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Dream Homes Rebuilding Blog – 1-18-17 – So You Really Wanna Be a Builder? Rebuilding Seminar Tonight Tuscan Bistro 6 PM

Dream Homes Ltd.

Atlantic Northeast Construction LLC

Nearly Famous Rebuilding Blog –

1-18-17

Hi Sandsters –

Hope all is well with you today. Today I have a short blog for your review.

Following up on one of the topics in Sunday’s blog, here’s an excellent brief summary about why you really don’t want to GC your own project. I’ve edited a little, but the following is an email conversation between myself and Scott Lepley, an architect in Bayville who we’ve worked with for over 20 years.

Scott wrote to me yesterday…

“Hey Vincent, one main point on the fallacy of acting as your own GC: if you don’t have friendly contacts, if you’re going to be calling names from a phone book, if your subs realize they’re only doing one job for you vs the 20 jobs a year they do for any GC they work for, you will get prices that will be so high that you will end up spending more money than if you hired a GC and paid him a fair percentage. Case in point: we are building a new home on LBI right now, 2 framers that I thought I had good relationships with gave me  prices of $49,000 and $35,000 to frame our home. Travis’ framer did the job for $21,000. (Over the years) I repeatedly have seen savings working through a GC on almost all phases of the project, although the framing was the biggest number.”

I responded…

“You’re absolutely correct Scott – I’ve written that exact scenario as well as many other reasons in the Rebuilding blog a number of times. No one wants to believe that, but it is absolutely true.

A repetitive volume of steady work consistently creates discounted, fair pricing, 99% of the time.

One additional item you didn’t mention was that a “Relationship Based” project (which is what you have with steady subcontractors) ensures that companies will be around to address any warranty issues. A “Transaction Based” project (which is what one has when building one project on an individual retail basis) doesn’t offer any type of loyalty or incentive for fair pricing.

Hiring a general contractor doesn’t cost you money – it saves you money.”

Thoughts to ponder.

3 Brief Repeats from Sunday’s blog – See details below for each one of these topics

  1. Tonight’s Rebuilding Seminar – 3 spaces left –
  2. Congratulations to Kathy Dotoli, Esq. for her Top Ten Award for Customer Satisfaction
  3. Hometown Hero Award from Brick – Dream Homes to receive on Friday night 1/20/17 at 7 pm.

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

Our next Nearly Famous Rebuilding Seminar will be held this Wednesday January 18th, 2017 from 6 pm at the Tuscan Bar and Grill on Hooper Avenue in Toms River, across from the Ocean County Mall. We’ll focus on Sandsters that are early in the process, and have not completed design work, or chosen a builder or architect. We offer engineering & architectural design advice, RREM guidance at the initial stages, and help with choosing the right builder or contractor. Please call to reserve a space if you would like to attend since refreshments will be served and space is limited.

Congratulations to Kathy! We’d like to offer a special congratulations to Kathleen Dotoli, a worker’s compensation and disability attorney in Toms River. Kathy regularly gives an excellent consumer protection presentation at our Rebuilding Seminars (you can hear her again this Wednesday, 1/18/17). Kathy was recognized with a very prestigious award – she was voted one of the Top Ten Attorneys in NJ for Client Satisfaction in the area of Disability Law. Way to go Kathy – much deserved!!

You can find out more about Kathy Dotoli and her legal practice at  https://www.facebook.com/TomsRiverWorkersCompLawyer/

Dream Homes and Vince Simonelli have been nominated as one of the recipients of the Hometown Hero Award in Brick Township! Thanks to all the people (clients, competitors and trade partners) who have called us to congratulate us and wish us well – your kind words are appreciated.

Needless to say, we’re quite proud of the nomination! This award is given in Bricktown to people and companies who do nice things to help people in need. Our great team has helped an unfortunate Sandster – a really good guy named Bob Steimle. Thanks for the kind words and recommendation Bob! I’m happy we were able to help.

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

I will also get to give a lengthy, in depth speech (of approximately 30 seconds), which I promise will enthrall the multitudes gathered that evening. Do not miss it! If you do, it will probably be enshrined in the Library of Congress, so don’t worry…

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

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

Mission Statement and Comment: We’re here to help you when no one else will. We regularly handle the messiest, most unpleasant, real estate, construction and renovation situations. We do the projects that no one else can do, and help people finish their projects and get back in their homes. If you’re stuck and can’t figure out how to proceed, call us and we’ll do our best to help you.

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

Yeah, We Do That for You…  This was an excellent (if I do say so myself) article from last week’s 1/8/17 blog, which received much positive response from many people. If you missed it, go back and read it now at http://blog.dreamhomesltd.com

Definitions & Important Considerations That Can Delay Your Project: See previous blogs

Remember – if you have a specific question, send me an email or a text. Don’t wait for a seminar or a site visit to clarify a point. Whether you are Dream Homes/Atlantic Northeast Construction client or not, I’ll always try and help you or guide you in the right direction. If you’ve sent an email or left a voice mail and haven’t received a response, try and contact me again. Messages are lost occasionally.

Note to Sandsters: Though I write this blog to help guide Sandsters and others through the maze that is any reconstruction project, we actually do what I write about. Dream Homes Ltd. and Atlantic Northeast Construction LLC are new home builders and general contractors who are actively renovating and reconstructing projects up and down the shore. We supervise and manage elevation projects & house moves, demolish and build new homes, and develop and build entire new neighborhoods. In the past 23 years, we’ve completed over 1500 new homes, 150 elevation projects and 500,000 square feet of commercial buildings. We work with private clients as well as Path B clients in the RREM program. Call, text or email to set up an appointment for a free estimate on your rebuilding project.

That’s all for today Sandsters. I hope my words helps you move forward and I hope to see you at the seminar later tonight. As always, call or write with any questions.

Regards,

Vince

Dream Homes Ltd.

Virtual Learning Company Inc.

Atlantic Northeast Construction LLC

New Home Builder #045894

Home Improvement Contractor #13VH07489000

PO Box 627

Forked River, NJ 08731

Office: 609 693 8881 F: 609 693 3802 Cell: 732 300 5619

Email: vince@dreamhomesltd.com

Website: www.dreamhomesltd.com

Blog: http://blog.dreamhomesltd.com

Twitter: #foxbuilder


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Dream Homes Building/Rebuilding Blog – RREM ClawBack Madness – Being your Own GC and other Insane Habits – Rebuilding Seminar 1/18/17 at Tuscan Bistro – Hometown Hero!

Dream Homes Ltd.

Atlantic Northeast Construction LLC

Nearly Famous Rebuilding Blog –

1-15-17

Good morning and Happy Sunday to all of you, Sandsters and others!

Today the weather is much nicer than a week ago, when we were sitting with back to back snow storms…today should be a high of 47, which is pretty good.

More importantly, since December 21st (the Winter Solstice), we have added 26 minutes of daylight to each of our days!! That is so encouraging…more daylight makes everything in life more palatable.

Today, we have a passel of things for you. We talk about the latest RREM Rip-off, the Clawback Nightmare and how to avoid this whole (potentially costly) situation. We touch on being your own GC, which I continue to feel is similar to amputating your own appendage or performing your own root canal. For a repeat, I’ve been nominated a Home Town Hero in Brick Township for nice things our great team has done for an unfortunate Sandster, a good guy named Bob Steimle. The ceremony is this Friday January 20th. We also remind you about our next Rebuilding Seminar, which is this Wednesday January 18th. I also brought the Definitions section back at the end of the blog, for your convenience.

Congratulations!! We’d like to offer a special congratulations to Kathleen Dotoli, a worker’s compensation and disability attorney in Toms River. Kathy regularly gives an excellent consumer protection presentation at our Rebuilding Seminars (you can hear her again this Wednesday, 1/18/17). Kathy was recognized with a very prestigious award – she was voted one of the Top Ten Attorneys in NJ for Client Satisfaction in the area of Disability Law. Kathy’s been a great help to many Sandsters and we’re proud to have her as part of our professional family. Way to go Kathy – this award is much deserved!!

You can find out more about Kathy Dotoli and her legal practice at  https://www.facebook.com/TomsRiverWorkersCompLawyer/

Repeat: I mention another repeat, which was in last week’s blog, called “Yeah we do that for you”. If you didn’t catch it last week, it’s worth reading.

