Welcome to our blog!

The smart side & heart side of real estate

Silicon Valley Real Estate News, Market Trends...having an investor mindset & a look at what makes a house a home.

You’ll find our blog to be a wealth of information, covering everything from local market statistics, property investing, and home values to community happenings. In Silicon Valley many people are concerned about making it financially - our focus is to encourage an investor mindset, even for residential real estate, at the same time we cover what truly makes a house a home.

That’s because we care about the community, your Silicon Valley experience, and want to help you find your place in it.

We also have a little bit of fun here! Our team lead Kelsey Lane has been in real estate 17 years, and this is a forum not only for new clients, yet also for friends, family and the many clients and vendors who have become like friends and family.

Please reach out if you have any questions at all. We’d love to talk with you!

May 9, 2023

Minimalism Ideas for Your Home



Minimalism has been a dominating theme in design and architecture over the past few years. What started as an art movement in the 1960s has become a mainstay for interior designers that creates peaceful, eye-catching spaces with limited furnishings and selective decorative pieces. Minimalist decor is focused on the concept of ‘less is more’ and this idea places a lot of importance on functionality, tidiness, and organization in the home. Here are a few tips to bring minimalism into your home.


Eliminate the Clutter.

  • There are many things homeowners keep around the house on the off-chance they are needed, but usually they never are. Take control of your space by throwing away any loose papers, magazines, or trinkets that aren’t getting any use and do a weekly check to see where clutter is piling up.


Choose Decorations Wisely.

  • It’s a natural inclination to try to fill all the empty space on a wall, but in many cases, this design style can become a bit overwhelming and noisy. Instead, try to find a defining piece of art or decor that can act as a focal point or centerpiece. Then, the empty space surrounding it will accentuate the piece.


Focus on Function.

  • When you're deciding on whether or not to keep something in your space, just ask yourself, “Do I actually use this?” If it’s an item that is used daily, it makes sense to keep it, but if you can’t remember the last time you used it, it might be better to toss it. If something is used intermittently, you can still clear your space by finding a cabinet or drawer to keep it out of sight.


Article provided by Breakthrough Broker



Posted in Heart of the home
May 9, 2023

Selling a House As Is in the Bay Area

Written by Kelsey Lane
Did you know that all houses in California are technically sold "as is"? It's boilerplate, written into California purchase contracts, which many people don't realize. All this really means is that a buyer is assuming the risk of determining the condition of the property - the buyer accepts the house in the state which they are able to reasonably observe. They can ask for repairs from the seller but the seller is not obligated to comply. If the buyer has a contingency period for inspections, and finds something they are unhappy about, they can still back out of the deal if they can't reach an agreement with the seller. For many years now, in our current market in Silicon Valley and outlying areas, we haven't had the luxury of contingency periods. So, homes that are sold as-is still exchange hands and the price is commensurate to condition. 
My thinking is the state of California would rather people offer based on the condition of the house and have deals go through cleaner than have sellers always be responsible for the unpredictability of home repairs. Of course, there are more nuances than this, but those are the basics.
To most consumers, buying a house "as is" means it is a fixer upper in need of deferred maintenance, repairs, or significant remodeling. This is the general terminology used for selling a house as-is - meaning the buyer will become responsible for repairing the house and the seller gets to walk away. In the California Bay Area/ Silicon Valley, selling a house in its current state is rarely is considered by sellers. Most homeowners when contemplating selling a house as-is will assume, and rightly so, that they'll get less for the home sale.

That said, there are a few reasons even in Silicon Valley and the Bay Area, to sell your house As Is - or at least view it as a viable option. 

