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Dream Homes Nearly Famous Rebuilding Blog – 6-29-14 – The Emporer is Naked! Path C is Gone! Huge Changes to the Shore – The $200 Million Learning Curve

Dream Homes Ltd. Nearly Famous Rebuilding Blog –

Atlantic Northeast Construction LLC

6 – 29 -14

The RREM World Champion Blog!!   

NEWS FLASH: Path C Didn’t Work – Emporer Revealed to be Naked!

Happy summer Sunday to you, Sandsters!

Today we have a ton of great news! This is the blog I’ve been waiting to write.

Many of you already know (since it is becoming more of an open secret by the hour) that the DCA is about to announce that as of 7/1/14, Path C shall be no more. Dead, muerte, finis, finito, over, history, omega, good bye, done. As of June 30, 2014, if you haven’t already signed up for Path C, you will not be able to. There will be only Path B.

(Author’s note: The DCA has not yet made the announcement but this news has been directly confirmed from a dozen sources as of this date.)

To which we say, “Good riddance Path C – we knew all along that the emperor was an overweight middle aged naked white guy”.

We will not gloat and speak of water under the bridge, however. We will be gracious celebrating the victory of the rational free market, or rather the rare successful government / market cooperative alliance, which has adapted correctly to the actual needs of the market. It took RREM a year to close Path C, but it might have dragged on for 5 more years before someone had the brains to stop it, so we’re doing ok, relatively. Compared to NY and Louisiana we’re positively world class.

As an important note, anyone who has signed up for Path C already is grandfathered in and your project will proceed normally. To any Sandster stuck in Path C, we will keep you in our prayers. 

Moving forward, other than the aggravating fact that we pissed almost $200 million or so figuring all this out, we’re in decent shape.

With the advent of Path B as the sole direction, a number of important goals will be accomplished, both immediate (tactical) and long term (strategic). Of immediate importance, and thank God someone in the Christie administration is paying attention (or reading my blog), is the fact that we will now be able to disburse enough of the initial $600 million grant to qualify to use the other $880 million which we’ve already been allocated from HUD. (Remember: our federal government has the quaint notion that there’s no sense giving a state more money if they can’t spend what they’ve already been given. It’s use it or lose it. There is a glimmer of truth to that).

In any case, now RREM is free to push people to make decisions since there is no more ability to rely on Path C. You’ll have to take a position – either scramble some eggs or get out of the kitchen to make way for the next guy.

That’s the stimulus that will get the money spent in time for the November deadline. I figure we’re about $150 – $200 million or so short of the goal of $450 million, which is achievable when you consider it’s going out in $75,000 chunks. 1500 or so new Sandsters in the mix and all of a sudden you’re getting it done, and now we have another $800 million to spend.

You know, a million here, a million there and pretty soon you’re talking about some real movement in the economy…J

Strategically, the effects of this change in policy are even broader. A mindset has been changed. We can dispense with the subterfuge and artificial crutch of Big Brother fixing our homes and do things for ourselves as we should have right from the beginning. When you want to build a house, you go to a builder, not an accountant, a data entry clerk, a middle manager, a DCA attorney, a HUD accountant, a senior manager, an auditor, an inspector and the guy who delivers the water. Much momentum will immediately be created without all that additional unnecessary friction of process.

On the negative side, in the short term we will experience both price increases in material and labor, as well as skilled labor and construction management shortages. Prices for both material and labor have increased quite a bit in the last 6 months and they will continue to do so. More importantly, all businesses have capacity issues – one can wait for the person or team you’ve chosen or try to find someone else. Soon, there won’t be many “someone elses” that are not also very busy. However, there’s no sense worrying about it other than as an added encouragement not to waste any time moving forward. It is what it is – one can complain about the market and wait until it changes or jump in and deal with existing conditions.

Back to the light – on another extremely bright note, it appears through the RREM grapevine that GAP funding will shortly be available to Path B recipients! That is outstanding news and long overdue. I mean, one would rationalize that without a Path C towards which to artificially direct valid Red Cross funding, GAP funding will now be available to Path B Sandsters, but that is unconfirmed though broadly acknowledged as of this date. Once again, great news. Remember, GAP funding is income based, so if you qualify you get it. $30,000 is $30,000 and I specifically know it will help bridge the gap for a lot of people.

Next Nearly Famous Rebuilding Seminar Date – Next month at the Holiday Inn in Manahawkin: Our next Nearly Famous Seminar will be held at the Holiday Inn in Manahawkin and will happen sometime in the 3rd week of July. I haven’t firmed up a date but as soon as I do, I’ll post it. Last year’s Manahawkin seminar was very popular and this year should be even better. Call me at 732 300 5619 to reserve your space.

Repeat from 6/23/14 Blog – Sandsters – Call to Action! If you want to enjoy your house this summer but still want to be back in your elevated home before Thanksgiving, you must start your design scope very soon. You will want to have your final plans, survey, plot plan, flood elevation certificate and permit packages ready to go immediately after Labor Day, which means you should have started already or be getting started in the next few weeks. If you still need a soil boring and geotechnical analysis, make sure you order it soon. In mid August, you will need to call for electric, gas, phone and cable utility disconnects yourself, and your builder will generally handle water and sewer cut and cap services. When you do call for disconnects, make sure you request a date certain for the shutoffs.

The point is to not procrastinate too much longer if you want start in September and be back in your house before Thanksgiving. So carpe the old Diem, tempus fugit, get the lead out and get going!…JJ

This week’s RREM Abbreviation, about the demise of Path C:

RREM: Resoundingly Respectable Excellent Mutation

New Sunset Beach Model arriving soon in Toms River! For those of you thinking of designing a new home, we’ve recently introduced a new model called the Sunset Beach. It’s a very different house with a distinct island look and feel. This model is being done in about 1800 square feet but can be as small as 1400 and as large as 2500 square feet. Send me an email if you want to check out the new plan. We’ll be starting the house soon on Rt 37 West in Pelican Island so stop by and see us.

Repeat from 6/23/14 – Important for House Sizing – RREM “Footprint” Comments: Prior to this point, I understood that if your rebuilding new (reconstruction) the maximum increase in size to your new house was a total of 300 square feet. Now I’ve confirmed that the 300 square foot maximum increase applies to the footprint only and not to the total square footage. That makes sense from the standpoint of impervious coverage – anything under 300 square foot increase does not normally trigger the need for a CAFRA or DEP permit and also requires just a minor soils conservation letter of eligibility.

That’s an important distinction and it means you can increase the size of the downstairs up to 300 square feet and still have an equal or slightly smaller upstairs in addition. So you can effectively almost double your square footage, assuming your budget allows.

Money Saving Tip – Repeat from 6/23/14: I’ve said this before but it bears repeating. Though the single most important step to take at the beginning of your project is commissioning a soil boring and geotechnical analysis, you probably don’t need one if you are demolishing your home and installing pilings. In that case, you can drive a test piling to determine the point at which the soils offer the correct compaction (8, 10 or 12 tons normally) and size the pilings accordingly. You save about $2000 avoiding a soil boring. Frankly, as long as your foundation is certified to be solid and able to support your house, does you really care about the soil composition under your home every 6” down to 30 feet? I don’t think so.

Elevation – Repeat – Definition: Remember that 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 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.

Repeat – RREM / HMGP tip of the day: Secret – What not to say to your housing advisor when asked about RREM or HMGP:  See 6/9/14 blog for more detail.

You Tube Link to the last 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.

Searching the Rebuilding after Sandy Blog for Your Topic: One of the (few) nice things about WordPress is the Search function. Just enter a key word and it will take you to blogs where the subject you’re interested in was discussed.

Special Feature for clients from Dream Homes: We take photos of all of our jobs on a regular basis and upload them to Dropbox. We then send a link to each client with their houses folder, so they can see what’s happening each day. Everyone seems to like this – you can feel very connected to the process even if you can’t be there.

Remember – if you have a specific question, send me an email or a text. You don’t need to wait for a seminar or a site visit to clarify a point or two. The same goes for those of you under construction. Whether or not you are Dream Homes/Atlantic Northeast Construction client or not, I will always try and help you or guide you in the right direction.

Reminder: if you’ve sent me email or left a voice mail and have not received a response within a day or so, please try and contact me again. I do miss messages here and there.

Note to Sandsters: Though I began and continue to 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 and C 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 – generally good news and I hope it helps you. 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://www.dreamhomesltd.com

Twitter: foxbuilder

 

 

 


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Dream Homes Nearly Famous Rebuilding Blog – 6-23-14 – Changes to RREM Path B & C, Foundation ideas to Save $, Scheduling your fall project.

Dream Homes Ltd. Nearly Famous Rebuilding Blog –

Atlantic Northeast Construction LLC

6 – 23 -14

Happy Summer Sandsters ! 

Summer’s finally here and I hope you’ve been enjoying the beautiful weather.

Today’s blog will talk about ongoing changes to RREM, particularly concerning Path B & C. We’ll talk about different options for the lower area of your raised house and discuss errors in your project and how to deal with them. We’ll offer some money saving tips and discuss sizing your new house correctly. We try and talk more construction today, but many of us are focused heavily on RREM so we discuss recent and proposed changes to both Paths. Finally, a call to action for anyone wanting to start in the fall and be back in their house for Thanksgiving.

