Modular Sofa Refresh with Karla Dreyer

Photography by David Kimber, www.kimberimages.ca

The star of this refresh is a modular, brown leather Amsterdam sofa. The goal was to create a fresh and light look. This beautiful space shows that even if the bigger elements in the room feel darker, you can still add lighter elements to freshen it up. The first step was to pair the sofa with a textured area rug that has an almost shag look to it which really softens the space.

The brown leather of this sofa works well as a neutral which gave us the freedom to be creative with color selection. I fell in love with the bold and beautiful art piece which we hung off-center for added drama. This became the jumping off point for the color palette. I then selected a variety of cushions in various shapes and sizes within the mauve/blush/purple color family. A great way to create a unified color scheme with visual interest is to select one color you love and then add in different shades of the same color. I continued the same color theme in a few handpicked accessories and added a touch of gold for a bit of glam.

Overall, this Refresh is a lesson in less is more. Adding a few carefully selected, bigger, bolder items rather than a lot of little items resulted in a space that is fresh and modern. To finish the look, a large plant in the corner adds life and freshness to the room while keeping with that same large scale theme.

Design by Karla Dreyer, www.karladreyerdesign. com; Photography by David Kimber, www.kimberimages.ca; Amsterdam, BoConcept, www.boconcept.com; Furniture and Accessories, BoConcept,
www.boconcept.com

The post Modular Sofa Refresh with Karla Dreyer appeared first on Home Trends Magazine.

Home Trends Magazine

BEST DEAL UPDATE:

Simple & Fab: A Smart Casual Outfit

I stumbled across this outfit and thought it was easy, comfy, versatile, and fabulous. Combine a pair of dark wash jeans with a top in a shade of grey, taupe or white. Layer a trendy long blazer over the lot and add dressy metallic footwear. 

In this case the shoes are silver, but any metallic is good. I can see a silver, grey, white, or red bag and silver statement jewellery finish off the look.

Universal Standard Beas Jacket

Feel free to substitute the black jacket for a dark neutral like charcoal or dark blue. The topper needn’t be extra long, but sharp and tailored are important. Feel free to tuck or semi-tuck the top and add a belt if that’s more to your taste. I can see black jeans work quite well, but the dark blue is more crisp and interesting to my eye. Who likes this vibe?


YouLookFab

BEST DEAL UPDATE:

Tips For Negotiating Cost with Air Conditioning Contractors

Installing a new air conditioning unit is a large investment for homeowners. Projects typically range from $ 3,500 to $ 7,525, but homeowners can reduce air conditioning replacement costs by negotiating the contract price and terms with their contractor. If you’re looking for ways to save on your air conditioner replacement cost, consider the following tips to negotiate the best price without compromising the quality of the work.

Compare Multiple Contractor Quotes

Modernize recommends comparing three to four quotes for your air conditioning project. Competition tends to drive down air conditioner replacement costs, and many contractors are willing to lower their price or negotiate contract terms if they’re competing for the work. It is important to provide each contractor with as many project details as possible, and thoroughly read each estimate to make sure you are making proper comparisons.

Always verify a contractor’s experience and credentials before making a hiring decision. Vetting your contractors will ensure you find the most reliable air conditioning contractor for your project. Check their licensure and make sure they are accredited through the Better Business Bureau.

If you are comfortable working with a less experienced contractor with less time in the trade, you may be able to secure a lower price. But if something feels off about a contractor or business — go with your gut and be aware of scams. If a bid is too good to be true, it probably is.  

To help homeowners easily vet and find a trusted air conditioning contractors, Modernize has created a free contractor checklist.

Discuss Your Budget with Your Contractors

Simply asking your preferred contractor to lower their price to win your business is a difficult request, but you can seek their advice on how to rein in the cost. If their bid is higher than your air conditioning replacement budget, be honest and transparent. Ask your contractor if they can recommend any changes that could bring the cost in line. This creates an open conversation and shows you value their expertise. This also reinforces that your budget is tight, possibly leading them to make other money-saving suggestions elsewhere.

During this time, agree that any unexpected project expenses will be presented in writing to help you remain within your budget. Surprises, in other words, shouldn’t surprise you or your contractor, and they should definitely not surprise your investment.

Get Clarity on the Warranty, and Ensure It’s Part of the Price

Warranties will also impact your quoted cost. Most installers offer manufacturer’s warranties that protect you from faulty equipment. Some might offer additional guarantees for the installation, as well, covering potential damage to your house.

Be sure the quoted warranty is clear in what it covers—and what it doesn’t. Additionally, use the warranty as a bargaining chip. A lower price should elicit a short length warranty and a higher. The particulars of your AC unit and your installation needs dictate these numbers more than anything else. Discuss them thoroughly with your contractor.

Take Advantage of the Off Season

The cost of your home improvement project will depend partially on the season in which the project is executed. If your project is not urgent or an emergency, negotiate the timing to take advantage of “off-season” rates. Wait to have your new system installed in the fall or spring when AC contractors are typically less busy. Contractors may also offer additional discounts and savings during these slower seasons.

Roofing Contractors Get Second Opinions—You Should, Too

Since your contractor has (literally) been around the block and has the experience you might lack, be sure to consult close friends and family about the major steps of your home improvement journey. While we condone this type of support, homeowners have repeatedly told us through surveys and interviews that deciphering some of the deeper and more complex elements of their project left them seeking more professional support—which our homeowners found with Modernize.

Your biggest friend in an air conditioning replacement negotiation could be a service like Modernize. Get in touch with us today to find out how we can help you.

The post Tips For Negotiating Cost with Air Conditioning Contractors appeared first on Modernize.

Modernize

BEST DEAL UPDATE:

10 Things You Never Knew Your Real Estate Agent Can Do for You

Selling your house—or buying a new one—is a multifaceted process that typically involves the services of a licensed real estate agent. You already know that agents can list homes, host open houses, and assist in negotiations between buyers and sellers, but you may not know that they’re willing and able to help with other matters. Click through to discover some surprising ways your real estate agent can help you throughout the buying and selling process.
Bob Vila : Trusted Home Renovation & Repair Expert

BEST DEAL UPDATE:

Volleyball: FIVB launches campaign to recycle discarded fishing nets

The World Volleyball Federation (FIVB) and marine conservation group Ghost Fishing Foundation have teamed up to collect discarded fishing nets from the oceans and recycle them into volleyball nets for local communities, the sport’s governing body said.


Reuters: Environment

BEST DEAL UPDATE:

Evelyn’s Double Take: Sugar & Spice

Photography by Larry Arnal

Design and Event Editor Evelyn Eshun creates two stunning looks using the same condo size sofa.

Sugar

Texture and elegance with a touch of whimsy are key to bringing out the feminine side of this beautiful sofa. Over the sofa, an image of a horse is an elegant choice, full of expressions of beauty and movement. For the area rug, a hide rug works well with the leather sofa but this area rug has flecks of metallic gold adding glamour and elegance. I also chose a classic light fixture with an airy feeling to balance out the heaviness of the sofa. Accessories that are shapely and soft add a feminine touch while a classic leopard print throw adds glamour and elegance. Fun pillows like the poodle pillow are the perfect finish for a whimsical touch.

Spice

For this look, I embraced the bolder side of the leather sofa. I started with photographic artwork of a lion; a symbol of strength and stability. I also chose a unique area rug. It’s a compilation of round hide shapes to add texture and pattern. I then continued this textural look in the throw pillows. The round yellow ottoman added a shot of color and can easily be moved wherever needed. I finished the look with a desk lamp repurposed as a table lamp and a few simple yet bold accessories. Accessories, like the athletic figure, are a great way to express your personality within a space.

All In The Details

1.Layering open squares on top of each other creates a side table that is sculptural and textural while offering storage space. These flexible pieces can also be moved and used individually as needed. – Cube Square Set,
www.karedesign.ca

2. The base of this cocktail table is an actual piece of wood. Each table is a unique statement piece. With a round, clear glass top, this table allows for the appreciation of the table trunk while being functional. – Roots Coffee Table, www.karedesign.ca

3. A blush pink pleated chair on gorgeous slim metal legs adds a feminine touch to this room with soft and gentle curves. – Perugia Armchair,
www.karedesign.ca

4. A set of trays on a stand work as a flexible set of cocktail tables. This multifunctional furniture is perfect for a small space because they are beautifully detailed and work as an accessory as well as a set of tables. – Mystic Flower Side Table Set, www.karedesign.ca

Vintage Modern Jewel

My inspiration for this double take came from this simple, vintage style, soft leather sofa. Typically, this sofa would be added to a room with a bold and masculine look so I embraced the challenge to show this sofa in a softer light as well. The simple style of this sofa works well with a variety of styles which allows for a great deal of flexibility. I used the 2.5 seater version of this sofa which is a great choice for a small space or condo, allowing you that full sofa look without taking up as much space. – Cubetto Sofa, www.karedesign.ca

The post Evelyn’s Double Take: Sugar & Spice appeared first on Home Trends Magazine.

Home Trends Magazine

BEST DEAL UPDATE:

10 “Free” Things That Cost You Money in the Long Run

Life is expensive. Between the mortgage, insurance, car payments, and unexpected repairs, homeowners have a lot of money going out. It’s understandable, then, that many are tempted to take advantage of freebies when they’re offered. But be wary: There’s a price to pay for everything—even the free stuff. Before you accept freebies, understand what you’re actually getting. Goods and services that you don’t have to pay for may not be up to standard or may come with sneaky fine print, or they may just cause more problems. So, while you might save money in the short term, in the long run you could live to regret your frugal choices. Avoid these 10 “free” things that are likely to end up costing you money.
Bob Vila : Trusted Home Renovation & Repair Expert

BEST DEAL UPDATE:

Outfit Formula: Three Baggy Items

Wearing baggy over baggy and over baggy is awfully trendy, and somewhat arty and architectural. The baggy items can range from fluid to very oversized. Silhouettes are WIDE, and not at all tailored. 

It’s a challenge to feel good in a combination that lacks sufficient visual structure. It’s easy to feel unpolished, like the clothes are wearing you, and wider than you are. It can also feel fussy because there’s too much fabric flapping around your body.

That said, some of my clients adore wearing three baggy items at once, and their body types run the gamut. Some are tall, slim, and broad-shouldered with a small bust. Some are tall, curvy, and with a larger bust. Some are short, large in the bust, and apple-shaped. And others are regular rectangles, pears, and hourglasses. The only thing they have in common is that they enjoy wearing unstructured clothing layers because it’s comfortable, creative, arty and looks interesting. Some also enjoy how the vibe camouflages curves and extra bits.

Unfortunately, I couldn’t find examples of the outfit vibe across a wide range of body types. But I could find these Spring visuals. Some items are baggier than others, and all of the outfits work to my eye.

1. Trench-Coated Volume

A pair of wide cropped pants is combined with a roomy untucked top and voluminous trench coat. The scrunched sleeves and open footwear create just enough structure, because skin equals structure. The open front of the trench coat creates a vertical line down the centre front of the body which streamlines the outfit. The V-neck further elongates the look and is great on a larger bust. Personally, I’d have preferred the wide crops a little shorter to showcase more of the ankle.

Modern Citizen Elettra Tie Front Trench Coat

2. Long ’90s Layers

This is the most unstructured combination of the four because all three items of clothing are very baggy and long. The open front of the jacket that creates vertical integrity, and the model’s naked feet in the sandals are the only bits giving the look a small bit of subtle structure.

Zara Buttoned Shirt Dress

3. Boxy Cubed

A boxy top is combined with boxy wide crops and a boxy jacket. The shorter lengths of the top and jacket add a little more structure right away. The low-contrast footwear lengthens the leg line, which make the wide crops look less stumpy. This is the least soft, pretty and ethereal rendition of the four.

COS Topstitched Shirt Jacket

4. Column of Beige

This is the most structured of the four renditions because the fluid top is tucked into a roomy midi to showcase the waistline. However, the structure that is created is somewhat hidden because a straight and roomy topper has been layered over the lot. Once again, the open topper draws the eye up and down which creates vertical integrity, and therefore some structure.

COS Pointelle-Detailed Knitted Top

I wouldn’t wear #1 or #2. Too baggy all over for my narrow shoulders and slight frame. I wear a version of #3, but with a fitted top, or fitted jacket so there’s more structure. I wear #4 but in the form of a fit-and-flare dress. Over to you. Would you wear three baggy items in one outfit, and what do you think of these outfits?


YouLookFab

BEST DEAL UPDATE:

10 Outdoor Spots in Need of Spring Cleaning

Spring has (almost) sprung, which means that warmer days, blooming flowers, and singing birds are just around the corner. It also means that the ravages left behind by winter are on full display, and that mud, leaves, and other debris have turned the exterior of your home into an unsightly mess. So, as you get started on spring cleaning, don’t forget to tend to the outside of your house too. Here are 10 outdoor spots that could use some special attention now that the worst of winter is behind us.
Bob Vila : Trusted Home Renovation & Repair Expert

BEST DEAL UPDATE:

Condo Must-Haves

OUR CONTRIBUTORS SHARE SOME OF THEIR FAVORITE FINDS FOR CONDOS.

Photo by Colin Perry

This tiny custom kitchen is super functional. The wall of shallow cabinetry on the side of the kitchen provides ample extra storage.

Invest in a statement light fixture! Just because your space is small, it doesn’t mean that you can’t create a wow factor with a big unique light fixture. This fixture is almost as wide as the dining table and that’s what makes it work. It sets the tone for “go big or go home”! – Negar Reihani, www.spaceharmony.ca

The key to condo design is rooms and furniture that can adapt to changing needs and circumstances. Look for furniture that serves multiple functions, like this ottoman that has a pullout bed. – Sandra Nash, www.making-a-scene.com (Ottoman, Urban Barn)

When space is at a premium, every detail matters. The new Industria option from Doors & More creates the perfect French Industrial matte black finish for your shower doors, making an instant style statement without taking up extra space. The strips are on the outside of the glass, leaving a smooth interior surface for easy cleaning and reducing the options for mold and mildew build up. – Marc Atiyolil, Editor-in-Chief

Microwave Drawer, Sharp Appliances

I love using a microwave drawer in a kitchen island for kitchens in small spaces and those with minimal upper cabinetry. This appliance allows great flexibility and convenience for kitchen planning, and the look and performance is outstanding! – Jillian Straky, www.housewears.ca

Available from EQ3

I recommend large rugs for small spaces. It helps define the space and makes it appear larger.

Choose furniture with a higher leg for small spaces. When the furniture is off the ground it’s a better sight line and makes the room appear larger. – Karla Dreyer, www.karladreyerdesign.com

Photo by Phil Crozier

Bar carts provide extra storage, look stylish and can be tucked away when not in use. Plants are also important especially for condos that are high off the ground. Despite all of the windows, you lose touch with nature – your view becomes a sea of metal and glass. Plants help to warm up a space and create life up in the sky. – Amanda Hamilton, www.amandahamiltondesign.com

Invest in built-ins that go up to the ceiling to maximize space and help combat clutter. Dual purpose and adjustable furniture is also a must. Having furniture that is flexible will insure that it fits your needs at any given point. – Kendall Ansell, www.kendallansell.com (Table, Crate & Barrel)

These Pouffes are excellent, extra seating for when guests visit and can add a pop of color to your home décor. I also love using these carpet tiles. They come in a variety of patterns and colors and are easy to put down. – Jacklynn Little, www.jacklynnlittleinteriors.com (Carpet Tile, Flor)

The post Condo Must-Haves appeared first on Home Trends Magazine.

Home Trends Magazine

BEST DEAL UPDATE:

Spring Checks & Groovy Boots

A new outfit from Paulien Riemis of Polienne, whom we introduced to YLF in April 2014.

