New Homes & Rebuilds in Ocean, Monmouth & Atlantic County

Dream Homes Building Blog – 9-8-18 – Hurricane Alert and Prep – Building Seminar 9/12/18 – Why Lift? – RREM Clawbacks – Scheduling Fall 2018 Starts

Dream Homes and Development Corp.

Dream Building LLC.

Nearly Famous Building, Home Improvement and Real Estate Blog


Hello all –

Hopefully you and your family are well and enjoying your rainy weekend.

Well, we’re here again in Hurricane Season and we have quite the week ahead of us with Tropical Storm Florence about to slam us this week, to be followed in short order by 2 additional (monster) hurricanes waiting in the wings (Helene & Isaac). They’re both currently off the coast of Africa, so we have a bit of time.

Today we have some very useful things for you. We focus on Hurricane Preparedness, since ‘tis the season again, with a great link to the FEMA site and excellent lists. Our next Building Seminar is this coming Wednesday, September 12th, 2018 at the Tuscan Bistro in TR (detail & hurricane alert below). You should attend if you are doing anything with construction or real estate (or just want free pizza and wine while listening to real estate talk). We speak again about Why We’re Lifting Our Houses. We explain again about how to avoid losing your RREM grant. We note that we have 3 different commercials running on 12 channels on Comcast, so let us know what you think if you see one. We talk about scheduling late summer and fall 2018 projects now and how to expedite permits. Lots of helpful stuff.

Seminars and Events – With Hurricane Alert

Our next Building & Real Estate Seminar will be held Wednesday September 12th, 2018 at 6 pm at the Tuscan Bar and Grill on Hooper Avenue in Toms River, across from the Ocean County Mall. We’ll be joined by Kathleen Dotoli, Esquire and Jason Devooght  from Devooght House Lifters. We also stream on Facebook Live so see us online if you want to email questions or comments while the seminar is under way.  


Planning a new home, elevation or renovation? We’ve been doing this free seminar for 5 years and offer tons of helpful information. We’ll help you focus on starting your project – whether it is a new home, elevation or renovation…and show you how to handle planning and design work.

We talk about architectural and engineering planning, construction technique, RREM guidance, choosing the right builder and consumer safety cautions, financing your project, and tips about home elevation in general. We also talk about RREM issues, (the lunacy of) managing your own project, and ways to avoid delays and going over budget. So, mark the date and call 609 693 8881 or 732 300 5619 to reserve your space if you want to attend. Pizza and wine will be served, and space is limited.

So, Hello to Hurricane Season and Hurricane Florence…with Helene and Isaac close behind.

There are numerous simple, free, common sense precautions you can make to prepare for any weather event, to address power outages, evacuations, flooding, wind, or any other emergency.

You can’t prepare for everything, but the very act of making some effort is invaluable – and could save your life.

I won’t list every item here, since I really want you to download and print the FEMA guide below so you have it, but a few simple items you can do or collect include: a go-bag (with medicine, money, ID and valuables), candles and matches, batteries, water, removing all loose items from outside, getting gas in your car (and for your generator), making sure you have non-perishable food for 1-2 weeks, know your evacuation route, think about your pets, and get out if they tell you to leave.

Hurricane Preparation: So good I repeat it in every blog…but NOW IT’S HURRICANE SEASON AND IT’S IMPORTANT, SO DOWNLOAD IT AND PRINT IT NOW!!

Common sense warning: If you don’t print it now, you may not have power when you need to refer to the list. If you don’t print it, at least download it to your phone.

I know most people don’t pay attention to being prepared, but hope springs eternal so I keep posting this…

It’s 11 pages, and it’s all good, and outlines preparation, what to do during an event, and what to do after. If you don’t want to print the whole thing (you should), print pages 2, 4, 5, 6, 10 & 11. They are the most important.

Also, go to for more info. You can download a FEMA app to your phone and tablet at

Why bother lifting your house? Simple. Flood risk, flood insurance rates and protecting the value of your largest investment.

