Home Improvement Contractor FAQ
We’ve compiled a list of common questions about new home construction, structural moving services, home elevation, home renovation and selling your property to help you to better understand the process. Our FAQ list is organized into categories including General, Home Elevation & House Moving, and New Home Construction. Our clients have found this list to be helpful when planning a construction project or navigating through the construction process and we hope you’ll also find it useful.
General Frequently Asked Questions
Q: Why should I use Dream Homes for my home elevation or new home construction project? I’ve also heard you were a publicly traded company – what does that mean to me?
A: The most important reason to choose Dream Homes is that we’re the region’s most trusted builder and your best choice for a licensed New Home Builder or registered Home Improvement Contractor in NJ. Our team has been building, elevating and renovating homes in New Jersey since 1993, and we’ve successfully completed over 1700 new homes and over 200 elevation projects. Most importantly – we’re never finished with a project until you are satisfied.
Dream Homes & Development Corporation is also a publicly traded, company, and we trade under the ticker symbol DREM. Being fully audited means, you can review our history, financials and performance at any time and be very comfortable that you are dealing with a solid company who will successfully complete your project. In addition, we are the only public company performing elevation and renovation projects in New Jersey.
Q: How long should my project take from start to finish?
A: Depending on the level of complexity and size of your project, and whether it is a new home or an elevation/renovation project, the average time to complete a project (counted from the receipt of a building permit) varies from 3-7 months. If you do not have architectural plans, you should also allow 2-3 months at the beginning of the process for soil studies, architectural and engineering design, and township issuance of permits. Please review additional detail regarding project duration under the New Homes FAQ section below.
Q: How much of a deposit should I expect to pay to my new home builder or home elevation contractor when I sign a contract?
A: At Dream Homes, we generally accept only a 5% deposit when we sign contracts, though many builders and contractors request much greater amounts. In our opinion, there is usually no reason a builder or contractor should require an amount greater than 5% to start a residential project.
Q: What type of support and communication should I expect from Dream Homes once my project has started?
A: Dream Homes has extensive experience dealing with insurance companies, ICC grants, RREM and other state programs and mortgage companies. We’ll help you navigate the details of each of these groups to assist you with your funding needs.
As far as communication during your project is concerned, the Dream Homes team is always available for updates, status reports and discussions about your project. You can reach us by phone (609 693 8881), email (firstname.lastname@example.org), or meet in our Forked River or Point Pleasant offices or at your project site. If you don’t receive an immediate response to your inquiry, you should expect a response to your email or phone calls no later than 24 hours.
Q: Where are the Dream Homes offices and how long have you been there?
A: Dream Homes’ main office is in Forked River at 314 South Main Street and is our headquarters for administrative, operations & accounting functions. We also have a custom modular design center and kitchen and bath showroom located at 2109 Bridge Avenue in Point Pleasant. Our design center is where all selections are chosen for new homes and renovations.
Dream Homes main office has been in Forked River since 2003.
Q: I might want to make changes while we’re under construction. Will change orders delay or affect my project?
A: Repeated change orders are a primary reason for delay in any project but any change order will cause some type of delay. You should try to group as many of your changes as possible into one request, so that there is less chance of error. Remember that is generally costlier to make changes in the middle of a project than it is to plan them from the start.
Please note that all change orders must be in writing, and signed by both Dream Homes and our client. We do not support change orders that are verbal or text. Payment for change orders is due at signing.
Q: This FAQ section is helpful, but I’d like more detailed information. Where can I find it?
A: Copies of this FAQ can also be found at our Nearly Famous Rebuilding blog at http://blog.dreamhomesltd.com . We’ve been writing about varied construction and real estate issues since 2012 and the Rebuilding blog has a vast about of searchable information on numerous topics including construction techniques and methods, insurance, and flood and storm damaged construction.
You can also call us at 609-693-8881 and schedule a free consultation.
Q: How should I expect to pay for my project?