  • You can get your home on the market sooner. Sellers who are moving out of the area for work may find this option quite compelling. Also, if you have to hire contractors to perform the prep work, listing can get seriously delayed.
  • You can disclose thoroughly and also conduct home, termite, roof, and chimney pre-inspections (and even pool inspections) so that they buyers learn completely everything involved in the house to your knowledge. They go into the sale eyes wide open.
  • Also, because your pre-market time is shortened due to not having to complete repairs nor remodeling, your monthly and closing-cost expenses are lowered (e.g. property taxes etc.) based on time prorations.
  • Your costs of getting the home ready are significantly reduced. Staging, curb appeal, painting, landscaping, and more can add up to tens of thousands. While you typically would get this money back, many sellers incur debt to get the work done. If paid off at the time of sale, the risk is reduced, yet many won't want to undertake the uncertainty.
  • And lastly - and perhaps most importantly - you may be going through a time of distress due to either health or relationship change, etc. and need to not have a publicly presented sale. It's perfectly reasonable to sell your own house in the way that works for you. Even though homes in Silicon Valley are typically painted, staged, and heavily marketed with a lot of traffic coming through open houses, not every homeowner is in the right space to be a match for this method. Maybe a "quiet sale" that is quicker and less public is what you need instead. Make sure to tell your Realtor what works for you and your current lifestyle - just because everyone else is doing it a certain way doesn't mean you must.

Keep in mind

  • Some lenders will require certain repairs be done in order for a buyer to get a loan. Check with your local Realtor and lender to find out more regarding your specific situation.
  • You may end up receiving 5-25% less for your home than if you presented it pristinely. So, weigh the options and see if the alternative reasons are worth it to you.
  • The phrase "As Is" can present a red flag to buyers. In our area, you wouldn't even need to use this terminology in marketing since technically all homes are sold As Is. Let them come see the state your property is in, and they can offer a price based on their own observations.
A good local Realtor can help answer questions about your particular scenario, and home values in your neighborhood based on property condition. We're also available for any questions you have 408-316-0660.
Kelsey Lane has been a Realtor in the Silicon Valley since 2003 and is a Master Certified Negotiation Expert through the Real Estate Negotiation Institute, specializing in listings. She is also coaching certified through the Life Purpose Institute and approaches her real estate business through the eyes of a life coach. Cal-DRE #01390557 
Posted in Home selling
March 17, 2023

Housing Market Outlook

Source: California Association of Realtors

I figured spring is a good time to summarize some of the materials from the California Association of Realtor's economists about what is happening in the golden state real estate market.

Over the few years of the pandemic, the number of home sales went from the highest levels of transactions done in California ever (end of 2020 showed 500,000 units) to about half that volume at the end of 2022. The reason for this seems to be rapidly rising mortgage rates and inflation, which of course are linked. And even though rates are low historically, the quick rise (doubling in less than a year) created the current fallout. While other prices in our lives are rising, an equivalent home basically went up $400/month as well.
Inventory still remains very low. It was low in 2022 and then in January of 2023 it fell even another 30%. This is because for the most part, homeowners have "locked in" - almost all owners have mortgages under 5% and 85% have under 4%. Home sales this year are expected to slow a bit more with modest declines in prices.
Consumers and businesses alike are cutting costs and expenses and are concerned. Instead of a dramatic runup in prices like we've seen, prices are cooling for the first time since the financial crisis over a decade ago. The fed will likely raise rates more this year, and inflation is expected to calm its pace. And even though we dip into recession conditions, many real estate clients and investors consider this to be a time of opportunity. 
Buyers over the past 10 years or so have been competing against 20 other buyers or more in some cases in order to buy a home - this after losing bids on several homes that they loved. The current climate can often allow for time in considering different homes, and being able to buy an ideal, desirable home. Many believe they will be able to refinance at lower rates at a future date.
National real estate trainer Brian Buffini posits that owning real estate is the best hedge against inflation. Last year, owned real estate by the end of the year was still up, whereas leaving money in the bank saw decreased buying power due to inflation.
Some areas in our local market are still seeing multiple offers and high bids. It's really case by case and area by area, along with particular condition of the home. As in other areas of life, if you have a real estate goal, it's worth looking for opportunities.
If you have any real estate investment questions, I'm all ears and ready to help. 
Compiled by Kelsey Lane
Source: California Association of Realtors and real estate trainer Brian Buffini
March 16, 2023

Benefits of Houseplants



Houseplants are great natural decoration pieces to occupy a corner, window sill, table, or shelf, but they also offer many health benefits that can enhance your physical well-being.


