Michelle Farkas Advises to Check Multiple Maps When Making Real Estate Decisions

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Michelle N. Farkas, who focuses on complex commercial real estate transactions, real estate acquisition, development, financing, zoning and land use matters, has been thinking a lot about the recent floods in Vermont and those people and properties that were affected.

She points out that the most accepted references for flood risk are often outdated. As many in Vermont recently realized, properties not officially in the flood zone, according to Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) flood insurance rate maps, may still be in high risk, vulnerable areas.

Farkas advises that it is important when purchasing property to consult multiple sources in addition to the FEMA maps. Other organizations, such as First Street Foundation (a non-profit climate research firm) have created more updated flood models that are useful to consult in addition to the FEMA maps. First Street Foundation has made its model publicly available at

Vermont also has made efforts to improve the federal maps by updating its River Corridor Maps (

For questions on this and other real estate & land use questions, please contact Michelle Farkas at