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Dream Builders Construction

Proper Assessments of Outer Banks Vacant Lots

By / Dream Builders Construction / Comments Off on Proper Assessments of Outer Banks Vacant Lots

Congratulations, you finally found the perfect Outer Banks lot! Now, it’s time for you and your broker to work on terms for the Offer to Purchase and Contract (OTP). One critical component not to be brushed over is the “Due Diligence” period.

Certainly you need to allocate sufficient time to obtain financing, but this time frame is also crucial to properly evaluate the homesite for construction. We recommend allowing 45 days from the contract date to allow for the coordination and completion of the following evaluations:
1. Property Survey – A current survey is necessary to determine the property’s boundaries, flood zoning classification and to ensure there are no existing encroachments, right-of-ways or easements.
2. Site Plan – This plan lays out your home’s footprint within the lot boundaries. It shows the proposed house location, parking spaces, lot setbacks and (if one is required) the location of the septic system. A site plan also indicates ground elevations and the lot coverage percentage.
3. Septic Evaluation (Perc Test) – This evaluation is essential for lots where a septic system must be installed. A gravity-bed septic is the most common and affordable, but this system will only function properly in permeable soils. The perc test determines if the lot is buildable, if a gravity-bed septic is suitable or whether a more expensive septic system is required.

If you’re purchasing a waterfront property, add a Coastal Area Management Act (CAMA) Permit to the list of critical evaluations. For oceanfront lots, the town must first establish and mark the “First Line of Natural Stable Vegetation (FLNSV),” which can then be documented on the property survey. The waterfront setback is then established based on that area’s rate of erosion. Soundfront and canalfront properties also require a CAMA permit to determine the embankment setback based on distance from the water’s edge.

If your plan is to build within the year, it’s advisable to identify your contractor up front and then engage that company to coordinate the lot assessment. Most contractors have established longstanding working relationships with surveyors. In addition to the initial survey, a surveyor is used throughout the building process to ensure setback requirements and height restrictions are consistently met. Due to liability issues, most surveyors will not go off an existing survey completed by another company. Coordinating these services with your contractor up front will likely result in cost savings for you.

If we can be of service, please feel free to contact our office. We are happy to assist.

 

Ductless HVAC Systems

Last year Dream Builders Construction completed an oceanfront remodeling project in the Outer Banks town of Nags Head. Among other updates, this project included adding ground level living space (two master suites with private baths, laundry facilities, a recreation room and half bath) and expanding the top level to include a home theater room and arcade area.

Specific challenges with the HVAC system arose because the home was located within CAMA setbacks which meant that we could not “tie” a new HVAC system into the existing one. In addition, the ceiling height of the ground floor was 8 foot and a new system would have required drop ceilings to house the ductwork. The latter was not an ideal scenario for the owner, so it was necessary to research another option.

Our HVAC contractor said the best alternative was to install ductless (mini-split) systems. This was our first experience with this product, and fortunately there were many appealing factors. With research showing that up to 25% of energy can be lost through ductwork, these systems are much more efficient and provide future savings for the homeowner.

To ensure both comfort and efficiency, it is essential to use a licensed contractor with knowledge on how to size the system in conjunction with the room space. Also, these systems won’t work properly if the wall penetration is improperly sealed or the electronics are mishandled. Installation is a critical factor not only for efficiency but also because improper installation can void the product warranty.

We selected Energy Star Mitsubishi units with a 22 Seer rating. You pay a bit more up front (when compared to traditional window or baseboard heating units) but the ultimate reward is lower energy bills. Since these systems were being installed in an Outer Banks vacation rental home, the owner saw the long-term savings as a definite plus. We found the sleek design style fit very well with the coastal aesthetics throughout the home. Overall, the decision to install ductless HVAC systems was a Win-Win for everyone … the homeowner … the contractor … and vacationers renting this home.

Building One Dream at a Time with ZIP System®

By / Dream Builders Construction, OBX New Home Building, Outer Banks Home Construction / Comments Off on Building One Dream at a Time with ZIP System®

A major objective for every business is to implement methods to improve quality standards. As an Outer Banks construction company, one of our main concerns is to protect homes against the daily impact of coastal elements.  Two major culprits are wind and moisture, so discovering the innovative ZIP System® answered the call to increase structural stability while providing a protective barrier against air and water.  An effective solution to dealing with a consistent one-two punch … so to speak!

Many contractors continue to use the traditional housewrap method.  Unfortunately the wrap can pull loose from plywood allowing water and air to penetrate the structure.  Gone unnoticed, this can result in costly repairs years later.  ZIP System® is a 3-in-1 panel that features a (1) wood structural panel, (2) water resistant barrier that is fused to the OSB panel, and (3) a specially formulated acrylic tape that adheres across and flows into panel seams to create an outstanding water tight seal.

If there’s one objective a contractor and owner can easily agree to, it is the importance of maintaining a timely schedule for home delivery.  Testing labs show that the installation of the two part ZIP System® is 40% quicker than applying traditional housewraps; and once installed the house is immediately water tight so tradesmen can proceed with interior work.  In my mind, this is the ultimate definition of efficiency!

As the owner of Dream Builders Construction and Development and an Outer Banks contractor since 2006, I have experience using ZIP System® products on walls and roofing since 2010.  Over the years, the time savings and quality results have provided monumental value to me and my clients.

An additional benefit is that a tighter structure means a more energy efficient home resulting in year-round savings to homeowners.  Last but not least, the original owner benefits from a 30 year limited warranty (from date of installation) which equals longstanding peace of mind.  When your company’s ultimate mission is satisfied clients, this product sets the stage for success. – Ali Amini

Zip House Zip Roof

24th Annual Outer Banks Parade of Homes



It’s time to mark your calendars again! The dates for the self-guided Outer Banks Parade of Homes are set for October 6th through the 9th, and plans to ensure another successful event are in full swing. Our unbelievable fall weather is no longer a secret, and this annual Parade has become a highlight for many offseason visitors.


The year’s event showcases 19 homes stretching from Corolla to Nags Head with houses range in size from just over 1,200 square feet to one that exceeds 10,000. This is a great opportunity to travel the Outer Bank’s coastline, meet contractors, discuss vacation rental investments, confer about home renovations and learn about new construction materials and trending decorative styles.

Attendees pay $10 per ticket and receive a publication with property directions and brief highlights on each home and contractor. Your ticket is valid for the entire four days so you can tour at your own pace, and all proceeds are donated to local charities. The homes are open to the public from 10am – 6pm on Thursday through Saturday and the event ends at 3pm on Sunday. Featured homes compete in categories, and attendees cast votes that result in one “People’s Choice Award” winner per category.

During the Parade of Homes, you’ll find our team in Dream Builder’s featured home, “Vitamin Sea – House #4” located at 623 Tide Arch in Corolla. Building this vacation property was a labor of love for all of us, and although it wasn’t listed for sale, it sold during the construction process! Our objective was to secure solid rental income by building an affordable Outer Banks vacation home filled to the brim with unique upgrades and fine finishes. Once complete, we carefully outfitted each room with an emphasis on upscale comfort, style and vacation fun!