Next Nearly Famous Rebuilding Seminar Date – Next month at the Holiday Inn in Manahawkin: Our next Nearly Famous Seminar will be held at the Holiday Inn in Manahawkin and will happen sometime in the 3rd week of July. I haven’t firmed up a date but as soon as I do, I’ll post it. Last year’s Manahawkin seminar was very popular and this year should be even better. Call me at 732 300 5619 to reserve your space.

Sandsters – Call to Action! If you want to enjoy your house this summer but still want to be back in your elevated home before Thanksgiving, make sure you start your design scope very soon. You will want to have your final plans, survey, plot plan, flood elevation certificate and permit packages ready to go immediately after Labor Day, which means you should have started already or be getting started in the next few weeks. If you still need a soil boring and geotechnical analysis, make sure you order it soon. In mid August, you will need to call for electric, gas, phone and cable utility disconnects yourself, and your builder will generally handle water and sewer cut and cap services. When you do call for disconnects, make sure you request a date certain for the shutoffs.

The point is to not procrastinate too much longer if you want start in September and be back in your house before Thanksgiving.

So carpe the old diem, tempus fugit, get the lead out and get going!…JJ

Another point to keep in mind is the fall season of this year will be extremely busy up and down the shore and you will definitely face scheduling and builder availability issues if you don’t get started soon. Reputed material shortages are not founded in reality, although material price appreciation certainly is a concern.

This week’s RREM Abbreviation:

RREM: Resoundingly Ridiculous Egregious Management

IMPORTANT NEWS – Change in policy – RREM Path C to Path B: Repeat from the last blog: I don’t know if this is public knowledge yet, but the policy is in effect. When you sign your DBA (Design Build Agreement) at your 5A meeting, you are committed to Path C and cannot change to Path B.

This is a very important note – until now you could sign the DBA and authorize the design scope (soil borings, surveying and engineering) but you were not committed to staying with Path C and could switch. That isn’t the case any longer. You have to decide at or prior to the 5A meeting (which is where the CM (construction manager) meets with your assigned contractor).

If you sign the DBA at your 5A meeting, you are stuck with Path C. Be really careful that you understand what is happening at your 5A meeting – if you are unsure, call me and I will talk you through it.

As always when unsure about anything with RREM, ask for a delay and consult with someone you trust.

New Sunset Beach Model arriving soon in Toms River! For those of you thinking of designing a new home, we’ve recently introduced a new model called the Sunset Beach. A collaboration between our clients Matt & Claudia as well as our long time architect Scott Lepley, the Sunset Beach is a very different house with a distinct island look and feel. This model is being done in about 1800 square feet but can be as small as 1400 and as large as 2500 square feet. Send me an email if you want to check out the new plan. We’ll be starting the house soon on Rt 37 West in Pelican Island so stop by and see us.

RREM “Footprint” Comments: This tip is a new one for me and comes courtesy of another excellent client I am working with in Forked River. Thanks Joanne!

Prior to this point, I understood that if your rebuilding new (reconstruction) the maximum increase in size to your new house was a total of 300 square feet. Now I’ve come to find that the 300 square foot maximum increase applies to the footprint only and not to the total square footage. That makes sense from the standpoint of impervious coverage – anything under 300 square foot increase does not normally trigger the need for a CAFRA or DEP permit and also requires just a minor soils conservation letter of eligibility.

That’s an important distinction and it means you can increase the size of the downstairs up to 300 square feet and still have an equal or slightly smaller upstairs in addition. So you can effectively almost double your square footage, assuming your budget allows.

As a note, I have not definitely confirmed this policy with RREM, but I suspect that it is true. It’s definitely something to consider when planning your new house.

Money Saving Tip #1:  This is a good technique I’ve used recently and is another good option to keep in mind as you are pricing your project. This idea comes to us courtesy of Jeff Barton, who is another good architect we work with in Stafford township – thanks Jeff!

The technique involves using concrete piers on either a continuous concrete footing or over piling caps (if you are building on helical or timber pilings) as opposed to a solid concrete foundation wall from the footing up to the house. Around the pier structure, a 2” x 4” skirt wall is constructed, over which either vinyl or fiber cement siding is installed. This technique necessarily utilizes less concrete block which is a definite savings, but does involve building a 2” x 4” wall and siding costs. You don’t have a solid block wall, but if that isn’t important to you, you can save some money.

The net result can be $5,000 – $10,000 in savings depending on the height of your crawlspace. The higher the crawl/basement, the greater the savings.

Money Saving Tip #2: I’ve said this before but it bears repeating. Though the single most important step to take at the beginning of your project is commissioning a soil boring and geotechnical analysis, you probably don’t need one if you are demolishing your home and installing pilings. In that case, you can drive a test piling to determine the point at which the soils offer the correct compaction (8, 10 or 12 tons normally) and size the pilings accordingly. You save about $2000 avoiding a soil boring. Frankly, as long as your foundation is certified to be solid and able to support your house, does anyone really care about the soil composition under your home every 6” down to 30 feet? I don’t think so.

Elevation – Repeat – Definition: Please remember that elevation refers to “height above sea level” and not the height above your grade at the house or distance the house is being elevated. It’s easy to make a mistake with this and causes much confusion. Example: If you are raising 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.

Elevating your home – Appearance and Exterior Finishes: Repeat – Good information about finishing the lower level of your elevated home – See the last Blog from June 7, 2014.

Repeat – RREM / HMGP tip of the day: Secret – What not to say to your housing advisor when asked about RREM or HMGP: See last week’s blog for more detail.

You Tube Link to the last 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.

Searching the Rebuilding Blog: One of the (few) nice things about WordPress is the Search function. You don’t need to read every blog to find what you want – simply enter a key word and it will take you to blogs where the subject you’re interested in was discussed.

Special Feature for clients from Dream Homes: We take photos of all of our jobs on a regular basis and upload them to Dropbox. We then send a link to each client with their houses folder, so they can see what’s happening each day. Everyone seems to like this – you can feel very connected to the process even if you can’t be there.

Remember – if you have a specific question, send me an email or a text. You don’t need to wait for a seminar or a site visit to clarify a point or two. The same goes for those of you under construction. Whether or not you are Dream Homes/Atlantic Northeast Construction client or not, I will always try and help you or guide you in the right direction.

Reminder: if you’ve sent me email or left a voice mail and have not received a response within a day or so, please try and contact me again. I do miss messages here and there.

Note to Sandsters: Though I began and continue to 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 and C in the RREM program. Call, text or email to set up an appointment for an estimate on your rebuilding project.

That’s all I have tonight Sandsters – hope it helps. 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://www.dreamhomesltd.com

Twitter: foxbuilder


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Dream Homes Nearly Famous Rebuilding Blog – 6-7-14 – Huge Changes to RREM Path C & B, Foundation treatments, Rebuilding Seminar Thursday 6/12/14, RREM Path A scandal,

Dream Homes Ltd. Nearly Famous Rebuilding Blog –

Atlantic Northeast Construction LLC

6 – 7 -14

Happy Sunday Sandsters and I hope you’re enjoying this beautiful weekend.

Today’s blog will talk about some very important changes to RREM, particularly concerning Path B & C. We’ll talk about the scandal that is RREM Path A, some aesthetic considerations for your raised house and discuss errors in your project and how to deal with them. We talk more today about construction that we have recently, since we’ve been (unfortunately) focused heavily on RREM. We also include a mention about our upcoming Nearly Famous Seminar this Thursday in Bricktown, which is rapidly filling up.

Next Nearly Famous Rebuilding Seminar Date – This Thursday – 6/12/14, 6 PM Bricktown: Our next Nearly Famous Seminar will be held at the Bricktown branch of the Ocean County Library this Thursday June 12, from 6-8 PM. The library is located at 301 Chambers Bridge Road in Bricktown. Come get current RREM / HMGP information and have your questions answered. Our professional panel includes Evan Hill, PE from Dewberry Engineering and Kathy Dotoli, Esq. from the Law Firm of Kathleen M. Dotoli. I will be moderating and answering construction questions. It’s always an open forum for discussion so bring your surveys and flood elevation certificates. Seating is limited and refreshments will be served. Call 732 300 5619 to reserve your space. This seminar will probably be well attended since I’ve received a number of responses already, so please reserve a space if you plan to attend.

Offer to Sandsters in Need: If you are stuck in the middle of your project and need an objective evaluation to help you move forward, call me. As we move forward rebuilding after Sandy, we will see delays caused by mistakes and lack of knowledge, more and more often. We all have to live with the fact that many smaller contractors are attempting house raises and moves, without the proper knowledge, professional support or ability. This is causing projects to stop in the middle all over the state. If you are in this unfortunate position, call me (or an architect, engineer or other professional builder) for some guidance and advice. Don’t leave itup to yourbuilder to move things forward if he was the one that caused the work to stop. You have to get involved and informed.

