New Homes & Rebuilds in Ocean, Monmouth & Atlantic County · Rebuilding, House raising and Moving, Pilings, Renovations

Ode to the Bitch…A Sandy Requiem on Black Friday

Ode to the Bitch…A Sandy Requiem

There once was a time, not that long past

Over a year has elapsed, it’s gone by at last

We never once thought about lifting our house

Let’s drink to Her passing, that miserable louse.

 

It’s Sandy who changed us and pushed us around

It’s Sandy we cursed – her issues resound

In her swirling flood waters, our belongings astrew

Things were worse than we thought…if only we knew.

 

Who ever wanted to deal with the mess?

The loss, the dreams gone, the horrible stress

Will it ever come back and be as it was?

We just couldn’t see, through all of the buzz

 

But a year has gone by, and we’re stronger for that

Nothing could beat us or lay us down flat

We reached out for help to neighbor and friend

Soon we could see that there might be an end

 

We learned some new terms, that we never would know

We were confused and so mad, looked for things we could throw!

Elevation and pilings, flood vents and RREM

Everyone thought “ But this happens to them!”

 

But it happened to us and we’re much better now

We wondered and worried and thought about how

To lift, renovate, flood proof and fix

New words and ideas – we’ve taken our licks

 

Now all of a sudden, the money is flowing

Though slowly at first, the Shore is now growing

RREM has finally been born

We’re now fixing our lives, which once were so torn.

 

There are meetings and visits and studies and plans

All of sudden it’s a cry for All Hands!

To hammer and fix, rebuild and repair

Renovate, refurbish and lift – don’t despair!

 

The Shore is alive, and growing once more

It’s in sight for so many, the old Jersey Shore

When beaches and barbecues with family and friends

Will happen again, our lives on the mend.

 

Let there be blessings and wishes for peace and good times

So important for all, more so than these rhymes!

We’re much better now, but have further to go

Working together, the Shore will now grow.

 

So when you’re upset and worried and sad

Take heart fellow Sandster, it’s not really that bad!

You’ve taken your licks and weathered the Storm

Get ready for “happy” to be the new norm!

 

Vincent

Dream Homes, Ltd.

Atlantic Northeast Construction LLC

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 New Home Builder License # 045894  HIC License # 13VH07489000

vince@dreamhomesltd.com  www.dreamhomesltd.com  http://blog.dreamhomesltd.com

New Homes & Rebuilds in Ocean, Monmouth & Atlantic County · Rebuilding, House raising and Moving, Pilings, Renovations

Dream Homes Rebuilding Blog Post Thanksgiving 2013 – Choices between RREM Pathway B & C – Pros and Cons of Picking Your Own Contractor Or Going With the RREM Flow

Dream Homes Rebuilding Blog Post Thanksgiving 2013

Choices between RREM Pathway B & C – Pros and Cons of Picking Your Own Contractor Or Going With the RREM Flow

           (PS: Remember Sandsters – Don’t Deep Fry Your Frozen Turkey!)

 

 Happy Thanksgiving Sandsters!

 Hopefully everyone is doing something food related right now and your turkey is already in the oven.

 Just a few quick notes for those who are lucky enough to have been approved for the RREM grant, on the very important subject of choosing your contractor and Pathway B vs. Pathway C.

After receiving over a dozen calls in the last week with specific questions about this point, I am feeling a little guilty for not explaining it about a week ago. There have just been too many site visits, and many bids due at one time and too little of me…J I figure if that many people called me directly, there are another 100 who read this blog who need this information, and probably half of the 4138 people who were approved who are confused as well.

So I am writing on Thanksgiving, in between making stuffed mushrooms & deviled eggs…J I initially intended to be brief, but that seems to be impossible for me.

In any case, once you sign your RREM grant documents, you are presented with a choice between Pathway B & Pathway C.

(For the life of me, I can’t figure out exactly why they skipped Pathway A, but that doesn’t really matter).

In either case, once you choose a pathway, you are committed to that direction.

