New Homes & Rebuilds in Ocean, Monmouth & Atlantic County

Storm Sandy & Your House – 5 Things to be Thankful For?

Good morning New Jersey !

Hope this post finds you well and ready to attack the day with gusto & verve (ok, maybe that’s a bit aggressive, but the sunshine just does wonders for me…:) ). It’s going to be 55 and sunny today and when you’re done reading this blog, you should get outside and remember why you live in NJ in the first place!

*Please see my cautionary note about contractors below*

Before we resume our continued discussions about getting you back in your home the way it was so you can resume normal life, here are 5 positive thoughts to remember for perspective.

As a reminder to all – Sandy wasn’t a tragedy. It was an unfortunate event where many people lost their homes and possessions and were made to suffer inconvenience. If you want to see tragedy, go on Google News for 5 minutes and read about life in North Korea or Africa or about 50 other places, the Sandy Hook killings, Chinese & Indian working conditions, and any single person serving & defending our country who has died overseas. For that matter, read about any of Obama’s recent nominations to any available position. Those are tragedies. Storm Sandy wasn’t.

5 Things to be Thankful For

1. Thank God no one died. We can always get more stuff and rebuild our homes, but its a bit harder to replace a Aunt Carol or Cousin Dan. Give someone you love a kiss and a hug right now while you’re thinking about it.

2. It wasn’t a hurricane – just a storm. If Sandy was a Category 1 or 2 hurricane, damage would have been 3-4 times worse than it was. If it were a Category 4 hurricane, we would all be living between Cherry Hill and Trenton right now in FEMA trailers.

3. Regardless of how long it may take, when we individually and collectively rebuild, our homes and communities will be much safer, more energy efficient and generally more aesthetically pleasing.

4. The storm and its aftermath have brought us closer together as families, as communities, as a state and regionally.

5. Your new home, whether you rebuild new or renovate, will be built to more stringent codes and standards for wind velocity, energy efficiency, safety and (of course) water intrusion.

Ok, enough of that.

Event notes for today:

Home Elevation Seminar – Toms River – March 23, 2013. 9-11 am & 11 am – 1 pm.

Event to be held at the Toms River High School East Auditorium. The link is below.

Rebuilding after Sandy – Free Seminar – Friday March 21, 3-5 pm.

Open Forum Discussions – 314 S. Main Street, Forked River –

Call 732 300 5619 to reserve space – limited seating.

Cautionary Note – Beware of Price Gouging

Be very careful of exhorbitant pricing on certain services relating to rebuilding and renovating. I am hearing stories repeatedly about quoted prices that are 2-3 times what they should be. If a house move should cost $20,000 – $30,000 and you get a quote for $70,000, that is reprehensible. Many contractors do not want to work directly with homeowners and are throwing crazy numbers out hoping confused people will jump on them. Be cautious – shoot me an email if you want to check if a price you receive is very high or out of line. Or work directly with an architect, reputable general contractor or builder who will deal directly with subcontractors. You will ultimately save much more money and time than dealing directly with sub-contractors yourself.

(Scott Lepley from Adamson Riva & Lepley in Forked River and Jeff Lopez from Central Coast LLC in Manahawkin are 2 excellent architects to contact, if you aren’t dealing with a general contractor or builder. If you are, your builder will generally deal with the architect).

(By the way, I don’t really have an Editor, just a few readers who send comment and thoughts. When I say the Editor is reminding me about being too wordy, I am thinking of the old Vaudeville hook, where they yanked the guy off the stage by his neck when he was running too long….:):) Some people say I can be a bit wordy.) Moving on…

To clarify and expand on the blog of 3/8/13 where we were discussing the economics of new or rebuilt homes, I have some additional points.

When we discussed moving your home on your property in order to install regular pilings , the reference to 40′- 50′ was an average distance a home would need to be moved in order to install a new piling foundation. Keep in mind, if you are on the water, you can actually hang your home over a bulkhead about 5′ or so if you are on a tight lot.

The $34,000 average differential cost to which I referred, between moving your house, versus building a new house, assumed that amount as an amount you were unable to cover via insurance or ICC money. The $183 additional monthly cost ($2196 yearly) is the 2nd mortgage or loan you would incur to cover that difference, assuming you did not have the money to spend.

Keep in mind that $183 is a gross cost to you, and does not take into account savings to due to increased energy efficiencies and lower maintenance costs. It is quite reasonable to expect to save $75 – $100 a month in energy costs alone with a higher efficiency furnace, higher SEER AC unit, greater thermal efficience in windows and doors, and new appliances with lower operating costs.

Add in the lack of maintenance (painting, sanding, repairing) and you can see that the yearly cost of building a new home with a small additional monthly cost for a mortgage, is close to being a breakeven proposition.

Finally, some thoughts and reminders about helical piling considerations. Remember that if your house is one story, less than 1500 square feet, and was built before 1999, there is a probability approaching certainty that it is not worth raising and installing helical pilings. Helical pilings add an average of $35,000 – 40,000 to the costs of a foundation system. Unless you have gold plated fixtures with inlaid marble, teak and rosewood, it will be the same or less expensive to demolish and build new.

Enough for today. Giving myself the hook.

Be well and enjoy life!





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