Air quality

In the late 1970s, many buildings were constructed with limited fresh air exchange and ‘superinsulation’ in an attempt to minimize energy costs. However, occupants began to report various health problems. This phenomenon, known as ‘sick building syndrome,’ was caused by the lack of fresh air entering the building and emissions of ‘various organic compounds’ from synthetic insulations. In 1989, NASA conducted a study to counteract ‘sick building syndrome’ and their results were nothing short of remarkable. They found that certain houseplants can absorb pollutants in the air through their soil and improve air quality dramatically. The study found that plants, such as Chrysanthemums, peace lilies, English ivy, and ficuses, do a great job combating indoor air pollution.


Decreasing stress

According to a 2015 study conducted by scientists at Chungnam National University, interacting with plants “can reduce physiological and psychological stress.” During the study, half the participants completed a task on a computer while the other half repotted a plant. They found that working with plants inspired comfortable feelings and reduced more stress compared to completing the computer task.



The 1989 NASA study discovered certain plants have the ability to remove pollutants from the air and this natural process could improve your sleep. We release a lot of carbon dioxide when we are sleeping, but plants like aloe vera or snake plants can absorb that carbon dioxide and replace it with oxygen.



Article provided by Breakthrough Broker

Posted in Heart of the home
Feb. 2, 2023

State of the Real Estate market in San Jose and Surrounding Areas

Written by Kelsey Lane


It's February 1st and now that we have enough of 2023 under our belt, I thought I'd weigh in on the state of the real estate market. Even though I called this the current "San Jose Real Estate Market" it's really the trends for Santa Clara County. Because of the economic weight of Silicon Valley, San Jose is the epicenter that affects much of the Bay Area real estate market.

Almost everyone whether or a realtor or homeowner, or wanna be homeowner, freaked out about the market starting to soften during the last half of 2022. By now, you've already heard it has been generally because of inflation and higher than typical mortgage rates. In October and November of last year, interest rates hit the highest they've been in 20 years, so it's no joke.

Additionally, home prices came off of the pandemic-frenzy prices, softening.

Since then, I've been attending many economical forecast summits and real estate market workshops, and I've noticed a few common threads. First of all, most industry leaders believe that if homebuyers employ the strategy of buying at today's softened prices that when mortgage rates go down, there will be an opportunity to refinance having locked in a good price on a home. Since over time home prices tend to go up 5-10% average annually in the Bay Area if you hold a home long enough, I see the insight in this plan.

Brian Buffini, who trains Realtors nationwide and who is typically right in his annual predictions purports that owning property is the best hedge against inflation. His logic is that if you have cash sitting in the bank it will dwindle at the rate of inflation, whereas if you invest it, over time it will grow.

I have clients ask me lately if it's a good time to sell a house in the Bay Area now. For the most part, I don't believe in trying to time the market. I've observed that people who attempt this, usually end up selling after the peak or before the peak. A better approach is to evaluate your reasons for selling, and whether it's the right time in your life to make the move. Since you'd likely be buying somewhere, if the market is soft you'll be getting a deal on your purchase. There are ways to enhance sales price, and then maximize a bargain during your home buying - I'm happy to discuss if you want to go to coffee or have a phone chat. (We have signature systems for both.)

As for specifics in the San Jose and surrounding area, inventory of homes is up slightly both from where it was last month and also last year at this time. Where it was taking about a month to go through the current "supply" given the number of buyers in the market, now it's taking about 2.5 months. Homes last year were selling in 2 weeks, and then in January in about month - currently days on market is 35. In the grand scheme of "days on market" this is still relatively short. Many other states in the U.S. experience that even 3 months average is decent for days on market statistics. What I'm seeing in the actual marketplace is that the more desirable homes in good condition and nice locations is they're selling quickly with multiple offers even in this market. Challenged homes in other areas can still be finessed to have similar results.