Best Funny (anonymous) Abbreviation from last week:

RREM: Ridiculous Restrictions Erroneous Management

IMPORTANT NEWS:  There’s been a huge change to RREM Path B & C in the last few weeks. This has not been publically stated by the DCA or RREM, but I have positive confirmation from 2 separate clients in the last week, so I am sharing this knowledge with you. Starting approximately 2 weeks ago, when you sign your DBA (Design Buold Agreement) at your 5A meeting, you are committed to Path C and cannot change to Path B.

This is a very important note – until now you could sign the DBA and authorize the design scope (soil borings, surveying and engineering) but you were not committed to staying with Path C. Before, you still had the opportunity to switch to Path B once the results were in and you had a chance to evaluate RREM contributions you would need to make. That isn’t the case any longer.

If you sign the DBA at your 5A meeting, you are stuck with Path C. Be really careful that you understand what is happening at your 5A meeting – if you are unsure, call me and I will talk you through it.

Also, when unsure about anything with RREM, ask for a delay and consult with someone you trust.

Sad (but expected) Revelation about RREM Path A: To no one’s surprise, Path A has turned out to be a complete scam, like many of the other HUD programs which are being implemented by the state. Sad, sad, sad. It’s a shame for the DCA that the kind folks in NJ are smarter than the average populace in other parts of the country and can recognize what is actually happening when we are being swindled.

Okay, here it is. RREM Path A ONLY APPLIES to work done prior to March of 2013. So, if you were a good, diligent Sandster and in good faith, listened to all the pablum and nonsense that the Governor spewed out, you now come to find out that none of the money you spent to rebuild your house and bring it into compliance will be reimbursed.

Remember all that nonsense about moving forward and not stopping and getting your house rebuilt and don’t worry we’ll reimburse you? Well that was so much nonsense. The simplest definition of sin is “that which harms another person”. Based on that statement, what has been been perpetrated upon the citizenry is sinful. I haven’t said this previously, but I am amazed that some bright attorney hasn’t filed for class action status in a suit against DCA, RREM and the Governor. Stay tuned for that inevitable development.

Elevation – Definition: Please remember that elevation refers to “height above sea level” and not the height above your grade at the house or distance the house is being elevated. It’s easy to make a mistake with this and causes much confusion. Example: If you are raising 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.

Elevating your home – Appearance and Exterior Finishes: There have been many questions recently about the appearance of your home after it is lifted and many Sandsters are worried that the look and “feel” of your home will be different after you elevate. The simplest way to think about this is to realize that you can make your home look almost identical to how it does now, or you can change the appearance if you wish. Decks, porches and entry stairs should add to the curb appeal and usability and adding space under the house certainly adds to the utility of your home. You can use these spaces to add a positive factor to your homes elevation.

Assuming you are lifting on pilings, you can choose to do nothing and have pilings be seen, you can skirt the pilings with lattice, you can cut the pilings off at grade and pour a concrete grade beam and add a block foundation or you can construct a 2” x 4” skirt wall around the pilings with either siding or fiber cement. If you are elevating on an existing or new shallow concrete footing, you can simply parge coat the foundation with mortar (most common), install vinyl siding over the concrete block, install cultured stone over the block, or a combination of the three choices.

The summary is that whichever wall treatment you choose can be made to either match your existing exterior, or to introduce a new exterior treatment for a complimentary look. So concerns about radically different appearance are usually unfounded.

As an additional note, the place to spend a bit of extra money is on the front porch & entry. It is well worth it to upgrade from pressure treated lumber to composite decking and vinyl rail since it dramatically improves the curb appeal of your house and is an improvement you are very likely to be paid for when you sell your home.

Basement/crawl floor notes: Remember that if you are in an A zone (as most of you are) you do not  have to build breakaway walls or a floating concrete floor like in a V zone. You can pour a regular concrete slab which is tied into the exterior block foundation or the pilings, and you can do this whenever you wish – it does not have to be done when you are doing the rest of the project. You can also install a regular 2” x 4” skirt wall with siding or fiber cement  and don’t have to worry about it being a breakaway wall.

Repeat – RREM / HMGP tip of the day: Secret – What not to say to your housing advisor when asked about RREM or HMGP:  See last week’s blog for more detail.

You Tube Link to the last Nearly Famous Rebuilding Seminar: A little late to the game, but 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.

Searching the Rebuilding Blog: One of the (few) nice things about WordPress is the Search function. You don’t need to read every blog to find what you want – simply enter a key word and it will take you to blogs where the subject you’re interested in was discussed.

Special Feature for clients from Dream Homes: We take photos of all of our jobs on a regular basis and upload them to Dropbox. We then send a link to each client with their houses folder, so they can see what’s happening each day. Everyone seems to like this – you can feel very connected to the process even if you can’t be there.

Remember – if you have a specific question, send me an email or a text. You don’t need to wait for a seminar or a site visit to clarify a point or two. The same goes for those of you under construction. Whether or not you are Dream Homes/Atlantic Northeast Construction client or not, I will always try and help you or guide you in the right direction.

Reminder: if you’ve sent me email or left a voice mail and have not received a response within a day or so, please try and contact me again. I do miss messages here and there.

Note to Sandsters: Though I began and continue to write this blog primarily 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 and C in the RREM program. Call, text or email to set up an appointment for an estimate on your rebuilding project.

Hope this helps. As always, call or write with any questions.

Stay well Sandsters.

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://www.dreamhomesltd.com

Twitter: foxbuilder


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Dream Homes Ltd. Nearly Famous Rebuilding Blog – $ 882 Million 2nd round RREM Funding, Endorsement for Rich Pezzullo for Senate, Fixing RREM & HMGP with Squirt Guns & Nerf Footballs, RREM Path B & C timing for money, Getting Started Before You Get Your First Check

Dream Homes Ltd. Nearly Famous Rebuilding Blog –

Atlantic Northeast Construction LLC

6 – 1 -14

Happy Sunday Sandsters and I hope you’re enjoying this beautiful weekend. The weather is only supposed to get nicer with temperatures hitting 80 tomorrow. What a pleasure working in weather like this when it gets light at 5:30 and stays that way until almost 9!

Today’s blog aims to be a shorter one, for no particular reason than I’m a bit tired. Too much work and not enough rest makes for mistakes and general stupidity, which we are all subject to at the best of times and even more so when we’re exhausted. (I certainly need no help in those areas). Today we’ll talk about my friend, colleague and Senate candidate Rich Pezzullo, who needs your vote on Tuesday so he can help cut regulation and inefficiency in the RREM program. We’ll talk time frames for RREM Path B money/payment issues (both in and out), and give a couple of funny abbreviations for your amusement. We include a link to the latest $882 million Sandy grant and discuss errors in your project and how to deal with them.

Next Nearly Famous Rebuilding Seminar Date – 6/12/14, 6 PM Bricktown: Our next Nearly Famous Seminar will be held at the Bricktown branch of the Ocean County Library on Thursday June 12, from 6-8 PM. The library is located at 301 Chambers Bridge Road in Bricktown. Come get current RREM / HMGP information and have your questions answered. Our professional panel includes Evan Hill, PE from Dewberry Engineering and Kathy Dotoli, Esq. from the Law Firm of Kathleen M. Dotoli. I will be moderating and answering construction questions. It’s always an open forum for discussion so bring your surveys and flood elevation certificates. Seating is limited and refreshments will be served. Call 732 300 5619 to reserve your space. This seminar will probably be well attended since I’ve received a number of responses already, so try to reserve a space early.

Politics and Good Ideas – Vote for Rich Pezzullo on Tuesday: For every Sandster that’s fed up with too much paperwork, delay, confusion and lack of transparency in RREM and HMGP, get out on Tuesday June 3rd and vote for my business associate and friend of 20 years Rich Pezzullo for US senate. Rich is a conservative Republican candidate with sound values and great ideas and I urge all Sandsters reading this blog to check out his website at www.pezzulloforsenate.com. Rich supports less government, repealing Obamacare, fiscal sanity (a man after my own heart), more clarity in RREM and HMGP. He deserves your consideration. When he wins the primary on Tuesday, he will be challenging Cory Booker in the fall and he needs your support. You can learn more about Rich’s views, sign up to help his campaign or make a contribution on his website at www.pezzulloforsenate.com. Come out on Tuesday and do your part to help Rich win the primary so we can defeat Cory Booker and liberal tax & spend politics.

Funny abbreviations for comment – Could these be true?

HMGP: Hey Maybe I’ll Get Paid

DCA + DEP = DUM – Department of Ulterior Motives

3rd Round of RREM Funding – Read about it at this link below:

http://www.nj.com/news/index.ssf/2014/05/nj_to_receive_882m_in_sandy_aid_in_third_round_of_hud_aid.html

Thoughts and Details on How to Lose $882 Million: It’s great news that we’ve gotten more money for RREM and HMGP (the amount was more than doubled from the $382 million allocation (based in part on testimony I gave at the DCA hearing in Galloway) so a lot more people will be moved into the program and get money to rebuild from RREM.

The bad news is that if we don’t get moving and get another $200 million or so actually spent from the original $600 million HUD grant, we will lose this $882 million round of funding.

One wonders why it is so damn difficult to get funding dollars moving, even after one has been approved, signed, re-signed, chosen a contractor and started your project. Why do 4 people have to sign off on a check requisition?

