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Dream Homes and Development Corp. Dream Building LLC., Premier Modular Homes Nearly Famous Building, Home Improvement and Real Estate Blog 6-12-19

Hello everyone –

Hopefully this email finds you well and enjoying the beautiful spring weather.

It’s been too, too long since I’ve written, and I’ve no excuse except work. I like writing but need the solitary hour or two, and I can’t write well when I’m feeling like I should be doing something else. Life is fraught with conflict.

I’ve so many things to share with you and so we’ll begin…

Dream Homes FREE Building Seminar – The Original and Still the Best

Next Wednesday 6/19/19

Our next Free Building & Real Estate Seminar is next Wednesday, June 19th, 2019 at our main office at 314 S Main Street in Forked River. This Seminar is our third one for 2019, and we’ll be serving food, drink and dessert, along with good advice.

Please note that we’ve been holding this seminar for 6 years and it’s still your best choice for useful information and advice on your construction project. If you haven’t ever been to one and are planning a construction project of any type, call 609 693 8881 now to reserve your space.

We’re Building All Over Ocean and Monmouth County Now:

Dream is now active from northern Middletown to Little Egg, throughout Long Beach Island, Beach Haven and Manahawkin, from Island Beach State Park to Manasquan. We’re completing new site built and modular homes, demolitions, renovations, additions and elevations up and down the Jersey shore.

Thank you to all our new clients…and thanks to our existing clients for all the referrals. Your kind words mean everything to us and are why we keep doing what we do.

Time to Get Moving for Fall 2019 Starts – Zoning comment: The clock is definitely ticking for certain new home and elevation projects you want to start in the fall of 2019 and complete by Spring / Summer 2020. You should have signed a contract or be signing one imminently, and start actively working on engineering and plans. You should submit your plans to zoning as soon as you can, even while you’re waiting to finalize architectural and engineering, so that clock starts ticking. Zoning can be (is most definitely) a complete, utter pain in the ass in most townships. Berkeley and Lacey aren’t bad and have helpful people, but many, many other towns are dysfunctional and have inexperienced zoning officers. Give them lots of time to approve your zoning permit, because usually Building won’t accept a submission until Zoning signs off.

Unless you’re doing a simple addition or Add-A-Level in A Day project, which can take as little as 1-2 months and doesn’t involve ground up new home construction or elevations, it’s best to start in September / October (ideally no later than year’s end), to ensure that you’re back in for May/June.

If you’re still on the fence and haven’t decided which way to go, how to get started, or want some general advice, call us at 609 693 8881 and we’ll help you get focused and moving forward.

3 offices to serve you –

Dream Homes has a main office in Forked River, a Dream Modular Design Center in Point Pleasant, and our newest showroom location at Premier Modular Homes in Little Egg Harbor. We’ll meet you wherever it’s most convenient for you. Note that Dream is the only public company doing home elevation work in New Jersey, and one of the few to offer complete residential services, whether custom or modular, elevation or renovation. Give us a call at 609 693 8881 or 732 300 5619 to schedule an appointment.

Change Orders mean Delays:  No matter what you think, or what you are told, when you change the scope of work in the middle of a project, it causes delay. Construction is a complex system, which means every item affects at least 2 and usually more other items. Make sure the change you are making is worth it, or that a delay is ok with you. Ask how much additional time this change order will add to your project.

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 keep including this in the blog, since it applies to everyone and is incredibly helpful.)

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), and unless it includes one of the above categories. Full height elevations, 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 makes 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 (probably) cares that much about your costly upgrades. They might not hate them, but it’s probable that they won’t pay you what it cost you for them. Sad but true.

So make sure you really love what you’re doing – and that the enjoyment and improvement to your quality of life are worth the cost. Don’t get obsessed with expensive upgrades.

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.

The $1,000,000 Question – Part II –

Which is Better – Custom Modular or Custom Stick Built?

The 3 most commonly asked questions regarding new home construction are: how long will it take, how much will it cost and which is better – stick or modular?

The answer is not as simple or straightforward as you might think. Luckily for you, we offer full service in both methods of construction, so whatever your decision, Dream Homes can help you. Here are a few good rules of thumb for guidance, as well as a few myths that you should be aware of.

  1. Size of the home: Over 3000 square feet, modular can truly be a cost and time saving method. The larger the house or building, the more economies of scale there are, and the greater the potential time and cost savings. A 3000 – 4000 custom stick-built home is generally a 9 – 12 month build, and with a custom modular home of that size you can cut the time by 3 months or so. However, most of our clients are building in the 1800 – 2500 square foot range, and the time comparison is essentially the same. Though you may save a month or so on the construction facet of the project, the planning portion can easily take 1-2 months longer.
  2. Cost: Though it’s a common misconception, modular is not necessarily less expensive with home sizes under 2500 – 3000 square feet. Though the actual modular home may be slightly less expensive, you still need to have it transported, set on a foundation (that you still need to build), install some type of heating and air conditioning system, connect your utilities, build stairs and entries and do sheetrock and final mechanical punch list repair inside. For a 2200 square foot house the cost is almost identical, regardless of whether it is site-built or custom modular.
  3. Time: Total project time is very similar for custom modular and site-built construction, once again for homes under 2500 – 3000 square feet. The difference is that with the modular, there is a greater amount of time spent in the beginning, attempting to get everything correct prior to the house being ordered and built. With a stick-built home, the construction can begin more quickly, but make take a month or two longer. Total project time is very similar.
  4. Quality and exposure to weather, elements and inspections: These 2 items are where modular has a slight edge, since the home is built in a controlled environment and inspected by an inhouse engineer. The construction schedule is not subject to the delays and effects of weather, inspection delays, since the construction is completed inside a building. That being said, the modular “boxes” still have to be stored on site at the factory, transported by truck, stored near the job site and then assembled and made watertight.

Remember: A good builder can make up for any shortcomings in site-built homes and a lousy builder can easily negate any advantages of modular construction. Pay more attention to the builder you choose, than the type of construction. The former is vastly more superior to the latter.

  1. Changes: Here is where site-built construction can be vastly superior. If you are the type of person who wants to make numerous changes as the project progresses, modular is not for you. If you need to see the house being created from the ground up, and have trouble visualizing how things will look, and wish to tweak the house and make changes while construction progresses, modular is most definitely not for you. In this case, you should have a site-built house built.

Hope that helps somewhat. For a more detailed analysis of your specific project, give us a call at 609 693 8881.

NEED MORE MONEY TO FINISH YOUR SANDY RREM PROJECT? RREM SUPPLEMENTAL FUNDING STARTED JUNE 1 –

Call you Project Manager –

You may qualify for a new $50 million program Sandy survivors can tap to finish rebuilding their homes. Funding for the program originates from the 2013 Sandy relief package. Through Gov. Murphy’s program, eligible homeowners can receive funds in the form of a zero-interest, no payment loan that is completely forgiven if the homeowner stays in their home for 15 years.  If you move out in 5 years you will only have to pay back the pro-rated portion.  This is

a ZERO interest, ZERO payment loan as long as you live in the home.  This hasn’t been finalized and passed yet, but it is before Congress. Read about it

https://www.menendez.senate.gov/news-and-events/press/6-years-after-sandy-booker-murphy-pallone-praise-menendez-celebrate-success-and-urge-congress-to-pass-menendezs-flood-insurance-reform-bill

 

Can’t figure out the most efficient, cost-effective method for your project? Let us compare costs and time for custom modular, custom stick frame construction, elevation & renovation, and Add-A-Level. We’ll do that service FREE for you, on a lot that you own, or on a lot of your choice that we’ll buy for you.

