New Homes & Rebuilds in Ocean, Monmouth & Atlantic County

Dream Homes Blog 6-29-13 – Rebuilding after Sandy – 8 Handy Notes on the FEMA Zone Changes – Great News! They changed my Zone to an AE from a V!

Great News! They changed my Zone to an AE from a V!

8 Handy Notes on Foundation Costs & Feature Comparisons in the AE vs. V zones

6-29-13

Greetings NJ –

Hope today’s blog finds you well and enjoying your day.  

Today we have some exciting topics to talk about and more good information to help our rebuilding efforts. Most importantly, we’ll explore the ramifications of the changing flood zones as they relate to foundation options and costs. Talk about a bonus! New Jersey asked loud and clear for it and we got it. What an excellent $300 Million Gift from FEMA & New Jersey! (That’s how I figure it based on savings of $15.000 – $20,000 per house X 15,000 – 20,000 homes). This zone change directly, immediately benefited New Jersey. Outstanding!

      A quick positive mention of Sandra Gauge, Esquire who was kind enough to speak at our last seminar on legal issues regarding insurance (and whom I very ungraciously forgot to thank in the last blog). Sandra has been helping clients deal with their insurance companies and has been a great help to many people. You can reach her at 732 547 9660.

Changes in FEMA zones on the Working Flood Maps –What Does It Really Mean? Okay, so we’ve finally received the working maps for Ocean and Atlantic County and there have been significant changes, most of which are for the better. There was a large reduction in the V zone across many areas, which helps with rebuilding costs, to a much greater extent than expected. Once again, we were incorrect in our prediction that elevation levels would remain fairly constant and only zones would change – in most cases both zones and elevations have changed. So much for predictions. I must need another dart board.

The zone change is really good news if you are rebuilding. I didn’t go over it in detail in the last blog
because I was absorbing the ramifications (and redoing many, many estimates, proposals and feasibility studies.) but we will discuss it today in detail below. The not so great fact is that the author as well as numerous professionals in the industry, feels that in some cases (10% – 15%) elevations have now been posted too low and that ultimately they should and probably will be raised when the final maps are issued. Remember – these are working maps. They are subject to change over the next 2 years. It is in your best interests, as far as having a choice goes, to be able to use the current base flood elevation when deciding how high you want to go, since you can now choose to go lower.

(Author’s Note: We do not recommend construction at less than BFE + 4 to finished floor, regardless of the minimum zone requirements. Many professionals have seen the wave and water effects on the barrier islands and many, many homes would have had water above new proposed  finished floor if they were built to the new working map elevations. Be warned.)

Here are 8 useful notes on the effects of changing of a property from a V Zone to an A zone. Many readers are in that circumstance while many are already in an A or an AE zone. This information applies to both groups of people.

  1. In an A zone, you are allowed to raise your home on a concrete block and pier foundation, as opposed to being forced to use a piling foundation. This can cost ultimately cost less money if you raise your home to a lower height and can avoid moving it several times.
  2. Without the necessity of pilings, and without resorting to more expensive helical pilings, you can now lift your house straight up, without any additional moves. This is a savings.
  3. Though there is a savings on the move portion of the project, there are additional costs with concrete foundations, depending on how high of a foundation is being built. Additional costs include additional concrete, flood venting and concrete piers, as well as double fire protecting on the ceiling whenever you can park underneath or the ceiling height is high enough to be considered a third living level.
  4. That being said (See #3 above) when you are done with a concrete foundation, you do not have to install breakaway walls as you do with piling foundations to create an enclosed space. The concrete is both the perimeter walls as well as the structural foundation. That is a savings.
  5. Generally we are seeing a savings of between $15,000 and $30,000 per home by being able to use concrete. Even when the savings are negligible when compared to pilings, the addition of a basement and garage adds definitive value to the house.
  6. You can now choose to raise to a lower elevation, if that is your preference. In an A or an AE zone, elevation is measured to the finished floor, not the lowest structural girder. This means you can generally raise the house 2’ less. Accessibility would be the primary advantage, with fewer steps from the house to the grade, and/or shorter ramps.
  7. If accessibility is not an issue or concern, often it is prudent to consider raising a few extra feet to allow for parking underneath the house. The additional cost of a garage door, double sheetrock, several more feet of concrete and a real concrete floor if you want it is a relatively modest increase in price in the overall budget. However this investment yields you garage and storage space, which has a definable value.
  8. Each house is different. See earlier blogs about the cost/benefit of raising older homes. If it’s older than15 years and the property pre storm was worth less than $250,000, and it is smaller than ~ 1500 square feet, it is probably prudent to raze it and build new. Again, each house is different.