Being Your Own General Contractor …Is that Wise?   See Details below for more info…

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

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

Our next Nearly Famous Rebuilding Seminar will be held this Wednesday January 18th, 2017 from 6 pm at the Tuscan Bar and Grill on Hooper Avenue in Toms River, across from the Ocean County Mall. We’ll focus on Sandsters that are early in the process, and have not completed design work, or chosen a builder or architect. We offer engineering & architectural design advice, RREM guidance at the initial stages, and help with choosing the right builder or contractor. Please call to reserve a space if you would like to attend since refreshments will be served and space is limited.

Dream Homes and Vince Simonelli have been nominated as one of the recipients of the Hometown Hero Award in Brick Township! Thanks to all the people (clients, competitors and trade partners) who have called us to congratulate us and wish us well – your kind words are appreciated.

(There’s more information in last week’s blog, so if you missed that one, go back and read it…)

Needless to say, we’re quite proud of the nomination! This award is given in Bricktown to people and companies who do nice things to help people in need. Our great team has helped an unfortunate Sandster – a really good guy named Bob Steimle. Thanks for the kind words and recommendation Bob! I’m happy we were able to help.

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

I will also get to give a lengthy, in depth speech (of approximately 30 seconds), which I promise will enthrall the multitudes gathered that evening. Do not miss it! If you do, it will probably be enshrined in the Smithsonian, so don’t worry…

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

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

Mission Statement and Comment: We’re here to help you when no one else will. We regularly handle the messiest, most unpleasant, real estate, construction and renovation situations. We do the projects that no one else can do, and help people finish their projects and get back in their homes. If you’re stuck and can’t figure out how to proceed, call us and we’ll do our best to help you.

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

Yeah, We Do That for You… This was an excellent (if I do say so myself) article from last week’s 1/8/17 blog, which received much positive response from many people. If you missed it, go back and read it now at http://blog.dreamhomesltd.com

RREM Rip Off – Clawback Madness: Ok, we’re back to needing to call or write Kim Guadagno…or the people that spoke to us last time we wrote a letter. Of course, nothing much has happened yet, but hope springs eternal and the wheels of RREM progress grind slooooooowwwwlllyy, so we’ll be patient about waiting for homeowner fraud to be fixed, the RREM payment and closeout schedules to be sped up and the repeat fraud issue from contractors to be improved.

The Clawback issue is a whole other issue, which is rapidly turning into a full-blown disaster. George Kasimos from Stop Fema Now has been on this issue for couple of years and it’s now starting to come to a head. It will be the Next Great RREM Debacle, Major Issue #4.

Here’s the Important Point to Remember: The short version is that if you don’t do all the items on your RREM scope of work/ECR, your program manager at the final walk through will identify any missing items and Claw Back the money from you.

There is little or no common sense in this process, since CBI and Gilbane (thought 2 of the largest construction management companies in the country) do not generally have construction personnel working as program managers, but accounting clerks and paper pushers. That means that if you don’t fix the interior door to a closet that you don’t really need or care about, some idiot is going to not it on your sheet and ask for the $114 back.

Before we discuss the idiocy and lack of thought inherent in this business model, let’s talk about how to avoid it entirely. You can avoid this issue by giving your builder or contractor the RREM scope of work in the beginning when your project is first being estimated, and specifically asking for an estimate based on all of the RREM scope. Important Note: There is absolutely nothing wrong with doing minor finish items yourself – simply don’t include them in your builder’s major scope of work (what I call the heavy rigging – elevation, foundation, pilings, borings, floor systems, strapping and bolting, utility reconnection, etc.).

Just be aware that someone must complete these items – or the amounts shown on the non-redacted scopes of work – are the amounts that RREM has allowed for these items – and the amounts that will be deducted if these items aren’t completed.

Minor finish items include paint, trim, general clean up, hanging ceiling fans, light sheetrock, reconnecting some appliances, final clean up, etc. Again, you can do these items yourself to save money.

Note: You must ask your RREM program manager for the ECR/Scope of work with the pricing. They do not simply give it to you with your original package (Insane RREM Practice #684). If RREM is paying you more for that item than you are paying, obviously you will have your builder complete those items.

The lunacy inherent in this entire process can be described simply – Instead of awarding a lump sum of money and requiring only that the critical, life-safety and code compliance issues are completed without worrying about aesthetic and finish items, RREM very specifically goes through each and every item and asks for money back if items are not completed.

That’s not how your insurance company does it. If you accept an insurance award, if you return your house to a livable condition with a certificate of occupancy, they don’t give a fig is you change the doorknob in bedroom #3.

IE: Let’s inject a little common sense into the final RREM scope evaluations and grant closeouts.

The only items that matter are as follows: 1) Bringing the elevation of the home into compliance with the new flood codes 2) Obtaining a certificate of occupancy after passing all mechanical, building and engineering inspections 3) Providing a new survey and flood elevation certificate showing the house and all mechanicals are safely out of the flood plain.

In other moronic, insane developments, the RREM Scopes of Work are sometimes changing in midstream, without the Sandster being informed until the end. The solution to this is ironically easier – you must file suit against the DCA (or realistically join a class action suit currently in process), in the same way you would sue a dishonest contractor who changed the terms of the contract in the middle of the project.

Solution to avoiding RREM Claw back: Have a very clear idea what you are obligated to do for your RREM grant, and who on your team is doing each item.

Acting as Your Own General Contractor….

Many Sandsters have read my numerous articles on this subject. In deference to the well- meaning Sandsters on Facebook on the Stop Fema Now Thread, acting as your own general contractor is not a good idea about 95% of the time. You may notice that I specify general contractor, as opposed to any work at all.

I’ve said repeatedly in the past, and state again 5 paragraphs above, that there is nothing wrong with doing your own finish work (a good list is above) in your house to save money. It doesn’t matter if it’s a new home or a renovation, that’s a good rule of thumb.

However, doing your own general contracting, unless you are literally living on the street and have no other alternative (in which case you probably won’t be able to finish your job anyway), you should retain a professional to manage your project.

In much the same way you wouldn’t perform your own root canal or other medical procedure, act as your own attorney, do your own electrical, HVAC or plumbing work, repair your own car, or do your own taxes or financial planning, you definitely shouldn’t run the major aspects of your own project.

Currently, we have 28 active projects (6 new homes and 22 moves/renovations/elevations) and 8 of them are projects that we call Rescues. Rescue Projects are where the builder is in jail, took off with money, can’t finish, or completed such poor work that the job was stopped by the township.

Home elevations and new home construction are not items you want to undertake yourself unless you meet at least 5 of the following 5 conditions:

1) you are already planning a divorce or don’t speak to your spouse much, since when the project doesn’t work out it will be your fault or

2) you have some type of architectural, mechanical, engineering or construction background and have done this type of work before and

3) you plan to devote your attention to the project on a full-time basis and

4) you are flexible, calm, organized, a fantastic communicator and have a demented twisted sense of humor. It helps if you are familiar with Chaos and Game Theory.

5) you have money in reserve so if (when) you screw something up, you can afford to pay to fix it.

Really, truly I speak the truth unto you Sandsters. Don’t try this at home. If you try and fix your car, do your own taxes or perform your own root canal and they don’t work out, you can fix these items fairly easily. If you get in the middle of a home elevation with your house up in the air and run out of money, patience, ideas or the ability to continue, you’re in a bad pickle.

Do the finish work to save money – leave the heavier work to the professionals.

Besides all that, you will rarely save money and it will most definitely take much longer.

Definitions & Important Considerations That Can Delay Your Project:

RREM Program Manager: RREM Program Managers DO NOT supervise the construction of your project. You do, as you should, since it is you that is responsible for how the money is spent. RREM Program Managers manage the paper flow for your project, authorize payment disbursements and (try to) lead you through the confusing RREM maze. That’s it. Nothing further.

They do not consult with you on construction process, give legal advice or comment on who you should choose as your builder, or advise if they are competent and stable.

You are the only person responsible to oversee the professionals you hire. A sobering truth, but one worth remembering.

Lowest adjacent grade (LAG): This is an important elevation since the lowest point in your crawl space must be even or above the LAG. That is important because even if you don’t want your crawl filled that much (so you have more storage space) you will not pass final zoning / final building if this condition is not met. LAG is defined as the lowest grade immediately next to your house. There can easily be a foot or more difference between one side and the other, or back to front, so if you wish to use the least amount of fill (maximizing room in the crawl) make sure you find the lowest adjacent elevation.

