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How Much Does it Cost to Raise a House in a Coastal Flood Zone?

Long Beach Island, NJ has a million benefits; this 18-mile stretch of northeastern greatness has enough refinement to keep locals content and enough excitement to seduce visitors. Just ask either and they'll sing the praises of soft, sandy beaches, high-end putting greens, seafood aplenty, and awe-inspiring ocean views. Every location has its downsides, however, and LBI is no exception. The ocean giveth and it certainly taketh away. More specifically, those who make this island their home must consider how flood risks might affect their property. So, for those who live in high-risk areas, or the coastal flood zone, this is your chance to anticipate the cost of protecting your home and family by raising your house.


What is a Coastal Flood Zone?

FEMA, the Federal Emergency Management Agency, has a big job. Among other things, the experts who work for this government agency spend significant time studying climate and assessing/anticipating natural disasters. As such, it has outlined certain areas along the U.S. coast as more likely to encounter flooding. These flood zones, defined as any "area that will be inundated by the flood event having a 1-percent chance of being equaled or exceeded in any given year," require special considerations for anyone who resides within their boundary. To view the flood zone boundary of Long Beach Island, click here.


Is Raising a House Required in a Coastal Flood Zone?

If you choose to live in a flood zone, you will have to abide by any local and federal stipulations in that regard. If the community participates in the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP), for example, any new construction must be elevated so the lowest floor sits at or above the base flood elevation (BFE). As previously mentioned, LBI is a great place to plant roots, and with that, the township's website offers wonderful resources to anyone researching local regulations and practices. Clearly, local leaders want residents to succeed in every aspect of citizenship.


How Does Living in a Flood Zone Affect the Cost of Raising a House?

When considering this major construction project, it's essential to understand what you're getting into. Although several variables (like house size, foundation type and local labor costs) can influence finances, a home's proximity to a flood zone is definitely a contributing factor. To help you determine what the bill might look like, check out this handy online calculator. Not only does this site go into greater detail about the complexities of house raising, it takes all the major facets that affect cost and manipulates them to give you a better look at what you might expect to pay for such an endeavor.


A More Complete Cost Analysis

Although online resources can be a big help in determining the cost of raising your home, nothing beats a professional evaluation and estimate. Sure, it helps to know the ballpark you're in, but there might be enough differentiation between an online estimate and one more personalized, and depending on the variation, it could mean thousands of dollars. With that said, before you call a professional, you will likely need the following:

  • An engineering report that outlines the home's structural integrity
  • A survey and certificate of flood elevation
  • A soil test (this step helps determine if the house should be raised on pilings or blocks)
  • Disconnection letters from your utility company

[Read More: What Prospective Property Owners Should Know

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