You recruit your own home inspector, so ensure you pick cautiously.

Home Inspection

Subsequent to getting a home loan, picking an incredible house, and making an offer, you may expect the majority of the hard work in the home purchasing process is finished. In any case, pause—there’s one all the more huge thing that could decide if the home you’re wanting to purchase is a decent choice: the home inspection. Regardless of how put you feel in a specific house, it’s critical to hear an expert point of view from a reliable home inspector and calculate the outcomes your home purchasing choice.

Here are a few inquiries you most likely have about home inspections:

What is a home inspection?

A home inspection is a report created by an expert home inspector after they make a cautious assessment of a property. It’s proposed to give home purchasers an unprejudiced, learned bookkeeping of any recognizable issues a home has before they settle on the ultimate choice to get it.

A home inspection commonly happens while a home is under the agreement—which means you’ve made a proposal on a house and it’s been acknowledged. A purchaser has a set timeframe, which is spread out in their buy understanding (it’s frequently seven days to 10 days, however, it fluctuates) to finish the home inspection, audit the outcomes, and choose if they need to leave the agreement. Under most buy understandings, the purchaser can leave the agreement without a money related punishment if the home inspection uncovers exorbitant issues.

What will be canvassed in the inspection?

The inspector will do a visual assessment of the house. As indicated by the American Society of Home Inspectors (ASHI), this survey incorporates taking note of the state of the accompanying things:

warming framework

focal cooling framework (assuming the rainclouds hold back)

inside pipes

inside electrical frameworks

rooftop, upper room, and noticeable protection

dividers, roofs, floors

windows and entryways

establishment, storm cellar, and auxiliary segments.

What isn’t canvassed in a home inspection?

Some first-time home purchasers accept a general home inspector will let them know completely whatever’s the matter with the house, yet that is not the situation. Home inspections are constrained in a couple of ways:

General home inspectors aren’t prepared in bug and risky materials intervention. In the event that you presume a home may have termite harm, a rodent issue, or issues like asbestos protection or radon introduction, you’ll need a strength inspector to look at those.

Things that few out of every odd home has aren’t normally examined, similar to pools, a septic framework or a well.

Home inspectors are not permitted to truly move anything during their inspection, so they can just assess what they can see. This implies cellar framing could hide establishment splits or a love seat could shroud a harmed electrical outlet.

Where do I locate a home inspector?

You’re accountable for employing your own home inspector, and that incorporates discovering them. Start with referrals from your realtor, family, and companions. ASHI, which prepares and affirms home inspectors, has a home inspector search application, as well. Attempt to recognize a home inspector who knows about your territory, just as the kind of home you’re wanting to purchase, for example, a fixer upper or a condominium.

Remember that only one out of every odd state expects inspectors to get confirmation, so make certain to get some information about their preparation and accreditation. See if your state requires permitting, and be certain your inspector has it if necessary. Furthermore, affirmations from the American Society of Home Inspectors and the International Association of Certified Home Inspectors are the two indications of a very much prepared inspector.

Make certain to talk with inspectors, as well. Solicit what types from things will be remembered for their report, to what extent the inspection ordinarily takes, on the off chance that they stroll on rooftops (not all do), and on the off chance that they are happy to plan their inspection so you can be there.

What amount of will a home inspection cost?

An essential home inspection costs around $300 to $500. That may appear to be a great deal, however it could spare you from committing an a lot bigger monetary error if a home has significant issues.

To what extent does a home inspection take?

The real inspection could take a decent three hours, contingent upon the size of the house.

For what reason do I should be there?

It’s brilliant to stay with the inspector during the inspection. On the off chance that you can’t be there, ask your realtor to go. This is a decent method to find out about your latent capacity home and the entirety of its frameworks. Pose inquiries while being mindful so as to not get in the inspector’s way. Preceding the inspection, you’ll get a divulgence proclamation from the vender that may incorporate known issues with the home. You can utilize it to assist you with choosing if there are sure things you need the inspector to look at, as exactly how awful a realized issue is.

What would it be a good idea for me to anticipate that the inspector should do?

The inspector will do an outside stroll about and search for breaks and other basic issues on the rooftop (starting from the earliest stage, siding, establishment. Inside, the inspector will search for noticeable indications of form and buildup, regardless of whether there’s water in the cellar, if the pipes or electric are not up to code, if there are carbon monoxide and smoke alarms and whether machines that pass on with the home are in working condition.

