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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

Dream Homes Ltd.

Atlantic Northeast Construction LLC

Nearly Famous Rebuilding Blog –


Greetings and Happy New Year to all …it’s been too long since I’ve last written.

Today I am writing and looking at the snow…which I truly and completely dislike…if we were meant to live in weather like this, we should have been born with fur, methinks…

To start off, I hope everyone’s holiday season has been wonderful. I wish all of you a safe, healthy, prosperous New Year. 2017 is shaping up to be a much better year for many people and I hope you are one of them.

Today, we have a few items of note. As a repeat, I’ve been nominated a Home Town Hero in Brick Township for nice things our great team has done for an unfortunate Sandster, a good guy named Bob Steimle. The ceremony is January 20th, and I even get a Golden Cape, which I will (modestly) wear 24 hours a day for the next 8 years or so. We mention our next Rebuilding Seminar, which is 10 days from now on Wednesday January 18th. Finally I close today with, “Yeah we do that for you” which is definitely worth reading…

January (1/18/17) Dream Homes Seminar – Rain or Shine – Hot or Cold

Nearly Famous Rebuilding Seminar – Wednesday January 18th, 2017 – 6 PM – Tuscan Bistro in Toms River.   Provenance & History : We’ve been holding this seminar for 4 years and counting; we are the only company actually bothering to tell you how to intelligently complete an improvement or renovation.

Our next Nearly Famous Rebuilding Seminar will be held Wednesday January 18th, 2017 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.

The seminar date happens to be only 2 days before the Hometown Hero event! That’s right – Dream Homes and Vince Simonelli have been nominated as one of the recipients of the Hometown Hero Award in Brick Township!

Not to repeat great news, but I’m quite proud of the nomination! This award is given in Bricktown to people and companies who do nice things to help people in need. Our great team has helped an unfortunate Sandster – a really good guy named Bob Steimle.

Here’s what happened. Last year we got a call from Hale Built House Raising asking us if we could help a person in need. They explained to us that Bob Steimle had been the victim of fraud – Bob’s contractor had moved his house from his foundation 50 feet into his back yard and disappeared to another state, leaving Bob stranded in a trailer for 14 months. Bob needed help and Hale and Acme Piling joined together to install pilings and move the house back to where it needed to be.

But Bob still needed a builder to complete the project, which is where we stepped in.

The builder who could undertake the project had to understand the construction and financial issues and be able to work within the RREM program’s constraints and Bob’s needs and complete the project. Dream Homes stepped up.

I called Bob, who gave me his information, and told him, “Bob, we’ll help you out.” We scheduled a time to talk further and for me to look at his house. The next day I met Bob and 2 days later I gave him an estimate (he got his estimate in 2 days instead of 2-3 weeks). We signed a contract on the 3rd day, Bob gave us a $500 deposit and we started working.

A short time later, I’m happy to say the Dream Homes team is well on its way to finishing Bob’s house and getting him back home.

Thanks for the kind words and recommendation Bob! I’m happy we were able to help.

The Hometown Hero ceremony is January 20th at 7 pm at Brick High School. I originally thought I would receive a Golden Cape (which I was planning to (modestly) wear 24 hours a day for the next 8 years, other than during times of disaster or civil emergency (or rather, definitely during those dark times) And yes, that is perfectly normal behavior.) but it turns out that it is an ordinary colored cape. That’s ok – I’ll probably still wear it 24/7 so – have no fear – you’ll be able to recognize me on the street since I’ll be the middle age guy with the cape and sandals.

I will also get to give a lengthy, in depth speech (of approximately 30 seconds), which I promise will enthrall the multitudes gathered that evening. Do not miss it!

So please join us on the 20th of January at Brick High School. Go to the Brick web site and sign up for a ticket or just show up!!

All kidding aside, Dream Homes is honored to receive the Hometown Hero award. It represents the spirit of who we are and we hope to embody that every day going forward.

Mission Statement and Comment: We’re here to help you when no one else will. We regularly handle the messiest, most unpleasant, real estate, construction and renovation situations. We do the projects that no one else can do, and help people finish their projects 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.