While last year, homes were selling way above the list price, the average now is just barely under the list price. That doesn't seem so horrible to me if I think about my 20 years as an agent. The average price of all properties in Santa Clara County is up already from last month, from $1,505,797 to $1,647,953. Single family home sale price averages have dipped just below 2M after seeing incredulous peaks in 2022 much higher than that.

For additional counties (e.g. Alameda, San Mateo, San Joaquin, Contra Costa, San Francisco), please let us know and we'll make sure we get the information to you.


All in all, the market is stabilizing and it's projected that interest rates will come down a bit. Inflation is promisingly on a downward trend. Inventory will begin to go up and climb and then start going down at the end of the year - because of this, buyers in the market for a new home will have more to choose from. Their other added benefits will be time to think, do due diligence, make a wise decision, and have a variety of homes to choose from as they shop. Home sellers will have an easier time on their "up leg" as far as identifying a home to move into and getting their offers accepted (this would of course apply to downsizers as well).

Brian Buffini also projects prices to remain mostly stable this year, with a possible 1% gain. Next year he said there would be about a 4 to 5 % gain. 


Usually what I see is that a move, whether buying or selling, means change. Change can be exciting, and it can also be difficult. People move for new jobs and to be near family (like a new baby), but they also move for divorce or sell a family home due to the death of a family member. While not pleasant to talk about, it's reality and it affects whether timing is right when it comes to real estate decisions. Some people buy or sell strategically to reach their goals. No matter what the reason, taking time to assess what is right for you in your own life can mean a world of difference compared to only looking at numbers and statistics. As always, I'm happy to talk it over whenever you like.



Kelsey Lane has been a Realtor in the Silicon Valley since 2003 and is a Master Certified Negotiation Expert through the Real Estate Negotiation Institute, specializing in listings. She works at Compass. She is also coaching certified through the Life Purpose Institute and approaches her real estate business through the eyes of a life coach. Cal-DRE #01390557 

Feb. 2, 2023

Visual Time Plotting for Peace of Mind

Journal and coffee www.kelseylane.com

Written by Nicole Kleemann


Decision Making, Inner Critics & Fears

Recently, a client of mine quit her job and decided to take some time off for herself, to meet up with friends and family, and determine what the next step really needed to look like.

On first glance taking time off to gain clarity and see friends and family sounds amazing, right? Or does it sound a bit indulgent? And how do you answer the question: What do you do in the next couple of following months, when you are used to saying: I am a [job title] at [company]?

When we create substantial change in our lives we are not only feeling excited, we can also be feeling a lot of fear and worry. Most people think that the financial side is the biggest worry. However, the length of time someone can take off work financially, and what the budget will be, can be figured out pretty fast.

What is much harder to deal with are the old beliefs and insecurities we have around taking time off. In a world where go-go-go is the way of being and FOMO is around every corner, taking time for oneself is hard. Some people already struggle with guilt and feel selfish when they try to take just 30 minutes a week for themselves. Can you imagine what happens when you increase this to two or three months of time off? Possibly a major stomach churn!


Reflect and Visualize

In the conversation with my client, I asked her what she likes to do and experience during her time off and she had two, well really three, thoughts as a response:

  • Gain clarity on her next career move.
  • Spend time with family and friends.

And ideally…

  • Learn something new.

Then I asked her how many friends and family members she wanted to see, and how much time she wanted to spend on learning something new and gaining clarity on her next career move.

While she was talking, I took notes and counted how many days that would take. And with friends and family, and the networking she wanted to do, it showed her as already being busy for a whole month. Vacation time to rest, relax, learn something new and what I call unforeseeables were not even covered yet.