Dream Homes Seminar Schedule:  Our next Free Rebuilding after Sandy Seminar will be held at the Lacey Branch of the Ocean County Library on July 17, 2013 at 6 pm. It is called “Confused about Rebuilding & Frustrated with Flood Zones? This promises to be another great seminar. We’ll be hosting an excellent panel of professionals: Scott Lepley, architect, Steve Brasslett from Ivy First Mortgage, Tracey Giery, realtor, and Sandra Gauge, insurance attorney. I will be moderating and it’ll be an open forum for discussion to get your specific questions answered. Remember to bring your surveys and flood elevation certificates. Seating is limited and refreshments will be served. Call 732 300 5619 to reserve your space.

Reconstruction, Rehabilitation, Elevation and Mitigation Grant Program (RREM) – Update:

       Reminder – The RREM grant program is closing the first round tomorrow, although it is already oversubscribed by 100% +. There will be future rounds. If you haven’t already, go to www.renewjerseystronger.org and register. It takes 2 minutes and you will be on the list. You can also call 855-SANDY HM (855 726 3946). I don’t ultimately know how many people this grant will help or how long it will actually take to implement (as with many state programs, it is quite structurally inefficient), but it can’t hurt.

Reminders:

  1. FEMA will pay for rental costs while you are moving your home, up to 18 months. Typical time out of your home should be about 6-8 weeks.
  2. If you have been thinking of buying a home or a lot and building a home, now is a great time. Market activity and interest rates are both increasing and picking up even more at the shore. The optimum window will be another 6-15 months.

Hope this information helped you today. As always, if you have question, comments or just need some assistance, please don’t hesitate to call me directly at 732 300 5619.

On another note, we actively purchase raw land, building lots and existing properties and have done so for many years. If you have property to sell, give me a call and let us evaluate it for you.

Stay well NJ. Keep up!

Vincent

Rebuild, Renovate, Raise or Repair Your Home from Storm Sandy

Rebuilding NJ One Home at a Time…

Residential Construction & Development for over 20 years in NJ

314 Rt.9, Forked River, NJ 08731 Mailing: PO Box 627, Forked River, NJ 08731

609 693 8881 x 102 Fax: 609 693 3802 Cell: 732 300 5619

vince@dreamhomesltd.com  www.dreamhomesltd.com

http://blog.foxmoorhomes.com

New Homes & Rebuilds in Ocean, Monmouth & Atlantic County

Dream Homes Blog 6-19-13 – Rebuilding after Sandy – New FEMA Maps Out! – Update on RREM Grant Program, Seminar Thoughts & Foundation types and Height Comments

       New FEMA Maps Out! – Update on RREM Grant Program                        

  Seminar Thoughts – Foundation types & Height Comments

6-19-13

Hello NJ !

Hope today’s blog finds you well and enjoying your day.  

It’s only been a little over a week since my last post and what a difference a that time has made! There are a ton of things to talk about and lots of new information to help our rebuilding efforts.

June 13th Toms River Library Seminar Update & Comments: After a brief weather scare in the morning, the skies cleared up and the rain held out very nicely for the 6 pm seminar. A total of 13 people were there in addition to our speakers and there was a lot of great information exchanged. We were in the Green Room (windows on 2 sides!) with our cookies, pepperoni, cheese & crackers and it was perfect for the discussions we had. 