Yeah, We Do That For You… Ok, finally, I’m getting to this article. Believe me, Dream is much more diligent delivering projects in a timely manner than I am at blogging regularly. I’ve promised this article for the last 2 months and have not written it until now.

For the last few years, Sandsters have been asking “Why should we use Dream Homes for our project?”. I normally respond with some of my standard replies, but have been thinking about writing them down in a slightly more informal way.

I keep looking at those Geico ads, where Geico compares themselves to the competition and it’s absurd. Comparing us to 99% of every company in this business is like comparing a Yugo to a Mercedes or Joe’s General Contracting to Bechtel. Ridiculous. Dream Homes is so far superior in so many ways to our competition, that it amazes me that RREM doesn’t call us to finish the balance of the buildouts for the RREM grants. It would save a ton of time and aggravation for a lot of people.

Finally, we have parity and supply/demand balance in the market. The crooks are being run out of town on the proverbial rail, and the honest builders (who are actually more scarce than hen’s teeth) are still here, doing responsible business. Now we can choose to work with honest, civilized, pleasant clients and sub-contractors…and choose not to work with dishonest, uncivilized, negative, argumentative folks. Negative people should please go with God…elsewhere. Life’s too short.

Anyway, back at the ranch…here’s why people trust us with their projects.

”Yeah, we do that for you…..”

This is a list of what Sandsters ask us every day about new homes and renovation projects…and the answers we give them…

Q: Do you help us design our project right from the beginning?

A: Yes, we do that for you.

Q: Will you deal with the architect and engineer to create plans and foundation & piling designs? 

A: Yup, we do that too.

Q: How about the surveyor? Survey, plot plan, foundation location, final flood elevation certs?

A..That’s a pain in the ass, but we absolutely do that for you. It makes your project move more quickly when we handle it – and it doesn’t cost you anything extra.

Q: What about soil boring? Geotechnical analysis? Foundation inspection and analysis?

A: We got that for you. Very few people know what those things are anyway, but you usually need to have them done so we can design a foundation for you. We take care of that when it’s needed.

Q: What do I do about utility disconnect and reconnect? I’ve heard that’s a complete nightmare. My Facebook group says it takes 5 months to get gas reconnected? Can you help me with that?

A: Yeah, we handle that for you. You make the calls for electric, gas and cable, and we handle water and sewer. And although it’s distasteful for us, we talk you through the Facebook Mass Hysteria, which is usually quite inaccurate. Usually anything anyone tells you on Facebook about construction science is false to some degree.

Q: How about the township and building department? Do I have to bring the plans in and meet with people?

A: Yup, we do it. We do all the submissions at the township level, including all building and zoning, from initial zoning application through to final Certificate of Occupancy. This is a lousy part of the deal…but we do it for you. Again, it doesn’t cost you anything – it’s another value added that we bring to the table.

Q: How about costs? Can you think of ways to save me money? Do you suggest alternatives?

A: As it turns out, we’re actually the only company that does that for you. We discuss alternate design ideas for foundation, wall & floor concepts, decks, stairs and entries, with the architect, engineer and other professionals assigned to your project.

We’ll usually save you $10,000 – $50,000 on your foundation design alone, by suggesting alternate means and methods. Yeah, we definitely do this for you.

Q: How about trying to figure out if an improvement I’m considering is worth the investment? Will I get my money back? Is it worth it?

A: Funny you should ask. Again, we’re the only company we know of that does a Cost/Benefit analysis for you for your project. We explain the financial implications of each portion of your project – is your idea a vanity project, a valuable capital improvement or (usually) something in between.

Q: Do you have a specific service or product that you try and sell me, or do you try and figure out the best solution for me and provide what I really need?

A: Again, an excellent question. We are one of the only construction companies that first discusses options and your situation to determine what you want, what you need and the most suitable solution for your situation. It is only at that point, that we will design and tailor a project scope of work that addresses all aspects of your needs – construction, design, cost, feasibility.

