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Flood insurance rates could spawn another foreclosure crisis

11:35 PM, Oct 22, 2013   |    comments
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St. Petersburg, Florida-- Thanks to new flood insurance legislation, the watch word in real estate is "panic."

Panic if you're a real estate investor, agent, buyer or seller- thanks to skyrocketing premiums. We've seen the Pinellas County meetings in the past few weeks packed with frightened residents.

Now, more concern arises at an information meeting at the offices of Keller Williams in St. Pete. Quinn Henderson is trying to buy and sell a home.

"The thought of losing your home when you pay your mortgage or you pay your bills, and the thought of losing it because of the impact of this legislation is very scary," said Henderson.

SEE ALSO: Learn more about the Flood Insurance Reform Act of 2012

It's a frightening time for anyone looking to buy or sell a home, and according to foreclosure expert Jim McConnell, the new flood insurance requirements could have a devastating effect on the economy.

"We do see a lot of people who've purchased homes in the past couple of years that may restart a new short sale or foreclosure crisis," said McConnell.

And as FEMA re-draws the flood zones, few people will be able to afford the higher premiums that come with them, and that is already having crippling effects.

"The phones have basically stopped ringing on anything that has to do with waterfront or anything that's even perceived as waterfront,"  McConnell said.

As with any major purchase, your best defense is a good offense. So go to the FEMA website and look for the national flood insurance program. Arm yourself with information, so you don't get burned.

Wondering if you're in a high risk flood zone? CLICK to search for your address on the Federal Emergency Management Agency's(FEMA) official Map Service Center

Once you find the map for your area, use FEMA's "Definitions of FEMA Flood Zone Designations" to better understand what it's showing. 

Maps provided by Bay Area counties: 

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Watch out! Flood insurance rate hikes could be huge

If you want to contact your Congressman:

Rep. Gus Bilirakis (R), Dist. 12: 
2313 Rayburn HOB
Washington, DC 20515
Phone: 202-225-5755
Fax: 202-225-4085

Rep. Kathy Castor (D), Dist. 14:
205 Cannon House Office Building
Washington, DC 20515
Phone: (202)225-3376
Fax: (202)225-5652

Rep. Dennis Ross (R), Dist. 15:
229 Cannon HOB
Washington, D.C. 20515
Phone: (202) 225-1252 
Fax: (202) 226-0585

Rep. Vern Buchanan (R), Dist. 16:
2104 Rayburn HOB
Washington, DC 20515
Phone: (202) 225-5015
Fax: (202) 226-0828

Sen. Marco Rubio (R)
284 Russell Senate Office Building
Washington DC, 20510
Phone: 202-224-3041

Sen. Bill Nelson (D)
United States Senate
716 Senate Hart Office Building
Washington, DC 20510
Phone: 202-224-5274
Fax: 202-228-2183

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