Is A College Degree Really Worth The Cost?

We are covering the benefits of a college degree this morning. Why is this on your mind?

We often talk about the costs associated with college. Tuition prices have risen steeply in recent decades and student loans burdens now accompany millions of Americans after their studies. These concerns have led many to ask whether the costs associated with an undergraduate degree are worth it.

But a report released last week by the New York Federal Reserve reminded me that we have rarely highlighted the massive financial benefits college graduates accrue! College is not only worth it, it is directly tied to increased lifetime earnings and a secure financial future.

 What did the report find?

The big number from the report was $ 33,000. That is the earning difference between the average college graduate, who makes $ 78,000 a year, and the average high school graduate, making $ 45,000 annually.

That is a 75% premium! If you figure that over the course of 20 years – from the middle of your career to retirement – that comes to $ 660,000! According to the Department of Labor, Americans with four-year college degrees nearly twice as much per hour (over 95%) than people without a degree. That’s up from 64% in the early 1980s.

Those are remarkable numbers, but the costs are still very high. Is it still worth it if you have to take out student loans?

 You are absolutely right: the cost of college is not low. According to the college board, the average cost of tuition and fees for the 2017–2018 school year was $ 34,740 at private colleges, $ 9,970 for state residents at public colleges. The average debt load of college graduates last year was $ 28,650.

But when you consider the earnings over a lifetime, it is absolutely worth it! In fact, according to the same report, as an investment, a college degree has an average rate of return of 14%! And it is not just the wage differential that you must consider. A college degree also conveys employment security. The unemployment rate for college graduates is currently 2 percent, and even in the wake of the great recession, it peaked at just over 5%.

 What if you have some college credits? Does that help?

The wage difference persists even if you have some college but did not graduate. Earnings for people who have some college but have not obtained a four-year degree — a group that includes community-college graduates — have remained stagnant. The big economic returns go to people who have obtained a bachelor’s degree.

 Are the benefits of a four-year degree the same for Black graduates?

We know that when it comes to employment rates, a college degree is always a positive factor in your favor. That is true across the board, regardless of race. However, disparities certainly remain. A college degree does not close the racial wage gap between white and Black students.Today, young Black college graduates are paid, on average, 12.2 percent less than their white counterparts.

The unemployment rate for Black degree holders is also higher than that of their white and Asian counterparts. And Black students tend to graduate with a higher student loan burden due to disparities in household wealth between racial groups.

Clearly, much remains to be done to ensure that recent Black graduates derive the same advantages from their education as the general populace. However, the data does show that gap narrows over time, and these differences do not negate the value of a college degree over a lifetime.


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Discussing Cost and Payment Options With Your Siding Contractor

We’re excited for your upcoming siding project. Replacing your home’s siding is not only great for your home’s functionality but can also refresh the curb appeal.  You’ve done the research and have chosen a siding contractor after comparing three to four estimates.

Now that you know who you want, it’s time to figure out how to best pay for the project.

A siding replacement and installment is an investment that can give a home a whole new look, as well as extend its longevity. The projects can range anywhere from $ 5,000 to $ 45,000 in a 2,500 square-foot home— depending on the material being used.  Whatever the cost, the reward is that it will, in turn, shield your home and act as a first defense against the elements. Below, find a roundup of the costs you need to anticipate:

Downlow on the Down Payment

Though siding jobs vary from a full-on replacement to a repair, a typical number is about 20 percent of the final quote.

In some cases, siding contractors will offer discounts for paying in cash, but be wary— if a contractor requests a large cash sum upfront, it could be a scam and risks the homeowner being left unprotected.

Dollars and Cents

The best way to secure the lowest price for your siding project is to compare multiple contractor quotes. That’s why Modernize encourages homeowners to get multiple estimates before making a final decision.

If you want to pay through a payment plan, your contractor might offer their own so you don’t have to go through a bank. And if you do need to go through a bank, be sure you first learn about all of the financial incentives available to you both directly and indirectly in the form of loans or tax credits.

