In Falmouth, MA where there is more waterfront than any other town in the US, we have the understanding that anything within 2 miles of a coast is probably going to need some flood insurance. One of the ways to find out about a specific property is to contact your insurance provider. And usually, using a local insurance professional is as useful as using a local real estate professional - they are most informed, and have the most accurate info.
Here is the link: http://msc.fema.gov/webapp/wcs/stores/servlet/FemaWelcomeView?storeId=10001&catalogId=10001&langId=-1
Enter the address (Street and Zip code are easiest)
Next you look at the results.
The "+" sign is for the LOMAs that are for this section of the flood maps.
A LOMA is a written exception to the map. Some properties are mis-zoned and this is the remedy - it has lots of steps and takes months.
The "globe" is for the actual map
Not all streets are labeled on every map - don't ask its the govt.
The zoom keys are self explanatory.
The "Make A Firmette" is your next useful tool.
After you know where your property is located on this specific map, click the Make a Firmette button
You will see a shaded box appear in the upper left corner of the map.
Grab the box with your mouse and position it (drag it) over your desired location.
Next click the Scale and North Arrow Button.
Title Block is not necessary.
Next decide if you want a PDF or a JPG. (you can always make the other one later)
Then click the PDF or JPG button and Viola - a FEMA map for your desired location.
Then you can read the map and make a determination for yourself as to what zone etc. This map is also useful for your insurance professional. Now that you have a copy of it, you can send it to them for review. If any of the LOMA letters address your specific property, copy and send them, too. Disregard any others.
I hope that helps. Of course if it is too complicated, I suggest you find a great local real estate professional and get their help.
Happy house hunting.
Heath Coker, Associate Broker
Robert Paul Properties
www.CapeGroup.com / firstname.lastname@example.org
508-274-5613 Licensed in MA
Its a beautiful day on Cape Cod!
@CapeGroup Skype: heath.coker