Elevation: Elevation refers to “height above sea level” and not the height above grade at the house or distance the house is being elevated. The numbers on your Flood Elevation Certificate indicate how high in vertical feet your crawl, finished floor and grade are above the sea level at the ocean beach. It’s easy to make a mistake with these descriptions and it causes much confusion. Example: If you are raising your home to elevation 11, your finished floor is 6 and your grade is 4.5, you are raising your house 5’ to elevation 11, or 6.5’ above grade. When you use the expression “elevating my home 5 feet” that means you are lifting it 5’ from where it is now. The expression “building or raising the home to elevation 11” refers to the height above sea level, not the distance you are lifting.

Footprint: A building “footprint” is defined as the disturbed area of the lowest level including the garage.

Ex: a 1200 square foot ranch with a 240 square foot deck has a footprint of 1440 square feet.

Survey: An exact depiction of what exists on your lot, from a top view.

Plot plan: A top view of what you are proposing to build, including new heights, stairs, entries, decks, etc.

These two items are not the same and you will need both for your project.

HVAC Elevation height in crawl space: This must be considered when planning your lift. This is the elevation of the lowest duct, furnace or air handler in your crawl space. Most townships require a minimum elevation of base flood, some townships have no restriction, and some are at minimum BF + 1 to the bottom.

Design scope: These costs are defined as architectural and engineering fees, all survey costs (survey, plot plan, foundation as built, flood elevation certificate and final survey), soil boring & geotechnical costs, cribbing diagrams, permit fees, soil conservation design, and wind load calculations.

Please note – you do not get $15,000 in cash to spend on your design scope. You get up to $15,000, depending on what your actual costs are.   So, if your design costs are $9,200 you get $9,200. If they are $14,000, you get $14,000. If they are $16,600, you get $15,000. The balance of any remaining money in the $15,000 design scope budget does not go back into your grant and you don’t get to keep the extra cash.

If you signed your grant prior to October 1, 2014, you are not eligible for the extra $15,000 in design scope funding. Note: I have seen a number of clients kick, scream & please enough to have the $15,000 added to their grant, even though they had signed before 10/1/14, but that is not the policy.

Contingency costs: This item is part of your grant package and is designed to provide for unforeseen events or conditions that must be corrected in order to obtain a Certificate of Occupancy (CO) and finish your project.

These are not mistakes, omissions or errors on your part, your builder’s part or the design professional that did the plans. Rather they are items that are not knowable or evident in the actual structure until it is elevated, or the result of one of the shore townships deciding arbitrarily to change, invent or augment the existing building code. These items include (but are definitely not limited to) rotten or termite infested sheathing, wall studs or sill plates, twisted, broken or rotten girders, site conditions or changes needed to comply with current codes which were not in place when the house is built, upgrades to water pits or valves required by the MUA, installation of hard wired smoke & CO2 detectors, installation of condensate lines to the exterior from the dryer, and many other items that we’ve encountered. These items should be itemized by your builder in a separate sheet and submitted to RREM. 95% of the time you will be reimbursed.

There is not a monetary limit to this contingency, although it is generally 5% – 10% of the grant amount. The contingency does not come out of your grant award.

Remember – if you have a specific question, send me an email or a text. Don’t wait for a seminar or a site visit to clarify a point. Whether you are Dream Homes/Atlantic Northeast Construction client or not, I’ll always try and help you or guide you in the right direction. If you’ve sent an email or left a voice mail and haven’t received a response, try and contact me again. Messages are lost occasionally.

Note to Sandsters: Though I write this blog to help guide Sandsters and others through the maze that is any reconstruction project, we actually do what I write about. Dream Homes Ltd. and Atlantic Northeast Construction LLC are new home builders and general contractors who are actively renovating and reconstructing projects up and down the shore. We supervise and manage elevation projects & house moves, demolish and build new homes, and develop and build entire new neighborhoods. In the past 23 years, we’ve completed over 1500 new homes, 150 elevation projects and 500,000 square feet of commercial buildings. We work with private clients as well as Path B clients in the RREM program. Call, text or email to set up an appointment for a free estimate on your rebuilding project.

That’s all for today Sandsters. I hope my words helps you move forward and I hope to see you at the seminar on the 18th. As always, call or write with any questions.

Regards,

Vince

Dream Homes Ltd.

Virtual Learning Company Inc.

Atlantic Northeast Construction LLC

New Home Builder #045894

Home Improvement Contractor #13VH07489000

PO Box 627

Forked River, NJ 08731

Office: 609 693 8881 F: 609 693 3802

Cell: 732 300 5619

Email: vince@dreamhomesltd.com

Website: www.dreamhomesltd.com

Blog: http://blog.dreamhomesltd.com

Twitter: #foxbuilder

 

 

 

 

 


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Dream Homes Nearly Famous Rebuilding Blog – 1-8-17 -Why use Dream Homes? “Yeah, We Do That For You” – Hometown Hero Award in Brick – Rebuilding Seminar 1-18-16

Dream Homes Ltd.

Atlantic Northeast Construction LLC

Nearly Famous Rebuilding Blog –

1-8-17

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

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

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

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

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

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

Our next Nearly Famous Rebuilding Seminar will be held Wednesday January 18th, 2017 from 6 pm at the Tuscan Bar and Grill on Hooper Avenue in Toms River, across from the Ocean County Mall. We’ll focus on Sandsters that are early in the process, and have not completed design work, or chosen a builder or architect. We offer engineering & architectural design advice, RREM guidance at the initial stages, and help with choosing the right builder or contractor. Please call to reserve a space if you would like to attend since refreshments will be served and space is limited.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Mission Statement and Comment: We’re here to help you when no one else will. We regularly handle the messiest, most unpleasant, real estate, construction and renovation situations. We do the projects that no one else can do, and help people finish their projects and get back in their homes. If you’re stuck and can’t figure out how to proceed, call us and we’ll do our best to help you.

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

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

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

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

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

”Yeah, we do that for you…..”

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

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

A: Yes, we do that for you.

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

A: Yup, we do that too.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Please review our financials at www.sec.gov Our ticker symbol is VRTR.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Remember – if you have a specific question, send me an email or a text. Don’t wait for a seminar or a site visit to clarify a point. Whether you are Dream Homes/Atlantic Northeast Construction client or not, I’ll always try and help you or guide you in the right direction. If you’ve sent an email or left a voice mail and haven’t received a response, try and contact me again. Messages are lost occasionally.

Note to Sandsters: Though I write this blog to help guide Sandsters and others through the maze that is any reconstruction project, we actually do what I write about. Dream Homes Ltd. and Atlantic Northeast Construction LLC are new home builders and general contractors who are actively renovating and reconstructing projects up and down the shore. We supervise and manage elevation projects & house moves, demolish and build new homes, and develop and build entire new neighborhoods. In the past 23 years, we’ve completed over 1500 new homes, 150 elevation projects and 500,000 square feet of commercial buildings. We work with private clients as well as Path B clients in the RREM program. Call, text or email to set up an appointment for a free estimate on your rebuilding project.

That’s all for today Sandsters. I hope my words helps you move forward and I hope to see you at the seminar on the 18th. As always, call or write with any questions.

 

Regards,

Vince

Dream Homes Ltd.

Virtual Learning Company Inc.

Atlantic Northeast Construction LLC

New Home Builder #045894

Home Improvement Contractor #13VH07489000

PO Box 627

Forked River, NJ 08731

Office: 609 693 8881 F: 609 693 3802

Cell: 732 300 5619

Email: vince@dreamhomesltd.com

Website: www.dreamhomesltd.com

Blog: http://blog.dreamhomesltd.com

Twitter: #foxbuilder

 

 

 

 

 


4 Comments

Dream Homes Nearly Famous Rebuilding Blog – Hometown Hero in Brick! – Rebuilding Seminar 1-18-17 – Yeah, We Do That For You…

Dream Homes Ltd.

 

Atlantic Northeast Construction LLC

 

Nearly Famous Rebuilding Blog –

 

12-19-16

 

 Merry Christmas and a very happy holiday to all of you, Sandsters & all others –

 

I have just 3 items today, if you can believe that. (Most of you who’ve been reading my stuff for a while won’t believe it at all, and I certainly deserve that opinion…).

 

To start off, I’ve been nominated a Home Town Hero in Brick Township for nice things our great team has done for an unfortunate Sandster, a really good guy named Bob Steimle. (The ceremony is January 20th, and I even get a Golden Cape, which I will (modestly) wear 24 hours a day for the next 8 years, other than during times of disaster or civil emergency. And yes, that is perfectly normal behavior.) We mention our next Rebuilding Seminar, which is January 18th , in the new year. Finally I close with, “Yeah we do that for you” which is probably worth reading…

 

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

 

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

 

Our next Nearly Famous Rebuilding Seminar will be held Wednesday January 18th, 2017 from 6 pm at the Tuscan Bar and Grill on Hooper Avenue in Toms River, across from the Ocean County Mall. We’ll focus on Sandsters that are early in the process, and have not completed design work, or chosen a builder or architect. We offer engineering & architectural design advice, RREM guidance at the initial stages, and help with choosing the right builder or contractor. Please call to reserve a space if you would like to attend since refreshments will be served and space is limited.