The inspector will take a great deal of photographs, and when the inspection is done, the person will set up a long and nitty gritty report. Try not to be stunned if the inspector records 50 to 100 issues; most will probably be little. Indeed, even in new development homes there will be deserts that should be tended to.

What do I do with all the inspector’s report?

It’s dependent upon you to choose how to manage what you realize. Your alternatives are to:

Continue with the deal as arranged

Request that the dealer fix certain issues

Renegotiate the cost to permit you to address issues

Leave the deal

Your realtor can be a major assistance figuring out what to do. On the off chance that all the issues are little, recollect that every single home inspection turn up various things, so you may simply need to push ahead. In the event that you accomplish have fix work done, request that your inspector approve the work after it’s finished. In the event that the issues are greater and you can’t go to a concurrence with the merchant on what to fix or another value, you may need to leave and begin searching for another home.

In the event that your home inspection looks incredible, uplifting news! The following thing on your home purchasing daily agenda: check for and see any easements on the property.

The Bottom Line

It is your obligation to comprehend the same number of subtleties as you can about the property you may before long call home. Home inspections uncover the inward functions of the property, permitting you to be educated regarding all the advantages and entanglements the home brings to the table.

Tips for Finding the Best Auto Glass Repair Shops

Whenever an auto accident strikes, the primary concern in most cases is to have any needed repairs performed as soon as possible, and get back on the road. A damaged vehicle can cause you to miss important events and work, spend money out of pocket for ulterior transportation and lead to disruptions in your normal schedule. Nobody wants to spend one second more than they have to without access to their primary form of transportation, but another concern that must be considered is the need for repairs to be performed at an establishment that is both professional and affordable.

When it comes to auto glass repair and replacement, it can be difficult to know who to trust. A quick search for auto glass solutions in your area will probably yield many different results, as will a look through the yellow pages of your local phone directory. Not all auto glass repair companies are created equally, however – how can you know which ones to trust? In the following article, we will discuss some ways you can sift through the noise and isolate the best auto glass replacement and repair entities in your area in order to ensure that the repairs are done properly and in a timely fashion.

Inspect Their Business Listings
The first thing that you’ll wish to do when it comes to eliminating potential second-rate auto glass shops is to focus on which businesses have the best and most thorough listings. If you find a local auto glass shop that appears to only be using a cell phone number as their line of communication, then you will want to steer clear of it. In most cases, they are outsourcing their services to an independent contractor and are not an actual full-service auto glass entity. In addition to this, you will want to explore which auto glass services have a physical address listed, so that you may stop by in person to see their operations and assess whether they are professional enough to perform the repairs.

Another great way to further assess the quality of an auto glass shop is to investigate their ratings or listings with key organizations, such as the Better Business Bureau. If they are not listed with such an organization, then it is worth investigating whether or not they are certified by the Auto Glass Safety Council. The latter is an organization that determines standards for auto glass technicians and establishments; nearly all professional shops are AGRSS-certified. If you cannot find ratings with either of these organizations, then you may be better off eliminating these shops from your search.

Ask About Repair Times
While a timely repair is important to you, it should never be the most pressing concern when having this type of work performed. An auto glass shop that tells you that the work can be performed in under thirty minutes should send up a red flag for those who are concerned about quality. In almost any case, the highest quality adhesives and best-informed technicians cannot guarantee such speedy repairs; a complete windshield replacement can take up to two hours and a repair may take up to an hour when done properly. Knowledgeable, professional auto glass technicians will take their time repairing the damage, but in any case, the repairs can be performed on the same day.

Ask About Their Materials
Some auto glass establishments use high-quality materials that are OEM and DOT quality, while others do not. The truth is that the auto glass and windshield industry is not regulated like many other areas of auto safety and convenience; sub-par glass is a common occurrence when you deal with less than professional businesses. This can be determined by calling or inspecting the glass first-hand in person. After you have verified whether or not each place offers quality material, you can then eliminate any inferior competitors from your search.

Avoid Dealerships
In the case of auto dealerships, you will most likely be able to find high-quality glass and mechanics who can perform the job adequately. The downside to this, however, is that dealerships often charge much more for labor and material than traditional glass and windshield repair shops, so it only makes sense to shop around before making any commitment. While you may luck out and find a dealership with competitive pricing, it usually makes sense to avoid these establishments altogether (unless your auto insurance provides comprehensive coverage with very low deductibles).