For instance, if you finance new siding and new roofing with a home equity loan or a line of credit, that interest could be deducted. In addition, if you install new siding as part of an energy efficiency upgrade along with other facets, at least part of the cost may be deductible. A siding replacement could also be eligible for a sales tax deduction.  

Understand Your Equity Options

Homeowners can often use their homes, whether mortgaged or not, as securities for loans to fund home improvement projects.

Two common ways to leverage your home for credit from a bank or other financial institutions include lines of credit and loans. If either of these are applicable in your situation, run it by your siding contractor. An experienced installer will have both expert and valuable anecdotal advice regarding these methods.

Home Equity Line of Credit (HELOC)

A home equity line of credit, otherwise known as a HELOC, allows homeowners to borrow money against their home’s equity. HELOCs are generally flexible but limited by a home’s value, and they also carry the risk of foreclosure.

A common reason homeowners take out a HELOC is for home improvement projects. In fact, The National Association of Realtors listed siding installation as one of best returns on investment.

Home Equity Loan

If a HELOC doesn’t seem like the right fit, the other option is a home equity loan – which lets a homeowner borrow money against the value of a home over the amount of any or all mortgages levied against the property. It’s sort of like a second mortgage, positioning the home itself as the security for the loan.

Whatever options you find suits you best, it’s a safe bet to talk it over with your contractor. Their experience with other homeowners in the area and specifically as it pertains to siding installation projects will be valuable when it comes to determining the best path forward for your own financing.

The post Discussing Cost and Payment Options With Your Siding Contractor appeared first on Modernize.

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Discussing Cost and Payment Options With Your Roofing Contractor

A new roof can be a valuable asset to a house’s value, but it also increases your home’s curb appeal and functionality. Your roof is an essential piece to the privacy, safety, and comfort of your home. Now, you’ve done the research and have selected a roofing contractor after comparing three to four estimates.

Now that you know who you want, it’s time to figure out how to best pay for the project.

A new roof installment is an investment that can improve a home’s appearance. The projects can range anywhere from $ 5,500 to $ 17,500 for a full roof replacement. The average cost for a 1,800 square ft. home installing asphalt shingles would be around $ 7,500. Our Modernize Cost Calculator can help provide estimated pricing.

Whatever the cost, the reward is that it will, in turn, protect your home and ensure proper insulation against the elements. Below, find a  roundup of the costs you need to anticipate:

Payment Playbook

Though roof installation jobs vary from a full-on replacement to a repair. A down payment is often required. If your contractor requests one, make sure to compare quotes. Homeowners typically pay about 20 percent of the final quote.

In some cases, contractors will offer discounts for paying in cash, but be wary— if a contractor requests a large cash sum upfront, it could be a scam and risks the homeowner being left unprotected. Discuss possible payment plans with your contractor.

Roofing Insurance Claim

In some instances, you may need a roof repair or replacement due to damage from severe weather. To quickly, safely, and affordably repair roofing damage, you may need to file a homeowners insurance claim.

It is important to understand your homeowner’s insurance deductible throughout this process. This deductible is the amount you will have to pay before receiving reimbursement from your insurance provider.

Our article “How to File a Roofing Insurance Claim” shares more about this process.

Dollars and Cents

The best way to secure the lowest price for your roofing project is to compare multiple contractor quotes. That’s why Modernize encourages homeowners to get multiple estimates before making a final decision.

If you want to pay through a payment plan, your contractor might offer their own so you don’t have to go through a bank. And if you do need to go through a bank, be sure you first learn about all of the financial incentives available to you both directly and indirectly in the form of loans or tax credits.

Understand Your Equity Options

Homeowners can often use their homes, whether mortgaged or not, as securities for loans to fund home improvement projects.

Two common ways to leverage your home for credit from a bank or other financial institutions include lines of credit and loans. If either of these are applicable in your situation, run it by your roofing contractor. An experienced installer will have both expert and valuable anecdotal advice regarding these methods.