In both cases, Lead Based Paint, Asbestos and Environmental Studies have been, or will be done, prior to any work commencing. If there is lead or asbestos present, with either pathway, these items will need to be addressed during the course of the job.

In both cases, if you haven’t had these items completed already, once this decision is made you will need to do soil engineering and foundation analysis, have an architect design a foundation system or piling plan and generally prepare your project for submission to your township for a building permit. Either you or your builder will oversee those items with Pathway B, or RREM will do them with Pathway C.

So, here are some comparisons to help you make your decision.

With Pathway B, you pick your own builder or contractor and are essentially in charge of overseeing your rebuilding project. You contract and work with someone you know, and discuss the scope of work and pricing directly with your builder or contractor. Most importantly, you can start (essentially) immediately. There is no more waiting since the ball is now definitively in your court once you choose Pathway B.

Another important distinction between Pathway B & C is that you control the money with B. Your grant money goes into an escrow account and you are allowed 3 draws of any amount (examples are $50,000, $80,000, $20,000  or 3 draws of $50,000, assuming you received the entire $150,000 grant). You decide the timetable, when to start and at what points to release payments to your builder. If you decide on extras over your approved grant, you do not have to deposit the money in escrow ahead of time, but can pay it as you go along.

Your builder or contractor has the same requirements as a RREM approved contractor. They should be Section 3 certified, need a payment bond, and must be an insured and licensed builder or home improvement contractor in NJ.

Construction standards are the same also. Where applicable, your builder must comply with Green Retrofit and Energy Star standards, as well as all local codes.

The only inspections are at the time of each draw request to verify that work has been completed. This includes the last request at the time the work is finished and you receive a certificate of Occupancy. You do sign a Declaration of Covenants and Restrictions which stays in place while you are under construction, essentially to insure that you complete the work and don’t retire to Bimini.

This option is good for people who are comfortable interacting with a builder and overseeing progress on their own job, want more control over the money and when it is disbursed and who desire a somewhat quicker timeline.

With Pathway C you are assigned a RREM approved contractor, who has bid on your job and produced either the lowest or most accurate and comprehensive estimate (from the 2nd bid pool, which happens about a month after the first Site Inspection/Bid meeting at your house where you are not  permitted to talk directly to any of the contractors who visit your house!). After the bid is awarded, you are allowed to meet directly with the builder who won the bid, and discuss any changes or additional work outside of what RREM has authorized.

You will need to place any additional money for extra work in escrow with RREM before any work begins, and as the project happens RREM disburses the money to the contractor as work is completed.

There are a greater number of inspections and outside oversight with Pathway C, since it is assumed that you are either not interested in or are not capable of, gauging progress of your project. The process will take somewhat longer to get started, since there are bids, 2nd bids, awarding of bid, meeting with you to discuss exact scope of work and all funds being placed in escrow before anything actually starts. Everything other than the scope of work requires an approved change order.

As a note, NJ, DCA & RREM want you to choose Pathway C. That is not necessarily a bad choice (just because the state is advocating it) and is probably the correct path for many people who are not capable or not interested in closely following the work on their home.

If you do not have a builder you are comfortable with, or have literally no knowledge of or familiarity with construction, Pathway C might be your best choice. It might take a bit longer and cost a bit more, but you have the advantage of many, many eyes watching your rehabilitation or reconstruction job very closely. You will have a RREM caseworker assigned to you, that you are supposed to consult with questions and clarifications during the process.

With Pathway C, there is a strict 90 day time line which must be adhered to, which is counted from the receipt of all building permits. I do not believe Pathway B has the same strict timetable, but I am uncertain on that point.

Most rehabilitation projects (lift, new foundation, renovate) take less than 90 days from start to finish. Most reconstruction jobs, including demolition of your old home, will realistically take longer, although RREM is requiring the same timetable.

Sobering facts about the RREM Approved Contractor pool – Read This:

There are only 47 Contractors qualified for RREM of which only 37 are qualified to receive assignments for reconstruction and only 33 of the 47 are qualified to do rehabilitation projects. There are currently 4138 grants that have been approved and 517 people have signed their grant documents. Everyone who has gone through the FEMA/RREM gamut and arrived at this point, wants to start right now. The salient issue is that there aren’t enough people to bid and complete all this work in a timely fashion, so there will be certain delays that you will have to deal with. (See earlier blogs for my estimates about how long all of this will take.)