The groovy cowboy boots and playful checked blazer are the stars of this very trendy outfit. Paulien has tucked a lightweight cream pullover into cream high-rise jeans to create a column of colour that lengthens the leg line. Her on-trend straight leg jeans are cropped sufficiently to showcase an eye-catching pair of two-toned statement cowboy boots in their full glory. The neutral-toned blazer has an oversized fit with narrower cut shoulders, which streamlines the silhouette. Our blogger’s vintage Chanel bag echoes the camel in the checked print. She finishes off the outfit with oversized sunnies, and big hoop earrings, a gold necklace, bracelet and ring that match the bag’s gold chain strap.

Paulien Riemis - 2

Paulien Riemis - 1


YouLookFab

BEST DEAL UPDATE:

Living Large in a Small Condo

Photo by Larry Arnal

UNDERSTAND HOW YOU LIVE and how you will utilize your space. If you always eat at the kitchen island, maybe you don’t need a kitchen table. Work from home? Then maybe a desk is more important than a kitchen table.

BUY FURNITURE that is the right scale for your space. That means measuring every room. Hiring a designer or decorator will help you with space planning to ensure every inch is properly utilized.

MULTI-FUNCTIONAL FURNISHINGS are key. Look for beds with additional storage underneath or sofas that convert to a guest bed.

CONSIDER A LUCITE or glass coffee table that give off the illusion of space.

BRIGHT LIGHTING will open up the space. Conserve floor space by adding sconces instead of floor lamps.

INCORPORATE PRETTY STORAGE baskets and bins to hide magazines, throws, cushions and any seasonal items to reduce clutter.

Tip by Designer Christine Da Costa, www.decorbychristine.com

The post Living Large in a Small Condo appeared first on Home Trends Magazine.

Home Trends Magazine

BEST DEAL UPDATE:

How to Expand Your Digital Footprint to Reach More Homeowners

Data shows that people buying houses today are specifically looking for contractors like you to fulfill a major segment of their purchase: remodeling and home improvement.

In the coming decade, Harvard’s Joint Center for Housing Studies projects millennials will be creating 23 million new households. And according to NerdWallet, 75 percent of them think it’s a priority to buy a house. But that’s easier said than done when the same generation is deeply in debt and facing a job market that pays relatively less than it did their parents. Their solution involves home improvement projects: They buy fixer-uppers and shape their investment up over time.

Contractors are front and center to this strategy and in order for these homebuyers to find you, you need to meet them online, where your digital footprint is your best bet to stand out from all the noise.

When nearly nine of out ten people are finding their contractors online, that’s where the game is played. Lead generation services like Modernize will help you set up best practices for your online exposure and behavior. Be sure to base your digital footprint strategy on both market research and direct feedback from homeowners. At Modernize, for example, we regularly speak with homeowners who look to us for guidance in the sometimes murky and confusing home improvement market — especially online.

Find out how Modernize can help you create or overhaul your marketing and online presence in 2019. Until then, learn more about the best ways to expand your gateway to higher quality home improvement leads — and more of them.

Home Improvement Marketing: Blogging

When you tell site visitors your stories, they know you have them — it’s as simple as that. A completed project and a smiling customer isn’t brilliant marketing — it’s ancient marketing.

It’s just that in 2019, the Internet allows you to tell those stories across the region and with minimal effort. Websites are affordable and effective designs are easy to create. With the guidance of expert lead generation companies like Modernize, you are definitely able to not only tell your stories and the stories your customers want to tell about your projects, but you can also do so with your company’s unique style.

A simple approach to blogging is giving potential home improvement leads a window into your work: Before and after photos communicate what words cannot. Photos aren’t just helpful from a service perspective, though. They’re also a smart move for your digital marketing and contractor lead generation strategy. The majority of your website visitors will spend less than 15 seconds on your site, so it’s important to make the most of that time.

Give them photos of your work and tell them stories around those photos so that they can learn more if your work leaves them intrigued. Don’t know how? Ask us.

Home Improvement Marketing: Social Media

Data shows just one percent of contractors say they utilize social media, despite virtually all homeowners looking for their contractors online.

Stand out from the crowd by first leaning into social marketing — whether on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, or some other growing networks — to enhance the amount of your home improvement leads and their quality. One of Modernize’s specific aims is providing you high intent leads as opposed to empty names you have to waste time calling for little or no return.

Develop a strategy to utilize social media. And structure a 40-40-20 rule, which reasons that you should offer customers value in exchange for their attention.

  • Spend 40 percent of your time posting helpful information
  • Spend 40 percent of your time directly interacting with customers
  • And spend 20 percent of your time promoting your brand.

Don’t go at it alone. Find out how Modernize can help.

Home Improvement Marketing: Search Engine Optimization (SEO)

Research shows 98 percent of homeowners pick a contractor from the first page of results they see on the Internet. That’s good news: You have a clear path ahead of you to showing up in those results.

But merely existing online is not enough to get you there — you have to stand out.

From using the correct keywords on your site to blogging and publishing with an emphasis on new and evolving trends, your SEO strategy is directly tied to your lead generation. That’s not a judgment call on your abilities as a home improvement contractor, it’s rather the reality of the home improvement market.  

Therefore, any contractor should optimize the way their business appears in online searches. If you’re not an expert in creating an SEO strategy, managing it, and continuously adapting it to the ever-evolving taste and preference of today’s homeowners, leave all that to a service like Modernize.

Professional Lead Generation Services

While the reality is that many contractors are not tapping into the potential of data and its resulting analytics, the most successful contractors in the industry are beginning to make the move: More and more contractors are turning to lead generation services like Modernize to complete more projects each year. Here’s where we stand:

  • 1.5 million homeowners found their contractors through Modernize in 2017
  • And that’s, in turn, earned $ 1.5 billion for those contractors.

Lead generation services like Modernize are paramount to a successful marketing approach in the digital age. No one knows homeowners as Modernize does — and like anything else, homeowners and their homes are ever changing and evolving, both technologically and culturally. Learn more about our most recent findings: the Homeowner Survey Index: Q1 2019.

Whether it’s starting your online efforts from scratch or diving into your decades of experience to discern trends and help you sharpen your client base, learn more about us today and find out how we can help you.

Ready to grow your business?

The post How to Expand Your Digital Footprint to Reach More Homeowners appeared first on Modernize.

Modernize

BEST DEAL UPDATE:

Outfit Formula: Pale Pink Coat

Pale pink clothing is an acquired taste. Personally, pale pink is one of favourite pastels, along with light blue. I find it very versatile, and quite “neutral”. It works with sour brights, earth tones, jewel tones, dark neutrals and light neutrals, so take your pick. Pale pink is soft, sensual and pretty visually, and can work beautifully in a hard edged look too. That’s why pale pink makes sense as a coat. Years ago, I had a classic pale pink wool coat that I wore into the ground. I’m on the look out for another because I’d wear it into the ground again.

There are countless ways to incorporate a pale pink coat into outfits, and you don’t need to wait till Spring to sport it. Wear a pale pink coat in Autumn and Winter because why the heck not! Here are four easy ways to wear a pale pink coat to get you started.

1. Casual and Comfy Grace

Combine a pair of blue jeans with a burgundy printed or solid blouse or sweater. Add white sneakers or another type of casual shoe, and top it off with a pale pink coat. Feel free to wear burgundy, tan or blush footwear instead of white.

RACHEL Rachel Roy Wubby Jacket 1

2. Trendy Hard Edge

Combine cropped black pants or jeans with a top in a shade of white. Add trendy black boots or oxfords, and top things off with a pale pink coat. The black bag picks up the black in the rest of the outfit, and adds the hard edge. The white adds a crisp touch. Perhaps you’d like to wear a column of black under the pink coat, and add statement jewellery or belt hardware for textural interest. Personally, I’d throw in white boots and bag that match the white top.

NANUSHKA Alamo Robe Coat

3. Frocked and Sneaked

This is the easiest outfit formula of the four. Throw a pale pink coat over a dress and add sneakers or other footwear that works with the outfit. In this case, the dress is a burgundy floral, but you can wear any colour or pattern that you think works with pale pink. Add hosiery for warmth.

RACHEL Rachel Roy Wubby Jacket

4. Business Casual

Combine a black skirt with a grey top. Finish off the look with black footwear, a pale pink coat, and a bag that works with the palette of the outfit. This is my favourite of the four combinations because it’s dressy, pretty, and exudes a retro, modern and relaxed elegance. The grey pullover is a comfy and casual pairing with the voluminous midi. The pale pink coat screams dressy glam. I love that the model was styled with dressy black flats instead of heels. Feel free to add sheer black or nude-for-you hose for warmth. Add jewellery, eyewear, head gear and watch as desired.

Kate Spade Faux Fur Trim Coat


YouLookFab

BEST DEAL UPDATE:

10 Questions to Help You Decide Whether to Rent or Buy a House

Buying a house has long been the American Dream—a dream preceded by years of working saving, and renting. But if you make that transition from renter to buyer prematurely, you could end up having trouble making ends meet once you finally have that house. Even worse, you could face foreclosure. If you’re currently renting but considering making the leap to homeownership, the following questions will help you determine whether you’re ready to buy a house. If you answer “no” to any of the following questions, renting may be your best bet—at least for a little while longer.
Bob Vila : Trusted Home Renovation & Repair Expert

BEST DEAL UPDATE:

Work Smarter, Not Harder: How Contractors Should Capture Homeowner Data to Optimize Marketing Techniques

In 2019, the same old approach to home improvement lead generation is not going to cut it.

That’s nothing new — and yet research shows contractors do not utilize digital and online information or capabilities to further their business interests. Think about the amount of time we’re all on social media – less than one percent of home improvement contractors are using social media to reach potential clients! That’s a huge missed opportunity in today’s digital marketing environment.

Meet your 2019 key performance indicators (KPIs) and exceed them with an intentional approach. One of the easiest—and fastest—ways to assess the current state of your business is processing some data that you already have.

Data analytics measure your online presence and determine which parts of your business are currently and potentially most profitable. Online programs such as Google Analytics measure and report on the following aspects of your websites:

  • Total site visits for a given period (day, week, month, etc.)
  • Individual page visits
  • Where visitors come from geographically
  • How your site visitors came to your page — which links they used to get to you, or an online derivative of referrals

At Modernize, for example, we use the thousands of surveys homeowners submit to us to learn more about homeowner needs and challenges in the home improvement space — whether for solar, roofing, HVAC, windows, or other projects. Learn more about our most recent findings in the latest Homeowner Survey Index: Q1 2019

Repeat Successful Contractor Behaviors for Successful Outcomes

What are your best-performing channels? What types of projects led to the most repeat business? How are you using referral data to create new leads and create an ongoing funnel of new work?

These are some basic questions to get you started on finding out what works for your business and what doesn’t. Some contractors repeat past behavior without the data to back it up, relying instead on memory or top-line information — like product brand and time of project — to assess current tactics.

That’s not enough. Supplement your unique marketing strategy with an additional online presence and increased storytelling in the form of blogs and social media posts. You’re also going to need to keep track of the feedback you receive from homeowners. Within your CRM or Lead Management Tool, you should always add a lead status pick list to show where homeowners live within your sales funnel, and how the lead ended up closing out in the end. For example: Completed Project, Budget, Timing, Not a homeowner, Credit Reject, etc. By religiously updating your lead source, lead status, and close dispositions, you’ll be able to make informed marketing decisions over time, discard leads that will never convert,  and create drip campaigns for the ones that have the potential to eventually convert. The more detailed information you can capture, the more you can make intelligent business decisions about where and how to invest your outreach, marketing, and lead generation budgets.

Whether you restart an old lead generation campaign that didn’t work out in the past or amp up your social media creativity, this is the year to start taking chances for the sake of growing your company. Just don’t take silly risks, take informed ones.

Keep An Eye on the State of the Home Improvement Market

While your own data is important, new business means new data — if you want to generate leads, you know to get to know clients you haven’t worked with yet.

For example, you should know and base your tactics on the fact that between 40 and 60 percent of homeowners conduct most of their research online before taking on a home improvement project — depending on which trade is involved, from solar paneling to roofing.

The term online is a vast and broad one, and we can get more specific because Modernize data provides perspective from thousands of homeowner surveys — it’s one way we stand out in the value we can offer you.

Here are the online resources homeowners find “the most helpful” with planning their project:

  • 54%: Google
  • 17%: Home improvement websites (like Modernize)
  • 14%: Social media
  • 8%: Youtube
  • 7%: Email Newsletters

It’s this type of information that you can compare to your own past work to come up with a data-driven and intentional strategy in the year ahead. Many contractors use Modernize for assistance in devising and building just such a strategy. Find out today how Modernize can help do the same for you.

Other Lead Generation Tips to Help You Meet Your KPIs in 2019

Modernize provides a vast array of resources for contractors to achieve their objectives and learn about the homeowners they want to work with.

Take a look at our blogs, case studies, infographics, videos, and more to learn something new today. For now, here some quick hits to take away and use while you build an analytics-based strategy for the coming year.

  • 78% of prospects convert with the first party that makes contact.
  • 80% of leads do not close on the first call.
  • 40% of leads eventually convert with long-term follow-up.
  • 50% of leads only get one call.
  • Calling a prospect twice as opposed to once increases the chance of making contact by 87%.

The best days to contact a lead are, in order:

    1. Thursday
    2. Tuesday
    3. Wednesday

And the best hours to contact a lead are, in order:

    1. 4 to 5 p.m.
    2. 2 to 3 p.m.
    3. 8 to 9 a.m.
    4. 3 to 4 p.m.
    5. 9 to 10 a.m.

Whether it’s starting your online efforts from scratch or diving into your decades of experience to discern trends and help you sharpen your client base, learn more about us today and find out how we can help you.

Ready to grow your business?

The post Work Smarter, Not Harder: How Contractors Should Capture Homeowner Data to Optimize Marketing Techniques appeared first on Modernize.

Modernize

BEST DEAL UPDATE:

Renovate To Suit Your Lifestyle

If you love where you live but dream of having more space with a custom home designed to suit your own style and needs, updating your home may be the right answer for you!

MAKING SPACE

One of the main reasons that homeowners move or build is because they want more space. The great news is that you can add that space to your existing home, allowing you to stay in the neighborhood you love without sacrificing your dream home. Adding a second story to your home not only doubles your existing living space, but can drastically change the look of your home for a more luxurious look as well. Adding an addition may seem like a daunting task but it doesn’t have to be. The experts at Modular Home Additions specialize in making the process as quick and painless as process. They walk you through the planning stages and help get everything together for you. The walls are prebuilt in sections so that when it comes time to begin work, they can have the old roof removed and the second story ready to finish in as little as 3 days! – Modular Home Additions, www.modular.ca

DETAILS MATTER

One of the benefits of a custom home is the ability to customize all those little details that really make the home your own. With a little planning, you can do the same thing in your existing home as well. Moldings are the perfect way to add a personal touch to any builder grade home or condo and the new Option {M} line from Metrie makes it easy to select the right moldings for your space. The line is divided into 5 trendy design styles; Bohemian, Modern Farmhouse, New Traditional, Shabby Chic and Vintage Industrial. Each combination offers a variety of interior moldings and doors that work together, allowing you to quickly select the best options for the look you wish to achieve! – Metrie, www.metrie.com

CREATIVE FEATURES

Custom homes often have creative design features like double sided fireplaces, stone feature walls, panel-ready appliances and other unique touches that really make the home unique. To create this unique touch in your home, you don’t have to redo everything. Instead, choose one unique feature you’d like to focus on and make it stunning. Consider which areas of the home will be most visible and choose a feature that will create that WOW factor! We love this stone half wall with a double sided fireplace, it makes a custom statement and divides the two rooms without losing the open concept feel!

The post Renovate To Suit Your Lifestyle appeared first on Home Trends Magazine.

