In North Carolina, we don’t have a ton of properties that are sitting in a high risk of flood, but there are some properties in almost every county, with a particular concentration in the Eastern part of the State. In some cases, the whole lot is not in the flood plain, only a portion of the lot (maybe a back corner) is in the flood prone area. If that is the case, with the home you are interested in purchasing, you might be required to carry flood insurance. Flood Plain Properties and USDA Home Loans are not normally a problem, but we recently ran into something unusual (to us).
For instance, we found this on the Carteret County Website:
The dominant source of flooding in Carteret County North Carolina is wind-driven storm surge in association with Hurricanes, Tropical Storms, and Nor’easters. Approximately 33% (22,179) of Carteret County’s total population of 66,469 people live within a Special Flood Hazard Area (SFHA), while approximately 47% (166,120 acres) of Carteret County’s total land area lies within the SFHA. Additionally, 24% of critical facilities and 39% of road miles (569 miles) are located within the SFHA.
Flood Plain Properties and USDA Home Loans
It has been brought to our attention a little known requirement on flood insurance for government-backed loans that we feel is important for everyone to be aware of. For FHA Loans, USDA Home Loans, and VA loans – If a borrower is required to obtain flood insurance (as determined by the flood certificate), they MUST obtain a policy through the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP).
Private Flood Insurance Policies are NOT accepted.
The main item to identify is that there are two types of flood insurance: A NFIP Policy and a Private Policy.
It may seem obvious, but the NFIP Policies are backed by the federal government (FEMA) where as a Private Policy is backed by a private insurer.
Conventional Loans are the only program that will accept private policies.
Again, a Real Estate professional, a Seller, or a Builder might give you a quote for flood Insurance that is fairly low – and they could be absolutely right… but if the flood insurance is through a private company, USDA Home Loan Underwriters are not going to accept it.
To be clear you CAN buy Flood Plain Properties and still qualify for USDA Home Loans, which do not require any down payment – but the Flood Insurance Policy must be from NFIP / FEMA.
An NFIP Policy is obtained through independent insurance agents, but they go to the NFIP to write the policy (Premium/coverage rates are set by the government).
NFIP policies are more accessible to most independent insurance agents (which is what we usually see), but some agents will resort to a private policy for cheaper premiums. This is not acceptable per these programs’ guidelines.
When you call to get a quote on Flood Plain Properties with a USDA Home Loan, the Insurance Agent is likely to give you a quote with your car (s), home AND flood insurance all at once.
This is going to impact your closing costs, so you definitely need to discuss the fact that the property is in a flood zone with your lender as early in the process as possible!
Can You “Roll In” Closing Costs For USDA Home Loans
We often have folks who are looking at USDA Home Loans because they have very little extra cash to buy a house. Since USDA Loans don’t have any down payment and the Seller can pay most of the closing costs.
But what if the Seller won’t be able to cover ALL of the closing costs… What if your pre-paid items, meaning your portion of the Home Owner’s Insurance and Property Taxes AND your flood insurance are close to the maximum number you can afford? What other options do you have?
You can NOT “roll-in” these closing costs into the home. Meaning, if your portion of the costs are $2000, and the house is selling for $100,000 – we can’t just bump up what we are loaning you to cover the $2000.
However. you MIGHT qualify for the NCHFA Programs that offer up to 3% to cover the extra costs. This is in the form of a Grant, that has no monthly payments, and is forgivable over time.
Not all lenders offer this NCHFA Grant Program, so if you are close on trying to figure out your USDA Home Loan Closing Costs – or if you have more questions about buying a home in a flood plain with USDA Home Loans – call Steve and Eleanor Thorne 919 649 5058. We want to help make your home buying dreams come true!!