You can borrow $10 million from a local commercial bank and the commitment requires one sign off and a board approval (I know – I’ve done it many times). For funding under $1 million, 2 people sign off on the funding commitment and 2 people sign off on each requisition. It’s not an act of Congress each time you build something and want to get paid.

The simple expediency of cutting checks weekly instead of monthly would go a long way to getting money out to all the Sandsters, and more importantly will prevent us from losing the second grant allocation, if the first one is not substantially expended.

Anyway, there’s no reason not to start your design stage while waiting for your first Path B payment. It costs very little to get your project moving and you can make good use of the time while you are waiting for your check. You can do soil analysis, start design engineering, get disconnections, remove asbestos, and plan architectural changes. Don’t lose the time while waiting for RREM to move.

Politics and RREM & Governor Christie; Repeat: Though I tend to try and stay out of political commentary (so much effort, so little effect), it seems that RREM is so deeply entrenched in politics and nonsense, that I am forced to take note. As you may know, Governor Christie conditionally vetoed the Sandy Bill of Rights, while suggesting 150 changes that would make it acceptable to him. This non-clearheaded action was taken despite the fact that the bill unanimously passed the House & Senate. Really Governor Christie? See last week’s blog for my full rant.

I wasn’t going to include this part again, but a lot of people liked it, so here it is again….What’s needed to break the logjam in RREM and HMGP is a group of actual builders to square off for some simple direct conversation with a representative of the DCA, the DEP, HUD, and RREM. 4 builders, 4 government guys in a room, televised live. Everyone gets a water gun and maybe a Nerf football. Whenever something really dumb is uttered, you get a squirt or a foam football in the head. It should take us less than 3 hours to make some decent progress and 80% of what we decide will actually work to get the program moving (is actually working) more efficiently. I volunteer to be on the panel for free, as would numerous other excellent builders.

Great Job Senator Sweeney for your attempts to overturn the veto. It should be done and you are making the effort. Details in the link below.

Here’s a link to the Sandy Bill of Rights article on NJ.com

http://www.nj.com/politics/index.ssf/2014/05/sandy_bill_of_rights_sweeney.html

RREM / HMGP tip of the day: Secret – What not to say to your housing advisor when asked about RREM or HMGP:  See last week’s blog for more detail.

You Tube Link to the last Nearly Famous Rebuilding Seminar: A little late to the game, but 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.

Searching the Rebuilding Blog: One of the (few) nice things about WordPress is the Search function. You don’t need to read every blog to find what you want – simply enter a key word and it will take you to blogs where the subject you’re interested in was discussed.

Special Feature for clients from Dream Homes: We take photos of all of our jobs on a regular basis and upload them to Dropbox. We then send a link to each client with their houses folder, so they can see what’s happening each day. Everyone seems to like this – you can feel very connected to the process even if you can’t be there.

Remember – if you have a specific question, send me an email or a text. You don’t need to wait for a seminar or a site visit to clarify a point or two. The same goes for those of you under construction. Whether or not you are Dream Homes/Atlantic Northeast Construction client or not, I will always try and help you or guide you in the right direction.

Reminder: if you’ve sent me email or left a voice mail and have not received a response within a day or so, please try and contact me again. I do miss messages here and there.

Note to Sandsters: Though I began and continue to write this blog primarily 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 and C in the RREM program. Call, text or email to set up an appointment for an estimate on your rebuilding project.

Hope this helps. As always, call or write with any questions.

Stay well Sandsters.

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://www.dreamhomesltd.com

Twitter: foxbuilder

 

 


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Dream Homes Ltd. Nearly Famous Rebuilding Blog – Memorial Day – 5-25-14 – RREM Secrets revealed – Sandy Bill of Rights & Christie’s veto & Commentary – HMGP – Hey Maybe I’ll Get Paid

Dream Homes Ltd. Nearly Famous Rebuilding Blog –

Atlantic Northeast Construction LLC

5 – 25 -14

Happy Memorial Day Sandsters and I hope you are enjoying this beautiful weekend. The weather is only supposed to get nicer, and we’re moving right into a heat wave on Tuesday and Wednesday. Typical New Jersey – it was in the forties last week and going up to 88 on Wednesday.

Before we get started, on this Memorial Day I want to extend a sincere thank you to all the men and women who have served and are currently serving in our armed forces around the world. But for their sacrifice and commitment to freedom, our government and freedoms would be like those in Turkey, Iran, Syria or China…and numerous other places. Thank you for your service – if you are active service, may you come home safely and enjoy the land you helped to guard. For those who’ve made the ultimate sacrifice, may you rest in peace. Your efforts and sacrifice are never forgotten.

Since I don’t blog enough (old story), we have volumes to talk about today, even more so than usual. We’ll talk about the latest series of major Sandy / RREM errors from our esteemed Governor (should I just start a section in this blog entitled, “Who Stepped on Their $%#@! Today?”) as well as Senator Sweeney’s response. We’ll suggest what never to say to RREM or HMGP, mention our next seminar in Brick, and explain one simple mystery revealed in inconsistent delays in RREM Path B funding. We’ll talk time frames for money/payment issues (both in and out), and as always, give some construction tips. We’ll talk again about the Path C Sticker Shock Sandsters are dealing with at the final signing (after your design stage is complete) and the reason it is happening.  

Or actually, I’ll try to discuss all these topics…and probably get to half of them and half will be in the next blog. We should all have a hard date mid afternoon with a beer or glass of wine, a burger and some relax time with family & friends. I know I feel like I could sleep for a week straight – and if you’re in the middle of either planning or building your project, you know what I mean. One restful day quarterly doesn’t make any of us slothful.

Next Nearly Famous Rebuilding Seminar Date – 6/12/14, 6 PM Bricktown: Our next Nearly Famous Seminar will be held at the Bricktown branch of the Ocean County Library on Thursday June 12, from 6-8 PM. The library is located at 301 Chambers Bridge Road in Bricktown. Come get current RREM / HMGP information and have your questions answered. Our professional panel includes Evan Hill, PE from Dewberry Engineering, Kathy Dotoli, Esq. the Law Firm of Kathleen M. Dotoli and Scott Lepley from ARH Architects. I will be moderating and answering construction questions. It’s always an open forum for discussion so bring your surveys and flood elevation certificates. Seating is limited and refreshments will be served. Call 732 300 5619 to reserve your space.

Politics and RREM & Governor Christie; Though I tend to try and stay out of political commentary (so much effort, so little effect), it seems that RREM is so deeply entrenched in politics and nonsense, that I am forced to take note. As you may know, Governor Christie conditionally vetoed the Sandy Bill of Rights, only suggesting 150 changes that would make it acceptable to him. 150 changes aren’t that bad – at least it’s less than 1000 changes. It is also about 145 more than a reasonable person acting in good faith would suggest during a negotiation. This non-clearheaded action was taken despite the fact that the bill unanimously passed the House & Senate.

Really Governor Christie? Isn’t our whole government thing based on electing a few people who represent the interest of the rest of the people? Don’t you and the rest of the government work for us? Don’t we actually pay everyone’s salary in government through our efforts & toil, earning money and producing goods and services? Isn’t that enough of an invisible tax on our efforts? Does the NJ Government actually produce anything or does it just consume resources? If we the people are so overwhelmingly demanding a Sandy Bill of Rights, by what logic does a Governor refuse?  (Can anyone tell I am rereading Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand for the umpteenth time? Every point is true though).

Is there an alternate universe NJ that Governor Christie is representing? Can we visit them and do they pay taxes also? If so, can he lower our taxes in this universe a bit? Fair is fair.

Here in this universe we want RREM to offer and commit to greater transparency, clear and decent communication, and more funding per project as well as a greater number of projects funded. That’s doesn’t seem to be difficult for anyone outside of government to understand so why isn’t it happening?

The sad truth is that delays, lack of transparency and general inconsistency are only part of the problem.

The system and process itself is diametrically opposed to its own intentions in about 3 ways that I can fathom. The groups (HUD, DCA, RREM, the Program managers, DEP) all are motivated and concerned by different issues 

What’s needed is a group of actual builders to square off for some simple direct conversation with a representative of the DCA, the DEP, HUD, and RREM. 4 builders, 4 government guys in a room, televised live. Everyone gets a water gun and maybe a Nerf football. Whenever something really dumb is uttered, you get a squirt or a foam football in the head. It should take us less than 3 hours to make some decent progress and 80% of what we decide will actually work to get the program moving (is actually working) more efficiently. I volunteer to be on the panel for free, as would numerous other excellent builders.

Huge Kudos to Senator Sweeney for his attempts to overturn the veto. It should be done and he is making the effort. Details in the link below.

Here’s a link to the Sandy Bill of Rights article on NJ.com

http://www.nj.com/politics/index.ssf/2014/05/sandy_bill_of_rights_sweeney.html

RREM / HMGP tip of the day: Thanks once again Margaret Q!!

Secret – What not to say to your housing advisor when asked about RREM or HMGP: 

When asked from HMGP about whether you are waiting to hear from RREM,  DO NOT say that you are.

When asked from RREM about whether you are waiting to hear from HMGP,  DO NOT say that you are.

