Monday, August 4, 2014

Modular Home Builder Reenters NJ After 8 Year Absence

A big economic storm drove Patty Hydock from the modular home business. A big hurricane brought her back into it.

Hydock, of Egg Harbor City, had 11 good years of buying lots, putting factory-built houses on them and selling them. Then the housing bubble collapsed and, figuring she couldn’t compete with the huge wave of foreclosures it brought, she shut down her company in 2006.

Six years later, that man-made U.S. disaster was followed by a natural one along the Northeast coast: Hurricane Sandy. The hurricane had created a tremendous need to replace storm-damaged houses along the New Jersey coast, making a different and better business model available for modular home sellers.

After a year of preparation, Hydock relaunched Jersey CoastModular Homes at the start of this year.

Jersey Coast Modular Homes offers a variety of house styles — ranchers, Cape Cods, two-story — built in sections at two manufacturers in Pennsylvania, Hydock said.

The home-buying process starts at Hydock’s showroom in the front of her Victorian home in Egg Harbor City, where buyers consider options such as baseline- to high-end cabinetry, countertops, fixtures, flooring and siding.

The elevation of the house is up to the homeowner, but she encourages buyers not to think of elevations required by flood insurance as a problem. “It’s giving them space under the house for a one- or two-car garage, which makes for a nice design.”

Once the construction permits are secured — usually the slowest part of the process, she said — manufacturing the home modules in the factory takes six to eight weeks. The whole process is usually done in about four months.

The online sites for her two manufacturers — Excel Homes and Icon Legacy Custom Modular Homes — offers houses ranging from about 1,000 square feet up to a palatial 5,000-plus square feet.

An interesting new option with the company’s modular homes is Eco Red Shield, a coating for the framing, joist, exterior trim and plywood lumber that “controls the moisture in lumber and protects the lumber from mold, wood-rot, termites and fire for the life of your home,” according to the California-based company.

That should be appealing to people replacing flood damaged homes, Hydock said. Both factories are pursuing certification in the Eco Red Shield process.

She said the protection will cost an extra $5,000 to $10,000.

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