each coastal area and property faces different types and levels of threat from sea level rise flooding. When you buy the book, you will get valuable, fact-based information, and resources that will help you to make the right decision when you’re dealing with property at risk of sea level rise flooding.

Larry Richardson, a real estate agent with over a dozen years of experience as a real estate agent in South Florida—the front line for sea level rise flooding in the U.S.—and an experienced journalist, wrote “7 Sea Level Rise Real Estate Questions” and this website to even the playing field between buyers, sellers, owners, and real estate agents.