Other Factors to Consider
Any auto glass shop that claims to offer free services may be trying to engage in some financial trickery that involves adding hidden costs elsewhere. You will also want to check to see how long any prospective repair shop has been in business; if it is relatively new, then you may want to be a bit more cautious about having the repairs performed there. A variety of online business review sites may prove to be helpful in your search if you live in a fairly populated area. Above all else, use common sense: if something just doesn’t feel right when you make contact with a potential repair shop or technician, go somewhere else.

Before you make any commitment on an auto glass repair or replacement job, you must be sure to verify that the institution in question is professional and knowledgeable. Some ways that you can determine the quality of your potential repair job include assessing the quality of materials used, avoiding fly-by-night operations that only provide a cell phone number, avoiding expensive dealerships that overcharge, inspecting their business listings and inquiring about repair times. With the information provided above, you can be sure to make the right decision and be back on the road in no time at all.

Is It Time To Sell Your Home?

Charlotte Mabry Team

Few people are predicting that 2020 will be a record-breaking year for home sale prices.

But relatively speaking, 2020 might be the best time to put your house on the market. Especially if you’re on the fence about selling this year or next, it may be better to sell in an environment that’s more predictable, rather than wait for time to pass and circumstances to change.

Ryan Gorman, president and CEO of Coldwell Banker NRT, predicts that the housing market will be “increasingly healthy” in 2020 – meaning home prices will continue to rise, but at a moderate pace. This means homebuyers are less likely to face affordability issues, and there will be a better balance between supply and demand for housing than in previous years when supply was limited.

If you bought your houses for sale in the past few years, still love it and don’t want to part with it, go ahead and wait another five years before revisiting the thought of selling. But if you’re weighing your options to sell and are considering selling this year or next, don’t play the waiting game.

Here are four reasons to sell your house in 2020:

  • New buyers are still entering the market.
  • Interest rates are expected to remain low.
  • You have high equity.
  • There’s no telling what 2021 holds.

New Buyers Are Still Entering the Market

If your house is at the higher end of the price range in your market, you should expect less buyer interest than in previous years. If your home is considered in the entry-level or midlevel price range for your city, however, expect to have interested buyers eager to move quickly.

The biggest wave of new homebuyers will continue to be millennials, who are mostly first-time homebuyers. But depending on where you live, you may see the youngest generation of adults breaking into homeownership as well. Members of Generation Z, born between 1996 and 2010, are largely still too young to make up a significant portion of the homebuyer market.

But Gorman says he’s already seeing small numbers of Gen Z homebuyers buying in more affordable Midwestern cities, “where home prices have grown, but not as dramatically,” such as Des Moines, Iowa, and Omaha, Nebraska.

Interest Rates Are Expected to Remain Low

Interest rates are expected to remain low throughout 2020, which will help new buyers obtain financing for their first home purchase. The Federal Reserve left interest rates unchanged in December 2019 with the target range of 1.5% to 1.75% and noted its intention to keep rates as-is throughout 2020.

While the Fed’s recommendation plays a role in mortgage interest rates, the interest rate lenders offer to homebuyers varies based on the individual and the market. On Jan. 2, the average interest rate for a 30-year, fixed-rate mortgage was 3.72%. While some fluctuation is expected throughout the year, GW Johnson, a real estate broker in Chattanooga, predicts mortgage rates will stabilize at about 3.8% this year, which is still low enough to encourage buyers to enter the market.

“It’s basically setting the stage for a continued rise in home sales,” says GW Johnson, a real estate broker.

Low-interest rates aren’t just a helpful nudge for would-be buyers to consider your home for purchase. As you look to your next home purchase, you can likely secure a low-interest rate as well.

You Have High Equity

If you’ve been in your home for more than a couple years, you’ve been building equity as the property value increases and you make consistent mortgage payments. The more equity you have in your home, the more profit you’ll likely see when you sell the property. That, in turn, can be used for a larger down payment on your next house, other expenses or savings.

“Especially for someone who bought post-recession, they’re in a good place to sell right now,” Stewart says.

Whether you’re hoping to step up into a larger home or a more desirable neighborhood, significant equity in your current home can only help, making you a more desirable prospect to both mortgage lenders and home sellers considering offers.

But you’ll likely need to sell your current home before closing on a new one. With this in mind, Wendy Gilch founded Selling Later, a real estate marketing platform that allows homeowners to post their property information and photos prior to listing it for sale, noting the planned listing date. This service, launched in Gilch’s hometown of Pittsburgh but now available nationwide, can help sellers figure out their timeline over the next few months.

