Flood insurance required for some upper-floor condos

sjones@thesunnews.comMay 23, 2014 

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Here is a factoid you may want to stick in your home-buying portfolio.

If you’re looking at condominiums on any upper floor of a highrise building, you’ll pay the same federal flood insurance premium as those on the first floor.

“I can’t see why anybody on the 12th floor would want flood insurance,” said Sharon Widener, branch manager of Nationwide Insurance’s Conway office.

But owners of condominiums who have mortgages that are federally regulated or secured are required by their banks to have flood insurance, regardless of the floor their unit is on, according to the Federal Emergency Management Agency. The mandate affects those who buy their flood insurance through the National Flood Insurance Program, and likely is the case where a condo owners association purchases a blanket policy for the building and everyone in it.

But relief in other instances is available from private insurance companies, Widener said, that offer flood policies that have lower premiums for floors that are above those that would flood in even a bad event.

But don’t think you’re safe yet.

Amanda Masterpaul, vice president of business development for Gold Crown Management, said that while most condominium towers have a blanket policy, you still could get gigged if you happen to have borrowed from a bank that figures risk differently than the policy the association purchased.

Masterpaul said associations buy policies with premiums to rebuild the tower, if necessary, against damage for all perils.

But Masterpaul said that the owner of a condominium on the 9th floor of a Grand Strand tower Gold Crown manages has been told by the bank that holds her mortgage that she must pay an additional $85 a year, because the bank figures replacement value differently from the association’s blanket policy.

As Widener said, “If (a flood) reaches the 12th floor, it’s pretty much all over.”

And she means everything.

Outstanding customer service

Mungo Homes Coastal Division, which builds homes in the Myrtle Beach area, recently was given an Avid Award for having the best customer service in the Southeast.

The award, which celebrated its 11th year in 2014, is determined by a survey Avid Ratings conducts of buyers of home builders who pay Avid for the survey.

There are 2,300 builders in the U.S. and Canada who subscribe to the service. Other builders pay other companies to do the same thing for them, said Kim O’Quinn, director of marketing for Mungo Homes, which is based in Columbia.

Just 70 awards are given out annually by Avid, and the one that Mungo’s Coastal Division won is among the top six.

“We recognize that buying or building a home can be stressful so it is our goal to provide our buyers with a positive experience,” Lee McCloud, Mungo’s Coastal Division president, said in a news release.

Realtors on alert

Apparently the “creepy” man asking to be shown homes only by female real estate agents in Horry and Brunswick, N.C., counties lately isn’t the first of his kind in these parts.

News about him earlier this week on The Sun News website, www.myrtlebeachonline.com, prompted memories of a similar guy that was reported at Horry real estate offices from Little River to Murrells Inlet, said Laura Crowther, CEO of the Coastal Carolinas Association of Realtors.

In March 2013, she got an email from a local agent describing a man in a long black coat who showed up at one office asking to see an oceanfront home on the market for more than $4 million.

“He was creepy,” the agent wrote, adding that he didn’t take the man to the listing.

In that case, Crowther said, the agent got the man’s North Carolina license plate number and traced it to Greensboro, N.C. That led to the agent getting a mug shot of the man and the news that he had been charged with a felony in the Old North State.

Chances he and this year’s “creepy” man are the same person are slight, at best. The man in the photo looked nothing like the description of the recent “creepy” man.

And the man recently is reported to be driving a white SUV with Georgia tags.

An update of this year’s case could not be obtained Friday from the Brunswick County Sheriff’s Office, which sent out the alert about him.

Contact STEVE JONES at 444-1765 or on Twitter @TSN_sjones.

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