Most companies don’t offer a complete selection of residential construction solutions, but we do.  Whether that means a new custom modular or stick built home, an elevation, renovation and addition, or Add-A-Level, let us find the right solution for you. At Dream Homes, we don’t sell you what we want to build, we offer to find the right solution for your specific situation.

Seminars and Events:  Can’t be there in person? Watch us STREAM SEMINARS LIVE on Facebook.

Next Wednesday, we’ll be joined by Scott Lepley from Adamson, Riva and Lepley Architects. We also stream on Facebook Live. If you can’t be there, watch us online and email questions or comments during the seminar.  If you’re planning a new home, elevation or renovation, you should attend. We’ve been offering this free seminar for 6 years, offer tons of helpful information and will help you get started on your project. For this seminar, we’ll also discuss modular homes and our newest offering – Modular Add-A-Level in A Day.

We discuss architectural and engineering design, construction technique, RREM guidance, choosing the right builder and consumer safety cautions, financing your project, and tips about construction, renovation and 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. Food, beer, wine and soft drinks and dessert will be served. Space is limited so reserve early.

Add A Level in A Day? Is that possible? With 100% financing?

Dream Homes Makes it Possible

Are you out of space? Your family may be growing, but your house isn’t! (unless you’re already one of our clients!). So Don’t Move – Improve!!

If you thought you there was no way you could afford months out of your house to add to your living space, think again. We’ll Add-A-Level in A Day and often you’ll be back in your house in less than 2 weeks. Dream Homes’ newest service is revolutionizing 2nd floor additions.

Thought it was too expensive? It’s not.

We’ll add a second floor to your home, and include up to 3 bedrooms and a full bath, for as low as $99,880! (<500 square feet).

For a 960 square foot ranch, the complete package, including up to 3 bedrooms, a full bath, stairs from below, all carpentry, plumbing & electric, and all engineering and architecture, will cost you $165,300.

With monthly payments as low as $428 a month, you can add up to 3 bedrooms and a full bath, BE SAFE FROM WEATHER IN 1 DAY and COMPLETE in 2 weeks! We stand behind that crazy offer and we don’t know anyone else who can make that claim.

How can we do that? We’re just better than everyone else. We’ve come up with some very innovative techniques and solutions that are effective, inexpensive and very time sensitive.

Call 609 693 8881 or 732 300 5619 today. Let us show you how we can help you Add A Level in A Day, Get Space and Grow Your House…😊😊

Building costs have increased, for the fourth year in a row – Steel has increased 42% year to year – and lumber prices have increased almost 11% in the last year (the new Canada tariffs were a big part of that)

So, if you’ve quoted a foundation a year ago and waited until now, the steel in the foundation alone may cost $500 – $1500 more. A 1200 square foot house lumber package has increased by $1600. Skilled labor has become more difficult to find and keep, although that’s getting slightly better. Keep these 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%).

Moral of the Story: Material costs have increased throughout 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 (which means you don’t pay an extra margin which was added to the fee). 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 2018: We successfully completed 46 projects in 2018, and 6 of them were with plans that the homeowner produced prior to retaining us. In all 6 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, grief and probably your marriage.

Can You Save Money on Your Project??

Note that your general contractor does not have to do all the work on your project  – you can do as much or as little as you wish (with certain exceptions). Painting, spackle and interior trim are items we regularly encourage homeowners to do themselves if funds are tight. Even insulation and sheetrock and light demolition of existing decks can be done as well. Regardless of what a builder or contractor may tell you, you can do items yourself if you’re handy and are willing to invest sweat equity to save money.

The reality is that someone has to do the items in your scope of work – so why not have that person be you? Can it save you real money? Are you doing anything more valuable with your time??

Thinking of going Modular? Dream Homes can help

Dream Homes just added even more depth to our modular home capabilities with the addition of Premier Modular Homes in Little Egg Harbor. Premier Modular just joined the Dream Homes family in October and this is a really exciting development. With a full design center, office and construction space, we’ll be able to better serve our clients in Long Beach Island, Little Egg Harbor, Manahawkin and the entire Southern Ocean County area.

We’re proud to carry on the Premier Modular Homes tradition of modular construction excellence. Thank you to over 300 satisfied clients – we’re honored to  continue the 20 year tradition!

 

Dream Homes – Awarded the Best Home Improvement Contractor and Best Modular Home Builder in Ocean County for 2017 & 2018 in the Asbury Park Press Reader’s Choice Contest. That’s something we’re very proud of, but we’re even more proud that we’ve recently passed the milestone of 300 completed elevation/renovation projects since Storm Sandy. Dream looks forward to continuing to help our friends throughout New Jersey build & 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!

 

RREM News: Supplemental Funding:

 

Welcome to our New Clients and Thanks to everyone for the referrals!

Thank you to all of our clients and friends for trusting us with your homes. We’ve received numerous referrals from our clients and trade partners in the last few weeks. In any business, sincere referrals are the life blood. In building and construction, personal referrals are even more crucial, since they involve one’s most valuable possession. At Dream Homes, we value that trust, and take our responsibilities very seriously.

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.

RREM News – 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.

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.

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

https://www.facebook.com/Dream-Homes-Ltd-395944987168142/

Zoning issues – Building anywhere in NJ? Beware!! 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.

For 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 next FREE 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.

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

New Custom Site built and Modular Homes – Elevations and House Moves – Modular Add-A-Level in A Day – 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 – 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 www.dreamhomesltd.com 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.

http://www.builderonline.com/building/building-science/can-homeowners-use-rooftop-solar-power-during-an-emergency

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 and 2018 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 www.dreamhomesltd.com. Click on the SEC tab at the bottom of the page for information. Our ticker symbol is DREM.

Dream Homes has a main office in Forked River a Jersey Dream Modular Design Center in Point Pleasant, and now our newest showroom location at Premier Modular Homes in Little Egg. We’re the only public company doing home elevation work in New Jersey, and one of the few to offer complete residential services, whether custom or modular, elevation or renovation.

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 matt@GreenChipIR.com. You can view our operational results and financials at any time on our website at www.dreamhomesltd.com or at www.sec.gov.

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 people 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. We’re committed to the residential construction business in all forms, whether it be new homes, elevation /renovations, or Add-A-Level, we improve every single day – our commitment to provide additional, better resources to our clients is ongoing.

Moral of the story: Avoid working with any company not committed to the type of project you are undertaking. Ask to see current active projects or those 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, November 14th, 2018). Email Kathy at kmdotoli611@aol.com or call her office at 732 228 7534 for a copy of her seminar presentation or see her at our seminar.

Print the FEMA guide below so you have it: You probably won’t, but that’s ok. I’ll feel better just having warned you.

https://www.fema.gov/media-library-data/1494007144395-b0e215ae1ba6ac1b556f084e190e5862/FEMA_2017_Hurricane_HTP_FINAL.pdf

 

Also, go to www.ready.gov/prepare for more info. You can download a FEMA app to your phone and tablet at www.fema.gov/mobile-app.

