Talking Real Estate | May 2023


MAY 2023




Apps That Keep Your Houseplants Alive


Houseplants bring earthy beauty to interiors, but they can quickly show signs of decline if they don’t get the correct amount of sun, nutrients and water. When your favorite plant turns into a droopy, brown mess, where can you turn for help?

Google Play or Apple might not be your first move, but they have excellent apps that can help you choose, care for, and grow healthy beautiful plants. You can use an app to help you save a sickly plant, talk to the app’s team of botanists, and set reminders for watering, fertilizing, pruning and other plant care, advises

Download or PictureThis the next time you visit a nursery to help you choose plants that will thrive in your home or garden. Use the app when you’re on a nature hike to help you identify edible plants and keep you from walking into that tangle of poison ivy.

Bloomscape’s Vera app offers a great way to document your plants, customize watering and fertilizing schedules, and journal about your plants as well as store pics of them as they grow. Plantnote is an app diary that allows pics with a data backup option, and it integrates with Google Lens to identify plants with Apple Maps or Google Maps.

Reader’s Digest rates Planta as the best plant-care app for 2023, and it’s an Editor’s Choice on the App Store. The paid subscription includes a light meter and access to Dr. Planta for troubleshooting plant disease and other advice.




Making Multigenerational Households Happy


Between 20%-26% of the nation live in multigenerational homes with two or more adult generations or grandparents and grandchildren younger than 25. According to, there are numerous benefits—multigen households save money and share responsibilities to improve wellbeing for all members. Children have fewer behavioral problems, grandparents are happier and less lonely, and their adult children have more financial and emotional support.

Younger adults can improve their credit, reduce debt, and save for a down payment on their own home one day. Family members can combine their credit and cash to borrow bigger mortgage and remodeling loans to buy better homes, improve lifestyles and increase privacy.

To make shared living successful, multigen households should establish some ground rules, advises

  1. Create both common areas and separate spaces. All household members need privacy. Homes with dual owner’s suites, kitchenettes, private baths and separate entrances make it easy to live together and have privacy, too.
  2. Set boundaries. Establish everyone’s needs, expectations and personal preferences openly. Respect each other’s privacy, possessions and time.
  3. Do your part. Pay your fair share as agreed. Do your chores on time. Offer help when needed.
  4. Create opportunities for caregivers to recharge. Date nights and weekend getaways away from the house can be refreshing for parents or caregivers of aging parents.
  5. Create playtime for the whole family. Everyone can look forward to board game night, family vacations, trips to the park, school plays, or tickets to sporting and musical events.



Should You Move to a Zoom Town?


Remote workers are migrating from high-priced cities with few housing choices in search of real estate gold—larger, cheaper homes that offer a better lifestyle.

According to, telecommuting is here to stay. Zoom towns outside of major cities like Centennial, Colorado (Denver metro); Frisco, Texas (Dallas metro); Bellevue, Washington (Seattle metro); Carlsbad, California (San Diego metro); and Fremont, California (San Francisco Bay Area) are close to big-city amenities but are more affordable. However, increasing demand is making zoom town homes more expensive.

If you telecommute, consider the following:

Your commute. Will your new home have a sequestered area where you can telecommute comfortably away from household noise and distractions? What would your commute be like if your employer wanted you in the office part of the week?

Your required services. Small remote towns may not have reliable high-speed internet, high-rated schools, restaurants or other niceties you’re used to. Can you afford to spend more on a home in order to remain closer to the big city?

Your lifestyle preferences. How luxurious do you want your home to be? Luxury means lots of space and beautiful views. What activities do you enjoy? Can you do those things better or more often in another community?

Your family’s needs. More space means more privacy. Will the kids get along better if they have separate bedrooms? 

The zoom town home that’s right for you and your family could be just minutes away. For advice, speak with your Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices network professional.




Improve Your Small Kitchen’s Functionality


Kitchens with little workspace, poor lighting, cramped traffic flow, and inadequate storage can easily be redesigned into high-functioning spaces.

Space Planning

If there is room to borrow space from somewhere else—the utility room, pantry, or living area—you can increase functionality by installing new cabinets, drawers and countertops that are a few inches shallower than standard. You’ll have more room to walk around 18” deep cabinets and less trouble bending over to retrieve pots or dishes from the back of a 24” cabinet. Buy upper cabinets that go all the way to the ceiling for extra storage. Locate your dishwasher so that the open door doesn’t bang into nearby cabinets and drawers.


You’ll have more workspace if you keep countertops cleared of clutter. You can choose a cabinet that includes a convenient appliance garage to store blenders, coffee grinders, and other small appliances. Instead of building a separate pantry, attach an extra-tall cabinet unit on the end to use for canned goods, brooms, etc.


Nothing beats natural light, but you can brighten workspaces with undercabinet lighting and canned ceiling lights. For overhead lights, install a flush-mount fixture with multiple lightbulbs.


At 30”-36” wide, refrigerators can hog precious workspace. A narrower fridge between 24” and 28” is more suitable for a smaller kitchen. Microwave/convection/oven units cook multiple ways and can be recessed into a wall. Freestanding ovens with four-burner cooktops come as compact as 20” to 24”, large enough to roast a Thanksgiving turkey.


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