            If you haven’t been approved for RREM and are on a wait list, take heart:

Another $1.6 billion has been released from HUD to NJ, so another 10,000 people will eventually be approved and included in the RREM program. The largest obstacle currently is that the first $600 million has to be actually spent before the balance is authorized to be disbursed. (Author’s note: This delay seems incredibly stupid. What do the 2nd 10,000 people who need their homes fixed have anything to do with the first 4138 people who have been approved? Statistically, since every single project is separate and distinct, there is an equal potential for error in each job, regardless of how many jobs are undertaken at once. Again, no one at RREM, DCA or HUD consulted me, so it is what it is.)

            Hope this helps today. It’s a bit confusing, but simple enough once the important points are laid out for review. As always, if you need clarification or more information, call me directly and I will try and help you. If there is a topic I haven’t covered, please email or post a comment and I will try and address it.

Stay well Sandsters and Happy Thanksgiving!

Regards,

Vincent

Dream Homes, Ltd.

Atlantic Northeast Construction LLC

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 New Home Builder License # 045894  HIC License # 13VH07489000

vince@dreamhomesltd.com  www.dreamhomesltd.com  http://blog.dreamhomesltd.com

 

New Homes & Rebuilds in Ocean, Monmouth & Atlantic County

Happy Thanksgiving & Don’t Fry Your Frozen Turkey!

Happy Thanksgiving to all!

A bright sunny morning it is, and my wishes go out to all for a wonderful holiday.

Several reminders:

1. Let’s make this year The Year Without Deep Fried Turkey Explosions. Please remember not to fry your frozen turkey, since it will probably take off like a mortar round, land on your neighbor’s garage, roll off onto the fence, which might set fire to the car, etc., etc. Please don’t do this…lol  You don’t need this kind of drama in your life.

2. Put your turkey in the oven right now, if you haven’t already!! It’s takes about 1/2 per pound so a 15 pound bird is 7.5 hours! Right now you’re eating at 3:30.

No one wants to eat 7 courses at 6:30 pm. When your loved ones have to wait too long for turkey, they drink and fall asleep and sneak out to McDonald’s or the local Chinese place for a snack to hold them over.

Have a great day and another 100 Happy Thanksgivings!

Vincent

 

New Homes & Rebuilds in Ocean, Monmouth & Atlantic County

Dream Homes Rebuilding Blog 11/23/13 – Fellow Sandsters – The Eagle Has Finally Landed!! RREM Site Inspections Scheduled! – RREM Plans Online

Dream Homes Rebuilding Blog 11 – 23 – 13

The Eagle has Landed! The RREM Invitations to Bid are Out!

We’re Finally Doing Site Visits to Your House to bid on the work!

FEMA Secret Plans Revealed!! Real info – Report from the field – RREM Update & RREM House Plans

Part 1

11 – 23 -13

Hello fellow Sandsters –

Hopefully this post finds you and your family doing well. It occurred to me recently that Sandy has caused major changes for a large part of the NJ population, and will continue to do so for the next decade. People will be learning, interacting, helping, and working together to fix their homes and cities. I figure we should have our own name, sort of like a club. Sand People reminded me of something from Star Wars and Sandinistas was not good either. Sandsteronis sounds like some type of calzone and makes me want pizza. Thus the name Sandsters was born. Hope you like it.

I have so much to say lately, this should be a short book, but I’ll do it in a 4 or 5 (or 10 or 20) blogs, so we can all chew on it and digest it. I attended a DCA /RREM contractor’s meeting on Thursday 11/21/13 and picked up a ton of new information in addition to observations from the field. If I jump around a bit, Sandsters, please bear with me. (Author’s note: I swore to cut it off today at 2 pages and I am in my fourth right now. Brevity seemingly escapes me.)

Secret RREM Plans – Where are they?