Video & Past Seminars

Photos & Videos – Click on the link below

https://blog.dreamhomesltd.com/video-photo/

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

Dream Homes at the Pines: 58 new 2-3 bedroom townhomes, with garages, in a private wooded setting. Anticipated opening in spring / summer 2019.

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, which received positive response from many people. If you missed it, go back and read it now at

 

https://blog.dreamhomesltd.com/2017/01/08/dream-homes-nearly-famous-rebuilding-blog-1-8-17-why-use-dream-homes-yeah-we-do-that-for-you-hometown-hero-award-in-brick-rebuilding-seminar-1-18-16/

 

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

https://blog.dreamhomesltd.com/definitions/

References & Testimonials – Click on the link below

https://blog.dreamhomesltd.com/references/

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 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, 300 + elevation & renovation projects and 500,000 square feet of commercial buildings. Over 40 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

Licensed NJ New Home Builder #049531

Home Improvement Contractor # 13VH09325600

Main 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

Design Center: 732-903-7780

2109 Bridge Ave., Point Pleasant

Email: vince@dreamhomesltd.com

Websites: www.dreamhomesltd.com

www.premiermodularhomesllc.com

www.jerseydreamdesigncenter.com

Blog: http://blog.dreamhomesltd.com

Twitter: foxbuilder

 

Events & Seminars

Call us to attend our next Building & Real Estate Seminar, which is scheduled for Wednesday January 19, 2019 at our main office at 314 S. Main Street (Route 9) in Forked River. We’ll talk about design, architectural, and construction advice for your new home project or renovation. Call 609 693 8881 or 732 300 5619 for reservations. Food and refreshments will be served.

Please refer us to anyone you think we might be able to help. We hold a Building Seminar every other month and write a helpful Rebuilding Blog. Ask about our referral program.

Please like us on Facebook, and follow us on Instagram and Twitter.

 

Contractor Fraud · Dream Homes Nearly Famous Rebuilding Blog · Foundation systems · House raising and Moving · Monmouth & Atlantic County · Nearly Famous Rebuilding Seminar · New Homes & Rebuilds in Ocean · New Homes & Rebuilds in Ocean, Monmouth & Atlantic County · New homes and elevations in Monmouth County · New Homes and elevations in Ocean County · Pilings · Pilings · Pilings · Pilings · Pilings · Pilings · Pilings · Pilings · Pilings - Helical versus timber · Rebuilding · Rebuilding, House raising and Moving, Pilings, Renovations · Renovations · RREM Path B · RREM Path C · RREM Seminars

9-24-16

Welcome to Fall 2016 – Is RREM Putting Builders Out of Business – Note to our Esteemed Governor Christie… Dream Building $2000 Discount to Fraud Victims – Why Exactly Are We Lifting Our House? Review September Rebuilding Seminar & November 16th Nearly Famous Rebuilding Seminar – Getting Accurate Estimates & Courtesy  – RREM Fraud Update – Contractors & Homeowners

 

Hello Sandsters –

A little late, but welcome to fall. In the rebuilding world it is shaping up to be a busy season.

Today, we have a number of items for you. We talk about how RREM (and a numerous dishonest home owners) are putting small contractors out of business, which is a sleeping dog that is starting to bite….We welcome 6 new clients, in the last 10 days! (2 of them are sadly victims of bad contractors). An important item today is a repeat – Why Exactly are we Lifting our Houses? We repeat warnings about committing RREM fraud – on both sides – homeowner and contractor. We give you some tips on getting a good, accurate estimate and remind you of common courtesy. We review our September 14th Rebuilding Seminar, which was simply the BEST EVER! Finally we mention our next Rebuilding seminar – which is  Wednesday November 16th at 6 pm at Tuscan Bistro & Bar in Toms River.

November (11/16/16) Dream Homes Event & Last Seminar Review:

Nearly Famous Rebuilding Seminar – Wednesday November 16th – 6 PM – Tuscan Bistro in Toms River.    We’re holding this seminar for 3 ½ years and counting

Our next Nearly Famous Rebuilding Seminar will be held Wednesday November 16th, 2016 from 6 pm at the Tuscan Bar and Grill on Hooper Avenue in Toms River, across from the Ocean County Mall. We’ll focus on Sandsters that are early in the process, and have not completed design work, or chosen a builder or architect. We offer engineering & architectural design advice, RREM guidance at the initial stages, and help with choosing the right builder or contractor. Please call to reserve a space if you would like to attend since refreshments will be served and space is limited.

Note: We are only accepting 15 reservations for the 11/16 seminar, since we’ve discovered that is the ideal number of people for us to offer the best advice and counsel. If you want to come, reserve your space early.

 Once again,  professionals will be speaking.  Kathy Dotoli, who is a worker’s compensation lawyer in Toms River, will also give her excellent presentation on precautions to take to ensure a smooth relationship with your contractor. We’ll have one of our architects or engineers speaking, though we’re not sure exactly which one. This is a great chance to meet our professional team, and there’ll be plenty of time for discussion about your project so bring your info (or send it to us ahead of time) and get some questions answered.

A special thanks….

To all who attended the September 14th seminar, as well as the fantastic group of speakers we had presenting. It was simply our best seminar ever, and the culmination of 3 years of practice and numerous rebuilding projects.

The comments and reviews we received were uniformly extremely positive and showed clearly that our efforts to bring a diverse professional team to the table continue to be successful. A huge Thank You to Dan Wheaton (architect), Kathy Dotoli (attorney), Tim Ferguson (Hale Built House Raising), Tim Tennis (project manager, northern region), Valerie Jones (VP Human Resources and RREM expert) and Michelle Hendley (office support staff). The combination of input from everyone helped 5 groups of people clearly chart their way towards moving forward with a rebuilding solution.

A warm welcome to our new clients…and new Atlantic County clients! We now have limited space remaining for Fall 2016 and Spring 2017.

In the last 10 days, we’ve been retained by 6 new clients and thank you all for your confidence and trust in us at the Dream Homes team!

We’ve also done 8 new client intakes, which is a record for a 10 day period!

We’ve also (after repeated requests for the last 2 years) decided to open an Atlantic County region and start helping people in the southern New Jersey area. Not something we’ve decided lightly, we now have an excellent support team in place and have begin accepting commissions  in Atlantic City, Brigantine, Egg Harbor and surrounding areas.

Now that some of the rubbish has been cleared out, we can focus on helping people rebuild their homes in a timely, cost-effective, efficient manner.

You can read the last few blogs for more detail, but suffice to say, the 2 largest elevation and general contractors in south Jersey (defined as south of Toms River) are not solvent, and generally unable to complete projects.

That is one of the biggest reasons we decided to open up in Atlantic County. The Sandsters of Atlantic County deserve better treatment than they have been receiving. Bring us your tired, your poor, your hungry….and we will fix their houses and make them happy again!

 Note: Schedule your project: The market is heating up again, due to a number of factors (dishonest contractors going bankrupt or being indicted, honest contractors going out of business because of RREM and homeowner fraud, out of state contractors moving back out of state to purportedly greener pastures) so if you haven’t retained a professional for your project, expect delays.