 

Which leads us to one of our signature pieces here at Nearly Famous….and certainly deserving of at least a Pulitzer (for blogging) nomination…Dream Homes and Vince Simonelli have been nominated as one of the recipients of the Hometown Hero Award  in Brick Township!

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

 

Here’s what happened. Last year we got a call from Hale Built House Raising asking us if we could help a person in need. They explained to us that Bob Steimle had been the victim of fraud – his contractor had moved his house from his foundation 50 feet into his back yard and disappeared to another state, leaving Bob stranded in a trailer for 14 months. They and Acme Piling had joined together to install pilings and move the house back to where it needed to be, but needed a builder to complete the project. The builder who could undertake the project had to understand the construction and financial  issues and also be able to work within the RREM program’s constraints and Bob’s needs and complete the project. Dream Homes stepped up.

 

I said, “Sure, we’ll help him out. Give me his information and I’ll go talk to him and take a look at his house.” The next day I visited the house and met Bob. 2 days later I gave him an estimate (he got shoved to the front of the 2-3 week line) and we signed a contract on the 3rd day. We got a $500 deposit and started working.

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

You can be there too. Go to the Brick web site and sign up for a ticket or just show up!!

 

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

 

Mission Statement and Comment: We’re here to help you when no one else will, with the messiest, most unpleasant real estate, construction and renovation situations. We’re doing what no one else is doing, and helping many people in need finish their projects and get back in their homes. If you’re stuck and can’t figure out how to proceed, call us and we’ll do our best to help you.

 

Yeah, We Do That For You… I originally was going to include this series, but I’m tired now…J Stay tuned for future blogs…

 

Reminder: If you’ve been ripped off by any dishonest contractor and are stuck…call us and we’ll help you. You may qualify for a $2000 credit towards your project. Not a lot, but every little bit helps. 

 

Remember – if you have a specific question, send me an email or a text. Don’t wait for a seminar or a site visit to clarify a point. Whether or not you are Dream Homes/Atlantic Northeast Construction client or not, I’ll always try and help you or guide you in the right direction. If you’ve sent an email or left a voice mail and haven’t received a response, try and contact me again. Messages are lost occasionally.

 

Note to Sandsters: Though I write this blog to help guide Sandsters and others through the maze that is any reconstruction project, we actually do what I write about.  Dream Homes Ltd. and Atlantic Northeast Construction LLC are new home builders and general contractors who are actively renovating and reconstructing projects up and down the shore. We supervise and manage elevation projects & house moves, demolish and build new homes, and develop and build entire new neighborhoods. In the past 23 years, we’ve completed over 1500 new homes, 150 elevation projects and 500,000 square feet of commercial buildings. We work with private clients as well as Path B clients in the RREM program. Call, text or email to set up an appointment for a free estimate on your rebuilding project.

 

That’s all for today Sandsters. I hope my words helps you move forward and again, I wish you a wonderful holiday season. As always, call or write with any questions.  

 

Regards,

 

Vince

 

Dream Homes Ltd.

 

Virtual Learning Company Inc.

 

Atlantic Northeast Construction LLC

 

New Home Builder #045894

 

Home Improvement Contractor #13VH07489000

 

PO Box 627

 

Forked River, NJ 08731

 

Office: 609 693 8881 F: 609 693 3802

 

Cell: 732 300 5619

 

Email: vince@dreamhomesltd.com

 

Website: www.dreamhomesltd.com

 

Blog: http://blog.dreamhomesltd.com

 

Twitter: #foxbuilder

 


2 Comments

Dream Homes Ltd. Atlantic Northeast Construction LLC Nearly Famous Rebuilding Blog – 12-13-16

Hello Sandsters –

Hopefully your holiday season has been good and not too stressful.

It’s been a while since I’ve blogged last and I do miss speaking with all of you. Though it takes a bit of time to do it correctly, I miss the writing and wish I made time to do it more often. I think of it like a private conversation I’m having with thousands of people, since over the years, literally hundreds of you have called or written and spoken as if we knew each other well. That’s true in a sense, through the blog.

We have a number of interesting items for you today, not the least of which is a sincere note of thanks to Lt. Governor Kim Guadagno, for responding to my open letter to her regarding suggested RREM changes. We mention our next Rebuilding Seminar, which is January 18th in the new year. We talk again about foundation systems and options and mention re-opening your insurance claim. We extend a warm welcome to our numerous new clients who’ve chosen to entrust us with their projects and wish a POX on all the folks out there who are defrauding other people – both contractors and homeowners.

 

January (1/18/17) Dream Homes Seminar:

Nearly Famous Rebuilding Seminar – Wednesday January 18th – 6 PM – Tuscan Bistro in Toms River.    We’re holding this seminar for 4 years and counting…

Our next Nearly Famous Rebuilding Seminar will be held Wednesday January 18th, 2016 from 6 pm at the Tuscan Bar and Grill on Hooper Avenue in Toms River, across from the Ocean County Mall. We’ll focus on Sandsters that are early in the process, and have not completed design work, or chosen a builder or architect. We offer engineering & architectural design advice, RREM guidance at the initial stages, and help with choosing the right builder or contractor. Please call to reserve a space if you would like to attend since refreshments will be served and space is limited.

 

So, let us begin, shall we? Once more into the breach, as they say…J

 

To begin, let us offer a sincere thanks to Lt. Governor Kim Guadagno, for her handwritten response and follow up to my letter of early October. While many other politicians and public figures have written thank you notes over the years, Kim Guadagno has consistently proven to be a classy, effective, responsive politician who is certainly deserving of all of our votes if (when??) she runs for governor in the next election. I mentioned in that October blog how she stood in front of 5000 + people at a builder’s convention, in the midst of the greatest economic cluster &$%# in recent history, and offered everyone her cell number to call if there was a problem they couldn’t resolve. Seriously? Who does that? One of the only other people that I know who takes ultimate responsibility for their organization’s actions and behavior is me. Other than that, Kim’s pretty unique.

 

Anyway, I received a handwritten letter, and a follow up call with Dan Kelly from the governor’s office, which ultimately wound up in a conference call to exchange views and suggest improvements to current policy. I felt it was positive and I think Dan did as well. On our end, we got the very clear impression that out input was not only being considered, but evaluated for possible constructive and reformative courses of action. Regardless of exactly what transpires, we got the distinct impression that our input was valuable and Sandsters opinions were being heard.

 

Which leads me into the next recurring subject – fraud, in all of its various and sundry iterations.

 

One of the discussion points which was very interesting was the various phases of fraud which have occurred since Storm Sandy in October of 2012. We’ve certainly encountered our share of nonsense since Sandy and fraud has now been categorized in three phases. Phase 1 was all the happy folks who decided that their vacation and second homes were now primary residences, considering they were suddenly getting divorced, separated or otherwise held apart due to emotional difficulties. That worked for about an hour and many enterprising folks were hauled off to the pokey, and shamed into paying fines and penalties.

Author’s note: One can easily make the case (especially in NJ, land of really high taxes and insurance rates) that trying to get money from the government to renovate and restore your shore house that you’ve been paying insurance and taxes on for about 80 years puts you on the side of the angels. I think the whole discrepancy between that issue and consumer/contractor fraud is really splitting hairs – I think RREM grants should definitely have covered 2nd homes since they were 70% of the affected real estate.

Forgive me, for I digress. Back on point…

Phase 2 was the group of contractors who defrauded all the poor people who suffered tremendously due to Sandy. I have no words for this type of garbage. We have been and continue to help Sandsters and others who have fallen victim to contractor fraud and are stuck with abandoned projects. I’m proud to say that we’re one of the only companies that I know who will step into a half -finished project and bring it to completion. Most builders don’t want the headache or liability.

Meanwhile, many of these folks have been indicted or are under investigation and the RREM fraud task force is starting to rack up some wins for the good guys. It takes time (much too much if you are a victim of fraud) but eventually justice is served in most cases. There are still a few whales out there who are about to be indicted but many, many larcenous contractors have been indicted, prosecuted and banned from the industry.

 

Which brings us to the 3rd wave, which is consumer fraud once again, albeit of a different flavor. I’ve written about this issue in the past and it has become an epidemic.