A: Your contract includes a payment schedule with various stages of construction that will trigger invoices and payment requests. Unless other arrangements are made, invoices are due within 10 days.
Home Elevations, House Lifting & Structural Moving
Q: What do I need to move from my house before a home elevation? How should I prepare?
A: It depends on if your home is on a crawl or basement foundation, or it is on a slab foundation.
If your house is on a crawl or basement, there is little you will need to do to prepare. We recommend laying any delicate collectibles down flat, and possibly taking heavy mirrors or wall hangings off the walls. Generally, there is little else that must be done to prepare for a house lift or move.
On the other hand, if your home is on a slab, all items on the first floor must be removed and stored either on site or off. This is because the slab (which is currently your floor) remains in place when the house is elevated, and a new floor system is constructed which sits on top of the new foundation.
Q: How long does the actual lift take? Should I stay and watch my house go up in the air?
A: The actual home elevation process is fairly slow, with an average movement of one vertical foot per hour. If you were in the house and couldn’t hear the generators or machinery, you would never realize that your house was being elevated!
Whether to stay and watch the actual elevation is a matter of personal preference. Some people find it very exciting and some find it somewhat upsetting. It can be an unsettling sight, seeing your house which has been happily sitting on its foundation for many years, going up in the air and being placed on 4’ x 4’ cribbing stacks. If the house is on a slab foundation, there is no floor so you are looking right up into the house! If the house is on a crawl, it’s not as bad since it is like looking up at a basement ceiling.
New Home Construction with Dream Homes – Site Built and Custom Modular
Q: How do I decide whether to elevate/renovate my home or to demolish and build new?
A: The answer to this question is multifaceted and dependent on many factors. If your home was built before 2000, is a single-story and built on a slab foundation, it is probably more cost-effective and energy efficient to demolish your home and build new. If your home was built after the year 2000, is 2 stories and built on a crawl foundation, it probably makes the best economic sense to do a perform a home elevation and renovate your home.
Two very positive aspects of new construction are energy efficiency and construction quality. A new energy efficient home can save you 30% – 50% from your current utility bills. As far as construction quality, building codes have been updated 5 times since 2000. The homes we are building now in NJ are vastly superior in safety and quality than those built just 20 years ago.
There are many factors that go into this raise/renovate or build new decision so it is difficult to quantify in a few sentences. Your best option is to contact us for a free consultation so we can meet and review your options.
Q: Can Dream Homes handle my demolition needs if I decide to knock my old house down and build a new one?
A: Dream Homes offers a full range of partial and full demolition services and can handle all utility disconnects, asbestos removal (if required) and house preparation prior to house demolition. We also prepare your lot after the demolition for new construction, importing or exporting fill as necessary to bring your lot to grade.
Q: How do I decide whether to choose a site built home or custom modular? Is there a price or quality difference?
A: Both site built and custom modular homes can be suitable for different needs and locations. Though Dream Homes has built more than 1700 new homes since 1993 with the majority of them being site built, we recently acquired a modular construction company and design showroom to meet the demand for custom modular homes.
Depending on the type and size of the house you are considering, there may be a cost and time savings to choosing modular construction over site built construction. Another factor is the number of changes that you think you might make during the construction process. It is difficult and costly to make changes in a modular home project, where a site-built home offers more flexibility with making changes.
Contrary of what is commonly believed, there is generally no difference in the quality of construction between site built and modular construction.
Q: How long does a new home construction project take to complete from start to finish?
A: Depending on the number changes you make during the process, it can as little as 4-5 months but commonly runs 5-6 months. It is slightly longer than a home elevation project, since there are so many additional required inspections at the township and county level.
Q: If I decide to build a new home, do I have to start from scratch to design something, or do you have plans I can choose from?
A: You don’t have to start from scratch at all. Usually you’ll be able to find a plan from our extensive selection that we can easily customize for you since all our plans are on computer. Starting with the framework of an existing plan can save you thousands of dollars.