Upcoming flood insurance changes for Gainesville, FL (Alachua County)

In 2012, the U.S. Congress passed the Biggert Waters Flood Insurance Reform Act (BW-12), which requires the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) to raise rates to reflect true flood risk. These changes will only effect subsidized flood insurance policies; however, keep in mind most flood insurance policies do see minimal increases annually as the cost of living increases.

Homeowners of primary residences in the Special Flood Hazard Area (SFHA)* will be able to keep their subsidized rates unless or until they: (1) Sell their property, (2) allow the current flood insurance policy to lapse, (3) suffer severe, repeated, flood loses, or (4) purchase a new flood insurance policy for the property.

As of January 2, 2013 owners of subsidized policies on non-primary/secondary residences in a SFHA will see 25% increases annually until rates reflect true risk.

Beginning October 1, 2013 owners of subsidized policies on properties that have experienced severe or repeated flooding will see 25% rate increases annually until rates reflect true risk. Additionally, owners of subsidized policies on businesses/non-residential policies in SFHA will see 25% rate increase beginning October 1, 2013 until rates reflect true flood risk.

What does these flood insurance changes mean for Gainesville / Alachua County?  Of the 112,766 housing units in Alachua County, only 2,934 (2.6%) have flood insurance policies. Of the houses in Alachua County with flood insurance policies, only 328 of them are subsidized. 

If you have a subsidized flood insurance policy and receive a bill at policy renewal, pay your bill as you would normally do to continue your flood insurance coverage. If you have a flood insurance policy and receive a letter from FEMA asking you to obtain an elevation certificate, additional information is required to accurately rate your property (i.e. elevation certificate, photos, etc.).

*For FEMA’s definition of Special Flood Hazard Area (SFHA) click here.            






Best Home Improvement Project for a Thriving Housing Market

With the real estate market on the rise, kitchen renovations are at the top of many homeowners lists. Whether you have just purchased a home and are creating your dream kitchen, or sprucing your current kitchen up before putting your house on the market, experts have said that kitchen renovations produce the most equity.

According to the National Association of the Remodeling Industry, home improvement stores such as Home Depot and Lowe’s have seen an increase in sales as the real estate market has improved.  Many homeowners are taking on renovations themselves and finding the courage and guidance to do so through home improvement television networks and shows.

Considering a DIY kitchen renovation?  Here are a few tips:

     Demolition can be exhausting and expensive – Consider doing the demolition yourself and you could save as much as 20%!

     Save up to 75% on cabinetry by using ready to assemble cabinets purchased from the store, rather than having custom or semi-custom cabinetry installed.

     One last tip…this one may not save you money, but you won’t regret it. Always think about storage when remodeling a kitchen. Eliminating clutter from the counter tops is a great way to make the area feel more open. Creating storage areas, such as “appliance garages,” for items like your coffeepot, mixer, etc. as well as adding more pull out drawers versus cabinets, makes storing items such as pots and pans easier.

We hope you these kitchen home improvement tips are helpful! Happy renovating!