In simple terms, many homeowners have decided (after adding significantly to their project scope) that they will simply not pay their builder or contractor for extras over and above the RREM grant. This is happening between 10% -15% of the time and is effectively putting many small contractors out of business.

In addition to being unethical, whether it is a RREM project or not, taking money from RREM and not using it for its intended purpose is illegal and opens one up to civil as well as criminal penalties. If it’s a RREM project, it can’t be closed out without a paid lien waiver from your builder. If you don’t finish your RREM project within a certain time, RREM can demand the entire grant back. All of this is unnecessary and not a path on which one should proceed.

In any case, the market (and government) is managing to right itself and cure itself of pretensions, illusions, charlatans and subterfuge. It’s a shame it took 4 years to shake the rubbish out, but it is what it is. It’s not how long it takes to get there, but the fact that one arrives at all that is important.

 

Here we are halfway through my list of subjects and I’ve written 6 pages and 1100 words….perhaps there is some truth to the notion that I can be a bit verbose…

 

So I shall end here, reluctantly, through consideration for my reader’s sensibilities and time available for idle reading, as well as the recognition that blogs should be short (failure!), concise (semi-failure) and informative (success!! Heehee).

 

Today I’ll leave you with the reminder that we are here to help you when no one else will, with the messiest, most unpleasant real estate, construction and renovation situations. We’re doing what no one else is doing, and helping many people finish their projects and get back in their homes. If you’re stuck and can’t figure out how to proceed, call us and we’ll do our best to help you.

 

Have you been ripped off by Shore House Lifters or any other dishonest contractor?

We are continuing our offer of a $2000 discount to any homeowner who has been left in the lurch by a crooked builder. It’s not a ton of money, but every little bit helps if you’ve been taken advantage of.

 

Definitions & Important Considerations That Can Delay Your Project:

RREM Program Manager: RREM Program Managers DO NOT supervise the construction of your project. You do, as you should, since it is you that is responsible for how the money is spent. RREM Program Managers manage the paper flow for your project, authorize payment disbursements and (try to) lead you through the confusing RREM maze. That’s it. Nothing further.

They do not consult with you on construction process, give legal advice or comment on who you should choose as your builder, or advise if they are competent and stable.

You are the only person responsible to oversee the professionals you hire. A sobering truth, but one worth remembering.

Lowest adjacent grade (LAG): This is an important elevation since the lowest point in your crawl space has to be even or above the LAG. That is important because even if you don’t want your crawl filled that much (so you have more storage space) you will not pass final zoning / final building if this condition is not met. LAG is defined as the lowest grade immediately next to your house. There can easily be a foot or more difference between one side and the other, or back to front, so if you wish to use the least amount of fill (maximizing room in the crawl) make sure you find the lowest adjacent elevation.

Elevation: Elevation refers to “height above sea level” and not the height above grade at the house or distance the house is being elevated. The numbers on your Flood Elevation Certificate indicate how high in vertical feet your crawl, finished floor and grade are above the sea level at the ocean beach. It’s easy to make a mistake with these descriptions and it causes much confusion. Example: If you are raising your home to elevation 11, your finished floor is 6 and your grade is 4.5, you are raising your house 5’ to elevation 11, or 6.5’ above grade. When you use the expression “elevating my home 5 feet” that means you are lifting it 5’ from where it is now. The expression “building or raising the home to elevation 11” refers to the height above sea level, not the distance you are lifting.

Footprint: A building “footprint” is defined as the disturbed area of the lowest level including the garage.

Ex: a 1200 square foot ranch with a 240 square foot deck has a footprint of 1440 square feet.

Survey: An exact depiction of what exists on your lot, from a top view.

Plot plan: A top view of what you are proposing to build, including new heights, stairs, entries, decks, etc.

These two items are not the same and you will need both for your project.

HVAC Elevation height in crawl space: This must be considered when planning your lift. This is the elevation of the lowest duct, furnace or air handler in your crawl space. Most townships require a minimum elevation of base flood, some townships have no restriction, and some are at minimum BF + 1 to the bottom.

Design scope: These costs are defined as architectural and engineering fees, all survey costs (survey, plot plan, foundation as built, flood elevation certificate and final survey), soil boring & geotechnical costs, cribbing diagrams, permit fees, soil conservation design, and wind load calculations.

Please note – you do not get $15,000 in cash to spend on your design scope. You get up to $15,000, depending on what your actual costs are.   So if your design costs are $9,200 you get $9,200. If they are $14,000, you get $14,000. If they are $16,600, you get $15,000. The balance of any remaining money in the $15,000 design scope budget does not go back into your grant and you don’t get to keep the extra cash.

If you signed your grant prior to October 1, 2014, you are not eligible for the extra $15,000 in design scope funding. Note: I have seen a number of clients kick, scream & please enough to have the $15,000 added to their grant, even though they had signed before 10/1/14, but that is not the policy.

Contingency costs: This item is part of your grant package and is designed to provide for unforeseen events or conditions that must be corrected in order to obtain a Certificate of Occupancy (CO) and finish your project.

These are not mistakes, omissions or errors on your part, your builder’s part or the design professional that did the plans. Rather they are items that are not knowable or evident in the actual structure until it is elevated, or the result of one of the shore townships deciding arbitrarily to change, invent or augment the existing building code. These items include (but are definitely not limited to) rotten or termite infested sheathing, wall studs or sill plates, twisted, broken or rotten girders, site conditions or changes needed to comply with current codes which were not in place when the house is built, upgrades to water pits or valves required by the MUA, installation of hard wired smoke & CO2 detectors, installation of condensate lines to the exterior from the dryer, and a number of other items that we’ve encountered. These items should be itemized by your builder in a separate sheet and submitted to RREM. 95% of the time you will be reimbursed.

There is not a monetary limit to this contingency, although it is generally 5% – 10% of the grant amount. The contingency does not come out of your grant award.

 

You Tube Link to a 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.

 

Remember – if you have a specific question, send me an email or a text. Don’t wait for a seminar or a site visit to clarify a point. Whether or not you are Dream Homes/Atlantic Northeast Construction client or not, I’ll always try and help you or guide you in the right direction. If you’ve sent an email or left a voice mail and haven’t received a response, try and contact me again. Messages are lost occasionally.

 

Note to Sandsters: Though I write this blog to help Sandsters, Dream Homes Ltd. and Atlantic Northeast Construction LLC are new home builders and general contractors who are actively renovating and reconstructing projects up and down the shore. We supervise elevations & house moves, demolish and build new homes, and develop and build entire new neighborhoods. In the past 23 years, we’ve completed over 1500 new homes, 150 elevation projects and 500,000 square feet of commercial buildings. We work with private clients as well as Path B clients in the RREM program. Call, text or email to set up an appointment for a free estimate on your rebuilding project.

 

That’s all for today Sandsters. I hope it helps you move forward. As always, call or write with any questions.

I’m hoping I do at least one additional blog before Christmas, but if not, I wish you good luck, good building and a wonderful holiday!

 

Regards,

 

Vince

Dream Homes Ltd.

Virtual Learning Company Inc.

Atlantic Northeast Construction LLC

New Home Builder #045894

Home Improvement Contractor #13VH07489000

PO Box 627

Forked River, NJ 08731

Office: 609 693 8881 F: 609 693 3802

Cell: 732 300 5619

Email: vince@dreamhomesltd.com

Website: www.dreamhomesltd.com

Blog: http://blog.dreamhomesltd.com

Twitter: #foxbuilder

 

 

 

 

 

 


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Dream Homes – Nearly Famous Rebuilding Blog – 11-6-16 – Election 2016 – Rebuilding Seminar 11/16 – RREM & FEMA Fraud – Time out Of House (& Mind)

Dream Homes Ltd.

Atlantic Northeast Construction LLC

Nearly Famous Rebuilding Blog –

11-6-16

Election 2016 – Sandsters are proud to be called Sandsters – RREM is putting Builders Out of Business and causing Homeowners Heartache – Time out of House – November 16th Nearly Famous Rebuilding Seminar – Getting Accurate Estimates & Courtesy – RREM Fraud Update – Contractors & Homeowners

Hello Sandsters –

I hope this blog finds you all well and healthy. It’s been a while since the last real blog, although my open letter to Lieutenant Governor Kim Guadagno was posted and sent out a couple of weeks ago. Strangely, no one called me to discuss any of my ideas.