If you do, both programs will put you back at the end of the queue while waiting for the other program to determine your eligibility and you will wait another 5 months until your paperwork pops up in the pile.

That sounds great until you consider that RREM is run by the DCA (Dept. of Community Affairs) and HMGP is run by the DEP (Dept. of Environmental Protection). It’s quite logical, although like an Escher drawing.

Doesn’t the DEP have enough to do? Aren’t they guarding the environment and taking 9 months to issue CAFRA permits for development and Wetlands Letter of Interpretation? Does anyone in the DEP have any experience in construction, construction management or grant administration? Is it just me or are these logical questions for any sane person to ask?

Who thought of separating very similar responsibilities between 2 agencies that don’t share anything in common except office space in Trenton? Is that bizarre or what? Do you think they had extra desks at the DEP that they wanted to keep filled?

Another RREM Mystery, Not Revealed…What I am (was) wondering …????  Why don’t we do borings first, since everyone needs them? I know now. Why does RREM wait until the entire process is 6 months old and you are ready to get started to tell you that a $25,000, $30,000 or $35,000 contingency contribution (which you don’t have) is needed from you to continue? I know this reason as well.

(Note: there are more details in the last 2 blogs if you want to reread my rants about this policy.)

Anyway, I initially thought I was missing something, but I figured it out.

I know why the RREM program does this and drags out the process.

Unfortunately, it would not help to discuss the reason, since it may actually hurt the Sandsters.

So I’ll keep all the aggravation of this one to myself for the time being…until I can figure out how to fix it.

No sense bitching about something if you aren’t proposing a solution.

RREM Path B Money Mystery Revealed – I recently figured out why the timing for receipt of the 50% first payment has been so inconsistent with RREM Path B. Though many Path B Sandsters initially had gotten large checks in the mail very quickly from the program, the delays and timing since then have been all over the board.

Actually, a client of mine figured it out and told me (Thanks Joe!). The simple, non-conspiracy theory truth is that RREM cuts checks once a month. It’s called Batch Day which seems pretty original (except if you’ve ever studied accounting, in which case you know it’s a pretty ordinary term). So if you do your request in Week 3 and they cut checks in Week 4, you’re getting money in about 10 days or less. If your request is submitted in Week 1, you might wait 5 weeks.

That’s pretty simple. RREM has no incentive to do disbursements more often, since an accounting function is not a billable item. More insanity. Multiply the cost of the delay by the many thousands of people who are waiting and you once again have caused a disproportionately large macro economic effect. Dear RREM, can we get on a bi-weekly payment schedule like the majority of the world. This single change would speed the payments up by 100%.

You Tube Link to the last Nearly Famous Rebuilding Seminar: A little late to the game, but 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.

3rd Round of RREM Funding – Read about it at this link. Details and commentary will be in the next blog.

http://www.nj.com/news/index.ssf/2014/05/nj_to_receive_882m_in_sandy_aid_in_third_round_of_hud_aid.html

Searching the Rebuilding Blog: One of the (few) nice things about WordPress is the Search function. You don’t need to read every blog to find what you want – simply enter a key word and it will take you to blogs where the subject you’re interested in was discussed. 

Special Feature for clients from Dream Homes: We take photos of all of our jobs on a regular basis and upload them to Dropbox. We then send a link to each client with their houses folder, so they can see what’s happening each day. Everyone seems to like this – you can feel very connected to the process even if you can’t be there.

Remember – if you have a specific question, send me an email or a text. You don’t need to wait for a seminar or a site visit to clarify a point or two. The same goes for those of you under construction. Whether or not you are Dream Homes/Atlantic Northeast Construction client or not, I will always try and help you or guide you in the right direction.

Reminder: if you’ve sent me email or left a voice mail and have not received a response within a day or so, please try and contact me again. I do miss messages here and there.

Note to Sandsters: Though I began and continue to write this blog primarily 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 are actually doing all of the work that I talk about in the blog. We work with private clients and Path B and C in the RREM program. Call, text or email to set up an appointment for an estimate on your rebuilding project.  

Hope this helps. As always, call or write with any questions.

Stay well Sandsters.

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://www.dreamhomesltd.com

Twitter: foxbuilder


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Dream Homes Ltd. Nearly Famous Rebuilding Blog – 5 – 15 -14 – Nearly Famous Rebuilding Seminar Tonight & Last night – Space still available


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Dream Homes Ltd. Nearly Famous Rebuilding Blog – 5/7/14 – RREM Mysteries – Path B Delays – Why?? – Rebuilding Seminar Schedule for May – Soil Boring Questions – Construction tips and inspection hold ups –

Dream Homes Ltd. Nearly Famous Rebuilding Blog –

Atlantic Northeast Construction LLC

5 – 7 -14

Greetings to all the Sandsters and I hope you are out and about on this beautiful day.

We have a lot to talk about today, as usual. Updated seminar schedules (Riviera Bay Beach next Wednesday in Toms River & Monmouth Library on Thursday in Shrewsbury), major scheduling inspections and delays, a You Tube link to our last seminar, and some recent changes and delays in RREM Path B funding. We’ll talk time frames, give some construction tips and hints and go into the Path C Sticker Shock Sandsters are dealing with at the final signing after your design stage is complete.

Construction tip for the day: It is very busy in the world of construction at the Jersey Shore and we are continually experiencing delays, especially with inspections. Though many towns are encouraging us to schedule inspections in anticipation of work being done by a certain date, we are still running into 5-8 day times to schedule ongoing construction inspections. This is making scheduling difficult – supposedly building departments are giving preference to RREM projects, but we have several dozen going and I haven’t seen that. The only dependable solution when you are given a day a week out, is to call each day and ask if there’s been a cancellation and they can squeeze you in. Sometimes you get lucky, but often you just wait.

Tip: Try and make sure someone is at the site to meet the building inspector at all critical inspections. It definitely makes a difference. I’ve had inspectors fail sites because there was a piece of wood on the driveway, citing unsafe work conditions.

Other times, they can’t seem to find the construction plans which are attached to the front of the house or the cribbing if the house is in the air. If there’s a warm body there, it’s hard for an inspector to fail you (unless of course you deserve to fail the inspection.

Upcoming Nearly Famous Rebuilding Seminars: Next week we have 2 seminars scheduled – 1 in Toms River on Wednesday 5/14/14 and one in Shrewsbury on 5/15/14.

On Wednesday our seminar will be held at the Riviera Bay Beach Club at 203 Bay Stream Drive in Toms River and starts at 6 pm. I am looking forward to meeting a bunch of nice people and helping them clarify and understand the rebuilding process. Thanks to the RBBC Board for having us and a special thanks to Margaret Q. for helping to set everything up.

On Thursday, we will be at the Monmouth County Library, Eastern Branch at 1001 Rt.35 in Shrewsbury. This seminar also starts at 6 pm and it will be our first seminar in Monmouth County.

Come to either (or both) and get current RREM information and have your specific questions answered. Our panel of professionals at both events includes Evan Hill from Dewberry Engineering and Kathy Dotoli, attorney, with possible appearances from several others on our professional team. I will be moderating and answering construction questions. It’ll be an open forum for discussion so bring your surveys and flood elevation certificates. Seating is limited and refreshments will be served. Call 732 300 5619 to reserve your space.

Note to Sandsters from Long Branch, Point, Sea Bright, Keansberg & Union Beach: – this is our first seminar in Monmouth County, so plan on attending if possible. Remember everyone to bring your surveys, flood elevation certificates and any other documents if you have them.

What I am Wondering…???? I must be missing something. Can anyone offer an opinion as to why every single RREM home does not get a soil boring and geotechnical analysis done FIRST ?? Before we do Tier 2 environmental (no one has failed yet to qualify for the grant and no one ever will, but it is a HUD requirement), and asbestos and lead based paint testing, why don’t we do soil borings?

If we did that, we’d save at least 60 days from the process on each Path C house, since we would know the type of foundation to estimate right in the initial bid, as opposed to bidding it once in Make Believe Land, and then a final time when you actually have hard data to work with.

It will also let us know initially whether a deep foundation system is needed (helical or timber pilings) and more importantly, whether the homeowner can afford to move forward with the cash Contingency Contribution, which you are told about at the end of the process, as you are about to sign.

In my experience, many people are not moving forward with Path C because they don’t have the funds, and decide at that moment to switch to Path B and handle things on their own.

The questions remain: Why don’t we do borings first, since everyone needs them? Why does RREM wait until the entire process is 6 months old and you are ready to get started to tell you that a $25,000, $30,000 or $35,000 contingency contribution is needed from you? You probably chose Path C because you didn’t have any extra money so how can you be expected to come up with the money at the end?

Please ‘splain me Lucy…! Please !!

RREM Path B happenings – Though many Path B Sandster clients initially had gotten large checks in the mail from the program, lately I am hearing delays of 4-6 weeks for that 1st 50% portion to start your project. That makes no sense. Why is the initial payment being delayed all of a sudden? It doesn’t really affect a lot of our clients, since we sign contracts with minimal deposits in order to get design stage work underway, but many Sandsters don’t even have the $5,000 – $10,000 to get the process moving. This is totally not fair – the idea was to give things a boot in the butt and speed up the process, not add another layer of delay. One step forward, 2 steps back. Sad.