Great News! I finally got the plans up on our website, which I have been promising for a month. I will also get them up on our blog, or at least post a link. Go to www.dreamhomesltd.com and click on Models and then List All Home Models and you will see the floor plans and elevations. More detail is below. This is seemingly secret information since for some reason FEMA / RREM doesn’t want to simply post the plans on their site. I don’t quite understand that, but it doesn’t really matter. My thought is that the Sandsters should have more than an hour in a FEMA center to decide on a new house plan.

HUGE News – RREM Update – Site Inspections / Bid Visits are Happening

Okay, big news, we’re finally out of the FEMA Black Hole and the RREM dam has sprung some sizable leaks, but in a very good way. People are finally seeing real contractors at their homes for Site inspections/Bid Meetings who are estimating the RREM scope of work that your inspector prepared for you. I’ve been on 25 bid meetings in the last 10 days (which is why I haven’t blogged) and 10 -15 each day are continuing to happen throughout the state.

This is such good news it can’t even be expressed and we shall just ponder this for a moment. We all deserve some great news – we’ve waited long enough.

The Answer (Finally!) to the $100,000 questions: When will my grant money be released so I can start rebuilding? When will I meet the builder you are assigning to me or when can I submit my builder’s estimate for approval?

Answer: As of about 10 days ago, the process has finally started and Site Inspection/ Bid Meetings have been scheduled up and down the state for the 519 people who have signed their grant documents.

Each day at 8 am, 10 am, noon, 2 pm and 4 pm, there are bid meetings being held in Little Egg, Toms River, Brick, Point, Union Beach and Manahawkin. There’s a bunch of frenzied activity happening up and down the shore.

So if you haven’t gotten your appointment yet, it’s coming shortly. You’ve waited this long, hang in there a little longer. Your wait is almost over.

Today’s Perspective – How Long has this Actually Taken?

As a comparative note, my RREM trade partner Robert Wolfe Construction is headquartered in Louisiana and they say that it took two and a half years after Katrina to actually start building. According to them, we are speeding along on the wings of angels. I have explained that there would be an armed uprising in NJ if the process ever took that long.

I always try and be fair and equitable and since I have taken many shots at our state government for delay and dissemble, I would like to throw a well deserved plug in at this point. In the deserved defense of our DCA (Department of Community Affairs), which administers the RREM program, the money was only finally released to NJ from HUD in May of 2013, so it is actually not a bad response time relative to other federal disaster programs like Katrina and Andrew. 6 months from getting the money to having builders meet with homeowners is essentially unheard of in cases such as this.

My cynically provincial views of the DCA obviously require updating – it turns out that we’re actually moving along pretty well, all things considered. Some of the delays have to do with federal requirements for lead, asbestos and environmental studies on every house, which are remnants of other programs. These are causing unnecessary delay, but I fear that no amount of blogging or complaining will change these requirements since they were born from negative experiences during Katrina and other disasters.

In the next blog, we can jump right back on the band wagon and complain about the myriad inefficiencies in the RREM program and the process, but for today we’ll stay with the sweetness and light routine and enjoy the moment.

Okay, subject switch. Lies, Damn Lies and Statistics about Slab Separations

You know how I have been saying RREM won’t authorize a Rehabilitation (lift and repair) if the house is on a slab? Well, I was wrong, again. Like a former colleague patiently explained to me many times over the years, “you didn’t actually give bad information Vince, the truth just changed.” Groan. I try hard to present accurate information, but it’s impossible when the rules change every day.

I have said before because I had been told by RREM and heard myself at previous contractor meetings- that the RREM program will not authorize a house lift when the house is on a slab, and until now the much discussed case by case exceptions have not happened. That’s not true anymore.

What Is Really Happening in the Field: I’ve gone on a number of Site Inspection/ Bid Meetings that were houses on slabs, which were stripped to the rafters, which RREM has approved to lift and rehabilitate.

?????????? The case by case exceptions are now happening, often without enough comparative analysis.