“That dream home down the street is selling in June – maybe that’s a good time to put your home on the market,” Gilch says.

Be Aware of Your Insurance Options When in Need of Windshield Repair or Replacement

Whenever you find a crack or chip in your windshield, it can be a frustrating experience to consider what will need to be done to fix the problem. The same can be said for extensive damage to the windshield that will most likely result in a windshield replacement. In both of these circumstances, the costs can quickly add up if you have to pay for these services out of pocket. Fortunately, most comprehensive auto insurance policies carry coverage for these occasions, meaning that you will need to be very little – if anything – to have these repairs or replacements performed. Unfortunately, there can be some fine print and unethical practices on the part of insurance companies when you need one of these services.
Most insurance companies have a business strategy that requires them to muddy the waters as much as possible for customers in order to make money off of them. In the case of auto glass repair jobs, there are plenty of insurance companies that use questionable tactics to accomplish this. If you have recently spotted damage on your windshield or need a completely new one installed, then you will want to continue reading to find out about your options and how to avoid a less than optimal experience with an auto glass repair shop and your insurance company.

The Most Common Scenario
If you currently have comprehensive auto insurance coverage and are suddenly in need of auto glass services, there is a good chance that your repairs or replacement services are covered by your insurance. This is a fairly straightforward process and results in all or the majority of the costs being absorbed by the insurance provider. In many cases, a claim is filed by the company or yourself once services are rendered, with the auto glass company being reimbursed by your insurance. Since this is one of the most basic auto insurance elements provided, it is virtually certain that your repairs will be covered if you have full coverage insurance.

Choosing a Repair Company
It is highly recommended that you do some research and contact several auto glass repair shops in your area before you contact your insurance company. Each auto glass repair shop will be able to confirm whether or not they accept your auto insurance. Once this process has been completed, you may then contact your insurance company to begin the claims process. Only after you have picked the desired auto glass shop for your repairs should you contact your insurance: why is that?
Unfortunately, many unsuspecting customers will contact their auto insurance companies first, in the hopes that they will provide a list of auto glass repair shops that are covered under their policies. While any insurance company will provide this service, they often leave out auto glass shops that will result in higher costs to them. This can result in a lower quality of work being performed on your vehicle. Most auto insurance policies are accepted by most auto glass repair shops, so you should always initiate contact with the repair shop before you take the advice of the insurance company.

National Warranty Excuses
There is a national warranty that exists on every insurance policy in regards to auto glass repairs. The reality is that this is not a warranty for you, but rather, for the insurance company. Each insurance company receives a rebate toward the repair if you use one of their special auto glass partners. When you select your own auto glass company for the repairs, they do not receive this warranty. In many cases, insurers will try to push you into having the repairs done at their select partners’ facilities and tell you that you will lose the national warranty. The reality is that you have lost nothing but a potentially better rate or quality of repair when listening to them on this matter.
There are many watchdog groups that work to ensure that this happens to as few consumers as possible, but the practice is still very common. If you have been coerced by your auto insurance company to have repairs performed or risk the loss of a national warranty, the National Windshield Repair Association recommends that you contact your Attorney General’s office to report such activity. In many cases, agents via the phone use scripts that encourage this sort of the behavior; when a report is filed, it often leads to a cessation of such activity by the insurance company.

There are many different tricks that an insurance company may attempt to use when you are needing auto glass repair services, but we cannot cover every possible scenario here. The most important thing you can do is be insistent with your insurance company and find the auto glass shop best suited to perform your repairs. Assuming that the shop accepts your insurance, you should have no real issues when it comes to your insurance paying for the repairs or replacement. If you have any issues, then you should contact the offices of your state’s Insurance Commissioner and Attorney General for more information.

What To Do When Your Car Is Vandalized

It happens countless times every year, despite our best efforts to prevent it: vandals will strike and they will seek to take whatever they can get their hands on out of your car. Especially common in financially-strained times, would-be thieves try to gain access to your car through a variety of ways. While there is the slim chance that your car will be stolen, it is much more likely that it will be vandalized in the pursuit of money, electronics or other valuables. Most people try not to leave expensive items in their cars or in plain sight, but this does not always deter thieves.

Broken auto glass is a commonly-found result of these forms of vandalism and can leave vehicle owners without a way to safely operate them. Fortunately, auto glass repairs can almost always be obtained quickly, if you react properly. Whether you have been a victim of vandalism in the past and had a bad experience or simply want to be prepared for the future, you will appreciate the following advice that outlines what you should do in the event your car’s auto glass is broken in an act of vandalism.