As a reminder, being affected by another storm or hurricane is why people all over the world are elevating their homes. It’s not a question of if another storm will happen, but when it will occur. More people at the shore are just now realizing the need to retain a home improvement contractor or a new home builder registered or licensed in NJ to elevate or rebuild their homes. One of the most sobering recent statistics is that for the first time in history 2 separate Category 5 hurricanes hit the US mainland within one year (2017). To ignore this trend is foolish. One must accept that the fundamental choice is to move inland, away from the most probable path of hurricanes or to address the need to elevate your house at least 3’ above the base flood level in your area. 3’ above base flood also offers you the lowest available flood insurance rates.

Finally, by being proactive and elevating before an event, you insure that your home is always ready to either sell or mortgage, if you need to do either. Without being at the correct elevation, you’re going to take a $100,000 discount when you sell, and high flood insurance rates make it harder to finance or refinance your house.

RREM Grant  – Use it or Lose it – Revocation due to Inaction & ICC Deadline – October 29, 2019

If you have a RREM grant and haven’t chosen a builder and signed a contract or otherwise signed a contract, you should do so – or risk losing your grant. That’s a reality.

We know homeowners are having RREM grants revoked due to inaction. If you’ve been awarded a grant and haven’t done anything for a long time (1-2 years), eventually you’re going to lose your grant. You must make some type of progress – hire a contractor, or if not, at least engage an architect or engineer. This is a really important step to demonstrate that you are proceeding. If you’re in this category, call us at 609 693 8881 and we’ll help you get focused and moving forward.

One very smart choice you can make if you haven’t started your RREM project yet or chosen a builder, is to make sure you choose someone who is very familiar with RREM and RREM paperwork.

We are experts at RREM paperwork and can save you countless hours during your project and afterward until you are completely closed out. we’ve completed over 300 elevation and new home projects since Sandy, and 65% of them were RREM.

Disturbingly and to make things more difficult for RREM folks, recently there’s been a wholesale changeover in RREM project managers across the board. Now the DCA is administering the balance of the RREM program. There is much pressure to close old files, or revoke those that have been awarded but not started.

We absolutely know that homeowners are having RREM grants revoked due to inaction. If you’ve been awarded a grant and haven’t done anything for a long time (1-2 years), eventually you’re going to lose your grant. You must make some type of progress – hire a contractor, or if not, at least engage an architect or engineer. This is a really important step to demonstrate that you are proceeding. If you’re still on the fence and in this category, call us at 609 693 8881 and we’ll help you get focused and moving forward.

Are you on Facebook? Visit, like and review us at :

Tempus fugit! (that means Time is Fleeting, in Latin): I’ve been banging this drum for years but we all need to hear calls to action (myself included). Time will run out soon for projects you want to have completed by Spring / Summer 2019 unless you have signed a contract and are actively working on engineering and plans. Ideally, you have your plans submitted, or are submitting very soon. If you’re still on the fence, call us at 609 693 8881 and we’ll help you get focused and moving forward.

RREM Clawbacks – Important repeat for RREM clients. See the 2/24/18 blog for more details….

Regarding your RREM scope of work (otherwise known as the ECR or Estimated Cost of Repairs), be aware that your general contractor does not have to do all the work (you can!), Painting, spackle and interior trim are items we regularly encourage homeowners to do themselves if funds are tight. You can do items yourself if you are handy and would like to invest some sweat equity and save money. However, someone must do all the items, or money will be removed.

Having money removed from your grant can be significant, or not. Usually, we’ve found that the cost to have the work done is less than what RREM is paying you, in which case it behooves you to finish all items.

If you’re stuck in this situation or just starting a RREM project, give us a call at 609 693 8881. We’ll help get you back on track or avoid any problems when you start.

Our Old Frenemy – Cost / Benefit:  I hate to be repetitive, and I know it’s boring to some people…and I’ve written about this 2000 times, but many people consistently ignore the cost benefit equation. It’s vitally important to recognize and quantify the potential value you are gaining from improvements, versus the cost you are incurring. (I hate to keep including this in the blog, but it applies to everyone and is incredibly helpful. So I keep repeating it).

