New Homes & Rebuilds in Ocean, Monmouth & Atlantic County

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

New Homes & Rebuilds in Ocean, Monmouth & Atlantic County

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