Contact Law Enforcement
When you discover the damage to your automobile, the first thing that you should do is contact local law enforcement. You will be asked to file a police report and the officer will investigate the scene for any clues that may be helpful. Unfortunately, many vandals get away with their actions and leave very little behind that can track them, but it is always smart to file a claim due to the implications that it can have on insurance. If you do not file a report and begin an insurance claim, your insurer may be more likely to fight the charges. Since this is the last thing you want to deal with, you should always contact law enforcement first.

Contact an Auto Glass Repair Shop
There are most likely several different auto glass options in your area, but you will probably be in a rush to have these repairs performed so that you can get back on the road. The police officer at the scene may even recommend an auto glass repair shop (since vandalism is such a common crime), but you owe it to yourself to do a bit of investigation before you select a technician. If you have a mobile device with you, then be sure to search all of the local shops for reviews and accreditation. When you’ve located a repair shop that you are satisfied with performing the repairs or windshield replacement, then you can make the call and a technician will arrive shortly.

Contact Your Insurance Company
Once you have handled the law enforcement and technical aspects of the repair job, it is now time to contact your auto insurer. They may be able to provide additional information on any out-of-pocket expenses or help you file a claim for other items that may have been stolen from the vehicle. It is always a good idea to alert the insurer of the damage – even if nothing was stolen – so that there is a record of contact before the claim is filed. This will make the overall process a bit smoother and help you be studious with record-keeping.

Dealing with the Aftermath
Depending on the situation, you may still have other institutions that need to be contacted. If your wallet or any credit cards were stolen, for instance, then you will need to contact these banks and agencies to have them canceled. If you had keys or other personal information in the car that revealed your location, then a change of your home’s lock is definitely something that must be considered. In addition to this, any theft of mobile devices or items under contract should be reported missing as well, so that service or any existing contracts can be canceled on them.

Repair Times
In most cases, a simple windshield repair job can be performed in around 30 minutes, once the technician arrives. A complete replacement of a window or windshield may take up to two hours, but you will not be able to drive if these vital components are not in place. You also do not want to move the vehicle while the glass is curing, so you will need to occupy yourself during this time (hopefully by doing some of the things mentioned above). Do not worry, though: auto glass technicians are well-trained and can get the job done in as little time as possible.

Minimizing Future Risks
Sometimes, there is nothing that can stop a vandal from intruding. You can take some precautions, however, such as hiding valuables in the trunk, installing window tint to minimize visibility inside of the car and making sure that you do not park too far away from a frequented public space. These elements will help minimize the likelihood of a break-in, according to the Seattle Police Department.

If your car has suffered a break-in and your auto glass is damaged, you can act quickly to solve the issue and get back on the road. Call law enforcement first, and then contact an auto glass repair shop. Once these wheels are in motion, be sure to also contact your auto insurance company and any other institutions that might be impacted by theft, such as your bank or cell phone provider. For the future, always be sure to keep valuables – and any items – out of sight and park in spaces that are well-lit or frequented by many people.

The country waits as coup rumours grow

Prime Minister Julia Gillard insisted on Tuesday that she continued to enjoy the support of the majority of her governing Labor Party, as she sought to silence growing speculation that her foreign minister, Kevin Rudd, was planning to challenge her as Australia’s leader.

The move to dispel the swirling rumors comes as the deeply unpopular Ms. Gillard, who seized the leadership from Mr. Rudd in an internal party coup in 2010, has had to face a steady stream of reports that lawmakers loyal to the former prime minister were maneuvering behind the scenes to restore him to power.

“I’m getting on with the job with the strong support of my caucus colleagues,” Ms. Gillard told reporters in the capital, Canberra. “I’m getting on with my job. Kevin Rudd’s getting on with his.”

Mr. Rudd, who was in Mexico attending a gathering of the Group of 20 foreign ministers, also dismissed the issue when questioned about the subject by reporters on Monday.

But, as he frequently has when rumors of his political ambitions have arisen over the past two years, he kept his answers conspicuously in the present tense.

A challenge “is not in prospect because we have a prime minister and I am the foreign minister,” he said.

Neither statement seems likely to silence the cacophony of coup-related reporting dominating the country’s news media.

The Tuesday edition of The Australian devoted nearly six pages to the affair, including a front-page story and a scathing editorial that accused both Ms. Gillard and Mr. Rudd of failing to exhibit leadership qualities.