Home Trends Magazine

BEST DEAL UPDATE:

How to Vet a Potential Solar Installer During a Phone Call

In recent interviews with Modernize, 90 percent of homeowners requested a checklist to help them find and vet contractors. One of the most important steps of that process is your first phone call with a potential contractor, during which you will vet this contractor against the others you’re considering. While finding someone you feel comfortable talking to is significant, it’s not all an abstract exercise. There are some questions you should definitely ask during this phone call to be sure you’ve covered foundational bases before moving forward with a solar contractor.

Use the question guide below and adjust it to your own circumstances to ensure you get everything you need from your solar installer vetting phone call.

How long has the solar installer been in business?

Simply put, the solar contractor’s experience is tantamount to good work. Years of experience could mean local expertise and technical knowledge that will elevate the quality of your installation. Less experience isn’t necessarily bad or telling of a low-quality installation, but it does mean the rates and warranties should be lower, leaving you room to negotiate on pricing.

How much experience does the contractor have with solar panel installation or incentives?

When it comes to solar energy, existing financial incentives could further increase your savings after installing solar panels. Be sure to ask your contractor for an individualized assessment of your solar panel installation. A trustworthy contractor will examine your current utility bill and study the physical properties and opportunities your house presents — like local, regional, or federal financial incentives — to best save you money after installing solar panels for your home.

What is the solar installer’s project estimate — what happens if it changes?

Once you have an estimate of the project’s tentative costs and duration in your hands, you need to understand how it was conceived and what happens if anything in it changes. Be sure to get clarity on these details and don’t be shy to ask for an explanation if you feel you don’t fully understand something.

Agree that any unexpected project expenses will be presented in writing. Surprises, in other words, shouldn’t surprise you or your contractor, and they should definitely not surprise your investment.

Can the solar contractor provide a list of references?

While this solar installation could stay with you (or at least your house) for decades, it will also build, or continue to build, their reputation into a prosperous business. Ask the contractor for testimonials from past clients and don’t feel shy to ask for contact information so you can call those references yourself and get a take on what their experience was like.

Connect with trusted an estimate of the project’s tentative costs in your area with Modernize. This is an important investment you’re making, and the more information you have about the company you’re giving your hard earned money to, the better.

Can the solar installation company provide proof of insurance for personal liability, worker’s compensation, and property damage coverage?

When home improvement projects result in accidents, you want to be sure your family, your house, and all the people involved are safe and taken care of. You want to rest assured that your contractor is fully insured for personal liability, worker’s compensation, and property damage coverage. Even with a clean slate of past accidents, it only takes one to harm your project’s outcome and, more importantly, your personal savings.

Warranties will also impact your quoted cost. Most installers offer manufacturer’s warranties that protect you from faulty equipment. Some might offer additional guarantees for the installation, as well, covering potential damage to your house. Be sure the quoted warranty is clear in what it covers—and in what it doesn’t.

The an estimate of the project’s tentative costs will help you vet a trusted contractor, so you can relax knowing your solar panel project is in good hands. You can access the interactive checklist by visiting the Modernize Resource Center or by an estimate of the project’s tentative costs.

The post How to Vet a Potential Solar Installer During a Phone Call appeared first on Modernize.

Modernize

BEST DEAL UPDATE:

10 Hidden Signs That You Have a Plumbing Problem

Plumbing problems can run the gamut from very minor and fixable to major and costly, and at times it can be tough to tell the difference. Sometimes you may not even know there’s a problem in the first place. Read through these 10 hidden signs of plumbing problems in your home so you’ll know when it may be time to call in a professional.
Bob Vila : Trusted Home Renovation & Repair Expert

BEST DEAL UPDATE:

My Fashion Era Nostalgia

I am very nostalgic about my favourite fashion eras, which are the ‘60s, ‘70s and ‘80s. I thought that most people shared the same emotion, but as it turns out, relatively few people have fashion era nostalgia, and very few are as nostalgic as I am. 

When I see fashion and style from from my favourite fashion eras, I feel a surge of positive emotion. A happy excitement runs right through me, and I want to wear the items again — but with a big dose of modern and current so that I don’t look lost in a time warp. Maybe I feel this way because I’m an extremely sentimental person.

I was born in 1970 and was blessed with a very happy childhood. Part of this happiness came from seeing my Mum and her friends rock their glam ‘70s fashion with verve and panache. I was in awe of their beauty and style, and wanted to look just like them. All these years later, and those ‘70s childhood images are as vivid and aspirational as ever. That’s why I’m nostalgic about ‘70s fashion and like to incorporate it into my style.

I wasn’t around for the ‘60s, but seeing photos of my Mum & Dad in that era — as well as in many movies — pulls at my heart strings. I used to watch ‘60s movies with my late Mum, and together we would passionately “ooh and ahh” at how incredibly well dressed everyone was. These are happy moments that I hold in my heart forever, and why the fashion era is special to me.

I was a teen and student in the ‘80s. Although the years were amongst the most challenging of my life, I LOVED the fashion and the music. The tough times were thankfully juxtaposed with the very best moments. The decade touched my soul like no other fashion era, and that’s why I am the most nostalgic about the ‘80s. I liked the early ‘90s because it was very ‘80s, and I loved the Seattle grunge music scene. I incorporate the ‘80s aesthetic into my style because it rekindles these euphoric feelings, which makes me happy. It also makes me chuckle and shake my head at the types of cringe-worthy things I thought and did at the time — all of which still make me smile.

Case in point when I saw these new season items, I was instantly excited because they’re deliciously ‘80s and bring back very happy memories. Back in 1985 with the help of my Mum, I made a pair of pants just like the pink plaid, but in a turquoise tartan. I had a red top very much like the the puffy sleeve darling back in 1983. I lived in athletic white hi-tops as a student in the late ‘80s. The jeans are styles I loved to wear back then too. The bias-cut skirt is a little later in the ‘90s, and I loved wearing the silhouette. I want all these items in my closet right now!

I will wear a look from a past fashion era that I’ve worn before and enjoy it just as much as I did then. Maybe more, because I’m more comfortable in my skin now than thirty years ago. Are you nostalgic about fashion eras? If so, which ones?

NOTE: Some rich content in this post was omitted because it isn’t supported by the feed. Please visit the post on youlookfab.com to see the additional content.


YouLookFab

BEST DEAL UPDATE:

How to Vet a Potential Windows Contractor During a Phone Call

In recent interviews with Modernize, 90 percent of homeowners requested a checklist to help them find and vet contractors. One of the most important steps of that process is your first phone call with a potential contractor, during which you will vet this contractor against the others you’re considering. While finding someone you feel comfortable talking to is significant, it’s not all an abstract exercise. There are some questions you should definitely ask during this phone call to be sure you’ve covered foundational bases before moving forward with a windows replacement contractor.

Use the question guide below and adjust it to your own circumstances to ensure you get everything you need from your windows installer vetting phone call.

How long has the windows replacement installer been in business?

Simply put, the experience is tantamount to good work. And window replacement is no exception. Years of experience could mean local expertise and technical knowledge that will elevate the quality of your installation or upgrade. Less experience isn’t necessarily bad or telling of a low-quality installation, but it does mean the rates and warranties should be lower, leaving you room to negotiate on pricing.

How much experience does the contractor have with windows installation or incentives?

When it comes to the quality and efficiency of windows replacement — which will determine the effect your project has on the increased value of your home — existing financial incentives could further increase your savings after installing windows.

Be sure to ask your contractor for an individualized assessment of your windows installation. A trustworthy contractor will examine your current utility bill and study the physical properties and opportunities your house presents — like local, regional, or federal financial incentives — to best save you money after installing windows for your home.

What is the windows installer’s project estimate — what happens if it changes?

Once you have an estimate of the project’s tentative costs and duration in your hands, you need to understand how it was conceived and what happens if anything in it changes. Be sure to get clarity on these details and don’t be shy to ask for an explanation if you feel you don’t fully understand something.

Agree that any unexpected project expenses will be presented in writing. Surprises, in other words, shouldn’t surprise you or your contractor, and they should definitely not surprise your investment.

Can the windows contractor provide a list of references?

While this windows replacement or installation could stay with you (or at least your house) for decades, it will also build, or continue to build, their reputation into a prosperous business. Ask the contractor for testimonials from past clients and don’t feel shy to ask for contact information so you can call those references yourself and get a take on what their experience was like.

Connect with trusted windows installation contractors in your area with Modernize. This is an important investment you’re making, and the more information you have about the company you’re giving your hard earned money to, the better.

Can the windows installation company provide proof of insurance for personal liability, worker’s compensation, and property damage coverage?

When home improvement projects result in accidents, windows installation contractors You want to rest assured that your contractor is fully insured for personal liability, worker’s compensation, and property damage coverage. Even with a clean slate of past accidents, it only takes one to harm your project’s outcome and, more importantly, your personal savings.

Warranties will also impact your quoted cost. Most installers offer manufacturer’s warranties that protect you from faulty equipment. Some might offer additional guarantees for the installation, as well, covering potential damage to your house. Be sure the quoted warranty is clear in what it covers—and in what it doesn’t.

The Modernize Contractor Checklist will help you vet a trusted contractor, so you can relax knowing your windows project is in good hands. You can access the interactive checklist by visiting the Modernize Resource Center or by Modernize Contractor Checklist.

The post How to Vet a Potential Windows Contractor During a Phone Call appeared first on Modernize.

Modernize

BEST DEAL UPDATE:

Modern Country Estate Kitchen Concept

A modern country estate was the inspiration for this kitchen concept by Designer Jillian Straky of Housewears. The room features high ceilings, white walls and black framed windows with fabulous views of green countryside. The warmth and practicality of natural oak herringbone floors, open shelving and painted graphite shaker cabinetry evokes a grand but relaxed feel.

Natural oak shelving flank a structured matte black range hood and brings casual ease to the design. Shelves are styled with ethnic inspired bowls, white tableware and sleek, modern pottery. The gorgeous white countertop and geometric mosaic backsplash add pattern and airiness to the dark millwork. Riobel’s new Azure Bridge faucet in matte black is a star in front of a farmhouse sink in matte gold, contrasting beautifully against the light countertop and backsplash. The geometry of the backsplash is mimicked in the Matteo pendant lights. Industrial pulls and bar stools in brushed gold are a warm complement to the rich grey cabinetry.

This sophisticated kitchen is refined yet effortlessly comfortable and we love the combination of the less formal, natural light wood paired with deep, rich charcoal. The look remains dramatic with white countertops and finishes in matte black and brushed gold.

Sources:

The post Modern Country Estate Kitchen Concept appeared first on Home Trends Magazine.

Home Trends Magazine

BEST DEAL UPDATE:

5 Tips For Negotiating Cost with Roofing Contractors

When it comes to home improvement projects, a roof replacement tends to feel like one of the most overwhelming. Even if there are no major issues and it’s just time for a roof replacement, your roof is your first line of defense against the elements—and it’s also one of the more costly updates you can make to your home. To ensure you are paying the best price for your project, follow these tips to negotiate your final roof replacement cost with your preferred roofing contractor.

Roofing and Your Home

Your contractor is well versed in how your specific project is going to impact your house. They have visited your home and assessed the project’s potential, needs, and challenges. On this front, it is in the contractor’s interest to ensure the highest possible roofing installation. The initial, ongoing, and continued success of their installation is paramount to their near and future prospects.

Your contractor should be able to tell you whether you need to replace, repair, or remove insulation before the project begins. Likewise, they should be able to advise you on whether to tear off the old asphalt roofing and replace it or add new asphalt roofing over the existing material. Their recommendations should be tied to their predictions about your roof—so it’s okay to ask about guarantees. Your roofing is critical to protecting your home from the elements and protecting the integrity of your home. Be sure your roofing contractor has explained to you specifically how your upgraded roofing will protect your house now and into the future.

While it’s hard for a contractor to make exact promises, they can certainly help you understand what to expect in the future. The less deep that future is and the more susceptible to damage your roofing is, the less your installation should cost.

Your Roofing Contractor Should Assess Your Roofing Plans

Be sure to ask precisely what roofing material your contractor recommends and why.

It’s okay to expect the contractor to handle the bulk of the work in research— after all, one of their value propositions is expertise in the field and local knowledge about the best roofing material to increase your home’s home value and longevity.

The type of roof you plan to have installed on your home makes a big difference in how it performs, what it looks like, and how long it will last. That’s why you should have a basic understanding of the different roof types and what you can expect from each of them. Your contractor should address all of these variables with you ahead of your final quote. You may have your own notions of what should occur, but check them against what the contractor recommends.

You want to be as best prepared as possible to ask about different materials during your negotiation. If you want, you can ask about material costs and even consider buying them yourself if there are cost savings involved. Options to explore include:

  • Asphalt shingles
  • Clay Tile
  • Architectural
  • Wood shingles
  • Concrete Tile
  • Slate
  • Copper
  • Metal
  • Tin
  • Corrugated
  • Standing seam
  • Steel roofing
  • Foam
  • Tar and gravel
  • Rubber Roofing

Whether you’re installing a new choice of roofing or upgrading your existing roofing, you should have a solid understanding of what it is and how it affects your home, now and in the future.

Get Clarity on the Warranty, and Ensure It’s Part of the Price

You can always negotiate with your contractor on the price of a successful project before signing a contract. Discuss your budget with your roofing contractor. Agree that any unexpected project expenses will be presented in writing to help you remain within your budget. Surprises, in other words, shouldn’t surprise you or your contractor, and they should definitely not surprise your investment.

For example, after beginning the work, there’s a chance your roofing contractor might find damaged underlayment, like one of the following conditions:

  • Rotten decking. The number one issue roofers uncover during a tear-off is rotten or soft roof decking.
  • Inadequate decking. If the roofer starts walking on your roof and finds that the decking is springy or bouncy, they’ll also recommend new sheathing.

Warranties will also impact your quoted cost. Most installers offer manufacturer’s warranties that protect you from faulty equipment. Some might offer additional guarantees for the installation, as well, covering potential damage to your house. Be sure the quoted warranty is clear in what it covers—and in what it doesn’t. Additionally, use the warranty as a bargaining chip.

A lower price should elicit a short length warranty and a higher price one that is longer. A 50-year warranty might be too long and a two-year warranty might be too short. The particulars of your system and your roofing installation needs dictate these numbers more than anything else. Discuss them thoroughly with your contractor.

Reputation is Everything: Does Your Roofing Installer Pass Muster?

Your business is their business—and while this roofing upgrade or replacement could stay with you (or at least your house) for decades, it will also build, or continue to build, their reputation into a prosperous business.

A veteran roofing contractor might be well endowed with repeat business and a booked schedule. Younger companies and contractors might be more willing to reduce their price and elongate their warranties for a solid project like yours.

Get to know local and trusted contractors through services like Modernize. The Modernize Contractor Checklist will help you vet a trusted contractor, so you can relax knowing your roofing installation project is in good hands. You can access the interactive checklist by visiting the Modernize Homeowner Portal or by downloading it here.

Roofing Contractors Get Second Opinions—You Should, Too

The entire process of a roofing installation is detail-heavy and involves a myriad of moving parts, from the fine print of your contract to the machinations of the installation itself—remember what we said about surprises?

Since your contractor has (literally) been around the block and has the experience you might lack, be sure to consult close friends and family about the major steps of your journey. While we condone this type of support, homeowners have repeatedly told us through surveys and interviews that deciphering some of the deeper and more complex elements of their project left them seeking more professional support—which our homeowners found with Modernize.

Your biggest friend in a roofing contract negotiation could be a service like Modernize. Get in touch with us today to find out how we can help you.

The post 5 Tips For Negotiating Cost with Roofing Contractors appeared first on Modernize.

