Rebuilding still an issue two years after Sandy
Two years after the devastating storm, a number of Sandy victims fed up with trying to rebuild, are deciding to completely demolish their homes and start fresh.
"Do your homework," advised Edward Walters Jr., president of Walters Homes in Barnegat, a company that has been building customized, Energy-Star certified homes for more than 30 years.
"This storm has provided a great opportunity for a lot of people to get into the building industry that really haven't been doing it very long," Walters said.
Walters said customers have learned the hard way.
"Be careful. Make sure that the company you're dealing with is financially stable and make sure they've been doing business in the area for at least longer than three years," Walters said.
He said people have been getting bamboozled with add-ons and extras, as well.
"We have a lot of customers coming to us after the fact that said they wish they would have listened to us: We went modular and we thought it was going to be cheaper and we thought it was going to be quicker," he said.
Walters said since the storm, his company has sold 150 new homes in Ocean County and will close on 85 this year.
"The people that are coming to us, their homes were damaged, they fixed them up, but they've decided now it's time to build a new house," he said. "When they're shopping for a new home they've already come to the realization the best value for them, for their property, is in fact to demolish their existing home that was repaired or not repaired and build a new home."
With out-of-state builders and a dozen new modular home companies, it's difficult for customers to get through all the noise and find someone who is reputable, according to Walters.
"People are surprised to find that for $165,000, $175,000 they can get more square footage in a brand new house that has closets and all the modern amenities, brand new windows, as opposed to raising a house and repairing it. It's going to cost $125,000, $130,000 to do that and they still have their old house, it's just up in the air nine feet. For another $50,000 or $60,000 they could have a completely brand new house."