So are we lifting houses that are on slabs or not? Most times, if the house is more than 15 years old, it is not the correct choice to lift the slab house and renovate it, since the cost for a new comparable home is often $30,000 – $40,000 more than a complete reconstruction. Nevertheless, we are now lifting these homes.

Grrrrr. A number of clients I have are in this particular situation and I feel sorry for them. Many would choose to build new if given the choice.

More on this topic in a future posts, but since all homes under RREM are considered substantially damaged, you can influence the process one way or another if you press the issue. In other words, if you definitely want a reconstruction, or you definitely want your home raised and rehabilitated, make sure you speak up and say so. No one else will if you don’t and the decision will be made for you.

Gap Funding – New Grant Program – Extra $30,000

There is a relatively new $30,000 grant program, for people with an unmet financial need, whose costs to

rebuild exceed the $150,000 authorized under RREM. You must be registered and approved for RREM and then apply for this supplemental program. For more detail, go to the website at www.gapfundinginitiative.org.

RREM– Clarification in Contractor Selection Rules: Current Information:

As I have said, the RREM rules have changed recently and you can now pick your own contractor to complete your project.

You can still allow RREM to put your project out for bid (Pathway C), but now you have the choice. If you wish to interview and work with a contractor or builder you are comfortable with, you can now do so under Pathway B.

       More detail on this item in the next blog, but for now if you want to choose your own contractor, choose Pathway B when you are signing your grant documents. Your contractor must be licensed and insured in NJ and provide a payment bond, exactly the same as the RREM approved contractors, but does not have to be on the RREM approved Contractor list. You also get to manage your grant money and pay the contractor.

       If you want RREM to find a contractor for you, and manage the payments to your builder, choose Pathway C.

RREM Plans – How do you find them?

Great News! I finally got the plans up on our website, which I have been promising for a month. I will also get them up on our blog, or at least post a link. Go to www.dreamhomesltd.com and click on Models and then List All Home Models and you will see the floor plans and elevations.

Sizes range from 900 square feet to 2000 square feet, are both one and 2 stories and each basic style offers 3 different elevations – Traditional, Victorian and Colonial with the floor plans remaining the same. There are 18 plans offered through the RREM program and most have been approved at this point. There are 3 elevation styles for each house, so there is some variety. Unfortunately, and as you might know, to date you cannot access them directly on the RREM website (Why is that? Are they a secret?) but you can go to my website and view them.

      Repeat – Good news: Homeowners affected by Sandy have been granted another 6 months to file a Sandy petition for any revised insurance claims, appeals or additional items you may have discovered after your first claim. The original October 29, 2013 deadline has now been extended to the end of April 2014.

    Repeat: Warning: RREM & HMGP Note: Before you get RREM or HMGP money, as part of your grant documents, you will be required to sign a deed restriction in perpetuity (which lasts forever and stays with your title)) stating that flood insurance will always be required on the home. This restriction is definitely worth noting since it could potentially affect both your future costs of ownership, as well as the sales potential of your home. Be warned and consult with an attorney if you have questions or concerns.

      For anyone who needs it, the FEMA hotline is 855 726 3946 go on their website at www.renewjerseystronger.org.

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

Stay well Sandsters of NJ. Keep up!

Vincent

Dream Homes, Ltd.

Atlantic Northeast Construction LLC

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 New Home Builder License # 045894  HIC License # 13VH07489000

vince@dreamhomesltd.com  www.dreamhomesltd.com  http://blog.dreamhomesltd.com

New Homes & Rebuilds in Ocean, Monmouth & Atlantic County

Dream Homes Rebuilding Blog 11 – 10 – 13 FEMA Frustration! 5 Great Mysteries of FEMA, Secret RREM Plans – Foundation notes for lifts

Dream Homes Rebuilding Blog 11 – 10 – 13

FEMA Frustration! 5 Great Mysteries of FEMA – Why Don’t FEMA workers live at the Shore?

Why don’t FEMA Builder Consultants Know Anything about Building?

