New Homes & Rebuilds in Ocean, Monmouth & Atlantic County

Dream Homes – Rebuilding Blog – 9-1-13 – New $50,000 Grant – World Speed Record for House Lifting – RREM Rant (RFAM Ready – Fire – Aim – Missed!!)

                 Dream Homes Blog 9 – 1 – 13 – Rebuilding after Sandy

                   Notice – NJ Land Speed Record for House Raising !

                $50k 1st time Buyer Grant  – Free Rebuilding Seminar 9/17


 Happy Labor Day NJ –

Though the weather isn’t sunny and 90 degrees, it still turned out much nicer than the weatherman predicted…hmmmm…maybe he works for the Department of Community affairs administering RREM??

Let’s not jump right in hip deep into RREM bashing – we have tons of good stuff to talk about today.

Great New $50,000 Homebuyer Grant: For anyone who is thinking about buying your first home (or who needs a house for their college student or newly married child), the new $50,000 1st time homeowner grant is an amazing gift from NJ. If you earn 80% or less of the median income, you are eligible for this grant. A surprising number of households are in this category in NJ and the specific income guidelines vary by county. You will need a credit score of 620 and be willing to stay there for 5 years, but those conditions are not unreasonable.

With a house priced under $250,000, this effectively comprises your 20% down payment, and you can buy the house with no money down. If you’ve been on the fence for years, get out there and buy something. Interest rates have been steadily rising but are still historically low. Prices have increased moderately over the last year and we have truly turned to corner after 5 years of stagnation. This is an outstanding time to buy real estate of any kind and a $50,000 grant is too good of a bonus to ignore. Print this and stick it on your fridge as a reminder.

Guinness Book of World Record for House Lifting in NJ: Wow!! We may be on track for a NJ World House Raising Speed Record! Thanks to a very prepared homeowner (Great Job Steve!) who had all his paperwork and permits ready and Baumgarder House Lifting (Thanks Andrew and John) who did a beautiful job lifting the house in 3 days, this raise of a 2 story house on a slab is going exceptionally well. We had concrete block delivered the next day and set the entire foundation the following day. Now we are building a floor system and awaiting foundation and open deck inspections from the township. Total time: 9 days, which is 9 days faster than I have ever done it before. That is amazing, our best performance ever, and is the new gold standard. Now I want to improve on our best total time of 42 days to have the house reset on the new foundation and powered up…Stay tuned.

RREM Approved Contractor – Notes: To be able to continue to work with a number of our clients who are receiving RREM funds, we have been partnering with Baumgardner House Lifting (who is one of the very few approved FEMA contractors) for all FEMA work. We have been working with Andrew on a number of different projects and he has been an excellent trade partner.

Important Note: If you want us (or anyone else you are working with) to be able assist on your project, you have to request that your contractor be one of the three contractors who quotes on your renovation. Supposedly preference is given to previous work associations, but once again it is on a case by case basis.

(Repetitive)Important Sobering Note: In the DCA Bulletin of 7/30/13 concerning the RREM Grant, the last line states: “Due to limited federal funding, it is unlikely even with an additional allocation that every RREM applicant who was placed on the wait list will receive an award….those who are waitlisted should be guided by that fact as they choose whether or not to begin to repair or reconstruct their Sandy – managed home.”  IE: If you haven’t applied for the RREM, you are probably not going to get it in the future. Wait and hope at your own risk or get on with your life. Apply for the $30,000 HMGP. The FEMA grant website is

Seminar Reminder: Countdown: 9 days from now – one week from this Tuesday: If you haven’t reserved your space at our Free Rebuilding Seminar at the Holiday Inn on Rt.72 in Manahawkin on September 17, 2013 at 6 pm, call me now to do so. We’ll have a great presentation on house raising from our approved RREM trade partner, Baumgartner House Lifting. Rod Scott and Andrew Baumgartner will be joining us with an excellent Power Point presentation about the entire process of house lifting. The rest of our panel of professionals includes Scott Lepley, architect, Steve Brasslett from Ivy First Mortgage, Tracey Giery, realtor, and Kathy Dotoli & Sandra Gauge, attorneys. I will be moderating and it’ll be an open forum to have your specific questions answered. Remember to bring your surveys and flood elevation certificates if you haven’t sent them to me already. Seating is limited and refreshments will be served. Call 732 300 5619 to reserve your space.

Blog Rant!! RREM is being grossly misrepresented and the collective amount of time which is being wasted is incalculable. It’s definitely RFAM (for Ready…Fire…Aim…Missed!!) To date, I have not worked with a single client who has actually received money, a final architectural plan, or met with a contractor to discuss a specific job. No time line, no explanation. Who in the private sector would ever accept performance like that?

Today is September first. Disbursing $600 million in 120 days on 4000 separate building sites (the stated goal of the DCA regarding the RREM grant) is not likely in any realm of reality we are living in.

Repeated insistent question we should be asking – “NJ, FEMA, HUD – Why are you telling us that the grant money will be disbursed 10 times faster than it actually is?”

      Can you believe the amount of time that has been wasted stopping work since the RREM grant was announced in June? It boggles the mind. Every job having to do with an RREM grant application….abruptly …came….to…a…screeching …halt….and nothing has actually happened since. That is such an enormous travesty, it is amazing. Sincere sympathies to all those stuck in the 7 Rungs of Hell which is the FEMA process – it’s wearing down a lot of people.

Why isn’t the RREM structured as a reimbursement program, like the HMGP? That would eliminate the entire issue of all forward motion being halted. If you are rebuilding and there are 9 new plans we have to pick from, pick one and get started. If we choose to raise and rebuild, allow us to have work done to the limit of the grant.

What genius decided that halting all forward momentum was a good thing? The current situation has everyone involved pondering the cosmos and their navels, and trying in vain to develop scopes of work for 4000 homes in various situations. Meanwhile, Rome is still burning, the Titanic is sinking, and we’re arranging deck chairs in 4000 places. Groan.

HMGP is a solid program, will actually disburse a much greater percent of funds and is working. The $30,000 HMGP Grant a viable option in the event that just need to elevate, you don’t have a need for the entire $150,000, or just don’t want to wait another 18 years while the RREM program figures out how to disburses funds. If you haven’t applied, go ahead and do so. This program will have a second round; it is working and will continue to do so. Consider it the Little HMGP Engine that Could, compared to the Big Flashy RREM Engine that Couldn’t.

      The FEMA hotline is 855 726 3946 . Call to register for either grant or go on their website at

        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.  

Stay well NJ. Keep up!


Dream Homes, Ltd.

Atlantic Northeast Construction LLC

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 New Home Builder License # 045894  HIC License # 13VH07489000

2 thoughts on “Dream Homes – Rebuilding Blog – 9-1-13 – New $50,000 Grant – World Speed Record for House Lifting – RREM Rant (RFAM Ready – Fire – Aim – Missed!!)

  1. Has anyone had there Homeowners agent tell them that their policy will be canceled when the house is removed from the foundation.
    The contractors Certificate of insurance won’t have the homeowner listed as second insured.

    1. Hello Steve –

      At the time the home is elevated, contractor insurance will kick in and cover the construction portion of the process.
      Your builder will have builders risk insurance and you can also modify your homeowners policy to reflect that you are under construction.

      Hope that helps.



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