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Walters Group
500 Barnegat Boulevard North, Suite 402
Barnegat, NJ 08005

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Release Date: Friday, January 09, 2015

Media Contact: Evelyn Weiss Francisco (201) 796-7788

ReBUILD Experts Help Homeowners Make the Right Decision

JERSEY SHORE, N.J., Jan. 9, 2015 – The question of whether to renovate or rebuild has been on the minds of Jersey Shore residents since Hurricane Sandy hit the coastline two years ago. But the answer is not so easy. "Homeowners have a lot of options to weigh, especially since FEMA regulations have changed the logistics of how to build homes along the coastline," said Ed Walters, Jr., president and founder of Walters Homes.

Although individual circumstances vary, before deciding which avenue to pursue, homeowners should do their homework, explains Michele Bowcock, sales project manager for ReBUILD. The custom home division of Walters Homes was created post-Sandy with a mission to build smarter, safer, and stronger homes. ReBUILD is currently putting up new single-family homes in every shore town in Ocean County.

"Most of the people who come to us have researched their options, whether it's modular houses or other builders who have given them estimates on renovating," said Bowcock. "Once they meet with us, people are surprised to learn that it can be less expensive to rebuild a brand new house from the ground up."

"Many times renovating an older home just doesn't make financial sense in the long run," added Bowcock. "In fact, we are working with one homeowner who had a builder's estimate for raising and renovating her 40-year-old ranch that was damaged by Sandy.  In order to comply with FEMA's guideline, her existing 864-square-foot home needs to be raised 5 ½ feet. Her estimate, which included raising the house and basic renovations such as new floors and appliances was $205,000."

"I showed her that for $173,879 she could have a brand new 960-square-foot home with three bedrooms, and raised nine feet to accommodate a one-car garage and storage area. Obviously, it made more sense for her to build a bigger, better home that would cost less in the long run compared to patching up her older home. The Ocean Mist model fit her needs and her lot perfectly. Like all of our homes, it comes equipped with new mechanicals and electrical, as well as a long list of gorgeous standard features. On move-in day she will have a brand new turnkey home."

Energy efficiency is a tremendous benefit, according to Bowcock. Part of ReBUILD's mission is to construct Energy Star certified homes, which involves installation of upgraded mechanicals such as tankless hot water heaters, 2×6 exterior walls, R30 insulation, sealed and insulated ductwork; high-efficiency forced hot air furnace, and 14.5 condenser air conditioning unit and approved Energy Star windows. All mechanical systems and components are installed above the flood zone elevation. Also offered are maintenance-free vinyl siding, pressure treated decks, and Timberline roofing.

Rebuilding Outweighs Renovating

If you're in a high risk flood area, you are required to elevate to FEMA's new guidelines, which could cost between $60,000 and $80,000, depending on the height, according to Walters. "When you raise an older home you still have the same old shell and old interior layout with all its inherent shortcomings. Even if you build the equivalent square footage, a new home will be worth substantially more in the long run than an older home that's been repaired."

There are other issues to consider when doing a renovation. Bowcock adds that, "There's always the chance that you run into unforeseen problems that could put a strain on a budget," she said. "On the other hand, rebuilding a new home is less complicated because you know what your costs are upfront."

The other difference between an old and new home is design. Bowcock explains that, "A new home offers modern features such as 9' ceilings that can make smaller spaces feel spacious while adding value. Newer architectural styles and features increase the curb appeal of a new home whereas an older home can look out of place once it's been raised 9' in the air. All of our home designs are architecturally appealing because they take the new height requirements into consideration."

ReBUILD offers buyers dozens of house plans created by skilled architects and designed to fit any sized lot. "Buyers can take one of our plans to fit their needs, to fit their lot, or they can work with an architect to make changes. We let them tweak it and we build it," said Bowcock.

From a 500-square-foot Minnow to a 2,390-square-foot Catalina model, ReBUILD homeowners can chose from numerous floorplan options and price points. Two ReBUILD sales offices are open in Beach Haven West and Ortley Beach. A fully furnished four-bedroom West Wind model is open for tours in Beach Haven West on Mill Creek Road in Manahawkin.

For more information on ReBUILD, contact the Ortley Beach sales center at 732-793-0300 or the Beach Haven West office at 609-597-6999. For additional details on the company, visit www.waltershomes.com.