You Tube Link to the last Nearly Famous Rebuilding Seminar: A little late to the game, but 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.

Searching the Rebuilding Blog: One of the (few) nice things about WordPress is the Search function. You don’t need to read every blog to find what you want – simply enter a key word and it will take you to blogs where the subject you are interested in is discussed. Note to Sandsters who are WordPress experts: I find WP very difficult to navigate and only use about 2% of the functionality. Any helpful tips would be greatly appreciated and will earn you a discount on your rebuilding project! JJ.

Lifting and moving your house – Mental Stress Hints:  As we’ve said before, houses just weren’t meant to be picked up from the foundations, where they were comfortably, happily resting. For the first couple of weeks on any home elevation, it is a messy, chaotic, intensely choreographed process.

I am often asked by clients, “Should I stay around and make sure everything goes ok, or should I travel?”

Answer: If you can be travelling someplace warm while your lift is happening, you will be a much less stressed Sandster. It’s interesting to watch the process, but it’s just not much fun seeing your house up in the air waiting to be resettled once again.

Special Feature for clients from Dream Homes: We take photos of all of our jobs on a regular basis and upload them to Dropbox. We then send a link to each client with their houses folder, so they can see what’s happening each day. Everyone seems to like this – you can feel very connected and not be confronted with something that looks like a typical day in Beirut.

Remember – you can switch from Path C (RREM manages the project) to Path B (you manage your contractor and project), but once you switch, you cannot switch back to C. I am averaging one new client a week who is fed up with Path C and switching to Path B.

Remember – if you have a specific question, send me an email or a text. You don’t need to wait for a seminar or a site visit to clarify a point or two. The same goes for those of you under construction. Whether or not you are Dream Homes/Atlantic Northeast Construction client or not, I will always try and help you or guide you in the right direction.

Reminder: if you’ve sent me email or left a voice mail and have not received a response within a day or so, please try and contact me again. I do miss messages here and there.

Note to Sandsters: Though I began and continue to write this blog primarily 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 are actually doing all of the work that I talk about in the blog. We work with private clients and Path B and C in the RREM program. Call, text or email to set up an appointment for an estimate on your rebuilding project. 

Hope this helps. As always, call or write with any questions.

Stay well Sandsters.

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://www.dreamhomesltd.com

Twitter: foxbuilder


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Dream Homes Nearly Famous Rebuilding Blog – Rebuilding Seminar tomorrow in Egg Harbor, Notes and retractions about Realtors, 2 Great Construction tips, RREM Path B & C,

Dream Homes Ltd. Nearly Famous Rebuilding Blog –

Atlantic Northeast Construction LLC

4 – 23 -14

Hello Sandsters and I hope this good weather finds you well and your project is moving along faster than fleeting snails…or RREM Path C…:):)

Today we’ll try once again (have you heard this before?) to be brief, but make no promises. It’s the middle of the day and I am forced to be focused, so we’ll see.

Items we’ll be talking about today include our Nearly Famous Rebuilding Seminar tomorrow in Egg Harbor Township, an important clarification about Realtors, more on scheduling inspections and delays, a You Tube link to our last seminar, and RREM Path B & C comments.

Nearly Famous Rebuilding Seminar Schedule: Our next seminar is tomorrow, Thursday, April 24th, at the Egg Harbor township branch of the Atlantic County Library from 5-8. The library is located at 1 Swift Avenue, which is on the corner of Swift and Ocean Heights Avenue (Rt. 559) in Egg Harbor. The library is located next to the Board of Education.

We’ll host Andrew Baumgardner from Baumgardner House Lifting, Kathleen Dotoli, attorney and Evan Hill PE from Dewberry Engineering. We will also have Steve Brasslett from Ivy First Hope Bank back on our schedule with great financing ideas for you.

If you haven’t signed up for tomorrow’s seminar, give me a call or an email since I hate to run out of cookies (and seminar brochures). 

Sandsters from AC, Brigantine, Margate, Ventnor and Egg Harbor Township – this is our first seminar in Atlantic County, so try and attend if possible. Remember to bring your surveys, flood elevation certificates and any other documents if you have them and haven’t already sent them to me.

Clarification and retraction from a previous blog, about Realtors:  I try to be very fair in my writing, presenting both the positive and negative aspects of the topics I write about. Several blogs ago I offered some cautionary advice regarding dealing with real estate realtors and brokers. Several Sandsters called me, (nicely) lowered a house on my head and informed me that though my intent may have been good, the blog actually presented realtors in a poor light.

I reread the blog, and they were right. Sometimes I’m under the gun and don’t reread the blogs enough before I publish them. I apologize to all the decent realtors out there working to put people in new homes or sell their old ones. I work with a number of realtors up and down the shore and clients are referred both ways between us. My intention was not to disparage realtors as a group, but to warn against unscrupulous practice by a very few people.

That being said, my caution was borne from trying to protect a client that I am currently working with who is elderly, and who was represented very poorly and completely taken advantage of by a broker on the Seaside barrier island. The broker had the client signed a dual agency agreement, did not put the property on the MLS, did no advertising and charged a full price 6% commission. To make matters worse the new waterfront house was listed at $700,000 and the broker brought one buyer at $620,000 and told the seller they were lucky to get that amount,  that other properties were not selling for anywhere close to this amount and pressured them into signing a contract. All of their statements were untrue and their behavior was unscrupulous. I was incensed (still am!) and was motivated to write about it.

I know that any Sandster reading this blog would not have dealt with a client in this manner and that is something I should have clarified. My sincere apologies to all the decent realtors out there – many of whom I work with regularly. I know it would have bothered you also. I truly meant no offense to the profession.

Anyway, 90% of the professionals practicing any trade are decent and make the effort to be competent. 10% are not. In fairness, there are most probably a greater number of unscrupulous builders than there are realtors. Contractors have come from all over and become instant “Licensed NJ builders” and there is definitely incompetence and predatory practice. I regularly warn Sandsters about being careful selecting a builder. It is actually much easier to find a good realtor…:):)

Construction tip for the day: Be on site for your critical inspections, no matter how inconvenient it is. We failed a footing inspection because some dirt had fallen in to the exposed footing from 6 pm the night before when I had checked it. If someone was there to talk to the inspector, they could have taken the 4.5 minutes necessary to use a teaspoon and clean it up, and we could have been pouring concrete. The moral of the story? If it is a critical path item (you can’t proceed without passing go and collecting $200), make sure someone is there with Wawa breakfast sandwiches for the inspector…:)

Construction tip for the day: Repeat: Many towns are encouraging us to schedule inspections in anticipation of work being done by a certain date, as opposed to requiring that work be complete prior to calling in an inspection. This is a really helpful tool to use to manage a construction schedule and is good for both builders and inspectors. Important note: If you are not ready for your inspection, make sure you call and reschedule it so the inspector doesn’t waste a trip.

May Seminar Schedule: We have a busy schedule for May, starting with a special seminar on Wednesday May 14th at the Riviera Bay Beach Club at 203 Bay Stream Drive in Toms River. It starts at 6 pm and I am looking forward to meeting a bunch of nice people and helping clarify the rebuilding process. Call or email to reserve a spot. 

You Tube Link to the last Nearly Famous Rebuilding Seminar: A little late to the game, but 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.

Searching the Rebuilding Blog: One of the (few) nice things about WordPress is the Search function. You don’t need to read every blog to find what you want – simply enter a key word and it will take you to blogs where the subject you are interested in is discussed.(Private Note to Sandsters who are WordPress experts: I find WP very difficult to navigate and only use about 2% of the functionality. Any helpful tips would be greatly appreciated and will earn you a discount on your rebuilding project! JJ)

Time frame – repeat: Our complete elevation projects are consistently running in the 5-8 week range. This is because of careful scheduling and planning and is not accidental. I told someone recently that when the building permit is picked up, it’s like flipping a switch and suddenly moving at 100 miles an hour until the project is complete. There is no downtime and if you slow down or stop, it is not a good thing at all.

Reminder – Sad but True: The design stage (surveying, soil boring and geotechnical analysis, foundation inspection and design, architectural design, utility disconnects and plan submission and approval) takes as long or longer than the actual construction stage, so get started on design as soon as possible and be ready to start construction when you want to.

Rule of Thumb: An average, realistic time estimate for your entire elevation project from contract signing to certificate of occupancy is about 4 months – 2 months for design and permitting and 2 months to finish the project. For new homes including demolition, figure an extra month or so.

Reminder – you can switch from Path C (RREM manages the project) to Path B (you manage your contractor and project), but once you switch, you cannot switch back to C. I am averaging one new client a week who is fed up with Path C and switching to Path B.

Important Note worth repeating:  If anyone tells you they are 100% certain what type of foundation you will need without a soil boring and/or geotechnical analysis, they are lying or misinformed. It is reasonable to have several options for a foundation system presented in an initial estimate (I use my experience and give my best evaluation when I see each home, and am right about 80% of the time)…but the final foundation design and cost will be determined by your soil boring.

Remember – if you have a specific question, send me an email or a text. You don’t need to wait for a seminar or a site visit to clarify a point or two. The same goes for those of you under construction. Whether or not you are Dream Homes/Atlantic Northeast Construction client or not, I will always try and help you or guide you in the right direction.