RREM Update & New House Plans & Comments on Foundations & Lifting homes on Slabs

Hello everyone –

Hopefully this post finds you and your family doing well. As a point of reference and to put the Sandy situation back in perspective, the typhoon that just devastated the Philippines made Sandy look like a little wind with some water thrown in. At least we didn’t get hit with 200 mph winds, which would have really ruined our Halloween last October

Today we will spend some time detailing the frustration of dealing with FEMA in an attempt to keep our collective sanity.

It is said that the human animal can get used to any condition, no matter how strange or uncomfortable. I am proposing that we begin to view the FEMA experience through that lens – it is extremely weird, like some artificial construct where the normal rules of physics, reality, common sense and order have all been either discarded or are in use on a random basis. Like something straight from the Twilight Zone. It is what it is though and not going to change – we may as well resign ourselves to dealing with it.

This week alone, I spoke to 14 people who were all dealing with the Black Hole of FEMA and all were wondering the same thing. Was it just them, or are things at FEMA really that bizarre? All were looking for a convenient bridge to jump from, but luckily here at the shore, there are very few that are high enough.

The answer is: They are really that bizarre and completely inconsistent.

5 Mysteries and Great Questions to ask your FEMA case worker:

 1. Why doesn’t anyone working at FEMA live at the shore, where Sandy affected tens of thousands of people? Why do they come from northern and western NJ? How can they have any knowledge of the daily challenges we are facing to simply survive and attempt to rebuild?

2. Why don’t the FEMA builder’s representatives know anything about construction? If you came to me and requested a discourse on nuclear physics, I would suggest there were more competent people to give that talk. When you enter the FEMA Zone, and ask simple questions about construction, you sit for 3 hours while some adolescent pops in and out of a room unable to give you any answers. Why is this? Why doesn’t FEMA ask for actual builders to volunteer to consult (I would in a second) at the FEMA centers? I know 20 builders that would all volunteer to help – and all of them are actually building right now, and not just thinking about it.

3. Why are the RREM plans being kept such a Deep Dark Secret?  Is it unreasonable that homeowners should be able to view plans on a web site, at their leisure? Why is it that I am the only person revealing these plans to the world? It’s not like we’re not going to build 12,000 of these homes in the next 10 years (once the program actually gets started), so why the mystery?

4. Why is it that if you call the FEMA hotline 10 times and ask the same question, you receive between 5 and 10 different answers? this really happens. I have done it myself several times and have proven it many times speaking to clients. IE: Why won’t they just tell you that they will not find a slab lift and reconstruction so you can move on with your decision making process?

5. And now for the real kicker…Why has no money been released yet? Many clients have had surveys and flood elevation certs done from FEMA, and some have even had their environmental reviews done, but as of this date, no real activity has occurred. No money has been spent, no contracts have been signed, and no houses have been started under RREM.

On that note, Federal requirements that each house have an environmental review prior to any work being done are only serving to enrich the company chosen for those studies and to slow the process down even more than it is already. Grrrrrrrrr…..

 And the $100,000 question: When will I really get my money so I can start rebuilding? When will I meet the builder you are assigning me or when can I submit my builder’s estimate for approval?

 I don’t want a letter approving me, or putting me on a wait list, or a preliminary approval or any other version of unclear nonsense, but an actual contract with a real builder who is going to fix my house. I want to get on with my life.

 RREM– Great News! Large Change in Contractor Selection Rules: Yay!! It is great when policy changes correctly, and for the better and it is always a pleasure being on the correct side.

 The RREM rules have changed and you can now pick your own contractor to complete your project.

(Author’s note: I had one client dispute this based on conversation with FEMA, but several others verified that they were asked for a builder that they wanted to work with. More lack of clarity from the FEMA Zone)

This is an excellent (vital) improvement to the program and puts control of the process where it belongs – with the homeowner who knows their own situation best. 

You can still allow RREM to put your project out for bid, but now you have the choice. If you wish to interview and work with contractors you are comfortable with, you can now do so.

 

General Contracting your job – Delays – What’s Holding you up? :

This author is not a fan of general contracting your own job – we are called in regularly in the middle of jobs to fix them – nonetheless, last weeks blog serves as a decent outline of critical path points to focus on when you are building.