Q: I’m worried about signing a contract with a builder or contractor since I’ve heard so many stories about homeowners being ripped off. What do you have to say about that? Can you assure me I won’t lose my money?

A: Yes, as a matter of fact, we can assure you of that. As a matter of fact, we welcome inquiries into our financial strength since our financial condition demonstrates to you that we’re able to successfully complete your project. We’re the people that finish the abandoned projects other people start.

Please review our financials at Our ticker symbol is VRTR.

Q: I’ve heard about people giving contractors large deposits and then never hearing from them again? What can you tell me about that?

A: We’ve been writing for years warning people about large initial deposits and advising as to how to avoid being victimized. We rarely accept more than a 5% deposit as an initial down payment. We responsibly make sure your funds are used for your project and not spent on anything else. We take care of that for you and keep your investment safe.

Q: Do you know what you’re doing? How many projects have you completed? More importantly, will you finish my project?

A: Yes, we’ll do that for you. We’ve developed and built over 1700 residential homes and 2,000,000 square feet of commercial space since 1993. Most importantly, we’ve never failed to complete a project for a client.

Q: How about dealing with RREM or my insurance company for payment requests and completing my ICC grant paperwork for my insurance company? Also, can you help me deal with my bank, which has an entire other set of requirements?

A: We prepare a special ICC estimate and scope of work for your insurance company to assist you in getting your $30,000 ICC funding. We also help you prepare and submit all RREM payment requests, and help you with final inspections and to close out your grant. We will address funding and draw request issues with you bank for you.

Q: I’m worried about unforeseen events? What if something happens while the project is under way?

A: We’ll handle whatever comes up on your project. Whether it’s a septic tank or well that no one knew about, or work that was done in your home without permits before you bought it, we’ll get you through any issues that arise.

Q: What about if I need work done after you’re finished with the initial project? And what if something goes wrong? Will you be there to fix it? Will you come back to add that room in the garage, that deck we talked about or that new kitchen?

A: We definitely do that for you. Once you’re a client, you can call us in 10 years to change a storm door and we’ll send someone over to your house the next day. At any time in the future, we will come back to your home and do work you may not have been able to do when we were initially there, regardless of the size of the project. We stand behind our work and consider the relationship to be the most important part of our agreement with you. We’ve been building and developing homes in NJ since 1993 and our client referrals and testimonials are the most important part of our legacy.

Q: Will you help me figure out which items I can afford to do now and which I can do later? I’m really confused because I feel like if I don’t do everything at once, I won’t be able to get a CO and move back in my house.

A: Again, we do this for you and very few other companies will evaluate your project like this. We’ll tell you the minimum scope of work that you need to finish your project on budget and move back in, and then we’ll help you choose items that you can afford to do now and those that can be done in the future.

Q: I’m worried about cost overruns and upcharges. I have a tight budget and can’t go over it.

A: We take care of that for you. Unless you change the scope of work by adding items in the middle, we pride ourselves on preparing accurate estimates in the beginning, so you know what to expect and aren’t dealing with any surprises. We never deliberately omit items we know you will need to finish you project, so they can be added later. Many, many builders use this technique to have you sign a contract only to add significant charges once you are stuck in the middle of it and have no choice if you want to finish. We never do this.

Q: I’m worried about communication and being able to reach my builder during the project. I’ve heard about people who couldn’t contact anyone once their project started and had their contractor close his retail storefront and leave town. Do you provide the ability to contact you and will you respond in a timely manner?

A: We do that for you. We’ve owned a building in Forked River for 14 years and we have an outstanding team in the office to respond to your needs. In addition, we’ll communicate with you in the way that suits you, whether it be via phone, text, email or personal visit.

Reminder: If you’ve been ripped off by any dishonest contractor and are stuck, call us and we’ll help you. You may qualify for a $2000 credit towards your project.

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 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 guide Sandsters and others through the maze that is any reconstruction project, we actually do what I write about. 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 supervise and manage elevation projects & house moves, demolish and build new homes, and develop and build entire new neighborhoods. In the past 23 years, we’ve 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 my words helps you move forward and I hope to see you at the seminar on the 18th. As always, call or write with any questions.