And while I had created a visual while listening to her and taking notes, she had not done so yet herself. So her homework was to get a calendar with monthly spreads, post-it notes, colored markers, and highlighters and start marking the days.

You don’t need to quit your job or business to go through this process. If you think about what’s important to you in your life for the next couple months, you can have a brainstorming session with yourself and then start making a rough draft of a calendar to see what it would look like.


Make it tangible

Writing it down on paper helps to calm your worries as you have visible and tangible evidence of what the next few weeks or months could be. You see and know exactly how many days you have ahead of you and what open time and space is available.

According to research, writing things down has a higher memory recall than using digital means. You are more mindful while writing by hand, which is likely why it calms the worried brain. You are actually 25% faster than typing, and most importantly in this case “paper notebooks contain more spatial information than digital paper.” Paper does not disappear when you close the app, so we worry less that we will forget something. We recall much better what we wrote on paper than what we typed into our laptop. And it is very hard to see several months at one glance on any digital screen.

Visualizing your next two to three months on paper is a great way to:

  • Gain clarity & calm your mind
  • Note your goals and milestones
  • Figure out the best flow to take some time off
  • See where and when your work time fits in – looking for a new job, doing current projects, etc.

Personally, I like a wall calendar as I need to see 3-4 months at a glance to manage my projects. My client chose a travel compatible planner. Evaluate and plan out what will work best for you. It’s a worthy endeavor with huge benefits and a lifetime of payback.



Nicole Kleemann, Leadership Empowerment Coach, is a regular guest blogger in our Heart of the Home series. She can be reached at https://www.nicolekleemann.com/ -- and other inspiring blog posts can be found there as well.

Posted in Heart of the home
Nov. 8, 2022

Steps in Selling Your Home

by Kelsey Lane

Various reasons may be prompting you to sell your home, or to look into the possibility of what it would take to sell it. Some examples would be clients who need to move further away from the urban center to get more space, or to downsize after kids going to college, etc. Others may be going through a life transition that is a catalyst for change to their housing needs. Whatever the situation, it can be helpful to know the steps involved in selling your home.

1) Schedule a preliminary walk through with your Realtor 

The first step is typically to have a trusted Realtor that you know or that you've been referred to come to take a look at your house, so they can help you with a list of what preparation work would need to be done in advance of selling. The Realtor can help you determine a budget for any prep work, and give you an idea if you'd be coordinating the work or if their team handles it.


2) Comparable sales report

Enlist the Realtor's help to give you a report of an average of the sales prices in your area for similarly sized homes with up to the minute data. And concurrently, a report of home sale prices in the area you'll be moving to (if you're moving well out of the area, your Realtor can give you a referral to a good agent in the new area, who can provide this report).


3) Start organizing, packing and storing

We typically advise clients to pack away 1/3 of their belongings if they'll be living in the home while it's on the market. If you move completely out of the house before putting it on the market, you'll receive the highest price for your sale. Circumstances don't always allow for this, but it's the most profitable way to sell a house.


4) Perform priority repairs and remodeling work, if doing.

If you've moved out already your Realtor team will likely coordinate any repair work that you've decided to do. If you're still living in the home, you may need to personally collect bids from contractors to get everything going.


5) Cleaning, staging, inspections, and disclosures

These all belong in the same phase because they take place around the same short timeframe the week prior to going on the market. You'll be filling out your disclosures while work is being done in your home. Staging is highly recommend -- it's documented that your market time will be shorter, and your net profit will be significantly higher. Having inspections done ahead of time also helps you in the long run - your negotiating power is higher since there are no surprises and it puts you in control of owning the documents that note the condition of the home.


6) Launching the listing

Your Realtor will be putting your home on the MLS (Multiple Listing Service) and employing a full panel of marketing strategies to draw in showings and offers. During this time period, potential buyers and their agents will be making appointments to tour the property, and your Realtor will give you updates and feedback about the showings.


