Monday, July 28, 2014

Why we build in Florham Park, NJ

We love Florham Park.  We've lived in and built here for over 30 years.  We are here to stay, so our homeowners have confidence that we will not disappear.  It's a small town and everyone knows someone who knows someone.  Keeps us all friendly and connected.  It is a great place to start and raise a family or downsize to for empty nesters.  Our town center is alive and convenient and we are home to the J-E-T-S, JETS JETS JETS, many clubs and activities, great food places, a great Roller Rink, LifeTime Gym, many different places of worship, and are close to hospitals, universities, trains and planes.

We build here because we love the town.  Invariably, a potential buyer will want to know about the area and we are great sources of information for them.  We also build in some of the surrounding areas but rarely go too far from home.  

From our awesome Florham Park Borough official website:

Welcome to the Borough of Florham Park, often referred to as"A Community of Volunteers". Florham Park is a small suburban community located in Southeastern Morris County, approximately 30 miles west of New York City. We are bordered on the south by Madison and Chatham Boroughs; on the north by Hanover and East Hanover Townships; on the west by Morris Township; and on the east by the Passaic River, The Borough is 7.6 square miles in size, and has a population of approximately 12,605. Our residents enjoy excellent schools, a wide variety of recreational activities, a beautiful library as well as many other activities such as our Summer Gazebo Concerts and our awesome 4th of July Parade and Fireworks Display.  Florham Park’s convenient location to trains, buses, and major airports, and a friendly small-town atmosphere make it easy to understand why Florham Park is one of Morris County’s most desirable communities to live in. The New York JETS now call Florham Park home with their State of the Art Training Facility and Corporate Headquarters located right here in Florham Park.

A big and great shout out to Holy Family School in Florham Park.  It is a Catholic school of Holy Family Church.  Their pre K program and summer camp is the most amazing I've ever seen.  Children and parents are made to feel cherished and cared for.  Their elementary school program is fantastic and worth investigating.  Their motto is:  "Faith, Academic Excellence, Family."  Their mission statement says that they are a 'community of learners who, enlightened and inspired by Christ's Love, assists each individual to realize his or her full potential."   Our children learn more than academics when at school.  You cannot find more loving or caring people to educate your children.


Many of the new homes that we build are built upon land where another house once existed, usually the first on record on that property.  We are often asked why we knock the house down and rebuild new rather than renovating the house.  We are often confronted by upset people who say builders are  hurting first-time buyers by eliminating the lower priced, smaller, older homes from the market.

We do not knock a house down lightly.  It is a decision based on both logistics and finances.  The houses we knock down to rebuild are the ones that are beyond rehabilitation and/or have serious structural issues.  Where the cost of renovation and bringing it up to current codes so far outweighs the cost of knocking down and rebuilding, we often have no real choice.  These houses have no historic preservation value, are structurally unsound and functionally obsolete homes whose main value is in the land.

Most often the electrical systems are beyond integrating and upgrading with current needs.  The old plumbing does not retro fit properly or within a budget that is commiserate to the neighborhood and must be gutted and redone.  Old drainage pipes made of cast iron are corroded and tree roots compromise them to the point of collapse.  Almost always, the houses are loaded with asbestos in insulation and other materials like flooring.  Old heating systems, insulation, and windows are inefficient and none of the old materials meet new energy star standards.  Heating and cooling bills in a small, older home are often the same as a new home twice the size.

Then there's the issue of aesthetics.  The old floor plans in the smaller homes do not serve the needs of modern day families that want big kitchens and open floor plans.  Although knock downs got a bad name because most times they were replaced with "McMansions," today, the tear downs we do are replaced with newer homes that are not only energy efficient, but fit into the existing neighborhood, oftentimes increasing the value of all their surrounding homes.  These knock downs are welcomed by the local towns for the increased tax revenues, which benefit the entire town thereby making the town a better place overall for all residents.

Many of the homes we are buying and knocking down to rebuild new are being sold by WWII veterans.  When the war ended, with the GI bill, they purchased lots and double lots and built their own homes, oftentimes doing much of the work themselves.  Their pride oozes and permeates the air.  It's contagious.

We are very sensitive to the seller who calls a house their home and is selling to us; builders.  They often ask if we are going to knock the house down.  We are always honest and say yes and ask them if they want to see what we are going to replace their home with and to please come back and see it when we are done.  Very few do.  To honor the memory of the older home, we started asking the seller to leave something behind in the house to stay with the house through all future owners.  It has been such a wonderful experience to see what each homeowner leaves to go into the new home and stay with the house so that they and their original house full of memories are not forgotten.