We can accept only 1 additional client into our schedule for a Fall 2016 start, and only 3 more for Spring of 2017. It’s nice to be appreciated and in demand.

If you want to be in for Summer of next year, it’s time to get moving. Stop dithering Nero – Rome is burning.

Have you been ripped off by Shore House Lifters or any other dishonest contractor?

We are continuing our offer of a $2000 discount to any homeowner who has been left in the lurch by a crooked builder. It’s not a ton of money, but every little bit helps when you’ve give someone $60,000 and received only $30,000 worth of work before your builder retired to Bimini on his new boat.

Facts, Facts, Facts – Repeat about Shore House Lifters and others

If you are one of those unfortunate folks who isn’t hanging on my every written word, (can you believe there are still people out there like that??), you missed the last blog, and you’re dealing with, or considering dealing with Shore House Lifters, stop reading this blog right now and click on the 8/14/16 blog for a very detailed warning and caution before proceeding any further with this company. I’m tired of cleaning up their messes. And Price Home Group’s. And G&L Construction. And Axis Builders. And the list goes on and on…Be careful who you are dealing with.

Hall of Shame: If Governor Christie wasn’t kanoodling down in Washington with Mr. Trump….

He actually might be able to work on some issues here in NJ. As it is, we have a Washington Theatre of the Bizarre, and little work being done in NJ. We’re not interesting enough for our Governor, since he can’t be elected governor again (for myriad reasons), is busy putting out Bridgegate fires and is busily planning his next career path.

Thank God Kim Guadagno is doing what she can to help – she is the only person in the current administration that has any idea what the RREM program is supposed to accomplish. Reminds me of a one-armed paper hanger though…only so much she can do. It is difficult soaring with eagles when one is mucking around with turkeys.

Note to NJ Government: The RREM program is, once again, off the rails and heading merrily off into the magic mushroom field.

Is RREM actually causing small contractors to go out of business? Is RREM helping dishonest homeowners to rip off their builders?

Fact #1: RREM through their direct actions is putting small contractors out of business. Their bizarre, Byzantine payment terms, their insane clawback provisions and their incessant change in policy, has made it completely impossible for a 3-5 home a year builder to work for anyone in the RREM program.

Now I am an absolute capitalist and a firm believer in “May the best man – or woman – win”, but when a state sponsored program has an insidious design, which serves to bankrupt small business owners, there is nothing good about that for anyone.

It hurts the economy and it specifically hurts homeowners by removing choices in a free market, and directly causing honest small builders to go out of business in the middle of projects.

Fact #2: RREM through their indirect actions is putting small contractors out of business. They are assisting tacitly in the systemic, continuous perpetration of homeowner fraud, by not requiring payment to contractors for work that has been completed. This is illegal, immoral and truly counterproductive to the macro intent of the RREM program, which is to efficiently rebuild NJ after Sandy, and put people back to where they were before as quickly as possible.

The sad truth is that many RREM homeowners (certainly not all) are deliberately delaying payment, or not paying contractors, over completely insignificant matters. If a homeowner is living in their house with a certificate of occupancy and a homeowner has received their RREM funds and is not paying their bills, they are directly contributing to the insolvency of honest small contractors.

Thankfully, this is not affecting Dream to too great of a degree. We carry no debt and are in a very strong financial position. Out of 160 clients in the last 3 years, we have only 4 people who we’ve had to pursue through litigation. All of them have eventually paid, including legal and late fees. All of them have been audited (FINALLY!) by RREM. All of them are subject to civil penalties. All of them had added significantly to the RREM scope of work and decided they didn’t want to pay for any of their extra work when they couldn’t scam RREM out of the money. 

This is atrocious individual behavior and incredibly bad oversight by the RREM program.

The fact that there is no RREM mechanism to prevent this from occurring is absurd. Instead of fostering competition which leads to better consumer pricing and choice, it has had, and will continue to have, the opposite effect of destroying smaller builders due to nonpayment.

 Again – Why Are We Lifting Our Houses??

I’ve written about this topic many times, but it bears repeating and updating. Certainly, we are not elevating our homes because we want to, need an aggressive home project or have nothing better to do with our time and money.

Repeat: How close did we come to another wicked storm event?…This plays right into, “Why are we bothering to raise our homes (below)?” Click on this link and see more detail below.

http://www.nj.com/news/index.ssf/2016/09/with_hermine_gone_another_bullet_dodged_on_duneles.html#incart_river_index

 

Summary of the main reasons we are elevating, or rebuilding at a higher level:

  1. To avoid or mitigate flood risk.
  2. To save (a lot of) money on flood insurance.
  3. To protect the value of what is (probably) your single largest investment.
  4. To add value to your home by incorporating improvements that will add to the worth of your home. Improvements that add value include (among many others) full height lifts, garages under the house, enclosed space for storage, concrete floors, better views, new or larger decks, and better insulation to create ongoing energy savings.

 

You will also be accepting the inherent risk of living through another significant storm event – your home may flood again. That is a calculated risk. For a working hypothesis, I am assuming another event within 10-20 years with an average of 2’ of water over finished floor, as opposed to the 4’ we experienced with Sandy.

 

Call to Action – RREM Homeowner & General Contractor Fraud – Can DCA/RREM Fix This?

To say that our justice system is broken as it relates to contracting is an incredible understatement. We have much greater oversight in a vast number of other professions, often where much less money is at stake.

Ironically, the process of awarding $150,000 grants with no oversight attached to homeowners is also quite flawed.

(Turns out that the moral of the story is that a certain percentage of people in general are flawed and will steal. One can’t legislate that fact out of existence.)

Summary: 1. Contractors: If you accept people’s money, you should be held to a higher standard, and in any other business other than construction, you are. 2. Homeowners:  If you accept federal and state RREM money, you should treat it the same way you would want your contractor to responsibly behave and not spend the money you need to finish your job on furniture, a pool or a vacation.

 Sandsters, if you take your RREM grant and go on vacation, install a new kitchen, build a new Trex deck, install cultured stone on the front of your house, or do a full height raise with garage and concrete, and don’t pay your contractor, you won’t be able to close out your RREM grant, you will definitely have your entire project file audited, and will be subject to civil and criminal penalties for fraud. We see RREM and DCA eventually catching up with fraudulent contractors and they wind up under indictment. Homeowners are also subject to severe repercussions if they do not pay their contractors and close out their RREM file. If you are living in your home with a CO and have not paid your RREM contractor, you are taking a tremendous chance of having your grant revoked, your file audited and being fined. If you have a valid disagreement with your contractor, escrow the balance of payment due with your attorney and file suit. Otherwise finish your RREM project and get the government out of your life. RREM is finally catching on to homeowners that are holding up $35,000 payments for discrepancies about sheetrock cracks – while moving back into their homes with certificates of occupancy. A word to the wise – don’t come under RREM and DCA scrutiny for fraud.

When contractors behave improperly, they are (eventually) arrested, indicted, fined and go to live in 6’ x 10’ rooms.

When homeowners defraud the RREM program, they are at risk of having to return their RREM grant and are subject to fines and penalties.

Hiring Your Own Architect or Engineer: Pros (none) and Cons (many)

I’ve written about this in the past, and have shared various thoughts. This is an update which reflects my most recent experiences.