Modernize

BEST DEAL UPDATE:

The Greenest Cities in America

The terms “environmentally friendly,” “ecological,” and “green” are thrown around a lot these days, but there is no denying that many Americans are earnestly searching for ways to reduce their carbon footprint and achieve a healthier lifestyle. Those who are especially eco-eager may want to consider moving to one of the many cities in the United States where it’s just easier being “green.” Fortunately, many trusted organizations have done the legwork for you, weighing factors like the number of parks and open spaces, safe and easily accessible bike lanes, the availability and usage of public transportation, recycling and waste-reduction programs, municipal initiatives to use and promote renewable energy sources, and the prevalence of environmentally certified building practices. The cities listed here—some of the “greenest” in the country—are derived from sources that include a 2018 study by the personal finance website WalletHub that compared the 100 most populated cities in the United States; studies from the National Geographic Society’s Green Guide, and statistics from the U.S. Census Bureau.
Bob Vila : Trusted Home Renovation & Repair Expert

BEST DEAL UPDATE:

5 Tips For Negotiating Cost with Siding Contractors

Other than an all-out catastrophe in your region like a fire or major storm, there are various reasons it’s important to check your siding on a regular basis to avoid the need a homegrown emergency requiring siding work. While it’s normal to upgrade siding after an emergency, homeowners should prioritize being prepared for an emergency in the first place or simply increasing the value of their houses with proper and functional siding.

Either way, on your time or when speed is of the essence, follow these tips to best negotiate your final project price with your preferred siding contractor.

Siding and Your House

Your contractor is well versed in how your specific project is going to impact your house. They’ve visited your house and assessed its potential, its needs, and its challenges. On this front, it’s in their interest to ensure the highest possible siding installation. The initial, ongoing, and continued success of their installation is paramount to their near and future prospects.

It’s okay to ask about guarantees. Along with your roof, your siding is critical to protecting your home from the elements and protecting the integrity of your home. Be sure your siding contractor has explained to you specifically how your upgraded siding will both stand up and protect against:

  • Rotting
  • Warping
  • Cracking
  • Holes from insects or birds
  • Unexpectedly high energy bills
  • Interior moisture

While it’s hard for a contractor to make exact promises, they can certainly help you understand what to expect in the future. The less deep that future is and the more susceptible to damage your siding is, the less your installation should cost.

Your Siding Contractor Should Assess Your Siding Plans

Be sure to ask precisely what siding material your contractor recommends and why.

It’s okay to expect the contractor to handle the bulk of the work in research—after all, one of their value propositions is expertise in the field and local knowledge about the best siding material to increase your home’s curb appeal and resale value while protecting your home from the elements.

While the size of your home plays an important role in any home improvement project, it is a paramount factor in your siding project. The size of your home, number of stories, and terrain will impact your installation timeline. Your contractor should address all of these variables with you ahead of your final quote. You may have your own notions of what should occur, but check them against what the contractor recommends.

Get an idea of what’s out there so you’re better prepared to ask about different materials during your negotiation. If you want, you can ask about material costs and even consider buying them yourself if there are cost savings involved. Options to explore include:

  • Vinyl
  • Fiber cement
  • Wood
  • Clapboard
  • Cedar
  • Cedar shake
  • Hardie board
  • Aluminum
  • Stone
  • Brick
  • Faux stone
  • Engineered wood

Whether you’re installing a new choice of siding or upgrading your existing siding, you should have a solid understanding of what it is and how it affects your home, now and in the future.

Labor Is Expensive — If You Do Some, You Might Save Some

Before your siding installation, a lot of preparation needs to take place. While some contractors might offer to do so for a price or as part of the package, consider doing some of the work or preparation yourself in an effort to negotiate the final price of your home improvement project.

Work you should at least consider doing:

  • Trimming, or tying back, trees and shrubbery near your home.
  • Cutting your grass short. Shorter grass will make it easier for your contractors to use a magnetic nail finder to recover any nails or staples that go astray during your siding replacement.
  • Clearing all items away from your home’s exterior, including potted plants, patio furniture, and gardening equipment.
  • During your siding removal and installation, the interior walls of your home may shake. Consider Removing pictures, shelves, and valuables that may risk falling.

Get Clarity on the Warranty, and Ensure It’s Part of the Price

You can always negotiate with your contractor on the price of a successful project before signing a contract. Discuss your budget with your siding contractor. Agree that any unexpected project expenses will be presented in writing to help you remain within your budget. Surprises, in other words, shouldn’t surprise you or your contractor, and they should definitely not surprise your investment.

Warranties will also impact your quoted cost. Most installers offer manufacturer’s warranties that protect you from faulty equipment. Some might offer additional guarantees for the installation, as well, covering potential damage to your house. Be sure the quoted warranty is clear in what it covers—and in what it doesn’t. Additionally, use the warranty as a bargaining chip.

A lower price should elicit a short length warranty and a higher price one that is longer. A 50-year warranty might be too long and a two-year warranty might be too short. The particulars of your system and your siding installation needs dictate these numbers more than anything else. Discuss them thoroughly with your contractor.

Reputation is Everything: Does Your Siding Installer Pass Muster?

Your business is their business—and while this siding installation could stay with you (or at least your house) for decades, it will also build, or continue to build, their reputation into a prosperous business.

A veteran siding contractor might be well endowed with repeat business and a booked schedule. Younger companies and contractors might be more willing to reduce their price and elongate their warranties for a solid project like yours.

Get to know local and trusted contractors through services like Modernize. The Modernize Contractor Checklist will help you vet a trusted contractor, so you can relax knowing your siding installation project is in good hands. You can access the interactive checklist by visiting the Modernize Homeowner Portal or by downloading it here.

Siding Contractors Get Second Opinions—You Should, Too

The entire process of a siding installation is detail-heavy and involves a myriad of moving parts, from the fine print of your contract to the machinations of the installation itself—remember what we said about surprises?

Since your contractor has (literally) been around the block and has experience you might lack, be sure to consult close friends and family about the major steps of your journey. While we condone this type of support, homeowners have repeatedly told us through surveys and interviews that deciphering some of the deeper and more complex elements of their project left them seeking more professional support—which our homeowners found with Modernize.

Your biggest friend in a siding contract negotiation could be a service like Modernize. Get in touch with us today to find out how we can help you.

The post 5 Tips For Negotiating Cost with Siding Contractors appeared first on Modernize.

Modernize

BEST DEAL UPDATE:

Fashion News Roundup: February 2019

Karl Lagerfeld passes away, a sustainable fashion and lifestyle brand from the BBC, the Met Museum’s new exhibition, and other style news that caught our attention in February.

Fun Fashion Fact

Did you know that back in the day modelling for a Paris couture house like Dior was an exclusive job? Each designer had their own select group of models, and each garment shown by the model would be made to her exact body measurements. Moreover, the model would receive a commission if the garment sold well.


YouLookFab

BEST DEAL UPDATE:

Top 5 Questions to Ask Before Building a Deck

Photo Source: Fence Pro

Creating additional living space by constructing a deck is a great Canadian tradition. Whether you are a DIYer or going to hire a pro, there are success drivers that will ensure your project comes in on time and on budget. Building a structure on your property that stands the test of time will depend on several factors.

Design Questions: What space is available? What features do you prefer?

We all have different goals and desires for our living spaces. What is good for one person is not for another and that’s perfectly fine. The surrounding properties usually dictate the scale of a deck and depending on the proximity to a neighbor’s property, elevation will need to be considered in order to achieve the level of privacy desired. The design is usually a matter of personal taste. Items to be considered when in the design phase include, but are not limited to: material, with or without railings (color/height/material), will benches be built in, sun exposure, future expansion, etc.

What underground utilities need to be considered?

When taking on any kind of construction project, it is imperative to consider all underground utilities for the sake of safety. Because of the growth patterns in most areas, there are different service delivery models. Over the passing of time, different procedures have been developed, and often times, the delivery of these services are unpredictable. This requires contact with your local underground utility location service. Usually one call will start the process for obtaining an underground utility report.

How will you use the deck?

Do you like to entertain and have parties? Is your deck going to be a place of rest and relaxation? What is the family make-up? Are there children to be considered? Coming to a clear vision of how the deck will be used and enjoyed will start the process off in the right direction. Envisioning your wants and needs will provide an appropriate canvas for your new deck.

What materials will you use?

Historically, decks in Canada have been built from pressure-treated spruce but over the past 20 years, composite materials have become more and more popular. Wooden decks can be constructed to provide an outstanding aesthetic, however, there are maintenance issues to be aware of. Factors such as weather damage, general wear and tear as well as potential insect issues are a few concerns. Choosing to go with a composite material eliminates all of the issues associated with wood. Both materials come with their pros and cons, however, composite material is significantly more expensive. It boils down to what is the best lifestyle choice for you.

Photo Source: Fence Pro

Who will build your deck?

The truth is, a lot of people could handle a huge DIY project like a deck, but we seriously recommend against it. In reality, if you do it yourself, it may cost less than hiring a pro, but any mistakes made during construction more than likely will cost double to fix by a professional down the road. The expense of a pro allows for peace of mind in that you know all codes and best practices have been followed.

There is a myriad of information required to have before constructing a deck. Not only is a DIY deck project regulation heavy, but the time it takes for the average citizen to gather this information makes hiring outside help all the more appealing. A professional deck building company will take care of buying and bringing in the materials, collecting or informing you of exactly what permits are needed and can do an excellent job in a reasonable time-frame. They can also design a great deck for you based on your wants and needs and have the expertise to do it right, the first time, on time!

While
there are many issues to deal with in regards to building a new deck, they are
not insurmountable.

For more advice or answers to your deck building questions, contact Fence Pro at www.fencepro.ca 905.922.4776

The post Top 5 Questions to Ask Before Building a Deck appeared first on Home Trends Magazine.

Home Trends Magazine

BEST DEAL UPDATE:

Wearing High-Rise Bottoms When You’re Short Waisted

The waist measurement we’re talking about is the length of your upper torso, not the circumference of the narrowest part of your midsection. It’s a vertical measurement, and not a horizontal one. It’s what we’re referring to when we talk about being short, regular or long-waisted.

Here’s a simple definition of rise and waist measurements:

  • Rise is the distance from your crotch point to your natural waist
  • Waist is the distance from your shoulder neck intersection to your natural waist

It’s easy to figure out if you’re short or long in the waist. Stand up straight (don’t sit!) and see if you can fit two hand widths between the under bust and the natural waist. If you can fit more than two hand widths, you have a long waist. Less than two is a short waist.

People who are short in the waist tend to prefer wearing mid and low rise bottoms with tucked, semi-tucked or untucked tops because it visually lengthens the upper torso, and feels more comfortable on the midsection. In other words, the waistband of the bottoms is far enough away from their bra strap. They tend to avoid exposing the waistline of high-rise bottoms because it visually shortens an already short waist.

While this is true, it’s not so black and white. You might be short in the waist, but regular or long in rise measurement. When that’s the case, wearing exposed high-rise bottoms — with a tucked, semi-tucked or cropped top — will look relatively in proportion with a short waist, especially with a smaller bust. If you’re larger in the bust, longer in the rise, and short in the waist, you can wear exposed high rises without looking too short-waisted if you add a top that has lower neckline like a V-neck or scoop neck into the mix. The lower and open neckline will lengthen the neck and upper torso thereby offsetting a short waist.

Wearing exposed high-rise pants or jeans when you’re short in the rise AND waist, AND have a larger bust is the trickiest because you’ll feel square and squat unless you’re very tall. It’s easiest to stick to mid rises, lower necklines, and wearing tops untucked with this body type, especially when you’re petite. That said, a mid-rise can be your high rise, and exposing it the same way you would high-rise jeans and pants can work when you wear a semi-tucked fluid top with a lower neckline.

Of course, none of these visual proportions matter if you wear high-rise pants and jeans with an untucked regular top because you’re covering the length of the waist, rise and torso. Many of my short-waisted clients — some with short rises — are enjoying the high-rise bottoms trend because it girdles the midsection, and they can wear untucked tops if they want to.

It sounds complicated, but it’s a simple visual illusion that can be manipulated to your advantage if you want to wear exposed high-rise bottoms with a shorter waist. Feel free to ask questions in the comments section if you’re unsure.

Eloquii Kady Fit Printed Crepe Pant


YouLookFab

BEST DEAL UPDATE:

The Master Suite Getaway

This classic master retreat is the perfect getaway. The French Antique flooring in Avalon sets the tone for a monochromatic color scheme with calm elegance. Layers of natural textures like linen, cotton and silk give the space a nature inspired softness. – Designer Sandra Nash, Making A Scene

Source:

The post The Master Suite Getaway appeared first on Home Trends Magazine.

Home Trends Magazine

BEST DEAL UPDATE:

How Solar Panels Improve Your Home’s Value

Perhaps one of the most common questions asked by homeowners who are considering solar panels is, do solar panels improve your home’s value? The short answer is: Yes, they do! According to research from the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, solar panels can add an average of $ 18,324 to the value of a medium-sized home. In addition, they found that homes with solar panels sell about 20 percent faster, on average.

Of course, determining if solar panels are right for your home’s value depends on several other factors. Below are some common considerations to take into account on the value solar panels will add to your home:

Financial Value of Installing Solar Panels

To get a better idea of just how much solar panels improve home value, EnergySage and Sandia National Laboratories conducted a study of home solar value in 15 U.S. cities. In the majority of cities, solar panel systems garnered increased home values of at least 80 percent of their price and installation costs. In comparison, EnergySage found that homeowners only saw a 68 percent return on investment after a major kitchen renovation. And as the price of solar installation continues to fall, more and more homeowners will find that they not only recoup their original investment, but actually earn more upon resale.

And just another way that solar is a safe bet: Homeowners need not worry about paying off their solar panel systems before selling their home. The bottom line home value increase, should you decide to sell, means you should be able to recoup your investment even if your system hasn’t paid for itself yet.

Why do solar panels improve home value? Just look at the cost of your energy bill. Your potential home buyers will be able to save so much on their energy bills that the increased home premium will be a no-brainer.

Will Solar Panels Add Value To Your Home?

The amount of value that solar panels will add to your home depends on several factors. An experienced, local solar contractor can help you determine if your home is right for solar, based on your roof’s orientation, shingle material, and shape. Other determining factors about solar panels’ value include:

Your Home’s Location
Installations in active solar markets typically yield higher returns than those in less developed markets. An active solar market is an area of the country that receives ample sunlight, has high solar installation rates and has local government incentives like property tax exemptions or energy rebates. The most active solar markets are California, Arizona, North Carolina, New Jersey, Nevada, Massachusetts, New York, Hawaii, Colorado, and Texas.

If you don’t live in one of the most active solar markets, don’t worry. With solar technology improving daily, more and more homes all over the country are having solar panels installed. There are also solar panels that operate efficiently during snow and cloudy weather. For this reason, solar panels are attractive home additions to potential buyers all over the country.

The Size of Your Solar Installation
Property value increases are directly proportional to the capacity (and quality) of solar panels installed. In order for them to improve your home’s value, the capacity of solar panels on the property should be proportional to the size of your home. For example, a 4,000 square foot home should have more solar panels than a 1,000 square foot home. Use our solar panel resources to see how large your solar panel system should be.

Will You Own or Lease Your Solar Panels?
Choosing to own the solar panels you install on your home, versus leasing them, is the best option to increase the value of your home. If you do choose to lease your solar panels, they may still add resale value. Show potential buyers the amount of money they can save by using solar, and you can possibly negotiate to add the leased solar panels to the cost of your home.

Curb Appeal, Warranties, and Other Concerns About Solar Panel Value

Many homeowners are interested in solar power, but have held out because of concerns about curb appeal. However, new innovations in solar panels are rapidly making them more visually appealing. Today’s solar panels are smaller, sleeker and offer increased flexibility of configuration. And depending on your roof’s pitch, today’s panels can appear barely-there. Another option, depending on the area of the country in which you live, are roofs with solar shingles. These solar shingles can blend into the architecture of a home and that of surrounding homes. If you have any concerns about solar panels and curb appeal, let your solar contractor know. They will likely be able to find an option that meshes well with your preferred aesthetic.

Homeowners also fear that they will be on their own if something goes wrong with their solar panel system. However, as with any major home renovation, you can allay those fears by ensuring your solar panels have proper manufacturer and installer warranties included. These warranties should give you peace of mind. And unlike other parts of your home, a solar panel system has no moving parts that will wear out over time, and they typically require little maintenance or repair.