My favorites are always decks, kitchens, baths and cosmetic improvements. I don’t like extensive remodeling for the sake of activity (unless it is a hobby for you and you have plenty of money), unless it includes one of the above categories. Refinishing basements and attics is also useful and cost effective – if you’re creating additional living or recreational space. However, these items must be budgeted so the cost doesn’t exceed the value you create.   

Added caution: Sometimes an improvement makes sense if done moderately, but make no sense if overdone or done to excess.

An excellent example is installing a $30,000 kitchen, which adds $30,000 in value (plus or minus) or installing an $80,000 kitchen, which adds….$30,460 in value, plus or minus.

Remember – no one but you cares about your costly upgrades. Sad but true.

Make sure you really love what you’re doing – and that the enjoyment and improvement to your quality of life are worth the cost.

There is a Zen koan that reads, “It is not our preferences that hurt us, but rather our attachment to them.” Sometimes you just have to let things go that make little sense.

Zoning issues – Building anywhere in NJ? Beware!! Partial repeat: In general, zoning officers can be difficult to deal with, and the experience is complicated by interpretation of codes and subtle nuances between townships. Many zoning officers we’ve dealt with in NJ don’t have a clue what they’re doing since Storm Sandy changed the playing field. Sad but true.

“Pre-existing, non-conforming condition” is exactly like it sounds – a condition that was approved years (or decades ago) which doesn’t meet current zoning requirements. A general rule of thumb is that if you don’t remove the item (house, deck, etc) and you are doing an elevation project to meet new flood codes, you are ok.

or a good discussion and the remainder of this article on “pre-existing, non-conforming” conditions, see the 2/3/18 blog. Or come to our 9/12/18 Building Seminar.

Please Note: This subject is complex, often much more than it appears. For assistance and consultation, call us at 609 693 8881 or 732 300 5619.

Building costs increased, for the third year in a row – Steel has increased 50% year to year If you’ve quoted a foundation a year ago and waited until now, the steel in the foundation alone may be $500 – $1500 more. Skilled labor has become more difficult to find and keep, although that’s getting slightly better. Keep these two items in mind when you are finalizing your project costs and estimates. If you have an estimate that is a year old, expect that the project estimate may increase slightly (3%-4%). Another caution: Material costs have increased throughout 2018 and will continue into 2019. If you’re planning a project, try and secure fixed pricing now, or as soon as you can.

Design & Hiring Your Own Architect: The design & architectural fees are usually itemized separately and are (for us) a pass-through cost. In other words, we oversee the entire design process and it costs our clients the same amount (usually much less) of money than if the homeowner deals with the architect directly. This also results in significant savings in both construction design and redesign fees. Remember – the person who is going to build the project should be involved in the design from inception, so best practices can be designed in from the start. Author’s note from 2017: We successfully completed 42 projects in 2017, and 8 of them were with plans that the homeowner produced prior to retaining us. In all 8 projects, the plans and the scope of work had to be modified, the architecture and engineering cost was higher than we charge for the same work, and there were significant delays in each project.

Moral of the story and a word to the wise – for a new home, elevation or significant renovation, unless you really know what you’re doing and are going to oversee and build the project yourself, let your builder/general contractor provide you with a design/build package. It will save you time, money and grief.

Dream Homes Products & Services – Did You Know We Offer all these services?

New Custom Site built and Modular Homes – Elevations and House Moves – Interior and Exterior Renovations & Additions –  Kitchens & Baths – Roofing, Siding and Windows – Decks and railings – Masonry and Pavers – Engineering, Variance applications and Land Use – Permitting, Surveying and Project Management – Land Development and Approvals.             Call us for more detail on any of the above topics.