Today, we have a bunch of new items for you, but primarily discuss the election and getting out to vote. We mention the term Sandsters – and what it means to people. We outline average times for plans, permits and project completion. We talk again about how RREM (and dishonest home owners) are putting small contractors out of business. We welcome 6 new clients, 3 more of which are unfortunately victims of bad contractors. We repeat warnings about committing RREM fraud – on both sides – homeowner and contractor. Finally, we mention our next Rebuilding seminar – which is this Wednesday November 16th at 6 pm at Tuscan Bistro & Bar in Toms River.

Note to Sandsters – and those who dislike the term “Sandsters”

I invented the term Sandsters to describe a group of 25,000 – 30,000 people who were affected by Sandy. It was meant to create a feeling of solidarity and offer the knowledge that there were other people in the same boat.

It is not meant to be disrespectful or demeaning.

Most Sandsters like it. A very few people don’t like it.

To those few who are hung up on a term and have time to read a negative meaning into the term, get over yourselves.

I’m proud to be a Sandster and I’ve met a ton of great people in the last 4 years who are all rising above the aggravation, loss and inconvenience of being flooded out of their homes. Most of these people love knowing there is a group of people trying to achieve the same goals.

It’s been great knowing and working with all of you, Sandsters. I hope I can continue helping Sandsters for many years to come.

November (11/16/16) Dream Homes Event & Last Seminar Review:

Nearly Famous Rebuilding Seminar – Wednesday November 16th – 6 PM – Tuscan Bistro in Toms River.   This seminar has been running for 3 ½ years and counting…

Our next Nearly Famous Rebuilding Seminar will be held Wednesday November 16th, 2016 from 6 pm at the Tuscan Bar and Grill on Hooper Avenue in Toms River, across from the Ocean County Mall. Remember we focus on and are only accepting reservations from Sandsters that are early in the process, and have not completed design work, or chosen a builder or architect, and need guidance and direction. We offer engineering & architectural design advice, RREM guidance at the initial stages, and help with choosing the right builder or contractor. Please call to reserve a space if you would like to attend since refreshments will be served and space is limited.

Note: We are only accepting 15 reservations for the 11/16 seminar, since we’ve discovered that is the ideal number of people for us to offer the best advice and counsel. If you want to come, reserve your space early.

Once again, our trade partners and professionals will be speaking. Our project manager Tim Tennis in the north region will be speaking and answering specific questions about your project. Tim Ferguson from Hale Built House Lifting will be available for questions about elevating and moving houses. Kathy Dotoli, who is a worker’s compensation lawyer in Toms River, will also give her excellent presentation on precautions to take to ensure a smooth relationship with your contractor. We’ll have Dan Wheaton speaking, who is an architect we work with. I’ll be moderating and answering your general questions about the rebuilding process and construction in general. This is a great chance to meet our professional team, and there’ll be plenty of time for discussion about your project so bring your info (or send it to us ahead of time) and get some questions answered.

Election 2016 – Get out and Vote – Give up and Move out!

It’s safe to say that this election has more people disgusted with the antics of our 2 main candidates and waiting impatiently for the election circus to be over. Never have we had such a great degree of apathy, annoyance, aggravation, disdain and impatience for the process to end in a presidential election in this country. People around the world are asking, “What’s going on with those Americans?” We look like a bunch of idiots internationally.

Many people don’t want to vote, since they don’t like either candidate.

I think regardless of who you are voting for, we can all agree with those sentiments.

I know I can’t wait for this insane comic spectacle to be over, but I am writing today on this subject to remind you of why we do indeed have to get out on Tuesday and vote.

We must vote because an independent free electorate is one of the most important reasons why so many thousands have died over the years in defense of our freedom and right to live in a democracy. Simply put, if you exercise an opinion of any type you have a moral obligation to cast your vote and exercise your franchise. If you don’t vote, shut your mouth and don’t complain.

Deciding for whom to vote is almost incidental. If you know who you like, vote for them. Don’t vote along party lines because you should, or your parents and grandparents have – vote for who you think will do the best job. If you don’t like either of the candidates, fine. Vote against the one you dislike more.

You owe it to yourself. You owe it to our country.

Providing a free society is never cheap, and it has been very costly in terms of lives and hardship since this country was incepted.

Your payment for that debt is the vote you cast. It is a moral obligation.

Don’t know who to vote in for president? Don’t feel bad – you’re in good company. By some polls, 22% of the eligible voters have still not decided which presidential candidate to vote for – we’re 48 hours away from the election.

If you can’t decide, show up anyway and cast your vote for state and local candidates. Don’t just stay home with the excuse that you can’t decide which presidential candidate should get your vote. Be counted at the local and state level.

Sandsters, you owe it to yourselves to vote and exercise your sovereign right as a citizen. You also owe it to your country and what it stands for. Don’t miss the opportunity to exercise the most valuable right you have.

Time out of House – Total Time – Running Totals:

Here’s an update on a subject I’ve written about many, many times.

Average total project time: 7-8 months.

Comprised of:

Average time to prepare plans: 4-6 weeks.

Average time to get permits: 4-6 weeks (Brick, Toms River, Manahawkin, Little Egg – 2-4 years. Just kidding).

Average construction time: 3-4 months.

Important Note: Time you should be out of your house: 3-4 months

Do not order disconnects until you submit your permits. When they come in, they are the last item the building department needs to issue the permit. If you leave your house when you first sign a contract and start preparing plans, you’ll be out of the house an extra 3 months. Unnecessary.

A warm welcome to some additional new clients in Toms River, Lavallette, Ocean Beach and Bayville… Please note: we are now Spring 2017 projects so give us a call so we can have you in before next summer.

In the last month, we’ve been retained by 6 new clients – thanks for your confidence and trust in us at the Dream Homes team!

Note: Schedule your project: The market is heating up again, due to a number of factors (dishonest contractors going bankrupt or being indicted, honest contractors going out of business because of RREM and homeowner fraud, out of state contractors moving back out of state to purportedly greener pastures) so if you haven’t retained a professional for your project, expect delays.

At this point, the only way you can still lift in 2016 is if you have plans ready to be submitted or already approved.

If you want to be in for Summer of next year, it’s time to get moving. Stop dithering. He or She who hesitates is lost (or at least delayed).

Open Letter to Kim Guadagno – Last Blog.

No response to my letter. RREM still lethargic about payment and process, still approving contractors who are about to be indicted or arrested and allowing them to keep ripping people off, still not policing homeowner disbursement of funds.

Note to NJ Government: The RREM program is, once again, off the rails and heading merrily off into the field. Help.

Projects – Good – Cheap – Fast – Pick any 2

It’s an old saying but fairly accurate. You can usually get 2 of the three. It’s impossible to get good and cheap and fast.

Repeat: RREM causing small contractors to go out of business – and helping dishonest homeowners to rip off their builders.

Fact #1: RREM through their direct actions is putting small contractors out of business. Their bizarre, Byzantine payment terms, their insane clawback provisions and their incessant change in policy, has made it completely impossible for a 3-5 home a year builder to work for anyone in the RREM program.

Fact #2: RREM through their indirect actions is putting small contractors out of business. They are assisting tacitly in the systemic, continuous perpetration of homeowner fraud, by not requiring payment to contractors for work that has been completed. This is illegal, immoral and truly counterproductive to the macro intent of the RREM program.

Thankfully, this is not affecting Dream to too great of a degree. We carry no debt and are in a very strong financial position. Out of 160 clients in the last 3 years, we have only 4 people who we’ve had to pursue through litigation. All of them have eventually paid, including legal and late fees. All of them have been audited (FINALLY!) by RREM. All of them are subject to civil penalties. All of them had added significantly to the RREM scope of work and decided they didn’t want to pay for any of their extra work when they couldn’t scam RREM out of the money.

This is atrocious individual behavior and incredibly bad oversight by the RREM program.

The fact that there is no RREM mechanism to prevent this from occurring is absurd. Instead of fostering competition which leads to better consumer pricing and choice, it has had, and will continue to have, the opposite effect of destroying smaller builders due to nonpayment.

Facts, Facts, Facts – Repeat about Shore House Lifters and others

If you are one of those unfortunate folks who isn’t hanging on my every written word, (can you believe there are still people out there like that??), you missed the last blog, and you’re dealing with, or considering dealing with Shore House Lifters, stop reading this blog right now and click on the 8/14/16 blog for a very detailed warning and caution before proceeding any further with this company. I’m tired of cleaning up their messes. And Price Home Group’s. And G&L Construction. And Axis Builders. Colmyer. Central Construction. And the list goes on and on…Be careful who you are dealing with.