Dream Homes Ltd.

Virtual Learning Company Inc.

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




Twitter: #foxbuilder






Dream Homes Nearly Famous Rebuilding Blog · House raising and Moving · New Homes & Rebuilds in Ocean · Pilings · Pilings - Helical versus timber · Rebuilding · Renovations

Dream Homes – Nearly Famous Rebuilding Blog – 6-7-15 – Stop Getting Ripped Off – 10 tips – FEMA & RREM Claims – RREM Rebuilding Seminar – 6-25-15

Dream Homes Ltd.

Atlantic Northeast Construction LLC

Nearly Famous Rebuilding Blog –


Hello Sandsters and Happy Sunday!

Today we tell you how to Avoid Being Ripped Off, remind you about filing for new FEMA claims, and touch on the latest contemplated RREM lunacy about performance bonds. We have some RREM news, with a link to an article in the Press. We talk about the next Nearly Famous Rebuilding Seminar which is Thursday night June 25th at Tuscany House restaurant in Toms River, which should be interesting, since we’re adding some wine to our whines. We remind you again about material and labor shortages, and proper planning.

Once again, I’ll try and serve up Brevity in a Blog, since I think that helps Sandsters the most quickly and effectively. I’m also trying to keep to 3 topics and not go bouncing around on tangents. (Probability of failure:high)

It was also a rough month this week…it’s been 80 work hours and counting and no end in sight. There is an old Zen saying which goes “Chop wood, carry water.” My brother says, “Run longer, sleep less.” To which I add, “Don’t complain.”

Okay, here we go. Let’s roll. We’ve got houses to build, and Sandsters to protect from themselves – and others.

2015-05-22 08.55.33  Some of the projects we’ve just completed.  SAMSUNG

Nearly Famous Rebuilding Seminar – Getting Started – Thursday 6/25/15:

Our next Nearly Famous seminar will be held Thursday, June 25th at the Tuscany House restaurant in Toms River, across from the Ocean County mall on Hooper Avenue. The theme this time will be Getting Started, and we will focus on Sandsters that are early in the process, and have not completed design work, or chosen a builder or architect. (I’m finding that Rebuilding mimics life – starting things can be mind-numbingly difficult and actually pulling the trigger on their project is a main issue holding many Sandsters back.)

At this seminar, we’ll focus on working with people who need engineering or architectural design advice, RREM guidance at the initial stages, and information about choosing the right builder or contractor. I can comment and help people in the active stages of construction either online, through email, text, or phone, but the Sandsters that are just getting started are the people that most need a team of professionals answering specific questions in person.

We’ll start at 6 and be in the Fire Room, which is a really cool outside space. Our speakers will be Kathy Dotoli, Esq., and Scott Lepley or Jeff Barton, architects. I will moderate and discuss RREM and general construction issues at this seminar. George Kasimos from Stop FEMA Now may also speak regarding current FEMA news and to discuss the details about RREM reopening claims due to fraud.

It should be a great seminar in a relaxed environment and as always we’ll try and clear up rebuilding confusion. Soft drinks, beer, wine and pizza will be served and it should be interesting, and maybe some fun. If it works, we’ll have a new favorite place for our Nearly Famous seminars …J

In the meantime, send me an email or give me a call at 732 300 5619 and let me know your interest in attending. Space in the outside Fire Room is limited to about 30 or so people.

FEMA Insurance Scandal & Reopening Claims: Time is running out – Don’t leave money on the table

Letters have gone out to ALL policy holders who made a claim for Sandy damages. You have 60-90 days to respond initially after receiving your letter, if you want to reopen your claim. I had an exhaustive list of bullet points in the last blog, and encourage you to reread it if you haven’t already. Here is a decent article to view.

View full article here

Paying for Work in Place and How to Avoid Being Ripped Off

I’ve gotten so many repeated requests about repeating this topic because Sandsters keep getting ripped off, that I am reposting a previous blog almost verbatim. It’s all about what you are paying for and when you are paying for it.