In short, solar panel installation is an investment that will provide a significant increase in your home’s value. If you’re interested in reaping the financial and environmental benefits of a solar-powered home, our tools can help you get started.

The post How Solar Panels Improve Your Home’s Value appeared first on Modernize.

Modernize

BEST DEAL UPDATE:

How To Decorate A Rental

Did
you know that 1 in 5 Canadians have rented their property in the past
or are considering doing so in the future? With the trend moving
toward creating short term rentals to earn a little extra income,
designer Jo Alcorn shares tips on how to stage and protect your home.

My Home is Your Home: I always recommend you include a little individualized charm. This will set you apart and let your guests get a sense of who you are. It doesn’t need to be overly extravagant but something to bring out your personality and make potential guests feel at home. Try including your favorite scented candle or a warm and cozy throw blanket and notes/instructions around the house are also a great way to connect with your guest and create memorable moments.

Got Décor?: With short term rentals, most people look for the comforts of a real home and not a sterile hotel room. Add accent pillows, a throw blanket along with styled shelves or table tops. Artwork can also have personality and flare. All of this can be done on a budget and in non-breakable items. Make sure things are easily washable so you can keep things feeling fresh between guests! I have developed an entire line of washable Canadian made pillows that are perfect for rentals – you can toss the entire pillow right into the washer and dryer too.

Minimal
Look, Maximum Return:
 As
much as you want to make the space feel homey, you want to keep the
space simple and neat looking too. This way your space always looks
put together and people don’t feel like they are intruding in your
personal home.

Lights,
Camera, Action:
 A
picture is worth a thousand words and in the case of short term
rentals, since it’s the first thing a potential customer looks at,
the quality of the photo is as important as the staging. Photos that
showcase natural lighting, your design personality and cleanliness,
along with ensuring they are high enough resolution, is key to coming
out on top.

Keepin’
It Fresh:
 Make
your home stand out from the rest by keeping things fresh. Little
touches like flowers that require minimal maintenance and fresh white
linens and towels give that hotel clean feeling but with the comforts
of home. It looks great on camera too when you’re staging your
space.

Protect
Your Home:
 The
time and effort you put into creating a welcoming space goes a long
way, but as a short term rental host, you want to make sure you
protect your home. Unless your policy clearly states that short term
rental activity is permitted, you may not be covered for short term
rental related losses. That’s where Duuo comes in – an on-demand,
episodic insurance service designed to protect short term rental
hosts and their homes. With Duuo, short term rental hosts pay only
for the days they want coverage, so they can rent securely and relax.
You can learn more at duuo.ca.

Hook
People With Words:
 The
description you create is as important as the photos. Not only does
the description allow you to show off your personality, but it allows
you to bring your space to life in a way photos cannot. And make sure
your photos match your description; don’t talk about the spacious
bedroom on the second floor if you don’t have accompanying
imagery.  

The post How To Decorate A Rental appeared first on Home Trends Magazine.

Home Trends Magazine

BEST DEAL UPDATE:

Outfit Formula: Motos with Skirts & Dresses

When a moto jacket is shorter in length and fairly fitted, the proportions work particularly well with dresses and skirts because it adds structure and lengthens the leg line. Remember that moto jackets needn’t be leather, black, or trimmed with lots of hardware. They can be faux leather, Ponte, knitted, woven and lined, any neutral or non-neutral, and quite void of hardware.

These outfits showcase hard-edged black moto jackets with skirts and dresses. If that’s not your thing, substitute the look with YOUR type of moto.

1. Hard-Edged Pastel

I like how the black moto and flat combat boots toughen the soft and pretty pastel midi. Fabulous juxtaposition. The white tee and bag create a nice complement. The bookended black creates a pulled together and cohesive visual. The shorter length of the jacket lengthens the leg line, which makes the length of the midi flattering. Heeled boots or pumps can work, but it’s nice to see a flat option for those who don’t wear heels. Personally, I enjoy black worn with pastels, although it might not be your cup of tea. I like light blue and blush best with black. Feel free to add sheer black hosiery.

MADEWELL Ultimate Textured leather Biker Jacket

2. Hard-Edged Flounce

Combine a black tee with a flouncy skirt and top it off with a moto. There’s a lot of black in this outfit, which creates a cohesive statement, but feel free to create any colour palette. Finish off the look with a style of shoe that works with the proportions of the outfit. I like the sneakers, and the way they complement the body bag. The white accents add a crisp and soft touch.

IRO Ashville Leather Biker Jacket

3. Hard-Edged Ditsy

Combine a solid or patterned prairie dress or two-piece dress with a moto and tall sleek boots. Here, the tall boots are high-heeled, but they can be low-heeled or flat, as long as they’re tailored. Throw in a bag that works with the outfit.

PROENZA SCHOULER Cropped Leather Biker Jacket

4. Hard-Edged Asymmetry

Combine a layering top with an asymmetrical skirt and top it off with a moto. Add tall tailored boots or booties. Heeled sock booties are a great idea. Again, the repetition of the black in the outfit pulls the look together, but you can choose any colour to repeat. Add nude-for-you or black hosiery. Add jewellery, eyewear, watch, scarf and headgear as desired. 

BALENCIAGA Cropped Printed Leather Biker Jacket


YouLookFab

BEST DEAL UPDATE:

Homeowner Survey Index: Q1 2019

Through our process of matching homeowners with quality contractors across the country, we survey thousands of homeowners each quarter. In the first quarter of 2019, we learned a lot about how homeowners research their projects, how they budget and pay for them, and how they choose a contractor to complete them.

A few key findings included:

  • How much time homeowners spend researching their home improvement project
  • The overall sentiment homeowners feel about the cost of their project and availability for financing when applicable
  • What homeowners rely on most to select a home improvement professional

This new study is part of an ongoing research project. Modernize is dedicated to educating home improvement contractors so they can better understand customers’ needs and preferences in order to make sound business decisions. Each quarter, Modernize surveys thousands of American homeowners interested in solar, roofing, windows and HVAC projects.

To find out what we’ve discovered about homeowners in the first quarter of 2019, check out the insights below:

Ready to grow your business?

The post Homeowner Survey Index: Q1 2019 appeared first on Modernize.

Modernize

BEST DEAL UPDATE:

Texas: A Guide to Residential Solar Energy

Texas is the third fastest-growing solar energy leader in the United States, according to the Houston Chronicle, which reported separately that Texas solar is “on a roll” in its projected growth over the coming decade.

That is just one of the ways whereby Texas solar panels have seen a positive response and rise in recent years. As of the end of 2018, the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA) ranked the state sixth in the country — less than a percent of the state’s electricity is derived from solar energy but the sheer size of Texas means that statistic is still resounding. Additionally, SEIA ranks Texas third in the nation in projecting its growth over the next five years.

The solar panel systems and installation market in Texas has exploded since 2013. Chart via the Solar Energy Industries Association.

Indeed, increased competition in the state since 2013—and the nature of the market on a national scale—means residents are primed for home value increases if they install solar panels in Texas. And when it comes to home value, researchers project the value of a home increases up to $ 15,000 on average, according to the Berkley Lab, one of the federal government’s national renewable energy laboratories. That doesn’t even take into consideration the massive savings solar paneling affords homeowners—or seasonal price fluctuations that make winter a possibly perfect time for your solar home improvement project.

Like every other state, the installation of Texas solar panels is aided by a unique set of incentives, benefits, and challenges when it comes to investing in solar panels for houses. Read our residential guide to understand what you should know as a homeowner as you look for the best contractor to install solar panel systems under the Lone Star State’s nourishing sun.

A well-informed and reliable contractor will go over each detail of your installation with you, from expected savings to increases in home value. At Modernize, we frequently speak to homeowners about their home improvement projects. In our recent interviews, 90 percent of homeowners requested a checklist to help them find and vet contractors. Modernize now offers homeowners a free, digital Contractor Checklist as a simple, step-by-step guide to assist with your solar panel project.

Austin, TX: Solar Energy Success Stories

Chris and Krista live in West Austin, Texas, with their two children. They installed solar roof panels on their home as a way to save money on their utility bills.

“It cut our electricity cuts in half,” Chris said about their home improvement project. “I like watching the meter go backward,” Krista quipped.

Solar Customers – Chris and Krista from Solar Austin on Vimeo.

And they’re far from the only Texas solar energy customers glad about their investment. Learn more here.

Indeed, solar panels have a sizeable effect on utility bills. Texas residents can expect to save nearly close to $ 14,000 over 20 years.

Keep in mind this data serves as guidance for your journey to home improvement. Use it during your conversation with contractors in your area. Ask for this level of detail in your estimates and if jargon or complex wording seems confusing, ask for clarification.

A trusted contractor will be glad for the opportunity to explain what everything means and, more importantly, what it specifically means to you. When it comes to Texas’s solar energy, existing financial incentives (and policy) only make it more lucrative for you to sustainably increase your property value.

Texas Solar Panels: Incentives, Rebates, and Other Savings

There are currently nearly more than 115 incentives for homeowners to increase the value of their property by installing solar panels for houses in Texas. Find details about each program at the state’s Database of State Incentives for Renewables & Efficiency (DSIRE).

If you’re lucky, your city might even pay you to install solar panels.

“The city of Georgetown wants to start paying property owners to let the city-owned utility install solar panels on their roofs and feed the energy into the broader power grid,” reported a Texas NBC News affiliate. “The money would come either in the form of lease payments or royalties paid to eligible residential and commercial property owners.” If you’re not so lucky with your Texas solar panels, read on.

Solid contractors installing solar panels in Texas will be able to provide a list of applicable costs savings measures and help you navigate applying for and getting the most out of them. Learn enough to have a foundational understanding of these programs to best talk to your solar contractor about them once you’ve vetted and chosen one.

Renewable Energy Systems Property Tax Exemption

Installing solar paneling for homes will increase property value for homeowners who have invested in their houses, and Texas is investing right back in them. Texas homeowners are exempt from paying taxes on the increased value of their home after installing solar panels, whether for general electrical needs, solar heating, or otherwise. And that’s a full exclusion, covering “100 percent of the appraised property value increase arising from the installation or construction of a solar or wind-powered energy device.”

Find all the details at DSIRE’s profile for the program.

Property-Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) Financing

Since 2009, the Texas legislature decided to make it easier for homeowners to “to borrow money to pay for energy improvements.” The details and implementation of this financing is not simple, and we recommend you get specific advice from a trusted contractor about getting it in order.  

Not all projects for Texas solar panels require financing, and you should decide the best way to pay for your project based on your needs and your budget. If you have questions about the best way to approach making this decision, consult your local contractor, who will assess your house and upcoming project and provide a few options to pay for it.

Find all the details at DSIRE’s profile for the program.

Other Texas-specific solar energy programs include:

Of course, you want to get the most out of local programs as well as federal ones, like the temporary Residential Renewable Energy Tax Credit, which applies to up to 30 percent of your installation. It is important to note that this federal credit is for systems placed in service by 12/31/2019. Solar Energy International reports that a typical five-kilowatt solar system installation in September 2018 would’ve dropped from $ 15,428 to $ 10,800 after the rebate is applied—but keep in mind its value is dropping and the credit could be completely gone by the early 2020s. Consult your contractor about this and other available credits and incentives to ensure your investment in the long-term value of your property is as easy on your current assets as possible.

That’s why you’ll want to find a contractor you can trust—a local professional who can get the job done and assist you with navigating local policy and regulation. The Modernize Contractor Checklist will help you vet a trusted contractor, so you can relax knowing your solar panel project is in good hands.

The post Texas: A Guide to Residential Solar Energy appeared first on Modernize.

Modernize

BEST DEAL UPDATE:

15 Tips for Buying a Home Out of State

Successfully buying a home in a different state is doable—it happens all the time—but because you must take care of many details from afar, it’s a bit trickier than buying a home in your current town. Choosing a house, making an offer, and then closing, all while you’re living in another state, requires care and savvy. The following tips will help ensure that the deal goes smoothly and that you end up with a home you’re proud to own.
Bob Vila : Trusted Home Renovation & Repair Expert

BEST DEAL UPDATE:

Understanding Window Contractor Warranties

Window upgrades are an excellent way to improve your home’s value and efficiency, but it can be an expensive project. Before the dust settles on your window replacement project, you will want to protect your wallet from any future unwanted surprises with the right warranty. In the event of a product malfunction or a mistake in the install process, a window warranty will keep you covered. Here’s everything you need to know:

Manufacturer vs. Contractor Warranties

There are two window warranty types that will typically come into play: the manufacturer warranty and the contractor warranty. Together, the two warranties should entirely cover your new window system, from installation to parts and labor.

Manufacturer Warranties: The manufacturer warranty guarantees your windows against defects in the windows themselves. It’s important to note that to make sure this warranty is in full effect, you may need to work with a qualified contractor or installer. Additionally, a qualified contractor may be able to answer any questions about your windows’ manufacturer and their warranty policies. They can also help you register your warranty and help you get in contact with the manufacturer in case of a malfunction.

Contractor Warranties: This type of warranty comes from your window contractor, and it guarantees their workmanship on the installation. These typically last for a year but may extend further. Moreso than manufacturer warranties, window contractor warranties are often negotiable to better meet your unique needs. Even if problems of workmanship arise after the window contractor warranty has lapsed, a trusted contractor will usually provide certain support.

Elements of a Window Warranty

Both types of warranties should be available in detail for your review. These documents should list the problems and remedies that are covered in the agreement, the duration of the warranty, and how problems will be addressed. Though the exact terms of your window warranty will vary based on your contractor or manufacturer, here’s a brief list of terms you can expect to see.

Lifetime Warranties: In the world of window replacements, “lifetime” refers to the amount of time your window manufacturer determines your windows can maintain maximum quality. Lower end windows can come with a limited lifetime warranty of only 3 to 5 years, while higher quality windows can be warrantied for decades. Certain window manufacturer’s warranties are prorated, meaning that over the life of the warranty the manufacturer covers a steadily decreasing percentage of the cost.

Window Contractor Warranties: Window contractor warranties normally include free coverage for labor and installation-related issues for a set amount of time. Many window contractors provide their warranties in lieu of the “implied warranty,” which in the U.S. reasonably guarantees good workmanship. That’s why you may notice a caveat in your warranty that specifies homeowners are giving up their rights to the implied warranty by agreeing to the window contractor’s warranty.

Transferability: Warranties also may or may not be transferrable, meaning they remain valid after the sale of your home. A transferable warranty is especially important to maintaining the added home value of your window upgrade. If your warranty expires under a new owner, it could impact the purchase price of your home. Some contractors offer a “double lifetime warranty,” meaning the lifetime warranty is transferable to the next homeowner.

Evaluating Window Warranties

How do you know if a warranty option is right for you? The first step in evaluating a window warranty is to read it carefully. Window warranties can vary so widely, and it can be easy to become confused. To better understand the terms, we encourage homeowners to review warranties with their window contractor. A trusted window contractor can answer questions, help explain the differences in warranties from manufacturer to manufacturer and explain any language that you don’t understand.

Here are a few questions to help guide the conversation as you evaluate your window warranties:

  • How long is the window warranty valid for? The scope of warranties often differs between brands and contractors. Find one that makes you comfortable that you’ll be getting all the bang for your buck in the long term.
  • What components does the window warranty cover? Be sure to ask what parts are covered in your window’s warranty. Ideally, all parts will be protected under your warranty.
  • Does the warranty cover labor? Similar to covering the various parts of a window, a manufacturer’s warranty may not cover the labor costs of replacing a defective product. Your window contractor may also have special fees related to labor in their warranty.
  • Is the window warranty a limited warranty or full warranty? Windows with a full warranty should be replaced by the manufacturer or contractor in a reasonable amount of time. A limited warranty is more strictly regulated and may only apply to certain parts or specific defects.