The upshot, though a general statement, is that dealing with your own design professional does not save you any money and generally costs you time and stress.

1st, the reality is that the architectural/engineering cost to you is the same (usually less), whether you deal with the professional yourself or retain your builder to handle this aspect of the project.

2nd, you will save yourself a tremendous amount of time, since you will avoid the constant interaction between your professional and your builder. Your builder will handle the professional discussions and break it down for you in simple language you can understand.

3rd, you will avoid excess costs which are incurred when you design your plan with your architect without input from the person who will be building your project. Remember – architects and engineers draw pretty pictures, which sometimes are not the most cost effective methods to achieve your objectives. Sometimes (too often) the plans cannot be actually constructed as they are designed.

Last but not least, if there is an error and you’ve designed your own plan, you’re responsible for your architect’s errors. When you give a plan (that you’ve designed) to a builder to estimate, any errors in the plan are ultimately your responsibility and will cost you money.

Points to ponder, Sandsters. Sometimes we try to save money – and end up stepping over dollars to pick up pennies.

Repeat – Partial – Beware of fancy trucks and equipment – You’re paying for it – PRICE HOME GROUP was only one notable example and is symptomatic of many other contractors;

Debt is a killer, Sandsters. Though it is relatively impossible to determine, the amount of debt a company carries on depreciable assets (vehicles, equipment, furniture and fixtures) as well as their fixed overhead, dictates behavior. You can request a balance sheet and income statement but you might not get one. If it’s not audited, it means little anyway.

We have no debt. We own everything outright. We don’t buy new vehicles – ever. We very rarely buy new equipment. We have the same office we’ve had for 14 years. We have low overhead. Everyone rows or we throw them out of the boat. We are not flashy. I may be one of the most boring people on the planet – and my clients like that. We’re quietly competent. We don’t need to impress anyone with anything but our performance.

Ultimately, you want to work with someone who is not taking your deposit to make truck payments, pay high salaries, support a fancy office and dazzle you with nonsense.

What you SHOULD be asking before your hire a builder or general contractor:

The real questions are, “How many projects have you completed?” (We’ve finished 155 in the last 3 years, and over 1500 new homes in 200 + developments in the last 2 decades)

“How many projects are unfinished?” (We have 0 unfinished projects)

“How many clients are suing you for misappropriation of funds, fraud or consumer fraud?” (We have 0).

What is the Difference between Non-Performance & Fraud versus a Difference of Opinion?? Important Repeat:

I’ve written about this in the past several times but the topic bears repeating (over and over) again.

Sandsters, there’s a world of difference between the two above categories. You are well served to understand this difference prior to embarking on a renovation project.

Notwithstanding any of the drivel regularly posted on Facebook, having a disagreement

with your builder, does not mean they are defrauding you or abandoning your project.  Misunderstanding is materially different from contractor fraud, abandonment, mismanagement or incompetence.

 The objective is to complete the project and move you back into your home. It is not about personalities, or who is right or wrong. It is about dealing with, and accepting, that human communication is complicated and fraught with misunderstanding.

Nearly Famous Rebuilding Blog – Reader Survey: Do you have any specific topics you would like covered in the Nearly Famous Rebuilding Blog that I haven’t mentioned? Send me an email or give me a call and I’ll try to include them in one of the upcoming bogs. Construction science is a pretty varied field and there is always something new, whether it is a method, a material or a design technique. Let me hear your questions, especially if it’s an item I haven’t written about.

 Last Look or If you don’t ask, you’ll get nothing: If you are making a final decision and are between 2 builders that you like, where one is slightly more expensive but you like them much more and one is cheaper but you have concerns over him,

Ask the builder or contractor you like and want to use to meet your proposed budget number or the other written estimate.

I recommend this particular technique because it is easier for you. There is less detail and discussion about particular pricing and ultimately you don’t really want or need to know all the whys and why nots and details of a particular estimate.

If your first builder choice can meet the price you need or at least the other valid estimate from another contractor, that’s good enough for you.

Anyway, you have nothing to lose by asking your 1st choice builder to meet your budget number.

That being said, your builder choice should also:

1) Have an office that you can visit

2) Has been in business for long enough time to have learned how to do what you are contracting for

3) Have completed numerous projects similar to yours

4) Have current insurance and licensing and

5) Not be asking you for a huge non-refundable deposit up front.

This category, as well as worker’s compensation and social security disability, is something Kathy Dotoli, who is an attorney in Toms River, covers in depth at our Rebuilding seminar. Feel free to call her directly at 732 228 7534 for further discussion. Come to the seminar or call us and we will send you the handout.

Signing Blind Contracts – PLEASE STOP DOING THIS SANDSTERS!!

If a builder or contracting is asking you to sign a contract with a non-refundable deposit, without plans or a defined scope of work, be careful. If an estimate is based on a set of assumptions which turn out to be inaccurate, you should have the right to cancel the contract and have the unused balance of your deposit returned to you.

Further detail in past blogs.

Repeat: Does Anyone (Carpenters, laborers, helpers, contractors) Really Want to Work Rebuilding New Jersey?  We run 7 crews for our elevation projects and 3 crews for new home construction and we’re constantly hiring (and firing!!) at least 2 new people a week. We’re one of the best builders out there (we pay promptly and are very honest) and always have room on our team for the right people, but good people are 1 in 10 at best. If you are competent and positive and looking for work or know someone who is, give them my email or phone number and have them call me.

New Townhome Announcements: Some great news for Sandsters on the new home front – we’re planning an 88 unit town home waterfront community locally which will open at the end of 2017 and be very affordably priced.

 Facebook: Please visit us and like us on Facebook! I am a social media illiterate but thankfully there are some great people on the Dream Team that are Facebook addicts and will communicate with you on Facebook 25 hours a day…

 Dream Homes – Satellite office – 2818 Bridge Avenue in Point Pleasant:

Dream Homes has been so busy in the Point, Brick, Manasquan area in the last year that we recently opened a branch office for client service, sales and construction at 2818 Bridge Avenue in Point Pleasant. You are welcome to bring your surveys, plans and paperwork to that location if it’s easier than scanning, faxing or bringing documents to our main office on Rt. 9 in Forked River. Please call us for hours if you want to visit this location.

 Tip – Follow the Nearly Famous Blog: If you don’t want to miss any of my blogs, go the blog and “follow” it directly. Some times I don’t send email alerts when I blog. If you “follow” the blog you will get an email reminder whenever I post. We’re also on Facebook if you want to Friend us or post a comment.

Stop FEMA Now Association: We’re a proud sponsor of Stop Fema Now  which is an excellent organization trying to save and protect NJ Sandsters (as well as other states) from FEMA tyranny. To get involved and either donate or volunteer your time to this worthy effort, please visit their web site, which is HYPERLINK “http://www.stopfemanow.com&#8221; http://www.stopfemanow.com

New development: Dream Homes Mobile Web Site is now Live!

You can now log onto “http://www.dreamhomesltd.com&#8221; http://www.dreamhomesltd.com from your mobile device and see a mobile site tailored to a smaller screen.