The left-leaning Sydney Morning Herald, meanwhile, reported that pro-Rudd members of Parliament had been circulating a petition calling for a Labor Party leadership ballot as early as next week, when Mr. Rudd is scheduled to return from his overseas trip.

At least 35 of the 103 Labor lawmakers in Parliament would have to sign on to the petition to force a leadership vote.

It remains unclear how much support Mr. Rudd actually has within the party, however, which is one possible reason his supporters have not yet pushed for a ballot.

Mr. Rudd, a Mandarin-speaking former diplomat who led his party back into power in 2007, is widely derided within the Labor leadership for what has often been described as an autocratic leadership style.

But his stunning removal as prime minister in 2010 angered many, and the Australian public continues to display a deep ambivalence toward Ms. Gillard, despite significant legislative successes and strong economic growth under her stewardship.

Fears within the party that she is now simply too unpopular to return Labor to power in elections scheduled for August of next year seem to be playing a strong role in the current dispute.

The latest data released by the Nielsen polling agency earlier this month indicated that 57 percent of voters would prefer Mr. Rudd as Labor leader, while 35 percent would choose Ms. Gillard.

That comes as Labor has fallen behind the main opposition coalition by 53 percent to 47 percent.

The opposition leader, Tony Abbott, whose poll numbers have also labored in the doldrums despite the growing popularity of his coalition, has been an unrelenting critic of Ms. Gillard, Australia’s first female prime minister.

He chimed in on the unfolding political drama on Tuesday, calling it “a poisonous soap opera.”

“What I want to see are better policies in Canberra, more stable government in Canberra and I doubt this hopelessly divided and dysfunctional government can provide that,” he was quoted as saying in The Australian. “I think it’s beyond repair.”

Deadly fire hits Bangkok shopping complex

At least two people died and 17 others were injured, some after jumping from the eighth floor, when the fire broke out at the CentralWorld shopping complex on the evening of April 10, 2019.

The CentralWorld management originally stated on its Facebook page that the fire started at about 5:40 p.m. in a smoke ventilation duct on the eighth floor of the shopping center.

Witnesses saw two people jumping from the eighth floor. Thick black smoke was seen billowing out, and explosions were heard.

Both the hotel and the shopping center were evacuated. Initial reports said many people were trapped in the building. The CentralWorld page said its fire fighters put out the blaze at 6:10 p.m., about half an hour after it started.

Bangkok governor Aswin Kwangmuang later said the fire started in a document room on the eighth floor. The whole 16-story building was ordered closed, pending investigation into the cause of the fire and the effectiveness of its fire suppression system.

The deceased were reportedly staff at the shopping complex. The 17 injured people were admitted at Police General Hospital and Ratchavithi Hospital for smoke inhalation.

The blaze caused heavy traffic snarl-ups in the vicinity, especially on Rama I and Ratchadamri roads, as it occurred in the evening rush hour.

Seasonal Concerns For Your Auto Glass

There are year-round conditions that definitely impact the way in which we should drive on roads and highways. It was common for windshields to only provide basic protection against wind and rain in the past, but a slew of modern developments have made it possible for us to defrost windshields, repel rain and enjoy other forms of convenience so that we may continue to drive in the worst of weather. It’s important to also note that windshields provide plenty of strength to the vehicle in the event a roll-over or major accident occurs. Because of this, your windshield and auto glass are important features for safety and convenience while on the road.

Windshields are designed to withstand a lot of elements, but there are plenty of examples in which a windshield’s effectiveness can be compromised – debris being one notable example, requiring a windshield replacement. Quite a large number of drivers do not understand the risks that hot and cold temperatures, along with humidity, can present, however. These elements can play large roles in how effective our auto glass will be under stress, especially if there is already existing damage to the structure. In the following article, we’ll discuss how these elements can affect your windshield and what can be expected in each circumstance.

Cold Weather
Cold weather is arguably the single-worst form of temperature or weather that can cause complications for drivers with damaged or weakened auto glass. Even if you’ve had a small chip or crack in the windshield for some time that has not worsened, cold weather may present the perfect storm scenario for that to change. The glass will morph, bending and flexing as the temperature drops. These processes will in effect cause the glass to fracture bit by bit, until all of a sudden a huge crack forms. You know how quickly this process can occur if you have ever been driving down the road, hit a pothole and suddenly see a huge crack in your windshield has formed. The colder season of winter is the number one seasonal cause of damage to auto glass.