We’re hearing too many sad complaints from people and hearing too many stories about builders absconding with client’s money or not being able to finish projects because payments are tendered before work is complete. A few bad apples can ruin the whole barrel and it is my continuous personal crusade to root out and get rid of this type of person…no one needs it and it gives the profession a bad name and negative image.

Today’s post is not about the delays in RREM payment and the problems that may cause with your contractor if they cannot move forward until receiving payment, although that is a constantly recurring valid concern. Rather, this post is about how exactly you should tender funds, whether you’ve received them from RREM, insurance or ICC, or you are working with your own money. It’s about the protocol and the discipline of monitoring a project, as opposed to the details regarding where the money is coming from.

As a general rule, smart Sandsters pay for work in place and do not give (large) deposits on work to be done in the future (with certain limited exceptions).

I tell you three times, I tell you three times, I tell you three times.

Repeat that aloud every single day you are involved in funding an active project.

Like many rules, there is a vast amount of flexibility here. Common sense is essential in order to effectively protect your interests, and still keep your project moving forward.

Paying for work in place, that has been inspected by either/both you and the township inspector, is a generally accepted best practice in building and contracting since the beginning of recorded time.

(Note: In all commercial and professional residential construction (as opposed to smaller scale operations, which constitute about 85% of all residential construction work), and for the safest strictest payment behavior, lien waivers should be procured from your builder at each invoice or draw request so you can verify that all subcontractors and material suppliers have been paid on an ongoing basis. This item is required for RREM at the end of your project and is not generally something you should have to deal with throughout your residential project.)

In any case, if your builder is asking for deposits ahead of work in place, you should meet the following conditions or take the actions I list here.

  1. Specifically determine what these advance funds will be used for, before making any significant payment ahead of completed work.

2. Absolutely know and trust your builder, their work and their reputation.

3. Think carefully before you expend any amount greater than 10% of your project cost at any single time, for work not already in place.

4. Thou Shalt Not Rush and Maketh Decisions in Haste When It is Not Necessary.

5. Get at least one other qualified individual in your life to tell you (in writing, whether email, text or letter) that you should proceed. That person can be your spouse if they are capable of dispassionate analysis (and you are comfortable with the possibility of separation or divorce), your attorney, another builder you know, or an architect or engineer. If you cannot find someone qualified who will put their advice in writing, you are probably making a mistake in paying for something ahead of completion.

6. Definitely do not tender advance payment to out of state contractors. Your recourse is limited to actions you can take against their NJ subsidiaries. Specifically, avoid construction companies that fly in from Louisiana.

7. If all else fails, and you are still perplexed, do some legwork and check with the township, Better Business Bureau, and the Departments of Community Affairs and consumer fraud. Contractors who are consistently illegitimate do not last long in NJ. We’re a vocal bunch of Sandsters and spread bad news far and wide.

Chances are, if you follow these simple rules, you won’t make too grievous of an error. If you are in doubt and have no one else to consult, use me as your Phone – A – Friend and I will talk you away from the Paying Ahead Ledge.

However, as with any simple set of rules or protocols, there are many exceptions.

  1. When you sign your contract, you should expect to pay between 5% – 10% of the total project cost. We sign contracts with clients for $1000 if clients are waiting for money, but generally it’s $5000 – $15,000.

5%-10% is not unreasonable, because you have probably been working with your builder for a number of months and developed some type of relationship. There is a legitimate cost to starting design work, ordering and securing contractors and material, and gearing up and staging a project. If you are (inadvertently) dealing with someone who is unscrupulous and is going to steal $5,000 – $10,000, the chances are that with a little due diligence you can determine that before signing a contract.

  1. If your contractor or builder comes to you with a legitimate cash flow concern (“I’m sorry John, but I really have to wait for that first payment for the elevation before I spend another $40,000 on helical piles…I just don’t have the money to lay out…”) and you don’t want to delay your project, and you have a warm, fuzzy, comfortable feeling about the universe, you can go ahead and spend some money and keep moving along.
  2. If you do advance funds ahead of work, because you have satisfied some or all of the above conditions, you should try and tender payment to suppliers when material is delivered to the site. This is actually a very safe, acceptable method of monitoring your project, but very cumbersome and time consuming for you. There is nothing wrong with being on site when material is delivered and paying a supplier directly for it, with the amount being deducted from the total contract.