 Definitions & Important Considerations That Can Delay Your Project:

RREM Program Manager: RREM Program Managers DO NOT supervise the construction of your project. You do, as you should, since it is you that is responsible for how the money is spent. RREM Program Managers manage the paper flow for your project, authorize payment disbursements and (try to) lead you through the confusing RREM maze. That’s it. Nothing further.

They do not consult with you on construction process, give legal advice or comment on who you should choose as your builder, or advise if they are competent and stable.

You are the only person responsible to oversee the professionals you hire. A sobering truth, but one worth remembering.

Lowest adjacent grade (LAG): This is an important elevation since the lowest point in your crawl space has to be even or above the LAG. That is important because even if you don’t want your crawl filled that much (so you have more storage space) you will not pass final zoning / final building if this condition is not met. LAG is defined as the lowest grade immediately next to your house. There can easily be a foot or more difference between one side and the other, or back to front, so if you wish to use the least amount of fill (maximizing room in the crawl) make sure you find the lowest adjacent elevation.

Elevation: Elevation refers to “height above sea level” and not the height above grade at the house or distance the house is being elevated. The numbers on your Flood Elevation Certificate indicate how high in vertical feet your crawl, finished floor and grade are above the sea level at the ocean beach. It’s easy to make a mistake with these descriptions and it causes much confusion. Example: If you are raising your home to elevation 11, your finished floor is 6 and your grade is 4.5, you are raising your house 5’ to elevation 11, or 6.5’ above grade. When you use the expression “elevating my home 5 feet” that means you are lifting it 5’ from where it is now. The expression “building or raising the home to elevation 11” refers to the height above sea level, not the distance you are lifting.

Footprint: A building “footprint” is defined as the disturbed area of the lowest level including the garage.

Ex: a 1200 square foot ranch with a 240 square foot deck has a footprint of 1440 square feet.

Survey: An exact depiction of what exists on your lot, from a top view.

Plot plan: A top view of what you are proposing to build, including new heights, stairs, entries, decks, etc.

These two items are not the same and you will need both for your project.

HVAC Elevation height in crawl space: This must be considered when planning your lift. This is the elevation of the lowest duct, furnace or air handler in your crawl space. Most townships require a minimum elevation of base flood, some townships have no restriction, and some are at minimum BF + 1 to the bottom.

Design scope: These costs are defined as architectural and engineering fees, all survey costs (survey, plot plan, foundation as built, flood elevation certificate and final survey), soil boring & geotechnical costs, cribbing diagrams, permit fees, soil conservation design, and wind load calculations.

Please note – you do not get $15,000 in cash to spend on your design scope. You get up to $15,000, depending on what your actual costs are.   So if your design costs are $9,200 you get $9,200. If they are $14,000, you get $14,000. If they are $16,600, you get $15,000. The balance of any remaining money in the $15,000 design scope budget does not go back into your grant and you don’t get to keep the extra cash.  

If you signed your grant prior to October 1, 2014, you are not eligible for the extra $15,000 in design scope funding. Note: I have seen a number of clients kick, scream & please enough to have the $15,000 added to their grant, even though they had signed before 10/1/14, but that is not the policy.

Contingency costs: This item is part of your grant package and is designed to provide for unforeseen events or conditions that must be corrected in order to obtain a Certificate of Occupancy (CO) and finish your project.

These are not mistakes, omissions or errors on your part, your builder’s part or the design professional that did the plans. Rather they are items that are not knowable or evident in the actual structure until it is elevated, or the result of one of the shore townships deciding arbitrarily to change, invent or augment the existing building code. These items include (but are definitely not limited to) rotten or termite infested sheathing, wall studs or sill plates, twisted, broken or rotten girders, site conditions or changes needed to comply with current codes which were not in place when the house is built, upgrades to water pits or valves required by the MUA, installation of hard wired smoke & CO2 detectors, installation of condensate lines to the exterior from the dryer, and a number of other items that we’ve encountered. These items should be itemized by your builder in a separate sheet and submitted to RREM. 95% of the time you will be reimbursed.

There is not a monetary limit to this contingency, although it is generally 5% – 10% of the grant amount. The contingency does not come out of your grant award.

You Tube Link to a Nearly Famous Rebuilding Seminar: If you’ve missed our seminars and can’t easily attend, here is a link HYPERLINK “https://mail.foxmoorhomes.com/owa/redir.aspx?C=k5TFzkRAAkGU8ZY4NsMK_eZZ0s4wMNEI4fjCWNZ1F5euRIUWkyL5Y3FT1L0r7zXdkG1ZrUuQQlA.&URL=https%3a%2f%2fwww.youtube.com%2fchannel%2fUCVI69KoM8DRXqoEblHd94xg&#8221; \t “_blank” https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCVI69KoM8DRXqoEblHd94xg

It is not edited and is about 2 hours so feel free to fast forward and skip around to watch what you like and need to know.

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 or not you are Dream Homes/Atlantic Northeast Construction 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 Sandsters: Though I write this blog to help Sandsters, Dream Homes Ltd. and Atlantic Northeast Construction LLC are new home builders and general contractors who are actively renovating and reconstructing projects up and down the shore. We actually elevate & move homes, demolish and build new homes, and develop and build new neighborhoods. In the past 23 years, we’ve having completed over 1500 new homes, 150 elevation projects and 500,000 square feet of commercial buildings. 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 Sandsters. I hope it helps you move forward. As always, call or write with any questions.

Good luck and good building!

Regards,

Vince

Dream Homes Ltd.

Atlantic Northeast Construction LLC

New Home Builder #045894

Home Improvement Contractor #13VH07489000

PO Box 627

Forked River, NJ 08731

Office: 609 693 8881 F: 609 693 3802

Cell: 732 300 5619

Email: HYPERLINK “mailto:vince@dreamhomesltd.com” \t “” vince@dreamhomesltd.com

Website: HYPERLINK “http://www.dreamhomesltd.com/&#8221; http://www.dreamhomesltd.com

Blog: HYPERLINK “http://blog.dreamhomesltd.com/&#8221; \t “” http://blog.dreamhomesltd.com

Twitter: #foxbuilder

 

 

 

 

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Dream Homes Nearly Famous Rebuilding Blog – 10-23-15 – Social Media Lunacy – RREM Updates – Jailed Contractors – Township Report Cards for Sandy Rebuilds – Rebuilding Seminar 11-11-15

Dream Homes Ltd.

Atlantic Northeast Construction LLC

Nearly Famous Rebuilding Blog –

10-23-15

Hello Sandsters –

Over the last few weeks, I’ve been looking at the date of my last blog and thinking, “Oh, how pathetic that I haven’t written for this long”…and the time kept getting longer each day, like a nagging conscience….and finally here I am, scribbling away….

Anyway, I hope this blog finds you and yours healthy and doing well.

There’s so much to write about, I don’t know where to start. We’ll tell you about social media and doing your elevation project with your Facebook friends…and exult in the fact that the operators of an awful construction company (G&L Construction) were finally arrested for ripping off a number of Sandsters. The 2 owners were sitting in the pokey for a while, trying to raise bail. We’ll mention the latest FEMA insanity about changing the AE zone to require V zone compliance. From there, we’ll talk about relative differences between builders and best practices in a number of areas. We’ll touch on completion times for the average project, what you can expect and when you should be concerned. We’ll sink to the lowest levels of acceptable decency and discuss shore townships and how they’re doing. We’ll talk about reserving space for our next Nearly Famous Rebuilding Seminar which is Wednesday night November 11th at the Tuscany Bistro Bar in Toms River and we’ll tell you about our new satellite office in Point Pleasant on Bridge Avenue.