Warm Weather
Just because cold weather is rough on glass doesn’t mean that warm weather does not do damage as well. Horizontal cracks are very common in auto glass damage that forms during winter months, but vertical damage is the more common scenario when dealing with warm weather damage. From the time the windshield or auto glass is formed, the key processes that lead to its reinforcement explain why these cracks form the way they do. Since glass will expand under heat, these cracks can be pushed out and cause surrounding glass to weaken, exacerbating the process. The use of climate control options within the car – air conditioning and defrost – can actually speed this up by putting more stress and contrast on the windshield.

Ice, Snow, Hail
Cold weather in and of itself can be a bad thing for your auto glass, but frozen precipitation takes the threat to an all new level. Cold air temperatures will cause the glass to contract and can result in increased damage, but frozen precipitation has additional effects on damaged glass. As liquid enters the areas of damage, it will ultimately refreeze and can cause expansion of the glass in these areas. When this process occurs over and over again, it may compromise the windshield or auto glass to the point that a complete replacement is required. There is also the threat of hail – a form of frozen precipitation that can occur year-round – which causes damage due to its velocity and mass.

Windy Considerations
The first six months of the year tend to be windier, and this too can affect the auto glass in your vehicle. Existing damage to your auto glass can be impacted profoundly by the pressure of wind into the damaged areas as you drive. When you add to this the amount of dirt and dust that is in the air, moving about and making contact with your vehicle at high speeds, then the effect can intensify the erosion and encourage more rapid damage. This is a key reason why auto glass damage must be repaired when it is first noticed.

Whether your auto glass is already damaged or still in good shape, there are numerous seasonal factors that can cause damage to worsen or form in the first place. With damage already on the windshield or auto glass, we recommend parking in a garage or interior space to minimize temperature fluctuations when not driving. Waterproofing and de-icing methods for the glass are also good ideas to prevent any liquid from accumulating in these areas in the winter months. If you ignore or put off the necessary repair job for your auto glass in the here and now, then it is very likely that your negligence will lead to costlier requirements in the future.

Middle classes losing out to ultra-rich

Middle-class families are seeing their incomes stagnating as they are squeezed by the ultra-rich taking a bigger slice, says an international report from the OECD economics think tank.

The report says the middle classes are being “hollowed out”, with declining chances of rising prosperity and growing fears of job insecurity.

The OECD says there will be political consequences for Western countries.

It says middle classes have often been the “bedrock of democracy”.

Against a background of political populism and concerns about rising extremism, the report says that traditionally moderate middle-class families are feeling “left behind” and are increasingly likely to support “anti-establishment” movements.

‘Dismal growth’

It warns of a destabilising impact if this section of society – defined as earning between 75% and 200% of the average income – continues to feel that prosperity is slipping away.

In the UK, almost 60% of people live in households classified as being in this middle-income group.

Gilets jaune
Image captionThe report warns of anti-establishment “discontent” driven by a widening income gap: France has faced months of “yellow jacket” protests

From an international perspective, the OECD shows a changing economic model, in which high earners have accelerated upwards, while those in the middle have seen “dismal income growth” or a falling back.

  • Across OECD countries, which include most of the big economies in Western Europe and North America, the 10% of highest earners have increased their income by a third more than middle earners
  • In the UK, more than a third of middle-income households “report having difficulty making ends meet”, says the OECD
  • In the United States over the past three decades, the top 1% of earners have increased their slice of total annual income from 11% to 20%

“Middle incomes are barely higher today than they were 10 years ago,” says the analysis.

Loss of trust

The report warns of social consequences if the middle classes lose trust in the system, beyond their own economic self-interest.

It says the middle classes have been important supporters of sectors such as education, health and housing and “good quality public services”.

Image captionYounger generations face an uphill challenge to buy their home

But worsening income inequality could threaten “their trust in others and in democratic institutions”.

The study says that this perception of declining opportunities is causing “growing discontent”.

The “stagnation of middle-class living standards” has been accompanied by the emergence of “new forms of nationalism, isolationism, populism and protectionism”.

Instead of upwards social mobility and growing prosperity, the report says the middle classes are more worried about slipping downwards.

Housing costs

The report, Under Pressure: The Squeezed Middle Class, says that totems of middle class family life, such as access to housing and higher education, have become increasingly expensive.

Chart on middle income gap

The rising cost of property, in particular, has outstripped the growth in income, with parents worrying about the housing prospects for their children.

Another traditional middle-class advantage has been job security, but this has also been eroded.