Dream Homes – Awarded the Best Home Improvement Contractor and Best Modular Home Builder in Ocean County for 2017 by the Asbury Park Press. That’s something we’re very proud of, but we’re even more proud that we’ve recently passed the milestone of 200 completed elevation/renovation projects since Storm Sandy. Dream looks forward to continuing to help New Jersey rebuild in the months and years ahead. Thanks to all the clients and friends who voted for us in that survey – last year and this year!

Dream Homes – Kitchen & Bath Design Studio & Custom Modular Division –

Though we’re known more for new homes and elevation projects than kitchens and baths, we also do quite a bit of remodeling. An excellent place for you to start is at our Custom Modular, Kitchen & Bath design studio at 2109 Bridge Avenue in Point Pleasant, with complete kitchen layouts, flooring selections and our own in house modular home design studio. Since we’ve designed and built over 1800 new homes since 1993, we are well equipped to accommodate your remodeling needs, from the simple to the most complex. Call 609 693 8881 to schedule an appointment or just stop by. You’re invited to visit us and see what we have – hours are Monday through Saturday from 9 – 2, closed on Tuesday, with other hours by appointment.

Dream Homes FAQ’s (Frequently Asked Questions) Partial Repeat

We have a great FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions) section on our web site. Click on and FAQs on the Home Page. Read what you can expect when you choose Dream Homes as your builder – and what we feel you deserve.

Solar Power at Home –More Info and link:  For the full story check the 10/29/17 blog, and here is the link.

Dream Homes & Development Corporation – About us: Dream Homes & Development Corp. (OTCOB: Ticker DREM) is a publicly traded, fully reporting (audited) company and is one of the region’s most trusted new home builder and home improvement contractors. Dream Homes was awarded the Best Home Improvement Contractor and Best Modular Home Builder in Ocean County for 2017 by the Asbury Park Press. Dream Homes is growing, improving our operations and service and adding new members to our team to better serve you. You can view financials on our web site at Click on the SEC tab at the bottom of the page for information.

Dream Homes has a main office in Forked River and a Modular Design Center in Point Pleasant, and we’re the only public company doing home elevation work in New Jersey. You can view all the information about us online and if you like us and believe in what we’re doing, we would love to have you as shareholders. For more information and an information package, contact Matt Chipman, our investor relations person. Matt can be reached at (818) 923-5302, (310) 709-5646 or You can view our operational results and financials at any time on our website at or at

Mission Statement and Comment: At Dream Homes, we’re the region’s most trusted builder and we’ll help you when no one else will. We regularly handle messy and unpleasant real estate, construction and renovation situations. We do the elevation, renovation and new home projects that few other people can do, and help people finish and get back in their homes. If you’re stuck and can’t figure out how to proceed, call us and we’ll do our best to help you.

At Dream Homes, we believe that taking on difficult unpopular projects is part of the social contract we have with the community and the Jersey Shore. We’ve never abandoned a client or failed to finish a project – we feel very strongly that it is our obligation to help Sandsters and others in need.

Insulation & Wall Thickness – How Much Is Needed and What’s Involved? See the blog of 11/18/17 for useful information on Insulation technique, wall thicknesses & energy efficiency

Siding, Trim and other Exterior Finishes: See the blog of 8/26/17 for useful information on choices for siding, trim and other finishes.

New Beach Bungalow on your lot from $89,800!!  This model is perfect for many small lots in the shore area including Ocean Beach, Lavallette, Ortley and South Seaside Park.

Seaview and Bayview Models: From $149,000 including demolition. These homes are 2-3 bedrooms and 2 baths and suitable for 40-60 foot wide lots. Call 609 693 8881 for details.

Is your home improvement contractor or new home builders willing to provide a turn-key project? This business is messy, requires diverse skill sets and deep administrative support and places all responsibility for everything directly on the builder’s shoulders. Dream Homes regularly perform turn-key renovation and design build projects and will remain as one of the best, solid companies in the years to come. This matters to you because if a company isn’t committed to being in the line of work for which you are contracting, they will not support it correctly during and after the project. That means less resources (personnel and otherwise) devoted to your project. Currently at Dream Homes, we’ve been actively hiring carpenters, helpers, marketing and support staff for 2 years. We’re committed to the elevation /renovation business and improve every single day – our commitment to provide additional, better resources to our clients is ongoing.