Nearly Famous Rebuilding Seminar – Wednesday, November 11th, 2015 – 6 pm:

Our next Nearly Famous seminar will be held on Wednesday, November 11th at the Tuscany Bar & Grill restaurant in Toms River, across from the Ocean County mall on Hooper Avenue. As we did during the last seminar, our theme will be Getting Started, and though all are welcome, we will focus on Sandsters that are early in the process, and have not completed design work, or chosen a builder or architect. We will continue to concentrate on engineering & architectural design advice, RREM guidance at the initial stages, and information about choosing the right builder or contractor. It really helped to focus the topic for the Sandsters that are just getting started and need specific advice, and that will be where we focus at this seminar also.

We will be in the Fire Room, which is an indoor/ outdoor space. Our speakers vary, but we will most probably have Kathy Dotoli, Esq., Scott Lepley, architect, and myself. The last seminar was really great and being able to have a glass of wine and some food was nice. The room only holds 25 people so if you are interested, please call or email me to reserve your space as soon as possible.

Dream Homes – New satellite office – 2818 Bridge Avenue in Point Pleasant:

Dream Homes has been so busy in the Point, Brick, Manasquan area in the last year that we recently opened a branch office for client service, sales and construction at 2818 Bridge Avenue in Point Pleasant. We’re still in the process of fitting out the front reception area, but you are welcome to bring your surveys, plans and paperwork to that location if it’s easier than scanning, faxing or bringing documents to our main office on Rt. 9 in Forked River. Please call us for hours if you want to visit this location.

RREM Update – Detailed ECR with pricing: Some of the Sandsters reading this may already know about this item, but it deserves mention. Once RREM has done their initial inspection, you’ve signed your grant award and (usually) after your home has been cleared for asbestos and lead, you will receive an ECR or Estimated Cost of Repair. This list describes what RREM feels is necessary to bring your home into compliance with FEMA regulations. Until recently, this ECR did not list suggested costs, leaving everyone involved (primarily you and your builder) in the dark about common costs associated with each category and item. Needless to say, this practice was ridiculous.

Now however, if you request an ECR with pricing, RREM will haul it out of the secret archives and give it to you. This is an extremely useful document which you should give to your builder when he is working on your estimate. It also gives you a good idea of the midrange of pricing for items and categories. It’s definitely an item to request from RREM, so ask your program manager for it the next time you speak.

Design work and timing: Fall / Winter 2015 & pouring concrete in the winter. If possible, you should be submitting plans to your local building department so you can lift in November or December and (ideally) have a foundation complete by the end of the year.  Now is the time to make plans to secure alternate housing because there are cheap rentals in the winter at the shore.

For a preliminary note on building in the winter, from a few blogs last year, we spoke about pouring concrete in the colder weather. With the addition of calcium hydroxide (anti-freeze), you can pour concrete as long as the temperature is 25 degrees and rising. Here in NJ that generally takes us into January, at which time the weather can be hit or miss until mid-March.

Building a Home Via Facebook and other insidious Social Media….Thoughts on Insanity Writ Large: Remember when you were little, you wanted to do something stupid, or potentially injurious to life and limb? Remember your mother saying, “If all your friends jumped off a bridge, would you jump too?” That is an excellent analogy to the mania and herd mentality that has taken over our society.

Sandsters, as I have repeatedly said before and I now tell you 3 times again – the repetition of idiocy does not make it correct, the volume at which you exclaim something does not give it truth and the number of people agreeing with you does not create a new Commandment.

If 150 people who are not qualified to give an opinion on a subject post their agreement and “Like” your comment on Facebook and you are wrong, you are still wrong.

If 1000 people on Facebook tell you that you are absolutely in the right crossing the street in the cross walk in front of cars because the state law says that cars must yield, and you listen to them and walk in front of a moving vehicle, you will still be quite dead.

10,000 idiots agreeing on any particular point, if they are agreeing with each other in error, definitely do not make that point correct. Water does not run uphill, we do need to breathe air and gravity affects all of us.

If you want a valid opinion in regard to your health, you see a doctor. If you want your brain operated upon, you see a brain surgeon. If you want your taxes done along with some financial analysis, you speak to a CPA or an analyst. If you want construction work done on your home, you speak to a professional builder, architect, or engineer and not your neighbor who works as a manager at WalMart.

Stop being part of the Borg collective. People with no qualifications that are sitting with a glass of wine opining on Facebook on elevation projects, engineering, soil analysis, architecture, code compliance and foundation systems, should not be your go-to source for information. They are actually harming you.

Most professionals will offer an initial consultation for free – take advantage of that. In addition, you can carefully listen to friends and neighbors that have completed an elevation project on their home.

Other than that, stop wasting your time and filling your brain with nonsense. It will make you insane and lead you nowhere.

Jerks and Thieves: Is it only companies that start with G?

GS Construstion in Barnegat: In jail for taking $75,000 from a poor Sandster in Bayville and doing nothing.

GL Contracting in Manahawkin: 2 owners are sitting in jail on $150,000 bail each after taking over $257,000 from Sandsters throughout the shore.

Thank God the Ocean County Prosecutor finally, actually did something about the 500 complaints about GL that were made. It is an absolute sin how some contractors are able to obviously defraud homeowners repeatedly, even though numerous complaints have been filed. What happened to deception and theft of services?

If someone takes a deposit for goods or services and delivers nothing, they should be subject to arrest and prosecution. The clearer this is to potential dirtbags, the less we will see Sandsters being defrauded.

Score card for Shore Townships – from 1 – 100, with 100 being the best.

We’re working in 14 townships currently, so we’re only able to comment on those.

Unless mentioned, assume the township has a passing grade of 70. We’ll mention those over 90 as well as those under 70.

Worst and probably never going to get better: With a grade of < 60: Hello Brick & Toms River. Do you hate your residents? Is there a reason that permits and inspections take 3-4 times as long as every other township? Is there no one who understands the personal and fiscal importance of putting people back in their homes after suffering through an event like Sandy? We absolutely hate working in both of these townships.

The mayors of both towns should create a new culture which is proactive and forward thinking, as opposed to cover-your-ass and trying to avoid a decision so you don’t get in trouble. A desk worker in Brick actually said to us last week, “Sorry, your permit is rejected, but I can’t tell you why and we won’t be mailing a copy to you until next week. No, can’t have a fax or email. Sorry, we don’t do that here.” True story.

Almost as Bad: Stafford Township with a barely passing grade of 70, and Little Egg, with a 72.

These townships are not much better, but there is hope. If you are lucky, you will get the occasional courtesy of a phone call to help your application or inspection move along, but usually not. No urgency, no interest. Both townships are making efforts and there is hope for them, but right now, it is what it is.

Good or Great: Hello Point Pleasant with a solid 90 and Lacey Township, ranking in the 80’s: Helpful, proactive, business friendly, interested. Thank you for your efforts! Every Sandster appreciates them!