7) Negotiating an offer

If your price is in line with the market, given the condition and location of your home, you'll likely have a buyer in contract during a standard amount of days for your area. Check with your Realtor to find out the typical days on market for your neighborhood.


8) Escrow time period

Once you have a signed contract, it takes anywhere from 10 days to close (for a cash offer) or up to 30-45 days for a closing involving a buyer who's getting a loan. At the beginning of escrow the buyer's good faith earnest money deposit will be sent in to the escrow/title company and will stay there until closing time. During this time, often repairs are re-negotiated as well. Mostly, it's the time period for the buyer to finalize their financing.


9) Closing and recording

Right at the very end, you'll do your final sign-off of closing documents. Don't forget to call your utilities and let them know to release it out of your name on the estimated closing date. Make sure all your keys are at the house or with the Realtor, and generally sweep and wipe down any surfaces to remove significant debris (have the yard tidied up as well). The buyer will send the rest of their downpayment in to the escrow/title company. Once their loan funds arrive at the escrow/title company the transaction will be recorded at the local county level. Then it will be closed!



Kelsey Lane has been a Realtor in the Silicon Valley since 2003 and is a Master Certified Negotiation Expert through the Real Estate Negotiation Institute, specializing in listings. She works at Compass. She is also coaching certified through the Life Purpose Institute and approaches her real estate business through the eyes of a life coach. Cal-DRE #01390557 


Posted in Home selling
Nov. 5, 2022

Overcoming Social Anxiety

by Manuela Pauer

What if you could just be yourself without any anxiety?

Unfortunately many of us feel that if we were truly being ourselves in our work, our relationships and our life, we would be judged by others.

We fear people will see something “bad” in us and will reject us for it.

What is Social Anxiety?

Ellen Hendriksen, author of “How To Be Yourself: Quiet Your Inner Critic and Rise Above Social Anxiety,” defines social anxiety as  “the fear of being scrutinized, judged and found lacking in social or performance situations that gets in the way of doing the things you want or need to do.”

Social anxiety is more common that you think. 99% of people say they have experienced social anxiety in a particular situation. 40% of people consider themselves to be shy. And yes, I myself experience social anxiety quite often.

The great news is that people who are socially anxious have some wonderful strengths: They tend to be careful thinkers, conscientious, empathetic, considerate and helpful.

Yet anyone who has experienced social anxiety, knows how painful and debilitating it can feel.

What can we do to overcome Social Anxiety?

Here are 3 practices that Hendriksen recommends:

1.       Play a role to build your true self

In the next social interaction you have, give yourself some structure by choosing a role for yourself that allows you to build up and reinforce the real you.

Examples of roles you could take on:

Advocate, host, pet parent, unofficial photographer, takeout master.

2.      Affirm yourself with what you know is true about yourself

Before your next task that makes you anxious, write out your intrinsic values. For example: I am a loyal friend. I am a good listener. I work hard. I have a great sense of humor.

You can also acknowledge yourself for the times you did the right thing, for example -- a time when you stood by a friend when nobody else did.

3.      Let go of your safety behavior

We all have behaviors that we think will keep us safe in social situations.

For example:

Not looking someone in the eyes. - Rehearsing what you will say while the other person is talking.

Looking at your phone during any breaks. - Unfortunately, the message it sends is that you are aloof, distant, snobby, or prickly, when nothing further could be from the truth. 

Notice what behavior you usually engage in and let go of it during your next social interaction.


Don't wait until you are confident first

We think we need to feel confident first, in order to be ready to take actions on things we are anxious about.

That is not true.

The way you gain confidence is by doing things before you are ready, while you are still scared.

Which of these practices do you want to try?


Manuela loves helping mid-level professionals create a career and life they love. Contact her for a free 45 minute Career and Life Strategy session. Get more information on Manuela’s Website.