Hiring Your Own Architect or Engineer: Pros (none) and Cons (many)

I’ve written about this in the past, and have shared various thoughts. This is an update which reflects my most recent experiences.

The upshot, though a general statement, is that dealing with your own design professional does not save you any money and generally costs you time and stress.

1st, the reality is that the architectural/engineering cost to you is the same (usually less), whether you deal with the professional yourself or retain your builder to handle this aspect of the project.

2nd, you will save yourself a tremendous amount of time, since you will avoid the constant interaction between your professional and your builder. Your builder will handle the professional discussions and break it down for you in simple language you can understand.

3rd, you will avoid excess costs which are incurred when you design your plan with your architect without input from the person who will be building your project. Remember – architects and engineers draw pretty pictures, which sometimes are not the most cost effective methods to achieve your objectives. Sometimes (too often) the plans cannot be actually constructed as they are designed.

Last but not least, if there is an error and you’ve designed your own plan, you’re responsible for your architect’s errors. When you give a plan (that you’ve designed) to a builder to estimate, any errors in the plan are ultimately your responsibility and will cost you money.

Points to ponder, Sandsters. Sometimes we try to save money – and end up stepping over dollars to pick up pennies.

What you SHOULD ask before you hire a builder or general contractor:

The real questions are, “How many projects have you completed?” (We’ve finished 155 in the last 3 years, and over 1500 new homes in 200 + developments in the last 2 decades)

“How many projects are unfinished?” (We have 0 unfinished projects)

“How many clients are suing you for misappropriation of funds, fraud or consumer fraud?” (We have 0).

What is the Difference between Non-Performance & Fraud versus a Difference of Opinion?? Important Repeat:

I’ve written about this in the past several times but the topic bears repeating (over and over) again.

Sandsters, there’s a world of difference between the two above categories. You are well served to understand this difference prior to embarking on a renovation project.

Notwithstanding any of the drivel regularly posted on Facebook, having a disagreement

with your builder, does not mean they are defrauding you or abandoning your project. Misunderstanding is materially different from contractor fraud, abandonment, mismanagement or incompetence.

The objective is to complete the project and move you back into your home. It is not about personalities, or who is right or wrong. It is about dealing with, and accepting, that human communication is complicated and fraught with misunderstanding

Nearly Famous Rebuilding Blog – Reader Survey: Do you have any specific topics you would like covered in the Nearly Famous Rebuilding Blog that I haven’t mentioned? Send me an email or give me a call and I’ll try to include them in one of the upcoming bogs. Construction science is a pretty varied field and there is always something new, whether it is a method, a material or a design technique. Let me hear your questions, especially if it’s an item I haven’t written about.

Last Look or If you don’t ask, you’ll get nothing: If you are making a final decision and are between 2 builders that you like, where one is slightly more expensive but you like them much more and one is cheaper but you have concerns over him,

Ask the builder or contractor you like and want to use to meet your proposed budget number or the other written estimate.

I recommend this particular technique because it is easier for you. There is less detail and discussion about particular pricing and ultimately you don’t really want or need to know all the whys and why nots and details of a particular estimate.

If your first builder choice can meet the price you need or at least the other valid estimate from another contractor, that’s good enough for you.

Anyway, you have nothing to lose by asking your 1st choice builder to meet your budget number.

That being said, your builder choice should also:

1) Have an office that you can visit

2) Has been in business for long enough time to have learned how to do what you are contracting for

3) Have completed numerous projects similar to yours

4) Have current insurance and licensing and

5) Not be asking you for a huge non-refundable deposit up front.

This category, as well as worker’s compensation and social security disability, is something Kathy Dotoli, who is an attorney in Toms River, covers in depth at our Rebuilding seminar. Feel free to call her directly at 732 228 7534 for further discussion. Come to the seminar or call us and we will send you the handout.

Signing Blind Contracts – PLEASE STOP DOING THIS SANDSTERS!!

If a builder or contracting is asking you to sign a contract with a non-refundable deposit, without plans or a defined scope of work, be careful. If an estimate is based on a set of assumptions which turn out to be inaccurate, you should have the right to cancel the contract and have the unused balance of your deposit returned to you.

Further detail in past blogs.

New Townhome Announcements: Some great news for Sandsters on the new home front – we’re planning an 88 unit town home waterfront community locally which will open at the end of 2017 and be very affordably priced.

Facebook: Please visit us and like us on Facebook! I am a social media illiterate but thankfully there are some great people on the Dream Team that are Facebook addicts and will communicate with you on Facebook 25 hours a day…

Dream Homes – Satellite office – 2818 Bridge Avenue in Point Pleasant:

Dream Homes has been so busy in the Point, Brick, Manasquan area in the last year that we recently opened a branch office for client service, sales and construction at 2818 Bridge Avenue in Point Pleasant. You are welcome to bring your surveys, plans and paperwork to that location if it’s easier than scanning, faxing or bringing documents to our main office on Rt. 9 in Forked River. Please call us for hours if you want to visit this location.

Tip – Follow the Nearly Famous Blog: If you don’t want to miss any of my blogs, go the blog and “follow” it directly. Some times I don’t send email alerts when I blog. If you “follow” the blog you will get an email reminder whenever I post. We’re also on Facebook if you want to Friend us or post a comment.

Stop FEMA Now Association: We’re a proud sponsor of Stop Fema Now which is an excellent organization trying to save and protect NJ Sandsters (as well as other states) from FEMA tyranny. To get involved and either donate or volunteer your time to this worthy effort, please visit their web site, which is HYPERLINK “http://www.stopfemanow.com” http://www.stopfemanow.com

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

You can now log onto HYPERLINK “http://www.dreamhomesltd.com” http://www.dreamhomesltd.com from your mobile device and see a mobile site tailored to a smaller screen.

Definitions & Important Considerations That Can Delay Your Project:

RREM Program Manager: RREM Program Managers DO NOT supervise the construction of your project. You do, as you should, since it is you that is responsible for how the money is spent. RREM Program Managers manage the paper flow for your project, authorize payment disbursements and (try to) lead you through the confusing RREM maze. That’s it. Nothing further.

They do not consult with you on construction process, give legal advice or comment on who you should choose as your builder, or advise if they are competent and stable.

You are the only person responsible to oversee the professionals you hire. A sobering truth, but one worth remembering.

Lowest adjacent grade (LAG): This is an important elevation since the lowest point in your crawl space has to be even or above the LAG. That is important because even if you don’t want your crawl filled that much (so you have more storage space) you will not pass final zoning / final building if this condition is not met. LAG is defined as the lowest grade immediately next to your house. There can easily be a foot or more difference between one side and the other, or back to front, so if you wish to use the least amount of fill (maximizing room in the crawl) make sure you find the lowest adjacent elevation.

Elevation: Elevation refers to “height above sea level” and not the height above grade at the house or distance the house is being elevated. The numbers on your Flood Elevation Certificate indicate how high in vertical feet your crawl, finished floor and grade are above the sea level at the ocean beach. It’s easy to make a mistake with these descriptions and it causes much confusion. Example: If you are raising your home to elevation 11, your finished floor is 6 and your grade is 4.5, you are raising your house 5’ to elevation 11, or 6.5’ above grade. When you use the expression “elevating my home 5 feet” that means you are lifting it 5’ from where it is now. The expression “building or raising the home to elevation 11” refers to the height above sea level, not the distance you are lifting.

Footprint: A building “footprint” is defined as the disturbed area of the lowest level including the garage.

Ex: a 1200 square foot ranch with a 240 square foot deck has a footprint of 1440 square feet.

Survey: An exact depiction of what exists on your lot, from a top view.

Plot plan: A top view of what you are proposing to build, including new heights, stairs, entries, decks, etc.

These two items are not the same and you will need both for your project.

HVAC Elevation height in crawl space: This must be considered when planning your lift. This is the elevation of the lowest duct, furnace or air handler in your crawl space. Most townships require a minimum elevation of base flood, some townships have no restriction, and some are at minimum BF + 1 to the bottom.

Design scope: These costs are defined as architectural and engineering fees, all survey costs (survey, plot plan, foundation as built, flood elevation certificate and final survey), soil boring & geotechnical costs, cribbing diagrams, permit fees, soil conservation design, and wind load calculations.

Please note – you do not get $15,000 in cash to spend on your design scope. You get up to $15,000, depending on what your actual costs are. So if your design costs are $9,200 you get $9,200. If they are $14,000, you get $14,000. If they are $16,600, you get $15,000. The balance of any remaining money in the $15,000 design scope budget does not go back into your grant and you don’t get to keep the extra cash.