My favorite one thus far was Jim on East Madison Avenue.  His wife died and he was selling us their home of almost 50 years.  He was realistic and sad that he could not keep up with all that needed to be done in his house and wanted us to build a new house on his property.  We build many of our houses locally in the town we've lived in for almost 30 years.  We love Florham Park and not only build our clients their new home, but we are their neighbors.   He said he chose us from all the many other builders in town because he not only liked our work but heard good things about us.  This was Great to hear.  I told Jim about our tradition of the seller leaving something and he said he would give it some good thought.  When we closed on the house and went to walk through, we were astounded to see what Jim left.

As we started to build the new house on Jim's property, we listed it.  One of the realtors who saw the listing, quickly contracted to buy it.  He and his wife are Veterans.  I waited until the house closed before I visited them bearing gifts and welcoming them into their new home.  I brought wine, cookies and the gift from Jim. I told them the story of our tradition and the background of the knock down and I could see the anticipation build in their eyes of what this stranger left them for the house.  As I lifted it out of my car, I could hear their glee!  Jim left a beautiful bowling ball, carrying case and shoes that had to be from the 1950's.

Everyone I told about what this seller left for this buyer said not to give them the bowling ball… that I should buy a plant or something.  What would they do with a bowling ball?  But a tradition is a tradition and the bowling ball is what he left so that's what the new owners were getting.  Sean and Joanne, the new homeowners, explained to me that they come from a long line of bowlers, love to bowl, and would treasure the ball.  It would receive a prominent place in their new home and would surely be a conversation piece for years to come.  I wrote a note to Jim, who left NJ to live with his children in PA, about how much the new owners appreciated his gift.  He was pleased and said he was happy and comfortable with one chapter closing in his life and another opened for him.

Another homeowner left an angel decoration.  One family Catholic, the new one Jewish.  I am happy to say that the new owners display the angel on many family and holy days and thank the original owners for keeping place for them in the line of owners and stewards of the land.

One of my favorite stories of buying a house basically for the land and being honest about it was from Annette on Normandy Parkway in Morris Township.   She interviewed us for the purchase of her home and asked us if we were going to knock the house down and build a McMansion.  We had been warned by the realtor that she was adamant that she did not want to sell to a builder who was going to knock it down.  She was ok with renovation, but not tearing it down.  The home was severely outdated and overpriced, but this street in Morris Township is historic and the land is very valuable. The house sits about 300' from the road and has stately mature landscaping, but the house had to go.

As I honestly told her we would most likely be knocking it down, I felt a swift kick to my shin under the table.  At first I thought it was by mistake.  After the third kick, I knew it was by design and asked that the kicking stop.  Red faces from my team at the table!  Annette got very upset and asked us to leave because she thought she made herself clear that she would not sell her home to a builder to knock down.  She said she was dealing with two other builders who assured her they would not be knocking the house down. We made our case for knock down, but she wasn't buying it.  As we left, we all agreed that although we very much wanted this land, we felt better we were honest.  The realtors were not as comfortable having us blow the deal.

About two days passed and we received a call from Annette asking us if we still wanted to buy her home.  I reminded her that we were the builders who were going to knock her house down. She said she knew we were.  I asked her why she was calling as she had two other builders ready to buy with full price offers and no tear down.  She said she called each of them, asked them again if they were knocking it down, and they both independently assured her they would not knock it down.  She went over some of the issues with them that we gave to support knocking it down and they just kept assuring her they would renovate, not tear down.  So I asked the million dollar question (quite literally) …. why sell to us?  She said because she knew they were lying and if it had to be knocked down, she wanted the one builder that was honest to get it.

When the house was done, Annette drove past the new house about three times looking lost before we went out to the road to flag her down.  She wanted to see the new house but thought her mind was playing tricks on her because she couldn't find her old property.  She was looking for a new home, but the one we built there looked like it had always been there, much to her surprise and delight.  Annette left behind a garden statute to remain with the house and to remind the new homeowners to spend family time outside as much as they can.  The new homeowners love their home and the outside.

What do others leave behind?  Notes, photos, tools, antique candle holders, gold cross, Depends Diapers (yes they did), picture frames, vases, books, furniture, and best of all, good wishes for health, wealth and happy memories.

