I normally don’t review or recommend paid apps, but this month I’m going to make an exception with FloodMap Mobile by Atkins North America. The app is available for both iPhone and Android devices and costs $1.99, which is very reasonable given the functionality. In fact, I’d consider it an essential app for any agent or real estate professional.
As you would expect from the name, the app tells you the flood risk of a property address based on FEMA flood maps. You either enter the property address or use your location, and the app will show you the flood maps for that area. By entering some additional data about the address, such as the value of the property and its contents, the app will provide risk and insurance estimates. I wouldn’t recommend using the app as the official word regarding flood analysis, but at least you’ll have preliminary information when reviewing properties with buyers or discussing property risks with sellers.
In addition to maps, risk and insurance estimates, you can also access more detailed FEMA Flood Mapping Information including the FEMA Region, Community Number, Map Number, and Flood Zone for future reference. There is also a share button (labeled “Email”) that lets you email a report, post it to social media channels, or create notes through other installed apps on your phone.
Below are a few screen shots showing how the application works. In the first screen shot, you will see that the app is displaying my current location using the blue dot, which is our office (click image to enlarge). It allows me to quickly see if I am in a flood zone, which is shown by the red/orange crass-hatched areas. Thankfully, it appears that we are safe!
If I want to get more information, such as flood risk and insurance information, I can choose the Location option and enter my address. In this case I entered our office address. If I want to get more information, I simply touch the property icon that appears on the map, and then the “i” (or information) icon on the pop-up display.
The application then asks me for some property data, including the estimated value of the property and its contents. Then it will tell me the flood risk and provide an insurance estimate. I can also email this report to myself (or others) if I want to reference it later when talking with an insurance professional.
These are just the basic features. There are options that let you compare properties and access additional map information through the “Layers” menu. Layers include Base Flood Elevation, Flood Hazard Structures, Coastal Barriers, Dams, Bridges and Non-FEMA Floodplains.
For anyone who is a real estate professional, FloodMap Mobile is an essential tool and a $1.99 well spent. It gives you an initial look at a property’s flood risk so you’ll be aware of any possible issues should you proceed with a transaction. Just be sure, as mentioned above, to validate any information you receive from the app with an appropriate professional to insure its validity and accuracy.