If you signed your grant prior to October 1, 2014, you are not eligible for the extra $15,000 in design scope funding. Note: I have seen a number of clients kick, scream & please enough to have the $15,000 added to their grant, even though they had signed before 10/1/14, but that is not the policy.

Contingency costs: This item is part of your grant package and is designed to provide for unforeseen events or conditions that must be corrected in order to obtain a Certificate of Occupancy (CO) and finish your project.

These are not mistakes, omissions or errors on your part, your builder’s part or the design professional that did the plans. Rather they are items that are not knowable or evident in the actual structure until it is elevated, or the result of one of the shore townships deciding arbitrarily to change, invent or augment the existing building code. These items include (but are definitely not limited to) rotten or termite infested sheathing, wall studs or sill plates, twisted, broken or rotten girders, site conditions or changes needed to comply with current codes which were not in place when the house is built, upgrades to water pits or valves required by the MUA, installation of hard wired smoke & CO2 detectors, installation of condensate lines to the exterior from the dryer, and a number of other items that we’ve encountered. These items should be itemized by your builder in a separate sheet and submitted to RREM. 95% of the time you will be reimbursed.

There is not a monetary limit to this contingency, although it is generally 5% – 10% of the grant amount. The contingency does not come out of your grant award.

You Tube Link to a Nearly Famous Rebuilding Seminar: If you’ve missed our seminars and can’t easily attend, find us on You Tube.

It is not edited and is about 2 hours so feel free to fast forward and skip around to watch what you like and need to know.

Remember – if you have a specific question, send me an email or a text. Don’t wait for a seminar or a site visit to clarify a point. Whether or not you are Dream Homes/Atlantic Northeast Construction client or not, I’ll always try and help you or guide you in the right direction. If you’ve sent an email or left a voice mail and haven’t received a response, try and contact me again. Messages are lost occasionally.

Note to Sandsters: Though I write this blog to help Sandsters, 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 elevate & move homes, demolish and build new homes, and develop and build new neighborhoods. In the past 23 years, we’ve having completed over 1500 new homes, 150 elevation projects and 500,000 square feet of commercial buildings. We work with private clients as well as Path B clients in the RREM program. Call, text or email to set up an appointment for a free estimate on your rebuilding project.

That’s all for today Sandsters. I hope it helps you move forward. As always, call or write with any questions.

Good luck and good building!

Regards,

Vince

Dream Homes Ltd.

Atlantic Northeast Construction LLC

New Home Builder #045894

Home Improvement Contractor #13VH07489000

PO Box 627

Forked River, NJ 08731

Office: 609 693 8881 F: 609 693 3802

Cell: 732 300 5619

Email: vince@dreamhomesltd.com

Website: www.dreamhomesltd.com

Blog: http://blog.dreamhomesltd.com

Twitter: #foxbuilder


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Letter to Lieutenant Governor Kim Guadagno

October 24, 2016

Kim Guadagno

Lieutenant Governor

State of New Jersey

Re: Recommendations

Improvements to the RREM Program

Builder / general contractor licensing & guidelines to prevent fraud

Dear Mrs. Guadagno:

My name is Vincent Simonelli, and I am the president of several construction and development companies based in NJ. These companies are Dream Homes Ltd. and Atlantic Northeast Construction LLC. In the last few years, my companies have completed numerous RREM and private elevation projects and constructed over 1500 new homes in 200 developments in NJ since 1993. For the last 3 years, I’ve written a blog about rebuilding (blog.dreamhomesltd.com) and host rebuilding seminars to educate homeowners about aspects of rebuilding, new construction, contractor fraud and other important items in the construction process.

I am writing to you in the hope that you can achieve immediate, material changes in the RREM program, as well as the current guidelines in which contractors and builders can pursue the business of home improvement and new construction in NJ. I am writing today in the interest of both assisting NJ homeowners to rebuild and return to their homes, and helping ourselves and other builders and general contractors to more effectively function under the existing regulatory and legal structure.

When I heard you speak at a builder’s convention several years ago, you struck me as being one of the few people in our current administration who was

oriented towards achieving results, as opposed to simply practicing politics.  I am contacting you in an effort to cut through the layers of bureaucracy, with a direct communication from someone who is continually living through the experience of building and rebuilding in NJ. I feel that you are in the unique position to act on new, pointed information and immediately impact thousands of affected homeowners in NJ.

The three topics I would like to discuss are as follows.

  1. Instituting financial controls and penalties to prevent homeowners from fraudulently spending RREM grant money and not paying their builders and contractors.
  2. Instituting controls to prevent contractor fraud committed repetitively by the same companies or individuals.
  3. Streamlining the RREM payment request and funding process.

Category 1 – Addressing Homeowner Fraud under the RREM program: Unfortunately, a situation currently exists where many RREM homeowners are receiving RREM funds, spending those grant funds on upgraded improvements other than those specified in the RREM scope of work, and failing to pay their contractors for completed work. This is obvious, egregious fraud and is unfortunately prevalent throughout the RREM world. Though this may seem like a self-serving point, I am writing to inform you that I personally know of dozens of small builders and contractors who are being either put out of business completely or are being harmed significantly by this very disturbing trend. A continuation of this situation will be very detrimental to the overall rebuilding process. Homeowners should not be permitted to utilize state or federal funds to upgrade the finishes in their homes, through defrauding contractors. This is occurring daily throughout the state of NJ.

This disturbing trend delays the rebuilding process, specifically harms small business people who are the backbone and one of the strongest drivers in the economy and causes a critical delay in returning homeowners to their homes and real estate to the tax rolls.

On a positive note, in the Rebuilding blog that I write, as well as on our Facebook page, numerous honest contractors have weighed in expressing strong support for this position. Addressing this issue could be a very simple, though quite

important procedural change to the RREM program. This change could be both quickly implemented as well as immediately effective.

Solution: A policy should be immediately placed into effect wherein homeowners who engage in this type of behavior should suffer both financial as well as criminal penalties.

Category 2: Addressing repeated contractor fraud: While the overwhelming majority of contractors and builders are fundamentally honest, there is a very disturbing trend towards dishonest contractors who repeatedly defraud homeowners. Unfortunately, these contractors are not being sanctioned by the state in any manner, and thus are not being prevented from committing the same types of fraud. Though due process is an integral part of our legal code, there is something inherently wrong with public policy that permits the continuous perpetration of a fraudulent activity, especially where it concerns a professional interacting with a layperson.  If a builder or contractor has numerous recorded instances of consumer fraud, allegations of consumer fraud or misrepresentation or complaints to the attorney

general, local authorities or county prosecutor, that company and individual should be sanctioned and not permitted to pursue their trade until due process has time to occur. In the

meantime, licenses should be suspended and additional contracting work should not be permitted.

 By doing nothing, the state of NJ is passively sanctioning this type of fraudulent behavior. Statistically, those who commit fraud in the building and contracting business have a much greater likelihood of repeating that type of behavior, than those who have had few or no complaints lodged against them.  Many consumers have fallen prey to this type of behavior and this should not be allowed to continue.

Solution: Implement an immediate policy change regarding contractor licensing which prohibits builders or contractors from filing for new permits if numerous open complaints exist at the Department of Consumer Fraud, the county prosecutor and/or the state attorney general.

 Category 3 – Payment schedule, Clawback & Final Payment – RREM program:

The 3rd item that I listed above concerns the administration of the payment process as well as the claw back provisions within the RREM program.

Currently checks are being written to homeowners once per month. Increasing the frequency to weekly would substantially assist homeowners return to their homes, through being able to more correctly fund their rebuilding projects. This simple solution would improve the situation tremendously and should be fairly straightforward to implement.

The clawback provision under the RREM program is being administered in a very arbitrary, haphazard manner. Homeowners should not be subject to having their grant funds recalled if all items on their scopes of work have been completed, and a certificate of occupancy, flood elevation and correct final survey are in good order. Homeowners live in fear of this occurrence, which shouldn’t be the case.

Finally, the payment of the final 10% of the grant should not take 3-12 months to process. As stated in the above paragraph, once all items are obtained at the township level, the scope of work has been completed and the final inspection is scheduled, the payment should be made, deed restrictions lifted and the file closed in a timely manner.

Solution: Change RREM payment schedule to weekly from monthly, revise clawback provisions to accurately reflect completed work and tender final inspections and payments in a more timely manner.

 Feel free to contact me directly at any time for further discussion at 732 300 5619. Thank you for your attention to these matters.

Regards,

Vincent Simonelli

President

Dream Homes Ltd.

Atlantic Northeast Construction LLC