Home Equity Line of Credit (HELOC)

A home equity line of credit, otherwise known as a HELOC, allows homeowners to borrow money against their home’s equity. HELOCs are generally flexible but limited by a home’s value, and they also carry the risk of foreclosure.

Home Equity Loan

If a HELOC doesn’t seem like the right fit, the other option is a home equity loan – which lets a homeowner borrow money against the value of a home over the amount of any or all mortgages levied against the property. It’s sort of like a second mortgage, positioning the home itself as the security for the loan.

Whatever options you find suits you best, it’s a safe bet to talk it over with your roofing contractor. Their experience with other homeowners in the area and specifically as it pertains to roof installation projects will be valuable when it comes to determining the best path forward for your own financing.

The post Discussing Cost and Payment Options With Your Roofing Contractor appeared first on Modernize.

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Discussing Cost and Payment Options With Your Air Conditioning Contractor

When it’s time to replace your air conditioning unit, it can be a stressful time for your household. But do not fret— replacing your home’s air conditioning unit is not only great for your home’s functionality, but it can also improve your carbon footprint.  You’ve done the research and have chosen an air conditioning contractor after comparing three to four estimates.

Now that you know who you want, it’s time to figure out how to best pay for the project.

An air conditioning installment is an investment that can improve a home’s efficiency and save you money on your utility bill. The projects can range anywhere from $ 6,000 to $ 12,000 in a 1,000 square-foot home. Use our Modernize Cost Calculator for more accurate estimates for your home. Below, find a  roundup of the costs you need to anticipate:

Downlow on the Down Payment

HVAC jobs vary from a full-on replacement to a repair. Often time an air conditioning contractor will need to conduct ductwork or modifications to a home prior to installing a new unit. In those cases, there might be a request for a down payment. Homeowners typically pay about 20 percent of the final quote.

In some cases, contractors will offer discounts for paying in cash, but be wary— if a contractor requests a large cash sum upfront, it could be a scam and risks the homeowner being left unprotected.

Dollars and Cents

The best way to secure the lowest price for your air conditioning project is to compare multiple contractor quotes. That’s why Modernize encourages homeowners to get multiple estimates before making a final decision.

When it comes to air conditioning units, financing is also an option. Contractors might have a preferred manufacturer that they work with to provide you with a payment plan. Just remember to be mindful of interest rates.  

If you want to pay through a payment plan, your contractor might offer their own so you don’t have to go through a bank. And if you do need to go through a bank, be sure you first learn about all of the financial incentives available to you both directly and indirectly in the form of loans or tax credits.

For instance, if you install a new air conditioning unit as part of an energy efficiency upgrade, at least part of the cost may be deductible.

best hvac brands

Understand Your Equity Options

Homeowners can often use their homes, whether mortgaged or not, as securities for loans to fund home improvement projects.

Two common ways to leverage your home for credit from a bank or other financial institutions include lines of credit and loans. If either of these are applicable in your situation, run it by your air conditioning contractor. An experienced installer will have both expert and valuable anecdotal advice regarding these methods.

Home Equity Line of Credit (HELOC)

A home equity line of credit, otherwise known as a HELOC, allows homeowners to borrow money against their home’s equity. HELOCs are generally flexible but limited by a home’s value, and they also carry the risk of foreclosure.

Home Equity Loan

If a HELOC doesn’t seem like the right fit, the other option is a home equity loan – which lets a homeowner borrow money against the value of a home over the amount of any or all mortgages levied against the property. It’s sort of like a second mortgage, positioning the home itself as the security for the loan.

Whatever options you find suits you best, it’s a safe bet to talk it over with your contractor. Their experience with other homeowners in the area and specifically as it pertains to air conditioning installation projects will be valuable when it comes to determining the best path forward for your own financing.

The post Discussing Cost and Payment Options With Your Air Conditioning Contractor appeared first on Modernize.