As with many home renovations, finding the right contracting partner will be a big help in nailing down your desired window warranties.

The post Understanding Window Contractor Warranties appeared first on Modernize.

Modernize

BEST DEAL UPDATE:

Making Alterations a Priority

When an item that you adore is a close-to-perfect fit and alterable, the question is whether you’ll go to the effort and expense of the alteration. For me, it’s almost aways a resounding YES. 

Generally, if I choose the right size in a brand, silhouette and cut that is suited to my body type, clothing items fit well quite easily. That said, I’m a stickler for perfect fit so I do sometimes do alterations. These days I’m finding that I need to have jeans, pants, and the odd frock altered more frequently, for two main reasons.

1. Fashionable High Rises

I have a bit of a swayback which means that the waistband of high-rise jeans and pants can stand away from the back of my waist despite fitting well everywhere else. It’s an easy $ 20 alteration having the back of the waistband nipped and tucked. I’m fine with that because it makes the difference visually, and prevents the bottoms from sliding down. I don’t have this waistband fit challenge with mid and low rises because the waistbands sit lower down the small of my back.

I’ve had these high-rise jeans altered at the back of the waistband to create a fab fit:

2. Retailers Don’t Make my Size

Sometimes an item is one size too large, but I can’t size down because the retailer doesn’t make a smaller size. Boden and Scotch & Soda are two of my current go-to brands where I sometimes need a whole size down, but am sized out. I have effectively had items altered a whole size down in the width so I continue to regularly shop those brands. It’s a more expensive alteration, but worth it to be wearing an item that was “custom-made” for my body.

I’ve had these items altered a whole size down in the width to create a fab fit:

My weight is quite stable, so when an item is altered to fit, it tends to fit for the duration of its life in my closet. It’s also important that I showcase perfectly fitting clothing because it sets the example for clients who aspire to perfect fit. These things definitely help me justify the expense of my alterations.

Of course, finding items that I love and fit perfectly straight off the rack is first prize. But when that doesn’t happen, I make alterations a priority and absorb the expense. How about you? Do you go to the trouble and expense of having items altered to achieve a perfect fit?

NOTE: Some rich content in this post was omitted because it isn’t supported by the feed. Please visit the post on youlookfab.com to see the additional content.


YouLookFab

BEST DEAL UPDATE:

What to Expect During Your Siding Installation

You have selected a reliable siding contractor and budgeted for the cost of your siding replacement. It is now time to prepare for your siding installation. Like any home renovation project, the siding installation process will vary depending on your home’s unique attributes. Understanding the siding replacement process, while working in tandem with a seasoned contractor, will help you manage project expectations and ensure a smooth home improvement experience.

The Timeline of a Siding Installation

While the size of your home plays an important role in any home improvement project, it is a paramount factor in your siding project. The size of your home, number of stories, and terrain will impact your installation timeline. Your contractor should address all of these variables with you ahead of your final quote.

Homeowners should expect their siding installation to take approximately 10 to 14 days. If your siding requires painting, this will add a few additional days to the project timeline. This lengthy time frame includes the removal of your existing siding, prep, adding insulation, the installation of the new siding, and any final touches— like trim work.

How to Prepare Your Home for Your Siding Installation

Like any home renovation, there are ways you can prepare your home for installation day:

  • Trim, or tie back, trees and shrubbery near your home. Cut your grass short before your siding installation begins. Shorter grass will make it easier for your contractors to use a magnetic nail finder to recover any nails or staples that go astray during your siding replacement.
  • Clear all items away from your home’s exterior, including potted plants, patio furniture, and gardening equipment.
  • During your siding removal and installation, the interior walls of your home may shake. Remove pictures, shelves, and valuables that may risk falling.
  • A dumpster will be delivered to collect old siding and debris. Keep your driveway clear to allow workers easier access to your home.
  • Park your vehicles further away from your home to minimize the chance of them being damaged by loose debris.
  • For safety, keep all children and pets away from the work area.

Ahead of the installation, it’s also important to discuss shutters, downspouts, and caulking with your contractor. Ask if you should remove these fixtures in advance of the project, or if workers will prep the areas around your windows and doors.

Siding Installation Steps and Procedures

Old Siding Removal

Before your new siding can be installed, your existing siding needs to be removed. While this occurs, your contractor and team will assess the wall beneath— looking for signs of water damage or rot.

Wall Preparation

Your siding’s appearance and stability depend on the integrity of the wall beneath it. Your contractor will repair and assess your wall so your siding can be installed correctly.

Insulation Installation

After the old siding has been removed, your contractor will make sure your home is properly insulated.

New Siding Installation

Lastly, your new siding will be installed. If your siding requires paint, this will take a few days to apply after all of your siding has been installed.

Factors That May Impact Your Siding Installation

No matter how well prepared you and your contractor are for your siding installation, unforeseeable problems may be uncovered or delays may occur. These snags can add additional costs or extend your project’s timeline. Some common unexpected siding obstacles include:

Water damage, rot, and evidence of asbestos

While your contractor will thoroughly inspect your home’s exterior during your initial consultation, it can be challenging to identify lurking problems before removing the existing siding. Asbestos —a heat-resistant, toxic material— can be especially difficult to identify in siding. Once the siding is removed, your installers may discover water damage or area in need of immediate repair. There may be additional costs for removal and remedies.

Sheathing repair

If the sheathing behind your old siding is damaged or unusable for any reason, it will need to be replaced wherever its integrity has been compromised. Sheathing is inexpensive but will require additional labor.

If you feel unsure about unforeseen challenges, ask your contractor to show you the damage as well as a section in good condition, so you can compare.

A siding project is a large home improvement project, but one that results in lower heating and cooling costs, and increased home value. Begin your siding project today with Modernize.

The post What to Expect During Your Siding Installation appeared first on Modernize.

Modernize

BEST DEAL UPDATE:

New Jersey: A Guide to Residential Solar Energy

Despite falling into a bucket of states that still largely rely on nuclear energy, New Jersey has been pushing serious legislation and incentives to promote its clean energy goals. In summer 2018, for example, the state signed into law “a suite of legislation” that “vaults it into the ranks of top US climate leaders,” reported Vox.com. As of the end of 2018, the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA) ranked the state fifth in the country — approximately four percent of the state’s energy comes from solar. Additionally, SEIA ranks New Jersey 11th in the nation in projecting its growth over the next five years.

The solar panel systems and installation market in New Jersey has exploded since 2015. Chart via the Solar Energy Industries Association

Indeed, increased competition in the state since 2015—and the nature of the market on a national scale—means residents are primed for home value increases if they install solar panels in New Jersey. And when it comes to home value, researchers project the value of a home increases up to $ 15,000 on average, according to the Berkley Lab, one of the federal government’s national renewable energy laboratories. That doesn’t even take into consideration the massive savings solar paneling affords homeowners—or seasonal price fluctuations that make winter a possibly perfect time for your solar home improvement project.

Like every other state, New Jersey has a unique set of incentives, benefits, and challenges when it comes to investing in solar panels for houses. Read our residential guide to understand what you should know as a homeowner as you look for the best contractor to install solar roof panels under the Garden State’s nourishing sun.

A well-informed and reliable contractor will go over each detail of your installation with you, from expected savings to increases in home value. At Modernize, we frequently speak to homeowners about their home improvement projects. In our recent interviews, 90 percent of homeowners requested a checklist to help them find and vet contractors. Modernize now offers homeowners a free, digital Contractor Checklist as a simple, step-by-step guide to assist with your solar panel project.

Flemington, NJ: Solar Energy Success Stories

Ed Jenks was so excited for his home to reach a net-zero energy cost that he started a blog to document his journey.

On top of securing his house against energy deficiencies, Jenks had his solar system up and running by the end of 2018, beginning and completing his project during the colder months of the year, which means the Jenks family will be ahead of the game when the warmer months hit the region. Notably, Jenks utilized both federal programs and local ones like New Jersey’s Solar Renewable Energy Certificates (SRECs) Registration Program (which we detail further down), rewarding his house based on its solar energy output.

Ed Jenks outfitted his New Jersey home with solar paneling and other renewable energy efficiencies, relying on federal and state incentives and advice from local contractors. Source: Ed Jenks’s personal blog about renewable energy.

“NJ is a great state for renewable energy.” Jenks wrote. “This June [a SREC] was selling for $ 290 each. I should get 7 SRECs a year. The price varies but I should get around $ 2,000 a year.”

Indeed, solar panels have a sizeable effect on utility bills. New Jersey residents can expect to save nearly close to $ 20,000 over 20 years.

Keep in mind this data serves as guidance for your journey to home improvement. Use it during your conversation with contractors in your area. Ask for this level of detail in your estimates and if jargon or complex wording seems confusing, ask for clarification. A trusted contractor will be glad for the opportunity to explain what everything means and, more importantly, what it specifically means to you.

When it comes to New Jersey’s solar energy, for example, existing financial incentives (like the SREC) only make it more lucrative for you to sustainably increase your property value.

New Jersey Solar Panels: Incentives, Rebates, and Other Savings

There are currently nearly 100 incentives for homeowners to increase the value of their property by installing solar panels for houses in New Jersey. Find details about each program at the state’s Database of State Incentives for Renewables & Efficiency (DSIRE). Solid contractors installing solar panels in New Jersey will be able to provide a list of applicable costs savings measures and help you navigate applying for and getting the most out of them. Learn enough to have a foundational understanding of these programs to best talk to your contractor about them once you’ve vetted and chosen one.

Solar Renewable Energy Certificates (SRECs) Registration Program

Installing solar paneling for homes will increase property value for homeowners who have invested in their houses, and New Jersey is investing right back in them. For the first 10 to 15 years after installing solar panel systems, the state essentially allows residents to sell the renewable energy milestones they hit to companies or private entities who must meet certain clean energy quotas under newly passed state law. In other words, when commercial buildings can’t reach their state-imposed goals, they will turn to you for credits to reach those goals, and pay for your own clean energy generation — it’s essentially a bartering system and you can passively earn the goods needed to trade in it

Find all the details at DSIRE’s profile for the program.

Net Metering

Since 2008, if your New Jersey solar panels collect more energy than you use, you can sell your excess energy back to your energy provider.

They have to credit you for it—in other words, you are selling them the energy collected by the solar panels powering your home. And the credits “are credited at the wholesale rate at the end of a designated annualized period.”

Find all the details at DSIRE’s profile for the program.

Other New Jersey-specific solar energy programs include:

Of course, you want to get the most out of local programs as well as federal ones, like the temporary Residential Renewable Energy Tax Credit, which applies to up to 30 percent of your installation. It is important to note that this federal credit is for systems placed in service by 12/31/2019. Solar Energy International reports that a typical five-kilowatt solar system installation in September 2018 would’ve dropped from $ 15,428 to $ 10,800 after the rebate is applied—but keep in mind its value is dropping and the credit could be completely gone by the early 2020s. Consult your contractor about this and other available credits and incentives to ensure your investment in the long-term value of your property is as easy on your current assets as possible.

That’s why you’ll want to find a contractor you can trust—a local professional who can get the job done and assist you with navigating local policy and regulation. The Modernize Contractor Checklist will help you vet a trusted contractor, so you can relax knowing your solar panel project is in good hands.

The post New Jersey: A Guide to Residential Solar Energy appeared first on Modernize.

Modernize

BEST DEAL UPDATE:

Link Love: Cold-Weather Sleepwear

Angie’s post last month on editing and updating our wardrobe basics, reminded me that I need some new Winter PJs so I’ve been having fun browsing sleepwear online.

Fab Links from Our Members

April disagrees with some of the ‘rules’ here (e.g. no minis for her) but enjoyed the spirit of this post on how to wear sneakers when you’re over 50 or older.

Runcarla has been researching upcycling old jewellery and came across this post on why not to re-use your old gold.

She also thought this post about having custom jewellery work made might be of interest.

Christina F. liked this article about people who wear cusp sizes, especially since she falls into this ‘in between’ zone.

We’ve been talking about ethical fashion on the forum, and Angie thought this article on ethical consumerism was excellent.


YouLookFab

BEST DEAL UPDATE:

15 Ways Presidents Made the White House Feel Like Home

A house isn’t a home until you’ve filled it with creature comforts, decorated it to suit your taste, and customized it in ways that bring you joy—and the White House is no exception. Click through for a list of the most memorable, heartwarming, and at times eccentric renovations that past presidents have made to transform the White House into their family home.
Bob Vila : Trusted Home Renovation & Repair Expert

BEST DEAL UPDATE:

Arizona: A Guide to Residential Solar Energy

The Arizona Supreme Court has made it much more affordable for homeowners to turn to solar paneling to power their homes. In a recent ruling that affects anyone leasing solar panels in 2019 and beyond, the court “spared tens of thousands of homeowners who lease rooftop solar panels from paying property taxes to the state on that equipment,” according to USA Today’s azcentral.com. Homeowners who bought or financed their solar panels haven’t had to pay taxes on those investments since 2006.

That is just one of the ways in the installation of solar panels in Arizona has seen a positive response and rise in recent years. As of the end of 2018, the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA) ranked the state third in the country — nearly 7 percent of the state’s energy comes from solar. Additionally, SEIA ranks Arizona seventh in the nation in projecting its growth over the next five years.

The solar panel systems and installation market in Arizona has exploded since 2012. Chart via the Solar Energy Industries Association

Indeed, increased competition in the state since 2012—and the nature of the market on a national scale—means residents are primed for home value increases if they install solar panels in Arizona. And when it comes to home value, researchers project the value of a home increases up to $ 15,000 on average, according to the Berkley Lab, one of the federal government’s national renewable energy laboratories. That doesn’t even take into consideration the massive savings solar paneling affords homeowners—or seasonal price fluctuations that make winter a possibly perfect time for your solar home improvement project.

Like every other state, Arizona has a unique set of incentives, benefits, and challenges when it comes to investing in solar panels for houses. Read our residential guide to understand what you should know as a homeowner as you look for the best contractor to install solar panel systems under the Grand Canyon State’s nourishing sun.

A well-informed and reliable contractor will go over each detail of your installation with you, from expected savings to increases in home value. At Modernize, we frequently speak to homeowners about their home improvement projects. In our recent interviews, 90 percent of homeowners requested a checklist to help them find and vet contractors. Modernize now offers homeowners a free, digital Contractor Checklist as a simple, step-by-step guide to assist with your solar panel project.

Phoenix, AZ: Solar Energy Success Stories

Melisa Camp makes it her business to know Arizona house values: She’s been a realtor for nearly a decade.

“There [are] more homes being sold with solar panels now because we can actually track the data,” Camp told her local TV station Fox 10, and explained that since 2013, the market share for houses powered with solar panels has been growing. “… Every single year that we have been able to measure how many homes are being sold, every year that number is increasing.”

Camp, an expert in the field, installed her own panels in 2010, “an investment she says has already paid for itself and can pay off for others as well,” Fox 10 reported, “but both sellers and buyers have to be armed with knowledge.”

Indeed, solar panels have a sizeable effect on utility bills. Arizona residents can expect to save nearly close to $ 17,000 over 20 years.

Keep in mind this data serves as guidance for your journey to home improvement. Use it during your conversation with contractors in your area. Ask for this level of detail in your estimates and if jargon or complex wording seems confusing, ask for clarification.

A trusted contractor will be glad for the opportunity to explain what everything means and, more importantly, what it specifically means to you. For example, Arizona Homeowner Associations cannot prohibit you from installing solar panels — although they can certainly sometimes give you a headache.

When it comes to Arizona’s solar energy, existing financial incentives (and policy) only make it more lucrative for you to sustainably increase your property value.

Arizona Solar Panels: Incentives, Rebates, and Other Savings

There are currently nearly more than 115 incentives for homeowners to increase the value of their property by installing solar panels for houses in Arizona. Find details about each program at the state’s Database of State Incentives for Renewables & Efficiency (DSIRE).