Some seminar notes:

  1. FEMA will pay for rental costs while you are moving your home, up to 18 months. Typical time out of your home should be about 6-8 weeks.
  2. If you have registered with FEMA and are waiting to hear about your case, remember to check back with them once a month and ask for your activity log  so you can see the progress made on your file.
  3.  If a DEP permit is required for your rebuild (most often it is not), there is a limit to enclosed area of 625 sq. ft. This will usually only affect completely new construction which is on an active waterway like a river, bay or the ocean.
  4. Market activity has been increasing across the entire state and picking up even more at the shore. There are sales of existing homes & new homes, both damaged and not. Very positive.  
  5. There are new approved flood vents on the market called USA Flood Air Vents. They are approximately $165 versus $235 for Smart Vents.
  6. If you are raising and can go the extra few feet, you can create garage/storage/entry space under your home. This is accurate whether or not you choose to use pilings or concrete block. For the nominal extra cost, the extra space is worth it.
  7. Scott Lepley was a great help with specific architectural questions, Tracey Giery gave a great market review and Bob Faust spoke about finance options. Thanks to all our speakers!

Real Estate Open House: Sunday 6/23/13 at 67 Patrick Drive, Beach Haven West, Manahawkin: Tracey Giery from Prudential Zack Shore is sponsoring a Sandy Open House from 12-3 and showcasing one of the beautiful waterfront homes she has listed for sale. I will be there as well to answer any questions about rebuilding. Come join us this Sunday afternoon!

Dream Homes Seminar Schedule:  Our next Free Rebuilding after Sandy Seminar will be held at the Lacey Branch of the Ocean County Library on July 17, 2013 at 6 pm. It is called Frustrated with Fema? and will be another great seminar. We’ll be hosting an excellent panel of professionals: Scott Lepley, architect, Bob Faust from Guaranteed Rate Mortgage, , Tracey Giery, realtor, and Sandra Guage, attorney. I will be moderating and it’ll be an open forum for discussion to get your specific questions answered. Remember to bring your surveys and flood elevation certificates. Seating is limited and refreshments will be served. Call 732 300 5619 to reserve your space.

Reconstruction, Rehabilitation, Elevation and Mitigation Grant Program (RREM)- Update:

As we said in the last post, the RREM program is funded to the tune of $600 million and the Dept. of Community Affairs is saying that funds will be disbursed as early as August or September. RREM has many limitations for many (most) people, but it will be a help to many people affected by Sandy. How long it will take and how effective it will be remain to be seen.

       If you haven’t already, go to www.renewjerseystronger.org and register. It takes 2 minutes and you will be on the list. You can also call 855-SANDY HM (855 726 3946) if you don’t have access to a computer, or if you want to speak to someone directly. It’s important for everyone to register since it is first come, first served so unless you are sure you will not qualify or don’t wish to get involved with the process, please sign up. It can’t hurt.

      I attended a Technical Review meeting in Galloway yesterday sponsored by the DCA and received a lot of information. Like many state & federal programs, RREM has a number of limitations, as follows:

  1. 70% of the grants are reserved for low and moderate income homeowners. I am trying to nail down what qualifies as low and moderate in Ocean County and will keep you posted.
  2. There may or may not be a reimbursement portion of the grant to repay you for work you have already done.
  3. The state is planning on disbursing all $600 million by the end of this year. That is absurd when one considers the constraints being placed on the applicants and the Qualified Contractor Pool. To give an example, that is 4000 homes. At the height of building activity when everything was humming along, we were building 2000 a year in NJ.
  4. The grant requires contractors to complete rehabilitation and lifting of homes within 90 days or suffer penalties. That is laughable. Not sure how we’re going to do that when permits take up 50% of the rebuild time.
  5. You will have to use the state provided plans if you want to rebuild new, which is a negative.
  6. You may not be able to pick your contractor, although you will have some input.
  7. The program is a total reimbursement program, which means contractors and builders are paid 45-60 days from the end of the job. That eliminates a number of qualified contractors.
  8. They say there is another round of $500 – $600 million coming at the end of this year, so if you miss out on the first round, you may still qualify.
  9. There is enough money for 4000 homes and there have been 6000+ applications so far. The first round closes on June 30, 2013, so get your application in soon.