If you’ve sent me email or left a voice mail and have not received a response within a day or so, please try and contact me again.

Note to Sandsters: Though I began and continue to write this blog primarily to help as many Sandsters as possible, Dream Homes Ltd. is a new home builder and general contractor who actively does renovation and reconstruction projects up and down the shore. We actually are doing all of the work that I talk about in the blog. We work with private clients and Path B and C in the RREM program. Call, text or email to set up an appointment for an estimate on your rebuilding project.

Hope this helps. As always, call or write with any questions.

Stay well Sandsters.

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://www.dreamhomesltd.com

Twitter: foxbuilder


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Dream Homes Ltd. / Atlantic Northeast Construction – Nearly Famous Rebuilding Blog – Easter 4-20-14 – RREM Path B & C, Project Scheduling & Time Frames, HMGP Mystery, Nearly Famous Rebuilding Seminar Schedule

Dream Homes Ltd. Nearly Famous Rebuilding Blog –

Atlantic Northeast Construction LLC

4 – 20 -14

Happy Easter to all the Sandsters and I hope your holiday is filled with good health, family and great food.  

Greetings to all and apologies from your favorite, not-prolific-enough blogger for not writing more often. I could actually write about building and rebuilding full time, but then wouldn’t have much time to build anything, so writing gets squeezed in like a guilty pleasure.

Lots to talk about today, as usual. Updated seminar schedules (Hello Riviera Beach Sandsters in Toms River!), scheduling inspections and delays, a You Tube link to our last seminar, recent changes to RREM Path B and some comments about the seminar held by the Toms River building and zoning department and attended by Bayville and Bricktown construction folks. .

We’ll talk time frames, the emotional unpleasantness of elevation and give some construction tips and hints.

Though obviously not in the best circumstances, I’ve met some wonderful people over the last year or so, many of whom have become clients and friends. A warm welcome to some of our newest clients – Matt & Claudia, Terry, Kitty & Ed, Chris & Ann – and thank you for your business.

Construction tip for the day: It is getting very busy out there in the world of building and rebuilding and we are running into delays up and down the shore. Each town is different, but most are legitimately quite busy and running behind on inspections and permit review. This is despite the fact that there are laws dictating maximum times for inspections and plan review.

Many towns (Brick, Toms River, Berkeley) are encouraging us to schedule inspections in anticipation of work being done by a certain date, as opposed to requiring that work be complete prior to calling in an inspection.

This is a new really helpful tool to use to manage a construction schedule and is good for both builders and inspectors. Important note: If you are not ready for your inspection, make sure you call and reschedule it so the inspector doesn’t waste a trip. If you don’t extend this courtesy to the inspectors, you will find that your inspection requests won’t receive the same priority, or you won’t be allowed to call in inspections ahead of time.

Nearly Famous Rebuilding Seminar Schedule: Our next seminar is this Thursday, April 24th at the Egg Harbor township branch of the Atlantic County Library from 5-8. We’ll host Andrew Baumgardner from Baumgardner House Lifting, Kathleen Dotoli, attorney and Evan Hill PE from Dewberry Engineering. We will also have Steve Brasslett from Ivy First Hope Bank back on our schedule with some great financing ideas for you. We’ve had great response bringing a professional team to our seminars and we help a lot of people clarify their thinking and direction. If you haven’t signed up for this Thursday’ seminar, give me a call or an email since space is limited.  

Note to Sandsters from AC, Brigantine, Margate, Ventnor and Egg Harbor Township – this is our first seminar in Atlantic County, so plan on attending if possible. Remember everyone to bring your surveys, flood elevation certificates and any other documents if you have them.

May Seminar Schedule: We have a busy schedule for May, starting with a special seminar on Wednesday May 14th at the Riviera Bay Beach Club at 203 Bay Stream Drive in Toms River. It starts at 6 pm and I am looking forward to meeting a bunch of nice people and helping clarify the rebuilding process. Thanks to the RBBC Board for having us and a special thanks to Margaret Q. for helping to set everything up.

Call or email to reserve a spot.  In May we’ll also be in Shrewsbury up in Monmouth County. 

You Tube Link to the last Nearly Famous Rebuilding Seminar: A little late to the game, but 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.

Searching the Rebuilding Blog: One of the (few) nice things about WordPress is the Search function. You don’t need to read every blog to find what you want – simply enter a key word and it will take you to blogs where the subject you are interested in is discussed.

(Private Note to Sandsters who are WordPress experts: I find WP very difficult to navigate and only use about 2% of the functionality. Any helpful tips would be greatly appreciated and will earn you a discount on your rebuilding project! :):))

HMGP Mystery – Where is the HMGP funding? Many are wait listed for both grants (RREM and HMGP) or have been approved for one and wait listed for the other. I don’t really understand what has held up the process with HMGP, which started as a welcome addition to bridge the gap between ICC funds and the actual costs of lifting the average house. Run by the DEP (not the DCA) it has turned into a confusing quagmire of delay (I know – you’re shocked).

Anyway, here’s a helpful hint: If you have completed the inside of your home and have only to elevate it, you probably won’t get approved for RREM. If you do, once all other funds you received have been subtracted from your grant award (ICC, insurance, etc), you may be left with an amount close to the $30,000 HMGP grant. HMGP is much easier to navigate and deal with than RREM, but it is a reimbursement program so you will have to spend the money (or work with a builder who can work with your budget needs) and then get it back from HMGP. Like RREM Path B, with HMGP you are in control of the process, unlike RREM Path C where you are not in control at all.

Progress at the shore:  We have 2 houses up in the air right now and we’re busily constructing foundations under them. No matter how often I’ve done it, each time I see an elevated house, it strikes me as a most unnatural process. Houses just weren’t meant to be picked up from their foundations, where they were comfortably, happily resting. For the first couple of weeks on any lift, it is a messy, chaotic, intensely choreographed process.

Hint to Sandsters: If you can be travelling someplace warm while your lift is happening, you will be a much less stressed Sandster. Some folks like to watch every moment of the process, but even the most ardent interested people generally say “enough!” after a few days and wait until the dust settles before diving in again. It’s just not much fun seeing your house up in the air almost begging to be resettled once again.

Latest house lift: 1 day short of 5 weeks to have John & Helen back in their home, with all utilities reconnected and outside work almost complete. They are at 204 Catherine Lane in the Coves section of Manahawkin and some of the nicest people I’ve ever met. Their elevated home looks great. Of particular note is the glass railing in the rear overlooking the water, which is something we try and put on all of our waterfront homes. Glass rail costs an extra $250 or so per section, so there is an additional expense, but it doesn’t have to be done everywhere. You can do the rear of your deck with glass rail and the sides and stairs with vinyl or pressure treated and still get the great effect for only slightly more money.

Our complete elevation projects are consistently running in the 5-8 week range. This is because of intense, insistent scheduling and planning and is not accidental. I told someone recently that when the building permit is picked up, it’s like flipping a switch and you’re suddenly moving at 100 miles an hour until the project is complete. There is no downtime and if you slow down or stop, it is not a good thing at all.

RREM happenings – Many Path B Sandster clients have gotten large checks in the mail from the program and this has caused a lot of excitement. The summary is you can now get up to 50% of your grant in order to start your project. You then request the balance of your grant in up to 2 additional draw requests. I wrote in more detail about this a few blogs ago.

Reminder – Sad but True: The design stage (surveying, soil boring and geotechnical analysis, foundation inspection and design, architectural design, utility disconnects and plan submission and approval) takes as long or longer than the actual construction stage, so get started on design as soon as possible and be ready to start construction when you want to.

Rule of Thumb: An average, realistic time estimate for your entire elevation project from contract signing to certificate of occupancy is about 4 months – 2 months for design and permitting and 2 months to finish the project. For new homes including demolition, figure an extra month or so.

REPEAT: RREM – Contingency fund Comment, Path C & Switching Paths (repeat): When you sit with your program manager to sign your grant documents, you’ll most probably be asked to contribute funds towards the contingency fund for your project. That may not be possible for you. You may need to choose Path B and modify your project to bring it in line with your budget.

Remember – you can switch from Path C (RREM manages the project) to Path B (you manage your contractor and project), but once you switch, you cannot switch back to C. I am averaging one new client a week who is fed up with Path C and switching to Path B.

Important Note worth repeating: Work with a builder who knows what they don’t know, and tells you that. If anyone tells you they are 100% certain what type of foundation you will need without a soil boring and/or geotechnical analysis, they are lying or misinformed. The reason the RREM program won’t commit to picking a foundation system before the design stage is completed is because no one knows for certain what you need prior to that study being done.  It is reasonable to have several options for a foundation system presented in an initial estimate (I use my experience and give my best evaluation when I see each home, and am right about 80% of the time)…but the final foundation design and cost will be determined by your soil boring.

Remember – if you have a specific question, send me an email or a text. You don’t need to wait for a seminar or a site visit to clarify a point or two. The same goes for those of you under construction. Whether or not you are Dream Homes/Atlantic Northeast Construction client or not, I will always try and help you or guide you in the right direction.