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Green energy nudges come with a hidden cost

Many US households receive energy bills comparing their use to that of similar neighbors to remind them to use less energy. Such policies aim to ‘nudge’ people toward making better choices, both for their future selves and for others. Nudges like these have become popular among policymakers, because they are virtually costless to implement. However, a new study finds these nudges have an unexplored cost: they can decrease support for policies with far greater impact.
Consumer Behavior News — ScienceDaily

PARENTAL UPDATE:

LGBT groups and tech companies warn that a Texas bill could cost the state billions

The LGBTQ community and major employers say a bill passed by the Texas Senate is a license to discriminate, giving professionals the right to turn away people based on religious beliefs. Amazon, Dell, Apple and Facebook urged Texas to drop the bill.
Small Business

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It would cost $12.7 billion to end homelessness in the San Francisco Bay region, a new report says

The estimated cost to end homelessness in the San Francisco Bay Area is $ 12.7 billion and additional billions annually to fund ongoing services to the needy, according to a report released Wednesday.
Real Estate

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Easily Sell Your Home With ForSaleByOwner! A Home Sells with ForSaleByOwner Every 44 Minutes!

Tips For Negotiating Cost with Window Contractors

Congratulations: You have done the research, the best windows for your home, and have chosen a window contractor after sifting through three or four estimates. Now it’s time to make your choice official and sign a contract with that window contractor, meaning it’s time to negotiate the cost of your final project price.

Replacement windows are an investment for homeowners. chosen a window contractor, depending on the type and brand. Homeowners can find the best budget for their project by negotiating the final contract price and terms with their window contractor. In the article below, learn helpful tips for negotiating cost.

Compare Multiple Window Quotes

Modernize recommends comparing three to four quotes ahead of your windows project. Be transparent about getting multiple bids as you meet contractors. Many businesses are willing to lower their bid or match competitor pricing. To ensure this is a fair process, provide each contractor with the same project details and chosen a window contractor to make sure you are making proper comparisons.

chosen a window contractor will ensure you find the most reliable window contractor for your project. Check their licensure and make sure they are accredited through the chosen a window contractor.

You may find a lower price with a less experienced contractor, 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 window contractor, Modernize has created a Contractor Checklist.

Purchase Your Own Window Supplies

Depending on the size of your window project, you may be able to save some money by researching and negotiating the cost of project supplies. Your quote should include the cost of all materials, and you can compare these prices to your own research.

Contractors usually use and leverage their supplier relationships to secure the best price on materials. While this has advantages for homeowners, if your preferred brand is outside of your contractor’s network you may want to shop around for the best pricing. If you find cheaper materials, purchase them yourself.

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 price one that is longer. The particulars of your window type, brand, and your installation needs dictate these numbers more than anything else. Discuss them thoroughly with your contractor.

Take Advantage of the Off Season

Window replacements and repairs are highest in the spring and fall when the weather is nice. If your project is not urgent or an emergency, negotiate the timing to take advantage of “off-season” rates. Wait to have your windows installed in the summer chosen a window contractor when window contractors are typically less busy. Contractors may also offer additional discounts and savings during these slower seasons.

Your biggest friend in a window replacement negotiation could be a service like Modernize. chosen a window contractor to find out how we can help you.

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

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City of Chicago to Sue Jussie Smollett for $130,000 for the Cost of the Investigation Into His Alleged Hoax

The City of Chicago wants Jussie Smollett to pay for wasting its time.

After sending him an invoice for $ 130,000 to cover the cost of the investigation into his alleged hate crime hoax, now they’re moving to sue.

Jussie made clear that he doesn’t intend to pay, so if the city does move forward with a lawsuit it’ll effectively put Jussie on trial and he’ll have to defend the attack and prove that it actually happened.

In this case, the burden of proof is MUCH lower than a criminal case.

Jussie’s attorney, Mark Geragos says Jussie won’t be intimidated and insists the attack was real.

“Your letter represents part of a course of conduct intended to harass and irreparably injure Mr. Smollett,” Geragos wrote, adding that such an action would be an abuse of the city’s false claims ordinance. “Our research discloses no cases in which the municipal ordinance to try to get a second bite at the apple once charges against a criminal defendant have been dismissed.”