I came away more confused than when I got there, but with 3 pages of notes. Not too encouraging.

      RREM Grant – SCAM Warning – Repeat : There is no fee to apply for the RREM reNew Jersey Stronger grant, nor for any other form of assistance to rebuild after Sandy. Be warned. Contact this author, the NJ Attorney General’s Statewide Sandy Fraud Working Group at 855-Sandy39 (855-726-3939) or go to the website at www.stopsandyfraud.org. We have enough issues without worrying about also being ripped off. As an additional note, make certain you are dealing with a licensed (New Home Builder or Home Improvement Contractor, or both), insured builder or general contractor when you are pursuing your rebuilding efforts.          

      FEMA Flood Maps – Update & What Does It All Mean?: Okay, so we’ve finally received the working maps for Ocean and Atlantic County and there have been significant changes, most of which are for the better. There is much more clarity now. As was widely expected there was a large reduction in the V zone across many areas, which helps with rebuilding costs, although not as substantially as one would think. We were incorrect in our prediction that elevation levels would remain fairly constant and only zones would change – in most cases both zones and elevations have changed. So much for predictions. If you are currently a client, we have (or will be shortly) advising you of zone and elevation changes for your home and the implications. In any case, we will always keep you apprised here of FEMA changes or you can log into the FEMA web site at www.region2coastal.com to check on your home.

            Many V zones changed to A or AE, which eliminates the need for pilings. Elevations also dropped which lessens the need for stairs. There are many items to consider and there will be a little turmoil over the next few months as everyone resets their plans to reflect the new maps. More on this in future posts.

Hope this information helped you today. As always, if you have question, comments or just need some assistance, please don’t hesitate to call me directly at 732 300 5619.

On another note, we actively purchase raw land, building lots and existing properties and have done so for many years. If you have property to sell, give me a call and let us evaluate it for you.

Stay well NJ. Keep up!

Vincent

Rebuild, Renovate, Raise or Repair Your Home from Storm Sandy

Rebuilding NJ One Home at a Time…

Residential Construction & Development for over 20 years in NJ

314 Rt.9, Forked River, NJ 08731 Mailing: PO Box 627, Forked River, NJ 08731

609 693 8881 x 102 Fax: 609 693 3802 Cell: 732 300 5619

vince@dreamhomesltd.com  www.dreamhomesltd.com

http://blog.foxmoorhomes.com

New Homes & Rebuilds in Ocean, Monmouth & Atlantic County

Dream Homes Blog 6-9-13 – Rebuilding after Sandy – New RREM Grant Program – Sandy $$ Scams

          New RREM Grant Program – Sandy $$ Scams

    Links to Check Water & Beaches – New FEMA Maps

6-8-13

Hello NJ !

Hope today’s blog finds you well and enjoying your weekend.  

We have a number of items today and as always, it’s my hope that at least one will help you in your efforts.

Beach & Boardwalk Report: Very busy up and down the shore and getting better each day. The businesses were not able to make the Memorial Day weekend are gearing up for July 4th and more are opening every day. The majority of the businesses on the barrier islands are open in one form or another and more are opening each day. Customer traffic is light after the holiday, but that is normal. A solid Memorial Day weekend let many people who weren’t at the shore know that it was open for business, and everyone went home and told friends the same story. All good, positive, word of mouth advertising which is causing people to change their plans (or keep them) and visit the shore this summer. It’s still the best vacation value around and the more people that know the Jersey Shore is alive, well and jamming, the better off everyone will be. Tourism and related businesses are a substantial portion of the NJ economy and one of the many things that help property values.

Scam Sandy Report & Warning: As usual whenever there is a disaster, there are dirtbags (my mother’s term – my descriptions are stronger) who will try and take advantage of unfortunate victims. There are people out there contacting anyone who signs up for RREM and Federal Disaster relief housing grants and advising them that they had been approved for a grant and that there was a fee to collect it.