Reminder: if you’ve sent me email or left a voice mail and have not received a response within a day or so, please try and contact me again. I do miss messages here and there.

Note to Sandsters: Though I began and continue to write this blog primarily to help as many Sandsters as possible, Dream Homes Ltd. is a new home builder and general contractor who actively does renovation and reconstruction projects up and down the shore. We actually are doing all of the work that I talk about in the blog. We work with private clients and Path B and C in the RREM program. Call, text or email to set up an appointment for an estimate on your rebuilding project.

Hope this helps. As always, call or write with any questions.

Stay well Sandsters.

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://www.dreamhomesltd.com

Twitter: foxbuilder


Leave a comment

Dream Homes Ltd / Atlantic Northeast Construction LLC – Nearly Famous Rebuilding Blog – RREM Path B windfall, AC Builder’s show, Foundation systems and estimating, Scheduling your Rehabilitation or Reconstruction Project

Dream Homes Ltd. Nearly Famous Rebuilding Blog –

Atlantic Northeast Construction LLC

4-6 -14

Hello Sandsters and I hope this post finds everyone doing well -

Well the sun is shining and we’re finally into spring, which is good news. I’ve been remiss in my blog scribbles for no good reason other than trying to fit 120 hours of work into a 75 hour work week. If you’ve ever read either of Tim Ferris’ books (The 4-hour Workweek & The 4-hour body…www.fourhourworkweek.com) you know I’m not quite achieving either of the goals in those excellent books.

Anyway, there’s a ton of things to talk about today, with the Atlantic City Builder’s show, recent changes to RREM Path B and some comments on time frames, estimates & accuracy. We’ll remind you about the Nearly Famous Rebuilding Seminar schedule for April and May and encourage you to sign up if you want to attend.

We’ll pass along a general warning about some thoughts about dealing with real estate brokers and introduce some thoughts about building capacity you should discuss with your builder.

Construction tip for the day: When you temporarily backfill the hole for your disconnected water/sewer connection, you should remember to mark each prominently (we use a 2×4 painted orange for each connection so we can find it at the end). More importantly – it is important to protect the water meter box from being run over by the machines that are moving on the site. This is a particular challenge with a house that has a small front yard. After the backfill is complete, cover the hole with 2 x8 or 2 x 10 and lay plywood over it, so if it is accidently run over, it will not be crushed.

The Atlantic City Builder’s show was March 25th – 27th and for the first time in a number of years, there was definitely some excitement. The show has been steadily shrinking since 2009 and there were a few years where simply going caused me severe depression. Last year there was general confusion since Sandy had just happened 4 months prior, but this year there were more vendors, more seminars and classes and general a higher buzz than in the last few years.

Oddly though, there was not as much focus on Sandy rebuilding as one would think. There were enough engineers and attorneys to fill a small stadium and there were house lifters and lumber suppliers, but not as many businesses were as focused on Sandy & RREM rebuilding work as there should be. This is because the real estate market in general is starting to pick up and most builders typically go straight to new home construction when given the chance.

However, as builders we need to place more focus on the actual process of elevating & rehabilitating in order to complete a greater number of projects throughout the shore in a shorter period of time. Though the RREM pace has been picking up (the first rehabilitation project under Path C actually started about 3 weeks ago – I swear), and the time to take each project from initial discussion through the design stage has been shrinking, we still need more people in the field doing this type of work.

Every single builder I spoke with at the show said it was too much trouble doing home elevations when there is plenty of work in new home construction. That is not good at all. I told each builder that they should add this type of construction to their business models, but I stopped after a dozen people said it was too much work and they weren’t going to bother. Sad, foolish and shortsighted.

New home builders should seriously consider learning and doing RREM elevation work – they are sorely needed in the effort.

RREM happenings – A bunch of Path B Sandsters clients have gotten large checks in the mail from the program and this has caused a lot of excitement and forward movement. All of a sudden many Sandsters are realizing the only thing stopping them from rebuilding their house is themselves.

As you should know by now, about 10 days ago the DCA announced a change to the RREM program giving Path B homeowners the right to request up to 50% of their grant amount in an initial up front payment prior to work being started. The press release is at this link… http://www.state.nj.us/dca/news/news/2014/20140312.html

You should have gotten a letter from RREM, but the summary is you can now get up to 50% of your grant in order to start design work and tender deposits to your builder. You then request the balance of your grant in up to 2 additional draw requests. I wrote in more detail about this in the last blog.

As I said – we give credit where credit is due and always try for fairness in our analysis – this is a GREAT positive change in the RREM program.

So Sandsters, find yourself a good builder, get a contract together and present it to RREM with your request for a 50% deposit. Starting your rehabilitation project now will have you finished by July, with your reconstruction project probably taking a bit longer. 

Helpful Comment about real estate brokers –: If you sign a listing with a broker and wind up accepting a price for your home that is less than the listing price you are not committed to the original commission percentage!  If you list for $350,000 and you are offered $275,000, your broker should take less for their commission, just as you are taking less for your house. Period. You are contractually obligated to pay a fixed amount only if you get a full price offer.Otherwise, everything is negotiable.Commissions paid to realtors or brokers are not ordained by God – they are negotiable. If you speak to your broker and he acts like the commission is a set figure, he is lying. If you take less in your asking price, so should he or she for their commission. Remember – you are the principal in the transaction, not the broker. Also, sign a 3 month listing, as opposed to 6 months or longer.   Please call or email me with questions and concerns about this issue. I hate to see Sandsters being taken advantage of and it is happening on a regular basis up and down the shore.

RREM – Contingency fund Comment, Path C & Switching Paths (repeat): When you sit with your program manager to sign your grant documents, you’ll most probably be asked to contribute funds towards the contingency fund for your project. That may not be possible for you. You may need to choose Path B and modify your project to bring it in line with your budget.

Remember – you can switch from Path C (RREM manages the project) to Path B (you manage your contractor and project), but once you switch, you cannot switch back to C. For this reason more than any other, work with a builder who knows what they don’t know, and tells you that. If anyone tells you they are 100% certain what type of foundation you will need without a soil boring and/or geotechnical analysis, they are lying or misinformed. The reason the RREM program won’t commit to picking a foundation system before the design stage is completed is because no one knows for certain what you need prior to that study being done.  It is reasonable to have several options for a foundation system presented in an initial estimate (I use my experience and give my best evaluation when I see each home, and am right about 80% of the time)…but the final foundation design and cost will be determined by your soil boring.

Path A: As of this writing, this Path is an ephemeral unproven fantasy where you are hoping to be reimbursed from RREM based on their evaluation of your costs. Don’t hold your breath Sandsters and please send me a comment if you have successfully gotten reimbursed under Path A.

Onward and upward…it is much more efficient for you to be nice to your contractors and professional team than not. You get more bees with honey than you do with vinegar – being generally nice to your professional team will avail you inestimably greater benefits than being harsh, nasty or impatient. It’s much better for your digestion as well.

So, be nice in general and get better response and people who care about your project. Simple.

Repeat: As a general note, the more accurately you define the scope of work for your project and the more you know (or at least think you know) what you want to do, the more likely you are to choose RREM Path B, or give up the RREM grant entirely and build privately. Generally you will also stress less.  

Nearly Famous Rebuilding Seminar Schedule: Our next seminar is at the Egg Harbor township branch of the Atlantic County Library on April 24th from 5-8. We’ll host Andrew Baumgardner from Baumgardner House Lifting, Scott Lepley, architect, Kathleen Dotoli, attorney and Evan Hill PE from Dewberry Engineering. We will also have Steve Brasslett from Ivy First Hope Bank with some interesting financing ideas for you. We’ve had real success and great response bringing a professional team to our seminars and all the Sandsters who’ve attended have had very positive comments.

Sandsters from AC, Brigantine, Margate, Ventnor and Egg Harbor Township have been asking for a while for a seminar in Atlantic County, and should plan on attending if possible. In May we’ll be in Shrewsbury in Monmouth County. Give me a call or an email if you would like to attend either one.

Remember – if you have a specific question, send me an email or a text. You don’t need to wait for a seminar or a site visit to clarify a point or two. The same goes for those of you under construction. Whether or not you are Dream Homes/Atlantic Northeast Construction client or not, I will always try and help you or guide you in the right direction.

Reminder – Sad but true fact: In the majority of cases the design stage (surveying, soil boring and geotechnical analysis, foundation inspection and design, architectural design, utility disconnects and plan submission and approval) takes longer than the actual construction stage, so get started on that phase, so you are ready to start construction when you want to.

Reminder: if you’ve sent me email or left a voice mail and have not received a response within a day or so, please try and contact me again. I do miss messages here and there.

Note to Sandsters: Though I began and continue to write this blog primarily to help as many Sandsters as possible, Dream Homes Ltd. is a new home builder and general contractor who actively does renovation and reconstruction projects up and down the shore. We actually are doing all of the work that I talk about in the blog. We work with private clients and Path B and C in the RREM program. Call, text or email to set up an appointment for an estimate on your rebuilding project.

Hope this helps. As always, call or write with any questions.

Stay well Sandsters.

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://www.dreamhomesltd.com

Twitter: foxbuilder

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