Posted in Heart of the home
Sept. 6, 2022

Interview with Michael Garcia, Succulent Gardening


Michael Garcia is in our community of readers and was telling Kelsey about his love of succulents. She was drawn to his explanation of the hobby and wanted to share it with everyone, as part of our new ongoing series of enjoying our homes and lifestyles:

Q: Michael, you mentioned to me that you find growing succulents very therapeutic? How so?

A: I want to clarify and start by saying this hobby took time and a lot of effort to become therapeutic. At first, I did not have very many gardening tools or supplies or plants. I had to learn about proper plant care, soil types, container types and the biggest problems: bugs, plus how often to water. Once I had a general understanding, I was hooked. I wanted to recreate the propagation process. I found out the hard way that without large plants this is hard to do. I had visited a local San Jose favorite for succulents called Evergreen Farm and bought several small 2 inch and 4 inch pots to get started. I watered way too often and killed everything I had in a short period of time. It's funny now but was frustrating at the time. I started over. I went back to Evergreen Farms and bought more. I also went to other succulent nurseries throughout the bay area and bought many larger plants. When you buy large quantities and at smaller farms you can negotiate for better deals. I wanted to buy these larger plants so that I could create my own “propagation pattern trays.”

The reason I find growing succulents therapeutic is because there is something to be said about caring for things and getting results. There is also the fact that life can be challenging. Our lives are all complicated – such as family dynamics, grieving the loss of someone through death, divorce or drugs. I have had my share of many happy times in life but life has also had its challenges. In my life, I needed an outlet or just a temporary escape -- something that took my mind off of the day-to-day stress and my divorce. I needed something I could focus my attention on to help me relax and feel a sense of a simple accomplishment. This is when I turned to succulents and propagation. I like how my hands feel in the soil when I am creating a pattern of propagation or even repotting an offspring from a larger plant. When you have large overgrown succulent plants, you can remove pieces and start a new plant or propagate. As time goes on, I have so many new little plants, which of course get bigger. I end up giving these plants away to my good friends and family. I want others to share in the joy that these plants bring to me.

Q: How did you originally get into growing succulents? 

A: It started by accident. I am a lover of all photography, especially landscape, floral, and black and white photography. My love for photos of plant patterns, colors and designs led me to look on social media for additional photos. I originally came across a photo of a beautiful (Graptoveria Opalina) succulent on a group page. The colors were so unique and irresistible. That is when I made the decision to join that particular succulent group, to see more of the great colorful plant photos. Once in the group, I saw so much more interesting plants and topics. One of the posts asked the question: "How many succulent plants do you have?" At that moment, I was a new homeowner for about two months. I walked my front and back yards in search of anything that looked close to a succulent. I was shocked to learn that I had four. At the time I couldn't tell you what types of succulents these were. I have since learned that I had an aloe plant, a Jade plant, an echeveria and an Aeonium. The Aeonium was my favorite because it was the biggest I had at the time. The more I returned to this group page, the more I learned about these plants, their survival and propagation of these plants. The coolest thing about it was that everyone on this group page was super friendly! 


Q: Do you have a favorite type?

This is a hard question. It is hard to pick just one when there are so many types and varieties. I would have to say that in my possession, it would have to be the Echeveria Agavoides “Lipstick”. I love this plant because of its dark red tips. The darkness is based on the amount of sun it gets. The more the sun, the darker and wider the red tips become. I also have a plant that I thought had died but I found it living under some other taller succulents after months of not caring for them. That plant is called “Haworthia Cooperi”. I like this one because of its see-through puffy structure. I guess I also like it because I managed to continue to make it survive. It’s been 18 months since I found it and it is still going strong. The plants I would love to own are “String of Pearls” and “Hens and Chicks” plants. I have had them before but managed to kill them (probably from over watering or improper soil or not enough drain holes). 


Q: Is this a difficult hobby for someone to start doing? 

