What’s an elevation certificate? | Let’s Get Real Estate | August

Dear Jan:

We are buying a water view home and the lender has asked if the owner has an “elevation certificate”? What in the world is that and if the seller does not have one, then what?


Dear JJD:

Since Kitsap County is surrounded by water, lenders are looking to see if the property you are buying is in a flood zone or not. The way they can be sure to request an elevation certificate for that property. The certificate verifies the elevation data of a structure on a given property relative to the ground level.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency has a form that is used to record the elevations. One of the form requirements is for a survey to be conducted by a land surveyor or registered professional engineer.

Once the elevation is determined and the elevation certificate issued, the lender can then determine if flood insurance will be needed or not.

To answer your question regarding “what if,” the seller/buyer can either provide the certificate or the buyer can pay for flood insurance on the property. A typical flood insurance policy costs about double that of a regular home insurance policy.

You should request your real estate broker to ask the seller’s broker if they have an elevation certificate or not. If they don’t and since a survey is expensive most likely the seller will decline paying for it and you will end up buying flood insurance.

Enjoy your view … it will most likely be worth the extra efforts!


Jan Zufelt is an associate broker with John L. Scott Real Estate.