New Homes & Rebuilds in Ocean, Monmouth & Atlantic County

Dream Homes Blog 6-19-13 – Rebuilding after Sandy – New FEMA Maps Out! – Update on RREM Grant Program, Seminar Thoughts & Foundation types and Height Comments

       New FEMA Maps Out! – Update on RREM Grant Program                        

  Seminar Thoughts – Foundation types & Height Comments


Hello NJ !

Hope today’s blog finds you well and enjoying your day.  

It’s only been a little over a week since my last post and what a difference a that time has made! There are a ton of things to talk about and lots of new information to help our rebuilding efforts.

June 13th Toms River Library Seminar Update & Comments: After a brief weather scare in the morning, the skies cleared up and the rain held out very nicely for the 6 pm seminar. A total of 13 people were there in addition to our speakers and there was a lot of great information exchanged. We were in the Green Room (windows on 2 sides!) with our cookies, pepperoni, cheese & crackers and it was perfect for the discussions we had. 

Some seminar notes:

  1. FEMA will pay for rental costs while you are moving your home, up to 18 months. Typical time out of your home should be about 6-8 weeks.
  2. If you have registered with FEMA and are waiting to hear about your case, remember to check back with them once a month and ask for your activity log  so you can see the progress made on your file.
  3.  If a DEP permit is required for your rebuild (most often it is not), there is a limit to enclosed area of 625 sq. ft. This will usually only affect completely new construction which is on an active waterway like a river, bay or the ocean.
  4. Market activity has been increasing across the entire state and picking up even more at the shore. There are sales of existing homes & new homes, both damaged and not. Very positive.  
  5. There are new approved flood vents on the market called USA Flood Air Vents. They are approximately $165 versus $235 for Smart Vents.
  6. If you are raising and can go the extra few feet, you can create garage/storage/entry space under your home. This is accurate whether or not you choose to use pilings or concrete block. For the nominal extra cost, the extra space is worth it.
  7. Scott Lepley was a great help with specific architectural questions, Tracey Giery gave a great market review and Bob Faust spoke about finance options. Thanks to all our speakers!

Real Estate Open House: Sunday 6/23/13 at 67 Patrick Drive, Beach Haven West, Manahawkin: Tracey Giery from Prudential Zack Shore is sponsoring a Sandy Open House from 12-3 and showcasing one of the beautiful waterfront homes she has listed for sale. I will be there as well to answer any questions about rebuilding. Come join us this Sunday afternoon!

Dream Homes Seminar Schedule:  Our next Free Rebuilding after Sandy Seminar will be held at the Lacey Branch of the Ocean County Library on July 17, 2013 at 6 pm. It is called Frustrated with Fema? and will be another great seminar. We’ll be hosting an excellent panel of professionals: Scott Lepley, architect, Bob Faust from Guaranteed Rate Mortgage, , Tracey Giery, realtor, and Sandra Guage, attorney. I will be moderating and it’ll be an open forum for discussion to get your specific questions answered. Remember to bring your surveys and flood elevation certificates. Seating is limited and refreshments will be served. Call 732 300 5619 to reserve your space.

Reconstruction, Rehabilitation, Elevation and Mitigation Grant Program (RREM)- Update:

As we said in the last post, the RREM program is funded to the tune of $600 million and the Dept. of Community Affairs is saying that funds will be disbursed as early as August or September. RREM has many limitations for many (most) people, but it will be a help to many people affected by Sandy. How long it will take and how effective it will be remain to be seen.

       If you haven’t already, go to and register. It takes 2 minutes and you will be on the list. You can also call 855-SANDY HM (855 726 3946) if you don’t have access to a computer, or if you want to speak to someone directly. It’s important for everyone to register since it is first come, first served so unless you are sure you will not qualify or don’t wish to get involved with the process, please sign up. It can’t hurt.

      I attended a Technical Review meeting in Galloway yesterday sponsored by the DCA and received a lot of information. Like many state & federal programs, RREM has a number of limitations, as follows:

  1. 70% of the grants are reserved for low and moderate income homeowners. I am trying to nail down what qualifies as low and moderate in Ocean County and will keep you posted.
  2. There may or may not be a reimbursement portion of the grant to repay you for work you have already done.
  3. The state is planning on disbursing all $600 million by the end of this year. That is absurd when one considers the constraints being placed on the applicants and the Qualified Contractor Pool. To give an example, that is 4000 homes. At the height of building activity when everything was humming along, we were building 2000 a year in NJ.
  4. The grant requires contractors to complete rehabilitation and lifting of homes within 90 days or suffer penalties. That is laughable. Not sure how we’re going to do that when permits take up 50% of the rebuild time.
  5. You will have to use the state provided plans if you want to rebuild new, which is a negative.
  6. You may not be able to pick your contractor, although you will have some input.
  7. The program is a total reimbursement program, which means contractors and builders are paid 45-60 days from the end of the job. That eliminates a number of qualified contractors.
  8. They say there is another round of $500 – $600 million coming at the end of this year, so if you miss out on the first round, you may still qualify.
  9. There is enough money for 4000 homes and there have been 6000+ applications so far. The first round closes on June 30, 2013, so get your application in soon.

I came away more confused than when I got there, but with 3 pages of notes. Not too encouraging.

      RREM Grant – SCAM Warning – Repeat : There is no fee to apply for the RREM reNew Jersey Stronger grant, nor for any other form of assistance to rebuild after Sandy. Be warned. Contact this author, the NJ Attorney General’s Statewide Sandy Fraud Working Group at 855-Sandy39 (855-726-3939) or go to the website at We have enough issues without worrying about also being ripped off. As an additional note, make certain you are dealing with a licensed (New Home Builder or Home Improvement Contractor, or both), insured builder or general contractor when you are pursuing your rebuilding efforts.          

      FEMA Flood Maps – Update & What Does It All Mean?: Okay, so we’ve finally received the working maps for Ocean and Atlantic County and there have been significant changes, most of which are for the better. There is much more clarity now. As was widely expected there was a large reduction in the V zone across many areas, which helps with rebuilding costs, although not as substantially as one would think. We were incorrect in our prediction that elevation levels would remain fairly constant and only zones would change – in most cases both zones and elevations have changed. So much for predictions. If you are currently a client, we have (or will be shortly) advising you of zone and elevation changes for your home and the implications. In any case, we will always keep you apprised here of FEMA changes or you can log into the FEMA web site at to check on your home.

            Many V zones changed to A or AE, which eliminates the need for pilings. Elevations also dropped which lessens the need for stairs. There are many items to consider and there will be a little turmoil over the next few months as everyone resets their plans to reflect the new maps. More on this in future posts.

Hope this information helped you today. As always, if you have question, comments or just need some assistance, please don’t hesitate to call me directly at 732 300 5619.

On another note, we actively purchase raw land, building lots and existing properties and have done so for many years. If you have property to sell, give me a call and let us evaluate it for you.

Stay well NJ. Keep up!


Rebuild, Renovate, Raise or Repair Your Home from Storm Sandy

Rebuilding NJ One Home at a Time…

Residential Construction & Development for over 20 years in NJ

314 Rt.9, Forked River, NJ 08731 Mailing: PO Box 627, Forked River, NJ 08731

609 693 8881 x 102 Fax: 609 693 3802 Cell: 732 300 5619

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