You can read Mark Geragos’ full letter here.

The post City of Chicago to Sue Jussie Smollett for $ 130,000 for the Cost of the Investigation Into His Alleged Hoax appeared first on lovebscott – celebrity news.

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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 Home

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.

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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.

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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

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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.

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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.

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New recommendations say not all women need genetic testing for cancer. Critics say it could cost lives

Primary care providers should screen women for personal, family and/or ethnic history of breast, ovarian, tubal or peritoneal cancer to decide who should undergo genetic counseling for BRCA1 and BRCA2 mutations, the US Preventive Services Task Force recommended Tuesday. The mutations increase a woman’s cancer risk.


CNN.com – RSS Channel – Health

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Why California’s new solar mandate could cost new homeowners up to an extra $10,000

Starting next year, every new home built in California will have something extra on top.
Economy

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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.

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BEST DEAL UPDATE:

The shutdown cost the economy $11 billion – including a permanent $3 billion loss, government says

Overall, the CBO projected economic growth will slow this year to 2.3 percent, compared with the 3.1 percent rate last year, as the benefits of the new tax law begin to fade.
Economy

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Air Force receives first Boeing KC-46 tankers after a two-year delay and $3 billion in cost overruns

The two KC-46 tankers, derived from Boeing's commercial 767 airframe, touched down at McConnell Air Force base in Kansas on Friday after departing the company's Everett, Washington, facility.
Politics

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Laser Skin Resurfacing Treatment Guide: Cost, Side Effects, and More

Lasers are now being used to zap everything from sun damage and skin cancers to acne scars and regrettable tattoos — and often with little to no downtime. Which ones are best for your particular skin type and issue? In this month’s Life in Plastic column, we tapped the country’s top laser gurus spell it out for us.
Allure

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If the shutdown lasts two more weeks, the cost to the economy will exceed price of Trump’s wall

It will only take another two weeks to cost the economy more than the $ 5.7 billion Trump demanded for the border wall.
Economy

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Cost to walk away from Facebook for a year? More than $1,000, new study finds

Using a series of auctions in which people were paid to close their accounts for as little as one day or as long as one year, a new study finds that Facebook users would require an average of more than $ 1,000 to deactivate their account for one year.
Consumer Behavior News — ScienceDaily

PARENTAL UPDATE:

Learning to read comes at a cost

Learning how to read may have some disadvantages for learning grammar. Children who cannot read yet often treat multiword phrases as wholes (‘how-are-you’). After learning to read, children notice individual words more, as these are separated by spaces in written language (‘how are you’).
K-12 Education News — ScienceDaily

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11.21.18 The cost of raising a child; Moviepass alternatives

How much does it really cost to raise a child? Clark gets into it; If you are a fan of seeing movies but spending a whole let less money doing so, check out these Moviepass alternatives.

Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

Watch the video
clark.com

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Back To School Sale – Get up to 40% OFF stylish footwear at Payless.com

These 5 health benefit enrollment mistakes could cost you in 2019

Defaulting into the previous year's health-care options might cost you extra. Here are the common errors workers are likely to make when they select their benefits for 2019.
Top News & Analysis

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From Ford to Volkswagen, rivals become frenemies to share the cost of building self-driving cars

The sheer cost and technological burden of developing self-driving cars, electric vehicles and other advancements has companies that have historically been fierce competitors becoming, at the very least, frenemies. 
Top News & Analysis

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How the Cost of Princess Eugenie’s Wedding Compares to Meghan Markle’s and Kate Middleton’s

Princess Eugenie, Meghan Markle, Kate Middleton, Wedding DressesPrincess Eugenie, Meghan Markle and Kate Middleton each had weddings fit for a royal, so it only makes sense that their nuptials are equally as hefty.
On Friday, the Princess of York wed…

E! Online (US) – Top Stories

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Kavanaugh vote could cost some Dems

Newsy

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