If all townships at the shore were like the last two towns, we could take 5 years off the 22 year rebuilding process we are looking forward to here at the shore.

Remaining Sane – Repeat and continuation – This topic continually receives the most comments from readers:

No elevation project goes perfectly. It doesn’t matter how great your builder is, there will be mistakes and delays. It’s not how to avoid them happening, it is how they are dealt with when they occur.

This subject always gets a lot of comments when I write about it and bears repeating.

The saying “The best laid plans of mice and men….” is quite accurate and seems to have been created to describe construction projects in general. No project goes exactly as planned, but is rather a fluid series of events which is constantly changing. Having a realistic, flexible attitude about normal delays is necessary if you do not wish to wind up in a mental ward during your elevation project.

Note 1: If a projected date for an event is missed, do not panic. Remember: You are not paying to be educated on how to build – you are paying for a finished project. It is the end that matters, not each messy aggravating moment throughout the process. Keeping track of events means following a general time line and not obsessing over each detail. Believe me; you do not want to know each detail in the 1000 step process to complete your project. Again, that’s why you are paying a professional to handle the process.

Note 2: When a contractor or professional promises your builder an item will be ready at a certain time and your builder relays that information to you, he is representing what he believes will be occurring, to the best of his knowledge. If the subcontractor, professional or material supplier does not perform in a timely manner, your builder didn’t “lie” to you. Trust me – he or she is much more annoyed and inconvenienced than you are.

The moral of the story is this: 99% of the time things are not nearly as bad as you perceive them to be. Our perceptions, obsessions and consideration of other’s opinions rule us and cause us to become temporarily insane. Stop drinking the “It’s a disaster!” Kool-Aid – it’s rarely a disaster.

Contingency funds vs. Design scope funding:

I’ve written and spoken extensively about this item but Sandsters are continually confused about it, so I’ve started to include it below in the glossary of definitions which is a part of each blog. See below for more information.

Tip – Follow the Nearly Famous Blog: If you don’t want to miss any of my blogs, go the blog and “follow” it. Some times I don’t send email alerts when I blog. If you “follow” the blog you will get an email reminder whenever I post. We’re also on Facebook if you want to Friend us or post a comment.

Stop FEMA Now Association: We’re now a proud sponsor of Stop Fema Now  which is an excellent organization trying to save and protect NJ Sandsters (as well as other states) from FEMA tyranny. To get involved and either donate or volunteer your time to this worthy effort, please visit their web site, which is www.stopfemanow.com

New development: Dream Homes Mobile Web Site is now Live!

You can now log onto www.dreamhomesltd.com from your mobile device and see a mobile site tailored to a smaller screen.

Definitions & Important Considerations That Can Delay Your Project:

Lowest adjacent grade (LAG): This is an important elevation since the lowest point in your crawl space has to be even or above the LAG. That is important because even if you don’t want your crawl filled that much (so you have more storage space) you will not pass final zoning / final building if this condition is not met. LAG is defined as the lowest grade immediately next to your house. There can easily be a foot or more difference between one side and the other, or back to front, so if you wish to use the least amount of fill (maximizing room in the crawl) make sure you find the lowest adjacent elevation.

Elevation: Elevation refers to “height above sea level” and not the height above grade at the house or distance the house is being elevated. It’s easy to make a mistake with these descriptions and it causes much confusion. Example: If you are raising your home to elevation 11, your finished floor is 6 and your grade is 4.5, you are raising your house 5’ to elevation 11, or 6.5’ above grade. When you use the expression “elevating my home 5 feet” that means you are lifting it 5’ from where it is now. The expression “building or raising the home to elevation 11” refers to the height above sea level, not the distance you are lifting.

Survey: An exact depiction of what exists on your lot, from a top view.

Plot plan: A top view of what you are proposing to build, including new heights, stairs, entries, decks, etc.

They are not the same and you will need both for your project.

HVAC Elevation height in crawl space: This must be considered when planning your lift. This is the elevation of the lowest duct, furnace or air handler in your crawl space. Most townships require a minimum elevation of base flood, some townships have no restriction, and some are at minimum BF + 1 to the bottom.

Design scope: These costs are defined as architectural and engineering fees, all survey costs (survey, plot plan, foundation as built, flood elevation certificate and final survey), soil boring & geotechnical costs, cribbing diagrams, permit fees, soil conservation design, and wind load calculations.

Please note – you do not get $15,000 in cash to spend on your design scope. You get up to $15,000, depending on what your actual costs are. So if your design costs are $9,200 you get $9,200. If they are $14,000, you get $14,000. If they are $16,600, you get $15,000. The balance of any remaining money in the $15,000 design scope budget does not go back into your grant and you don’t get to keep the extra cash.

In the “to make matters more frustrating and confusing category”, if you signed your grant prior to October 1, 2014, you are not eligible for the extra $15,000 in design scope funding.

Note: I have seen a number of clients kick, scream & please enough to have the $15,000 added to their grant, even though they had signed before 10/1/14, but that is not the policy.

Contingency costs: This item is part of your grant package and is designed to provide for unforeseen events or conditions that must be corrected in order to obtain a Certificate of Occupancy (CO) and finish your project.

These are not mistakes, omissions or errors on your part, your builder’s part or the design professional that did the plans. Rather they are items that are not knowable or evident in the actual structure until it is elevated, or the result of one of the shore townships deciding arbitrarily to change, invent or augment the existing building code. These items include (but are definitely not limited to) rotten or termite infested sheathing, wall studs or sill plates, twisted, broken or rotten girders, site conditions or changes needed to comply with current codes which were not in place when the house is built, upgrades to water pits or valves required by the MUA, installation of hard wired smoke & CO2 detectors, installation of condensate lines to the exterior from the dryer, and about 50 other items that we’ve encountered. These items should be itemized by your builder in a separate sheet and submitted to RREM. 95% of the time you will be reimbursed.

There is not a monetary limit to this contingency, although it is generally 5% – 10% of the grant amount.

The contingency does not come out of your grant award.

You Tube Link to a Nearly Famous Rebuilding Seminar: If you’ve missed our seminars and can’t easily attend, here is a link https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCVI69KoM8DRXqoEblHd94xg

It is not edited and is about 2 hours so feel free to fast forward and skip around to watch what you like and need to know.

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 or not you are Dream Homes/Atlantic Northeast Construction 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 Sandsters: Though I write this blog to help as many Sandsters as possible, Dream Homes Ltd. and Atlantic Northeast Construction LLC are new home builders and general contractors who are actively renovating and reconstructing projects up and down the shore. We actually do all of the work that I talk about in the blog. We work with private clients and Path B clients in the RREM program. Call, text or email to set up an appointment for an estimate on your rebuilding project.

That’s all for today Sandsters. I hope it helps you move forward. As always, call or write with any questions.

Stay well.

Regards,

Vince

Dream Homes Ltd.

Atlantic Northeast Construction LLC

Licensed NJ New Home Builder License# 045894

Licensed NJ Home Improvement Contractor License# 13VH07489000

PO Box 627 Forked River, NJ 08731

Office: 609 693 8881 F: 609 693 3802

Cell: 732 300 5619

Email: vince@dreamhomesltd.com

Website: www.dreamhomesltd.com

Blog: http://blog.dreamhomesltd.com

Twitter: foxbuilder