Unlike many other states, Arizona discontinued its net metering policies in 2016, but that’s had little effect on the growing number of solar panel installations across the state, according to the Phoenix Business Journal.

“We believe with smart, stable policies in place, the Arizona solar market can continue to grow,” SEIA’s VP for State Affairs Sean Gallagher told the Journal. “And we anticipate energy storage becoming an important component of the Arizona market as the transition to post net metering occurs.”

Solid contractors installing solar panels in Arizona will be able to provide a list of applicable costs savings measures and help you navigate applying for and getting the most out of them. Learn enough to have a foundational understanding of these programs to best talk to your contractor about them once you’ve vetted and chosen one.

Residential Solar and Wind Energy Systems Tax Credit

Installing solar paneling for homes will increase property value for homeowners who have invested in their houses, and Arizona is investing right back in them. Each year, Arizona homeowners can get up to a $ 1,000 credit per residence, available to taxpayers who install solar panels for their houses. More specifically, you get 25 percent back on your purchase in the form of a tax credit, up to $ 1,000. So if your purchase was $ 4,000, a quarter of that would come back to you.

Find all the details at DSIRE’s profile for the program.

Energy Equipment Property Tax Exemption

Since 2006, the Arizona Department of Revenue has exempted homeowners from paying taxes on the added value of their property caused by installing any solar energy devices, equipment, or components.

In order to qualify, you must provide your county assessor with documentation affirming the actual purchase and installation of the eligible equipment. Be sure your experienced contractor has a grasp of what that process entails. Ask who will be filing the paperwork and handling the process to completion.

Find all the details at DSIRE’s profile for the program.

Other Arizona-specific solar energy programs include:

Of course, you want to get the most out of local programs as well as federal ones, like the temporary Residential Renewable Energy Tax Credit, which applies to up to 30 percent of your installation. It is important to note that this federal credit is for systems placed in service by 12/31/2019. Solar Energy International reports that a typical five-kilowatt solar system installation in September 2018 would’ve dropped from $ 15,428 to $ 10,800 after the rebate is applied—but keep in mind its value is dropping and the credit could be completely gone by the early 2020s. Consult your contractor about this and other available credits and incentives to ensure your investment in the long-term value of your property is as easy on your current assets as possible.

That’s why you’ll want to find a contractor you can trust—a local professional who can get the job done and assist you with navigating local policy and regulation. The Modernize Contractor Checklist will help you vet a trusted contractor, so you can relax knowing your solar panel project is in good hands.

The post Arizona: A Guide to Residential Solar Energy appeared first on Modernize.

Modernize

BEST DEAL UPDATE:

5 Tips For Negotiating Cost with Solar Contractors

Congratulations: You have done the research, determined that solar paneling is a good choice for your home, and have chosen a solar contractor after sifting through three or four estimates. Now it’s time to make your choice official and sign a contract with that solar installer, meaning it’s time to negotiate for a price.

If you walk away with only one thing after reading this, let it be this: This is your project and the contractor is working for you to install solar panels for your house. If at any moment during the negotiation or ensuing conversations, you feel unappreciated, disrespected, or otherwise neglected, it’s okay to walk away. A solar paneling installation is a worthy, and costly, investment—nothing and no one should push you to do anything you’re not completely comfortable with.

Knowing that, your goal now is achieving the best quality solar panel installation for your home and subsequently increasing its value in the long term. The first step is getting a good deal, both on the money you’re putting into the project and the quality you’re going to get out of it. Follow our tips to negotiate with your solar contractor and ensure the highest return on your investment.

Push for Details About Solar Energy and Your Utility Bill

Your contractor is well versed in how your specific project is going to impact your electric bill, even if only in broad strokes. They’ve visited your house and assessed its potential, its needs, and its challenges. On this front, it’s in their interest to increase your solar energy output and maximize your home’s value in the process. The initial, ongoing, and continued success of their installation is paramount to their near and future prospects.

Why? The cost of solar installation has dropped more than 70 percent since 2010, according to data from Solar Energy Industries Association. In response, therefore, contractors have stepped up their game to compete in an increasingly saturated arena. It’s okay to ask about guarantees.

While it’s hard for a contractor to make exact promises, they can certainly settle on ranges and they can certainly explain the minimum outputs you can expect from your solar panel systems. If they can’t, remember the one thing we emphasized in the beginning—a solar installer unsure of their work should not be the contractor you choose for the job.

Ask Your Solar Contractor to Handle the Bureaucracy

Paperwork is a drag—your contractor might attempt to offload some of that labor onto you to keep their overhead low.

Be sure to ask precisely what forms, permits, and other filings are required and who is expected to handle them during your home improvement project. It’s okay to expect the contractor to handle the bulk of the work—after all, one of their value propositions is expertise in the field and local knowledge about getting the most out of local, state, and federal rebates and incentives.

When it comes to powering your home with solar energy, there’s a lot to keep track of. The Department of Energy’s Database of State Incentives for Renewables & Efficiency (or DSIRE), for instance, lists hundreds and hundreds of policies and incentives across the country, numbering anywhere from West Virginia’s 14 to Oregon’s 147. While we recommend you research and get acquainted with local policies, you are not the one who’s a professional, nor are such responsibilities yours. You’re paying good and hard earned money to a company to handle the solar installation—so ensure they do so.

Get Clarity on the Warranty, and Ensure It’s Part of the Price

You can always negotiate with your contractor on the price of a successful project before signing a contract. Discuss your budget with your solar contractor. Agree that any unexpected project expenses will be presented in writing to help you remain within your budget. Surprises, in other words, shouldn’t surprise you or your contractor, and they should definitely not surprise your investment.

Warranties will also impact your quoted cost. Most installers offer manufacturer’s warranties that protect you from faulty equipment. Some might offer additional guarantees for the installation, as well, covering potential damage to your house. Be sure the quoted warranty is clear in what it covers—and in what it doesn’t. Additionally, use the warranty as a bargaining chip.

A lower price should elicit a short length warranty and a higher price one that is longer. A 50-year warranty might be too long and a two-year warranty might be too short. The particulars of your system and your solar energy needs dictate these numbers more than anything else. Discuss them thoroughly with your contractor.

Reputation is Everything: Does Your Solar Installer Pass Muster?

Your business is their business—and while this solar installation could stay with you (or at least your house) for decades, it will also build, or continue to build, their reputation into a prosperous business.

A veteran solar panel contractor might be well endowed with repeat business and a booked schedule. Younger companies and contractors might be more willing to reduce their price and elongate their warranties for a solid project like yours.

Get to know local and trusted contractors through services like Modernize. The Modernize Contractor Checklist will help you vet a trusted contractor, so you can relax knowing your solar panel project is in good hands. You can access the interactive checklist by visiting the Modernize Homeowner Portal or by downloading it here.

Solar Panel Contractors Get Second Opinions—You Should, Too

The entire process of a solar panel installation is detail-heavy and involves a myriad of moving parts, from the fine print of your contract to the machinations of the installation itself—remember what we said about surprises?

Since your contractor has (literally) been around the block and has experience you might lack, be sure to consult close friends and family about the major steps of your journey. While we condone this type of support, homeowners have repeatedly told us through surveys and interviews that deciphering some of the deeper and more complex elements of their project left them seeking more professional support—which our homeowners found with Modernize.

If you walk away from reading this with just one more thing, let it be this: Your biggest friend in a solar contract negotiation could be a service like Modernize. Get in touch with us today to find out how we can help you.

The post 5 Tips For Negotiating Cost with Solar Contractors appeared first on Modernize.

Modernize

BEST DEAL UPDATE:

U.S. should have ‘discretionary enforcement’ of summer ban if E15 rule delayed: USDA official

U.S. Department of Agriculture Deputy Secretary Stephen Censky said on Wednesday he is “hopeful” the administration will complete its rule allowing year-round sales of E15 gasoline by summer, but that the government should use “discretionary enforcement” of the E15 summertime ban if there is a delay.


Reuters: Environment

BEST DEAL UPDATE:

2 Exterior Trends to Watch in 2019

Update your exterior with these trendy looks for 2019.

Matte Black Finishes

Photos: Union Lighting and Furnishings

Matte black is the hottest new finish in décor with everything from faucets to door hardware coming out in this trendy finish. If you’re looking to give your exterior a contemporary look that is both trendy and timeless, matte black is a great choice for light fixtures, window and door frames and other accent pieces on the exterior of your home.

Natural Materials

The natural look is popular for exteriors right now with stone veneers, natural wood accents and well planned landscaping working together to create a cohesive look. Traditional brick is also making a comeback, providing a more industrial look when paired with modern accents and matte black finishes. – Photos from Stone Selex

The post 2 Exterior Trends to Watch in 2019 appeared first on Home Trends Magazine.

Home Trends Magazine

BEST DEAL UPDATE:

13 Odd Predictions About the Future That People in Past Decades Got Wrong—And Right

Futurists are known for getting more wrong than right, but they do occasionally strike gold, predicting technological advancements and societal changes decades before they come to pass. Read on to learn about some ambitious prophecies that actually became realities, as well as a few that failed and one or two that could still happen.
Bob Vila : Trusted Home Renovation & Repair Expert

BEST DEAL UPDATE:

Are Solar Energy Savings Affected by the Changing Seasons?

The changing seasons have more of an effect on your energy needs than on the solar panels addressing them. While it’s reasonable to predict a lower efficiency rate from solar panels in the winter, it’s really the sun itself—and less so the weather conditions on the ground—governing how well solar paneling powers your home and helps you save on your utility bills. A cloudy day is likely to have a bigger impact on your solar panels’ photovoltaic cells than subzero temperatures, and still neither condition completely deteriorates the effectiveness of your solar panel systems.

A local and experienced contractor will know the region’s seasons as well as how they specifically affect the local weather, the incoming sunlight, and what that means to your home. A reliable contractor will visit your house and assess its strong points—as well as its weak points—to give you the best roadmap toward outfitting your property with solar panels for your home.

At Modernize, we frequently speak to homeowners about their home improvement projects. In our recent interviews, 90 percent of homeowners requested a checklist to help them find and vet contractors. Modernize now offers homeowners a free, digital Contractor Checklist as a simple, step-by-step guide to assist with your solar panel project.

Solar Panels in Winter: Perception Costs More than Precipitation

One of the top reasons most home improvement projects, including solar panel installation, are started and completed during the spring or fall seasons is the steadily rising utility bill.

Homeowners watch those numbers climb and are in turn spurred into action. In California, for example, electricity usage is about 50 percent higher in the summer than in the winter, according to the LA Times. That increased demand means some expensive months for homeowners still relying completely on the electric grid for air conditioning, among other uses. And take early 2019’s extreme weather conditions as another example: The deep cold in the Midwest crippled utility companies so much so that some governments urged consumers to lower their thermostats, as did utility companies themselves.

Surely, this experience had some homeowners researching solar paneling for homes. And if it didn’t, it should have. True: Less sun time means less solar energy, but your home doesn’t need as much energy in the winter, either. During extreme conditions, the sun can still shine and still power solar panels.

Take it from Solar Energy Technologies Office Director Charlie Gay, who stated in a Department of Energy blog that solar panel systems “actually produce useful power throughout all four seasons.” In fact, he noted, the DOE’s Regional Test Centers—in Colorado, New Mexico, Nevada, Florida, and Vermont—assess specific weather-related challenges for solar paneling.

“Researchers at the test centers have shown that solar can still successfully generate electricity in snowy areas and other harsh environments,” Gay wrote.

Additionally, according to the New York Times, “snow typically melts right off the panels, especially if the panels are tilted.” That’s not to say heavy snow is negligible, but it’s certainly manageable.

A trustworthy solar paneling installer should be able to explain to you how the climate in your region—and various weather conditions—will affect your solar panels in winter, in summer, spring and fall. Contractors are also skilled at making sure your home remains comfortable throughout the installation, an especially pertinent need during both colder and hotter months.

Solar Panels in Winter: Take It from the Westlakes

Rodney Westlake and his daughter climb mountains, In 2017, the duo got stuck while climbing the Alaskan Denali—or McKinley—Mountain, the highest peak in North America.

The conditions Midwesterners dealt with in early 2019’s winter storm “were similar to what the Westlakes felt at the high base camp,” according to the Chicago Tribune, “where they were tent-bound several days because of high winds followed by 6 inches of snow.”

“Up there it was definitely this cold,” Westlake told the Tribune, adding that he and his daughter found refuge in tents that captured “solar energy like a greenhouse,” the article reads. “It’s not so bad as long as you have the right gear,” Westlake summarized.

Snow, extreme cold, bad weather conditions—none of this stopped solar panels from heating and enlivening the Westlakes. The solar panel systems that you’re installing through a certified and professional contractor will of course yield much larger results and be able to sustain immeasurably heavier winter climate conditions. When in doubt, consult your contractor on the challenges your house might encounter and how to approach.

In many cases, Westlake has it just right: Having the right gear makes all the difference, and your local contractor knows what is right for your home and solar panels in winter.

Solar Panels in Climate Extremes: Better To Prepare Than To Panic

A home improvement project during the high season will likely impact your estimate and project timeline. During warmer months, contractors and supplies are in high demand— you’re not the only one noticing a high electric bill. Contractors are less likely to offer discounts during peak times. To save money on solar panels for your home, consider scheduling your project during the cooler months.

Your long-term savings will remain similar, but incentives and seasonal promotions are never a guarantee, and likewise never guaranteed to last. For example, the Residential Renewable Energy Tax Credit, which applies to up to 30 percent of your installation (that’s hard and soft costs combined), is phasing out its value over the next several years. By 2022, that 30-percent figure drops to 10 percent, according to the Solar Energy Industries Association.

Additionally, homeowners could be subject to state requirements making solar energy a mandatory source of power for new houses—for now, though, only Californians have to worry about that. On Dec. 2018, California lawmakers voted “to require homes built in 2020 and later be solar-powered,” according to the LA Times. That law doesn’t concern itself with what month homeowners install their solar paneling in because it doesn’t matter—savings are year-round, year-long, and annually significant. With an uncertain future of incentives and a present reality of high competition and ample rebates, the best season to install solar panels is now—no matter when you read this.

Solar Panels in Snow: How Many Solar Panels Do I Need?

Since solar panels completely covered in snow would have a difficult time accessing sunlight, most are designed, constructed, and installed in such a way to avoid ever being completely submerged. A trustworthy contractor will identify the most efficient tilt, positioning, location, and height of your solar panel system to guarantee their maximum output and subsequently the highest possible savings on your utility bill.

Before determining what kind of and how many solar panels you want, it’s good to understand the type and amount of solar energy present at your location. Various public resources are at your disposal to do just that. The National Renewable Energy Laboratory, for example, created a map showing the concentration of sunlight radiation across southwestern states like California, Nevada, Arizona, New Mexico, Utah, and Colorado. How red is your region?

Another more specific example comes from a UC-Berkely National Laboratory team. On an annual basis, the researchers determined, panels were only affected with a 20-percent decrease at peak shade. Want to know more about your own location and its irradiance properties? Use the Department of Energy’s calculator tool, which asks you for your address and spits out the solar energy you can expect.

A local contractor will be able to explain what you should expect in terms of energy and how you can expect it to increase the value of your home, not to mention what kind of panels you will benefit the most from, and where they should get installed.

The post Are Solar Energy Savings Affected by the Changing Seasons? appeared first on Modernize.

Modernize

BEST DEAL UPDATE:

Weekly Roundup: Assorted Items

Here are items that have been winners on clients and forum members recently, or that simply caught my eye. There are hints of Spring in the mix to cheer up those in arctic and snowy weather.

Go to the collection page to see the items alongside my descriptions.

NOTE: Some rich content in this post was omitted because it isn’t supported by the feed. Please visit the post on youlookfab.com to see the additional content.