There is no fee to apply for the reNew Jersey Stronger grant, nor for any other form of assistance to rebuild after Sandy. Be warned. Contact this author, the NJ Attorney General’s Statewide Sandy Fraud Working Group at 855-Sandy39 (855-726-3939) or go to the website at www.stopsandyfraud.org. We have enough issues without worrying about also being ripped off. As an additional note, make certain you are dealing with a licensed (New Home Builder or Home Improvemen Contractor, or both), insured builder or general contractor when you are pursuing your rebuilding efforts.

Seminar Schedule: Our next Free Rebuilding seminar will be held at the Toms River Branch of the Ocean County Library on June 13, 2013 at 6 pm. This will be a great seminar. We’re hosting an excellent panel of professionals: Scott Lepley, architect, Bob Faust from Guaranteed Rate Mortgage, , Tracey Giery, realtor, and Sandra Guage, attorney. Special mention: Anthony Bevilacqua from Anthony & Company Insurance will also be speaking and answering questions about flood insurance and rates. Tony has been my insurance agent for over 15 years and is a nationally acclaimed speaker. We are lucky to have him with us. I will be moderating and it’ll be an open forum for discussion to get your specific questions answered. Remember to bring your surveys and flood elevation certificates. Seating is limited and refreshments will be served. Call 732 300 5619 to reserve your space.

Reconstruction, Rehabilitation, Elevation and Mitigation Grant Program (RREM)- Update: Several weeks ago, federal funds were released to NJ and NJ has started accepting applications for two grants to aid rebuilding. There are 2 different programs and you can apply for both of them. Both grants are for primary residences only. Homeowner Resettlement is a grant of up to $10,000 for affected homeowners to resettle or remain in your community. The Reconstruction, Rehabilitation, Elevation and Mitigation Grant (RREM) offers up to $150,000 to repair, elevate or rebuild their primary home. 

The program has been funded by the $600 million NJ receivedfrom the federal government (FEMA). It has it’s limitations for some people, but it is definitely a positive step in the process.

       Go to www.renewjerseystronger.org and register. It takes 2 minutes and you will be on the list. You can also call 855-SANDY HM (855 726 3946) if you don’t have access to a computer, or if you want to speak to someone directly. It’s important for everyone to register so unless you are independently wealthy, splitting the atom or solving world hunger, please do it now.

      FEMA Flood Maps – Update: Okay, so we’ve all been pretty frustrated by home FEMA has released their Advisory Base Flood Elevations and Flood Zones. Some clarity is happening now. By mid to late June FEMA will be releasing working maps on a county by county basis that incorporate Overland Wave Analysis (what is in the way – houses, bulkheads, vegetation and dunes – of this huge wave rolling in on the next storm). This is a tremendous improvement from the maps promulgated in December 2012 and is much closer to what the final maps will be. It is widely expected that there will be a reduction in the V zone across many areas, which will help rebuilding costs substantially. However, we continue to believe that the advisory elevations will not change, or at least not to any material degree. We will keep you apprised of changes and you can always log into the FEMA web site at www.region2coastal.com to check.

      Links for Beaches, Boating and Water Quality:  There are a bunch of great links to check on beaches, boating and water quality at the shore. Anyone concerned, who is planning a day or a vacation should use these resources. For boaters, the waterways are not nearly as bad as they have been reported to be and all channels have clear access. Go to www.goboatingnj.org to check your planned route. For beach lovers, check out www.waterwayguide.com/superstorn-sandy and www.njbeaches.org to check beach quality and access.

Hope this information helped you today. As always, if you have question, comments or just need some assistance, please don’t hesitate to call me directly at 732 300 5619.

On another note, we actively purchase raw land, building lots and existing properties and have done so for many years. If you have property to sell, give me a call and let us evaluate it for you.

Stay well NJ.

Vincent

Rebuild, Renovate, Raise or Repair Your Home from Storm Sandy

Rebuilding NJ One Home at a Time…

Residential Construction & Development for over 20 years in NJ

314 Rt.9, Forked River, NJ 08731 Mailing: PO Box 627, Forked River, NJ 08731

609 693 8881 x 102 Fax: 609 693 3802 Cell: 732 300 5619

vince@dreamhomesltd.com  www.dreamhomesltd.com

http://blog.foxmoorhomes.com