Energy Star Standards

We construct all of our homes to meet or exceed energy star standards. 

We encourage you to explore the Energy Star website:

There is useful information for many aspects of your home's energy efficiency including appliances, electronics, lighting, home performance, insulation, HVAC, windows, doors, skylights, and much more. 

There is an energy efficiency yardstick to measure your current home's efficiency and ways to improve it.


Crimson Construction LLC Relies on Superior Walls Precast Concrete Foundations

NEW HOLLAND, PA. – For the past three years, when it's time for Crimson Construction, LLC. to start constructing a custom home in the Florham Park area of New Jersey, this builder's first step is to pick up the phone to call Northeast Precast. According to Laura DeLuca, beginning with a Superior Walls precast concrete foundation is key to the home's overall success.

"I keep coming back to Superior Walls because it's a proven winner," says DeLuca of Crimson Construction LLC. "There's no curing process involved and each wall comes to the jobsite insulated and ready to install. Many of our homeowners use us to finish the basement for them and the Superior Walls products makes this a fast project."

Crimson Construction specializes in custom-built homes in the one million to two million dollar price range. 

"Some years we build more than 10 homes, and every one of them starts with a Superior Walls Xi foundation," says DeLuca. "We rely on this foundation because it's faster and better than hand-built masonry. 

"With masons there are too many variables. The process is too long and the results are not within our control. There can be ongoing issues with leaks and shifting of the foundation. Superior Walls are consistent and reliable --- and the homeowners love the 'almost finished stage' the basements are in when they move into their homes."

In addition to individual homes, Crimson Construction LLC has just completed a townhome project in Berkeley Heights  that includes 9 different units. The entire project started with a Superior Walls precast concrete foundation that was installed in just a day.

"We appreciate the holes in the steel portions of the Superior Walls panels for electric outlets that ensures the stability of the product is not compromised. In our years of using them, these walls have never leaked and they keep the temperature reasonable without any heat or air. We've found them to be extremely energy efficient. Best of all, we've never had a single complaint on any home and our customers tell us they love this foundation."

Superior Walls Xi wall panels feature steel reinforced concrete and 2-1/2-inches of DOW® Styrofoam insulation to create a barrier against sidewall water penetration. The panels are custom designed and constructed in a factory-controlled setting. Unique features of the Xi wall panels include:
5,000+ PSI concrete
Steel-reinforced top bond beams, concrete studs and footer beams
Horizontal steel rebar inside top and bottom beams
Vertical steel rebar inside each stud
Access holes for ease in wiring and plumbing
Galvanized steel stud facing ready for drywall finishing
Insulated corners, studs and bond beams
Earned the Green Approved Product designation by the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) Research Center. 

For homeowners, the benefits of Superior Walls foundations systems are substantial. The energy-efficient walls help lower energy costs and reduce energy leakage while providing increased living space in a comfortable setting. Builders also benefit from saved job site time and labor when certified Superior Walls installation crews set the walls in place in less than one day, so that home construction can immediately begin the following day.

Superior Walls products are resource efficient, using up to 70 percent less concrete in a new home than conventional foundations. The energy-efficient walls help lower energy costs and reduce energy leakage while providing increased living space in a comfortable setting. For details on Superior Walls products, visit 

Build Green

Green building is also known as high-performance building or sustainable construction.
We can build your home 'green', saving you money in the long run by reducing energy costs and ensuring a healthy home system.  We've built using green products and green systems such as geothermal heat.  Green building maintains high quality and utilizes the least harmful construction practices available.
NAHB Certified Green Professional (CGP)
From NAHB website:  The Certified Green Professional™ designation recognizes builders, remodelers and other industry professionals who incorporate green building principles into homes— without driving up the cost of construction. Classwork leading to the designation provides a solid background in green building methods, as well as the tools to reach consumers, from the organization leading the charge to provide market-driven green building solutions to the home building industry.

2-10 Home Buyers Warranty

As with all new homes built in New Jersey, we provide for and absorb the cost of a ten-year warranty provided through an outside insurance company, 2-10 Home Buyers Warranty.  Their 10-year, insurance backed, new construction structural warranty is approved by the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD).  It is the most-used and best-recognized new home warranty in the home building business.  From the date of closing, you will have coverage for 10 years on qualified structural defects.  The warranty is fully-transferrable instantly increasing the resale value of your home.