YouLookFab

BEST DEAL UPDATE:

Driving Lead Conversion with Speed

Are you confident that your company is effectively handling potential customers’ online inquiries? Really think about it. Research shows that most contractors don’t respond fast enough, if at all.

Contractors have increasingly turned to the internet to generate sales. Indeed, spending on online advertising aimed at drumming up leads to potential customers soared from $ 12.5 billion in 2005 to $ 22.7 billion in 2009, and it’s still growing strongly. Though home improvement companies are making big investments to obtain quality homeowner leads, many are not responding at the rate or consistency required to make their digital marketing strategy successful.

Check out our study to unveil the optimal speed to lead, how many attempts you should be making with each new lead, and even the best days and times to call your new leads.

Ready to grow your business?

The post Driving Lead Conversion with Speed appeared first on Modernize.

Modernize

BEST DEAL UPDATE:

Ask a Roofing Expert: Is Plywood Sheathing Necessary?

My roof deck has boards, is plywood sheathing necessary?

The short answer; yes. A boarded roof deck is often very aged and in poor condition. They have been subject to many years of weathering, expansion and contraction, extreme temperatures, and often poor ventilation. They split when nailing into them, affecting the integrity of your roof and any warranties involved. Years of warping can make them bumpy and uneven with deep cracks and holes.

A fresh coat of plywood ensures all the nails have the backing they need to be fully secured to your roof deck. It also provides a clean and flat working surface which helps with the installation process and, most importantly, the overall look of your roof.

Also, many contractors won’t warranty a roof without plywood sheathing since a boarded surface is unreliable in the long-term and in extreme weather conditions. – Army Roofing, www.armyroofing.com

The post Ask a Roofing Expert: Is Plywood Sheathing Necessary? appeared first on Home Trends Magazine.

Home Trends Magazine

BEST DEAL UPDATE:

10 House-Hunting Lessons You Can Learn from the TV Shows

Reality TV shows that open a window onto the world of real estate have been entertaining us for years. But if you look beyond the spectacle, you can actually learn a thing or two about the home buying process as well. Here are 10 practical house-hunting lessons that come straight from reality TV.
Bob Vila : Trusted Home Renovation & Repair Expert

BEST DEAL UPDATE:

Handling Homeowner Objections to Move Leads Down the Sales Funnel

No matter what kind of sales you’re in, you will always combat objections as you push to drive more leads into customers. Especially in the home improvement industry, homeowners are automatically skeptical before they’ve even had a chance to speak with you. In a perfect world, you receive a homeowner lead, they’re thrilled to meet with you, and ready to sign on the dotted line to begin their project.

We all know it’s rarely that easy to drive more sales, so we’ve compiled a list of common objections you’ll face with answers to keep your conversations going with the ultimate goal of getting to the appointment stage.

“I was just shopping”

Great, that’s where it all begins. A great next step is to have one of our energy efficiency experts come to your home and give you a free estimate and let you know how much you could save on your electric bill. Would 3:00 Thursday work for you?

 

“I only need a minor repair”

Did the glass break or is it the window itself? (if window)…that’s too bad, do you know how old the windows are? It is possible this is the beginning of more trouble and that you are also spending way too much on your electric bills. We should have an efficiency expert come and inspect the windows and give you a replacement estimate. Would 3:00 Thursday work for you?

 

“You have the wrong number”

I am sorry to bother you and will update our records, but since I have you on the phone, we are having a special right now on ______, would you like to have someone come out and give you a free estimate?

 

“I’m not ready to start yet”

Great, I hear that from a lot of our customers, which is why our free estimates are good for six months… it allows you to budget and plan for an exact date. But since I have you on the phone, we are having a special right now on ______, would you like to have someone come out and give you a free estimate? Would 3:00 Thursday work for you?

 

“I already have a contractor”

That’s great. Lots of times I speak with homeowner’s who have an estimate and want a second one to compare prices, quality and reputation. What time Thursday would work for one of our energy efficiency experts to come out and give you a free estimate?

 

“I never put in a request”

Then I am sorry to bother you and will take your name off our list, but since I have you on the phone, we are having a special right now on ______, would you like to have someone come out and give you a free estimate?

 

“I only need materials”

No problem, I hear that all of the time, and, while we don’t just sell materials, I speak to homeowners who want to do the work themselves every week and then, when they get into the project, decide to get a professional. Since the estimate is free, we could come out and give you one and you could have it in case you decide you want it done by experts. Would 3:00 Thursday work for you?

 

“I really only want quote over the phone”

I appreciate that and I am the same way, but giving you an estimate without seeing the windows would be like diagnosing and illness without seeing a doctor, it is a guess and will likely be wrong. We have trained professionals who are friendly, fast and intelligent. What time Thursday would be good to have someone come out and give you a free estimate?

 

“I have already received numerous calls; I’m not interested in speaking with anyone else”

I am so sorry, I know how annoying that can be and we won’t call again, but since we are talking now, we are an Angie’s List super service provider and we are running a special right now, it is a great time to get a free estimate from us. What time Thursday would be good to have someone come out and give you a free estimate?

 

Notice that our suggested responses have the deliberate intention of empathizing with the homeowner and giving a clear call to action with a time and date to set an appointment. Any objection can be met with a delicate approach to continue driving any lead further down the sales funnel. Now, go out there and turn those objections into completed projects!

Ready to grow your business?

The post Handling Homeowner Objections to Move Leads Down the Sales Funnel appeared first on Modernize.

Modernize

BEST DEAL UPDATE:

Outfit Formula: Black Pants for Business

My business casual clients are always looking to style black trousers in interesting ways. My first suggestion is to change up their footwear from the usual black to animal print, metallic, white, red or grey. Then to create a complement with the footwear by repeating the colour somewhere else in the outfit, like in the top, scarf, bag or with jewellery. Bookending hair with footwear counts as colour repetition.

Here are four more ways to add interest to black pant outfits for work:

1. Animal Print Footwear & Patterned Top

The snakeskin footwear breaks up the black of the suit, as does the polka dot blouse. The black background of the blouse creates a low contrast against the suit, but feel free to wear a high-contrast patterned top. Leopard boots, pumps or loafers would have worked as well. Keeping the palette neutral makes the pattern mixing easy to pull together.

Rachel Roy Collection Long Blazer

2. Silver Shoes & Pussy-Bow Blouse

Combine a patterned or non-black pussy-bow blouse with black pants and silver footwear like pumps, ballet flats or boots. Top a black moto over the blouse to create a juxtaposition of tough and pretty. If the silver hardware of the moto picks up the silver of the shoes, so much the better. Add silver jewellery or hair to complement the silver shoes too.

Eloquii Tie Neck Blouse

3. White Boots & Top

Create a complement with a top and boots in a shade of white. Add that to a pair of black pants and finish things off with a topper in just about any colour and pattern. If the pattern has black in it, the palette will come together very easily. A black and white plaid is shown here, which is serene and classic.

MM6 Maison Margiela Twill Suiting Trousers

4. White Boots, Tunic & Oversized Topper

Combine white pointy-toe footwear with full-length black bootcuts or bell-bottoms. The black soles of the boots here do a great job of picking up the black in the rest of the outfit. For the top part, layer a shorter voluminous topper over some type of solid and streamlined tunic and watch the magic happen.

Marques Almeida Ribbed Flared Wool Trousers


YouLookFab

BEST DEAL UPDATE:

How To Turn More Leads Into Completed Projects: Nurturing Home Improvement Leads in 2019

Chances are you’re not going to get a signed contract back on the day you make contact with a home improvement lead—even if your work is wildly impressive, the client is completely enamored by your professionalism and demeanor, and your references are squeaky clean.

No matter how ready you are for the project, a contractor lead is cautious to invest heavily in their home improvement project right away—and that’s perfectly okay. At Modernize, we regularly speak with homeowners who look to us for guidance in the sometimes murky and confusing home improvement market. Our data shows that more than a third of homeowners will not begin the project they’re considering within 30 days of making contact with us or with a contractor.

And yet, you can’t sit idly by and wait for the work to begin—the client expects to develop a relationship with you during this incubation period. Use this opportunity to nurture their comfort and earn their trust. You need to balance a deliberate approach with patient execution to interact profitably in the home improvement market. Done correctly, you will have successfully constructed a pipeline feeding in high intent home improvement leads. Subsequently, you will compile satisfied customers who return and refer you for more work. Once rolling, this ball will keep you occupied since new work will sidle in as current work is coming to a close.

Contractors must embrace digital marketing in 2019

While services like ours are paramount to a successful marketing approach in the digital age, there are some things you can do right now to better and more regularly foster relationships with the vast world of homeowners who may have tapped you for your hard earned reputation but have not yet chosen the perfect fit.

When nearly nine of out ten people are finding their contractors online, that’s where the game is played. And when on top of that, 98 percent of homeowners pick a contractor from the first page of results they see on the Internet, merely existing online is not enough — you have to stand out. Despite this demand, data shows just one percent of contractors say they utilize social media.

Here are three broad goals you should set for yourself in 2019:

  1. Develop a strategy to utilize social media.
  2. Optimize the way your business appears in online searches.
  3. And structure a 40-40-20 rule, which reasons that you should offer customers value in exchange for their attention.
    1. Spend 40 percent of your time posting helpful information
    2. Spend 40 percent of your time directly interacting with customers
    3. And spend 20 percent of your time promoting your brand.

Every conversation should be a marketing tool for you

On the phone, chatting, or exchanging emails? Good. But remember: The client is still in the discovery phase and learning the lay of the land. Be ready with information but also be ready to listen. When a customer is talking (or typing), think about that 40-40-20 rule as you navigate them through the initial phases of their journey and potentially into a professional relationship with you—your goal is an in-person appointment for assessment and possible estimation.

  • Know your brand.
  • Rehearse the script.
  • Keep the FAQs handy.
  • Anticipate a caller’s needs.
  • And be approachable.

Be confident you’re the right contractor for the job

If you treat every potential client as a paying client, you’re not only developing trust and reliability, you’re also displaying the confidence of your product.

We’re not saying you should put too much labor or time into a client who is not paying, but you should give them the impression that this is their best bet. If they don’t take it now, they may take it later. If a client is tending away from the project, be understanding and provide information as needed — sometimes it’s okay to let a client go, just be sure they take your business card on the way out.

Then keep in touch. You’re their friend in a crowd of contractors who unfortunately might attempt to take advantage of them or act dishonestly. Stand above that and you will earn repeat business.

Tap into feedback loops from lead generation services

No one knows homeowners like Modernize does — and like anything else, homeowners and their homes are ever changing and evolving, both technologically and culturally.

We are constantly talking to homeowners before, during, and after their home improvement projects. While the reality is that many contractors are not tapping into the potential of data and its resulting analytics, the most successful contractors in the industry are beginning to make the move: More and more contractors are turning to lead generation services like Modernize to complete more projects each year. Here’s where we stand:

  • 1.5 million homeowners found their contractors through Modernize in 2017
  • And that’s, in turn, earned $ 1.5 billion for those contractors.

We use the thousands of surveys homeowners submit to us to learn more about homeowner needs and challenges in the home improvement space — whether for solar, roofing, HVAC, windows, or other projects. Learn more about our most recent findings: the Homeowner Survey Index: Q4 2018.

Whether it’s starting your online efforts from scratch or diving into your decades of experience to discern trends and help you sharpen your client base, learn more about us today and find out how we can help you.

Ready to grow your business?

The post How To Turn More Leads Into Completed Projects: Nurturing Home Improvement Leads in 2019 appeared first on Modernize.

Modernize

BEST DEAL UPDATE:

10 Types of Tech You and Your Home Can Do Without

It doesn’t always pay to become an early adopter of the latest and greatest technological advancements. In fact, some home tech products just aren’t worth the investment, or are subject to security risks or maintenance woes that make them better admired on the shelf than brought home. Scroll through for a list of tech products your home can probably live without, or that you should at the very least think twice before buying.
Bob Vila : Trusted Home Renovation & Repair Expert

BEST DEAL UPDATE:

Flooring Trends for 2019

Design today is all about creating low-maintenance, bright and open spaces that bring together traditional ideas with a modern twist.

Dark wood floors are slowly losing their appeal. While they offer a beautiful, dramatic punch of color, they are also known to be more high maintenance and darken a room. Lighter blonde or beige flooring is becoming a popular choice as homeowners look for lower maintenance options that will brighten up a space. These lighter colors also tend to be more versatile, working with a wider variety of décor and color schemes.

While wide plank options are still king, another popular trend is the return to traditional flooring patterns like Chevron and Herringbone. Homeowners
are choosing wide plank flooring and having it installed in these traditional patterns. The wide plank gives the pattern a more modern look and feel, creating the perfect blend of styles. – Zain Peerani, www.peeranisflooring.com

The post Flooring Trends for 2019 appeared first on Home Trends Magazine.

Home Trends Magazine

BEST DEAL UPDATE:

Fashion News Roundup: January 2019

Fashion brands branching out into home accessories, a new logo for Zara, a paywall for Condé Nast titles, and more news from the fashion trenches this month.

Fun Fashion Fact

During a recent Paris auction, Le Smoking, a highly sought-after custom tuxedo trouser suit made by Saint Laurent for French actress Catherine Deneuve in 1982, fetched 20,000 euros (just under $ 23,000). This makes it the highest amount ever paid for any le smoking at auction.


YouLookFab

BEST DEAL UPDATE:

20 Things You Never Knew About the Super Bowl

It’s as American as apple pie. Yet the Super Bowl has only been around since 1967. In those 52 years, however, the game has become ingrained in the national psyche. It has also developed some unusual rituals and over-the-top traditions. These little-known facts may win you victory too—at your next trivia night.
Bob Vila : Trusted Home Renovation & Repair Expert

BEST DEAL UPDATE:

Evelyn’s IDS19 Recap

The Interior
Design Show also known as IDS came and went for another year and left some
inspiration in its wake for everyone who attended. For me, as a designer, trade
shows are an opportunity to learn via seminars, network with peers and
suppliers as well as glean inspiration for future projects.

I am often
asked what are the trends in interior design, I’d rather look at it as a
‘direction’ rather than trend since trends are known to be fleeting. This year,
I saw a lot of natural materials and organic shapes. I also saw a strong
presence of technology being used to create textures and images (for instance
large scale wallpaper that is printed on high quality paper and ready to
install on any wall).  It seems like
overall, interiors are lighter and brighter with wood floors being left
natural, not stained dark, and mixed metals in faucets and hardware.

I look forward to this year and the opportunity to express my inspirations through my clients’ projects.

Photography by Larry Arnal

The post Evelyn’s IDS19 Recap appeared first on Home Trends Magazine.

Home Trends Magazine

BEST DEAL UPDATE:

How to Check and Maintain Roof Flashing

It’s hard to say if there’s a more important part of your home than the roof. It keeps you safe and protected from the elements, but even more importantly, it keeps all the materials used to construct your house dry, too. That means you won’t have to worry about anything rotting or wearing out—and best of all, you won’t have to make repairs. One way to ensure that your roof is as sturdy and long-lasting as possible is to maintain one of the most integral parts of your roof system—the flashing. It’s sometime best to play it safe and hire a local roofing contractor to help you with this project

Valley flashing - Image Source

What is Flashing?

Flashing is the protective metal tie-in material used on homes and other construction projects to prevent water damage from occurring. It comes in a range of types: you can track down aluminum, copper, lead, PVC, and galvanized steel flashing to name a few options. It’s very thin material that comes on a simple roll—and it’s one of the keys to a long-lasting project that won’t wear out before it should.

Why is it Used?

Flashing is used to tie two different sections of a construction project together, and also to keep out water in the process. For instance, when you install a deck on a home, it’s important for you to put flashing between the band—the wooden side panel of the deck connected to your home structure—and the deck itself. The flashing keeps water from doing damage to the wooden framing behind the decking. Each time it rains, water seeps in behind that back band of your deck, and without flashing it would dampen the wood of your home and lead to it rotting and wearing out.