I can write volumes about proper payment protocols, but that’s enough for today Sandsters.

Finding and Working with Contractors – Beware Out of State companies! – Part IV – Repeat

In the last few blogs, I’ve written an excellent summary of items to consider when choosing a builder and if you haven’t read them, please go back and do so. To again stress an important point, I remind you that pricing will be between 25% – 40% higher when dealing out of state, or with very large contractor/builders. Of specific note is the concern when you are dealing with one of the original approved Path C contractors. They’ve spent the last 2 ½  years giving estimates for RREM Path C projects which are significantly higher than fair market pricing and they’re now finding it difficult to adjust their estimates to the market.

Recent comparisons for projects we have signed, with real numbers: Quoted: $282,000. Dream pricing: $209,000. Quoted: $143,000. Dream pricing: $103,000. Quoted: $128,000. Dream pricing: $88,000.

Be warned. Don’t go bigger than you need and don’t go looking for diamonds on a mountaintop when they’re in your backyard. Caveat emptor.

11 Tips for Good Communications with your Builder – Part II:  If you missed this article in the last few blogs, go back to it and read it now. It’s really useful for effective communication and good to reread.

Much of it talks about being nice to others. Sometimes we forget – You get more with honey than you do with vinegar.

Reminder – Repeat: You should not separate the elevation or masonry portion of your project from your entire project scope. These are not items that you should direct yourself, nor will you be able to accurately monitor progress of your project or avoid the inevitable finger pointing if (when) events go awry. You definitely will not save money, though it may appear as if you will.

If you would like to build your own deck, do interior finish like painting, sheetrock and cabinets, or perform some other cosmetic, non-essential service, have at it and save some money. Avoid handling mechanical and structural aspects of your project yourself unless you are specifically qualified and have the time to devote to the effort.

Material and Labor Shortages – Welcome to the New Normal:

Sadly, we’ve all been dealing with material and labor shortages since the winter weather broke, and it will be like this for the foreseeable future.

There is no way around this concern, except to effect better planning and deal with someone who has the resources to bring to the table when material, subcontractors and labor are in short supply. We deal with several elevation, masonry and mechanical contractors in each field and have the flexibility to seek qualified alternates if our first choices are not available. This can save weeks over the life of a project.

Tip: If you don’t want to miss any of my blogs, go the blog and “follow” it. Sometimes 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. Those folks are doing more to try and protect the interests of Sandsters than all the HUD and DCA committees combined. George and his organization are actually attempting to change policy to improve the situation for thousands of Sandsters and that is an effort we wholeheartedly support. If you want to get involved and either donate or volunteer your time to this worthy effort, please visit their web site, which is listed above in this paragraph.

Path C to Path B – Update & Multiple Repeat: A note to Sandsters still considering Path C, “Time is much more valuable than money. Don’t waste one minute of your life on a pursuit (Path C) where the guidelines are completely unclear and subject to change, and your project could take 3 times as long.” Sandsters up and down the shore are still switching from Path C to B, so do not listen to anyone who tells you that you are unable to do so. Call / email me for assistance if you cannot get past this point with your program manager.

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

You can now log onto from your mobile device and see a mobile site tailored to a smaller screen. Hopefully this is helpful to mobile Sandsters.

Design work and timing: Fall 2015. You should be working now on your design scope and scheduling for a September / October start to your project. We currently have a dozen Sandster projects we are starting in the fall – all have either completed or are actively working on their design scope at this time so permits will be ready and plans can be made to secure alternate housing. Besides, there are much cheaper rentals in the fall/winter at the shore.

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.

You Tube Link to a Nearly Famous Rebuilding Seminar: If you’ve missed our seminars and can’t easily attend, here is a link

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.



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




Twitter: foxbuilder