Moral of the story: Try and avoid working with any company not committed to the type of project you are undertaking. Ask to see current projects in process or being started.

Need to Phone a Friend? Need a Rescue? Scheduling for Priority projects – If you’re stuck in a stalled project for whatever reason (contractor in jail or indicted, bankrupt, lazy, inept, no money, etc.) we’ll help you with a prompt evaluation of your situation. We do consultation and estimates immediately for projects that are stuck. It doesn’t change what happened to you in the past, but at least you’ll know how to get back on track, without chasing someone for a month to get an initial meeting and written estimate. As a note, often we’re the only company willing to finish projects that have been abandoned.

Kathleen M. Dotoli, Esquire – Consumer Protection:  Kathleen is a workers’ compensation and disability attorney in Toms River and speaks regularly at our Rebuilding Seminar. Kathy gives an excellent presentation about consumer protection that will save you money and grief. (Next one is Wednesday, September 12th, 2018). Email Kathy at or call her office at 732 228 7534 for a copy of her seminar presentation or see her at our seminar.

Video & Past Seminars

Photos & Videos – Click on the link below

Future Homes & Townhomes for Sale:  We’re actively working on the development approvals for several properties in Bayville and Forked River.

Dream Homes at Tallwoods: We’ll be offering 13 beautiful new 3 and 4-bedroom single-family homes for sale in the mid $200,000 range in late 2017 / early 2018.

Dream Homes at the Pines: 58 new 2-3 bedroom townhomes, with garages, in a private wooded setting. Anticipated opening in spring / summer 2018.

Dream on the Forked River: 42 new 2-3 bedroom townhomes with garages and private boat slips. Anticipated opening in winter 2018/spring 2019.

If you’re looking for new homes this year or early next year, give us a call and we’ll get you information.

Yeah, We Do That for You…  This was an excellent article from the 1/8/17 blog, which received positive response from many people. If you missed it, go back and read it now at

Definitions & Important Considerations That Can Delay Your Project: Click on the link below

References & Testimonials – Click on the link below

Remember – if you have a specific question, send me an email or a text. Don’t wait for a seminar or a site visit to clarify a point. Whether you are a Dream Homes client or not, I’ll always try and help you or guide you in the right direction. If you’ve sent an email or left a voice mail and haven’t received a response, try and contact me again. Messages are lost occasionally.

Note to All: Though I write this blog and host the Building seminars to help guide homeowners through the maze that is any construction project, Dream Homes does all of the work that I write about.  Dream Homes & Development Corp. and Dream Building LLC are new home builders and general contractors who are actively renovating and reconstructing projects up and down the shore. We supervise and manage elevation projects & house moves, demolish and build new homes, and develop and build entire new neighborhoods. In the past 25 years, we’ve completed over 1650 new homes, 250 elevation & renovation projects and 500,000 square feet of commercial buildings. 28 of our elevation projects have been rescue projects, where we came in to save a homeowner when someone else left. Dream builds new homes, demolishes existing damaged homes, elevates and move homes, complete additions and renovations and rescues homeowners when their other contractors abandon them. We work with private clients as well as Path B clients in the RREM program. Call, text or email to set up an appointment for a free estimate on your rebuilding project.

That’s all for today friends. I hope my words help you move forward. As always, call or write with any questions.


Vince Simonelli

Dream Homes & Development Corp. (OTCQB: DREM)

Dream Building LLC

New Home Builder #049531

Home Improvement Contractor #13VH09325600

Office: 314 S. Main Street

Mailing: PO Box 627

Forked River, NJ 08731

Office: 609 693 8881 F: 609 693 3802 Cell: 732 300 5619




Twitter: #foxbuilder


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