If you do contract your own job and deal directly with subcontractors, you should expect slippage and mistakes along the way. This is normal – it happens to professionals and will definitely happen to you.

There will be items that you do not know you need, that are not included in each individual bid and you will have to deal with them along the way as they come up.

The lowest price for any trade will almost guarantee that items are being deliberately left out of the scope of work on the contract. Make sure you are comparing apples to apples when you get different price quotes.

It is our policy to provide complete quotes, inclusive of all aspects necessary in the scope of work. It is honest and how I have done business for 20 years. However, we certainly lose jobs to contractors who don’t include many items in their estimates, and come in with low bids.

Clients don’t realize this and focus on initial price alone, as opposed to considering total cost of the project. Be careful with your scopes of work – make sure everyone is reading from the same book when you get estimates.

RREM Plans – How do you find them?

Great News! I now have these plans digitized with just floor plans and elevations, so they can be emailed and I will also be putting them up on our website and blog.

If you email or call me, I will gladly email you copies of plans that may suit you. Sizes range from 900 square feet to 2000 square feet and are both one and 2 stories. As I mentioned, each basic style offers 3 different elevations – Traditional, Victorian and Contemporary, with the floor plans remaining the same. There are 18 plans offered through the RREM program and most have been approved at this point. There are 3 elevation styles for each house, so there is some variety. Unfortunately, and as you might expect, to date you cannot access them directly on the RREM website.

Foundation Notes – Slab separations & Crawl space reconstruction

As many of you know from following my prose, one of the first items needed when starting a house lifting project is a soil boring. This should be a split spoon boring and not a regular auger boring so an architect or engineer can calculate soil bearing capacity and design a foundation to suit the conditions.

If you are lifting and you are using an architect who is not doing this regularly, advise him to specify either to remove the existing slab or crawl completely and construct a new one, or saw cut the perimeter of the foundation and points in the center for new footings. Unless you can definitively establish that your home is built on pilings or pilings and a grade beam (by digging up at a corner of your home and exposing a piling) you cannot depend on the existing foundation to support the new weight.

Repeat: As you probably already know, the RREM program will not authorize a house lift when the house is on a slab, and to my knowledge even the much discussed case by case exceptions have not happened in this case. If you qualified for RREM and want to use the $150,000, plan on choosing one of the approved house plans and paying any difference over and above the $150,000 from other sources.

       Repeat – Good news: Homeowners affected by Sandy have been granted another 6 months to file a Sandy petition for any revised insurance claims, appeals or additional items you may have discovered after your first claim. This takes some of the pressure off from the October 29, 2013 deadline.

       Repeat: Warning: HMGP Note: Before you get HMGP money, you will be required to sign a deed restriction in perpetuity (which lasts forever and stays with your title)) stating that flood insurance will always be required on the home. I wasn’t aware of this restriction and it is definitely worth noting since it could potentially affect both your future costs of ownership, as well as the sales potential of your home. Be warned and consult with an attorney if you have questions or concerns.

       $50,000 Homebuyer Grant & Investor Grants – Still open for application: For anyone of low or moderate income who is thinking about buying a home (or who needs a house for their college student or newly married child), the new $50,000 1st time homeowner grant is an amazing gift from NJ. If you earn 80% or less of the median income, you are eligible for this grant. A surprising number of households are in this category in NJ and the specific income guidelines vary by county. You will need a credit score of 620 and be willing to stay there for 5 years, but those conditions are not unreasonable. The $50,000 effectively comprises your down payment (for houses up to $250,000), so can effectively buy a house with no money down. Check it out now – this is a great deal.

       For anyone who needs it, the FEMA hotline is 855 726 3946 go on their website at www.renewjerseystronger.org.

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

Stay well NJ. Keep up!

Vincent

Dream Homes, Ltd.

Atlantic Northeast Construction LLC

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 New Home Builder License # 045894  HIC License # 13VH07489000

vince@dreamhomesltd.com  www.dreamhomesltd.com  http://blog.dreamhomesltd.com