“Today, the middle class looks increasingly like a boat in rocky waters,” says the OECD’s secretary general, Angel Gurría

The OECD highlights a generational divide – with a shrinking number of younger people in this middle-class group.

Generational change

The widening gap of incomes has pushed more people to the extremes of rich and poor, so that millennials in their 20s are less likely to be in middle-income households than baby boomers in their 50s and 60s.

“A strong and prosperous middle class is important for the economy and society as a whole,” says the study.

But it says middle-class households feel a sense of “unfairness” and are “increasingly anxious about their economic situation”.

Five Auto Glass Treatment Products You Should Consider

Inclement weather and rough road conditions can present a variety of challenges to drivers as they head to and from work, school, and elsewhere. While dozens of advancements have been made in the world of auto glass over the decades, there are still limitations that come with any standard piece of auto glass or a windshield. For those who have struggled to see during a heavy rainstorm or have smudgy residue on the interior of the glass, it is a well-known inconvenience. How can we prevent these sorts of issues from causing distractions and potential accidents while behind the wheel?
Fortunately, there are dozens of auto glass treatment products that can be useful in one form or another. Whether your windshield is susceptible to morning fog, winter ice, or heavy rain, there is most likely a product on the shelves right now that can solve the problem. All too many people drive around with these hassles because they believe that the cost to treat these issues is too much or that the effort required to fix them is too great; this is simply not true. Below, we will outline five different auto glass treatment products that you should consider for all-weather driving.

Aquapel Glass Treatment & Rain Repellent
As the auto glass begins to age, it loses its shiny, new factory features. Most windshields come with a protective coating when first purchased or installed that can wear down gradually with time; when combined with dirt, debris, and oils, the windshield or windows can quickly lose their ability to repel water efficiently. Aquapel Glass Treatment & Rain Repellent is an affordable solution ($8.00) that anyone can apply to a clean windshield for better rain repulsion. One application of Aquapel is included and can keep your windshield in great shape for rainy days for up to six months. Aquapel can be found in most major auto shops and from select online retailers.

Nanoskin Anti-Fog Glass Treatment
Anyone who lives along the coast or in a generally humid area may often have to face the perils of foggy conditions on their way to school or work. While you may not be able to eliminate the fog that is in the air, you can effectively eliminate it from your windshield and windows. Nanoskin Anti-Fog Glass Treatment can be purchased for around $15 and comes in a 16-ounce canister for easy application. After it is applied to the interior of your windows, you will enjoy months of fog-free windows and no steaming on the windshield. This is a must-have for those who want to be safe while on the road and don’t want to be constantly activating the defroster.

Rain-X Glass Treatment (Trigger Spray)
Another great product that can be used to repel precipitation of all types, Rain-X Glass Treatment is available through major retailers for just $7.00. This product can be quickly applied to any glass surface – simply hold the bottle upright, spray the solution onto a clean windshield and wipe for even application. While the application only lasts for three months, there are dozens of applications in just one bottle of Rain-X, making it a great value for those who are tired of droplets accumulating on the fringes of their windshields and windows.

RejeX Surface Treatment
Water all over your windshield and windows usually only happens when it is raining or snowing outside, but added moisture from other parts of the vehicle (particularly the hood) can work their way onto your windshield due to wind and motion. As a result, you may wish to treat your entire vehicle with a comprehensive solution that repels all types of moisture. This is where RejeX Surface Treatment can be a vital ally: simply apply this thin-film polymer to the exterior of your vehicle and watch moisture wick off of the vehicle. In addition to protection from moisture, it also helps prevent damage from oils, pests, droppings and other common elements that can affect your vehicle’s paint and body. RejeX is a bit pricey for some, though ($120 for one gallon).

Rain-X Swipe and Wipe
One final product for protecting your auto glass is the Rain-X Swipe and Wipe glass treatment, available from select retailers for just $5.00. Not only can these wipes improve your driving visibility, but they also help repel rain, eliminate winter weather from sticking to your windshield and are completely disposable. Each wipes provides up to two months of protection and is a great way to clean your windshield while you protect it from the elements at the same time.

When out and about, you don’t want to be caught in nasty weather without the proper auto glass protection. While a windshield and windows can keep moisture out of the cabin of your vehicle, you also need to be concerned with how the exterior of your glass performs. The five products outlined above can help provide protection and repel moisture from your field of view while driving; some also double as great ways to protect your entire vehicle or to clean the glass in question. But in the cases of large cracks, a windshield replacement will be necessary.