A: Well, my answers of the last two questions might make you think it’s difficult, but it is not. It is actually very easy as long as you develop an understanding for when your succulents go dormant, how often you should water them, proper soil for your plants, and drainage.  Succulents like to have their roots completely dry before you water again. This was hard for me to understand when I first started. When I water now, I keep track of the day I watered. I’ll return and check my plants after two weeks. If the soil feels dry, I’ll wait another two weeks and water again. Yes, I wait about a month to water again. Sometimes even longer than that. I have learned that the longer you wait, the better their survival rate. Some succulent people say, the less you care about your plants, the better their chances to live. The more you care, the sooner they die. Most people who start caring for succulents usually over water. When you water too often, the roots do not have a chance to dry out. This is when they get “root rot” and die. Sad but true. I have learned a lot about succulents over the last five years. Actually, I learned what not to do first. Haha. 

Q: A friend of mine gave me some succulent cuttings and said I can just stick them in the ground and water them. I am super excited about this - how soon do I need to plant them so they don't dry out? 

A: Well, depending on the variety, sometimes that is the case. If your friend is a succulent lover and told you to do this, I would do as they say and stick it in soil asap. 

In my opinion, plants go into shock when cut and do not like to be watered right away. I  would put it in soil, wait a week and then water it. If you repot the plant, make sure your plant stands on it’s own and the thick leaves do not touch soil. Then when you do water, make sure the leaves don’t get wet. Some people like to water their plants by submerging the plant container into a tub so that the water comes up the drainage hole and waters just the roots. This is an option but not necessary.

On a different note, if your new succulent cutting has thick, water-storing type leaves, you may want to wait a week for your new plant cutting to build up a “callus.” To do this, you want to store your plant in a cool dry place with indirect sunlight. You want the part that is cut to dry up. About a couple weeks after it has been cut, the callus happens. About two weeks to a month later, the plant should start to spout roots. These roots are looking for water and trying to survive. It can survive off of the nutrients inside the thick body and leaves. I usually wait a few weeks after the roots start showing through before I repot. These plants are very forgiving when neglected but not very forgiving when over-watered.   


I would like to conclude this interview by saying that I am not an expert on succulent growing but speak from my 5 years experience with these plants in the South San Francisco bay area. Different areas with high heat will affect succulents differently. When starting out, be patient, it can be lots of fun and rewarding. If you want help, I am up for meeting new friends. 



Michael Garcia can be reached at Michael.garcia83@gmail.com .  He has requested you put “Your Succulent Interview” in the subject line of your email.

If you have a hobby that is therapeutic, or calming, or exciting and rejuvenating that you'd like to share, please email kelsey@kelseylane.com . We're beginning a series on enjoying our homes and creating a happy lifestyle in our surroundings. Kelsey can work with you on a Q & A sequence so others in our network can learn from your experience

Posted in Heart of the home
Sept. 6, 2022

Tips for Going Green, Part 3


Going green has become more than just a trend, especially when it comes to home remodeling or improvements. Buyers are looking for homes with energy efficient and cost-saving features. Demand for green housing has been growing, according to a report by the National Association of Realtors (NAR) on home buyers’ preference.

This is the 3rd and last article in a three part series with some suggestions from [link] (www.homewarranty.com) on things to consider when going green. 



If your carpet or other flooring is old, worn out, and needs replacing, consider wood floors. Home buyers are attracted to wood floors for their beauty and warmth as well as for practical reasons, because hardwood: 

  • is easy to clean and maintain 
  • can be sanded, refinished and renewed 
  • promotes a healthier indoor living environment 


Check out these facts from a 2006 national survey conducted by the National Wood Flooring Association: 

  • 99% of agents agree that homes with hardwood floors are easier to sell 
  • 82% agree that homes with hardwood floors sell faster 
  • 90% agree that homes with hardwood floors sell for more money. 


When looking to install hardwood floors, look for products certified by the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC). This means that utmost care was taken to harvest wood using sustainable methods. Other natural floor coverings include cork, bamboo, some linoleums and concrete are also available. 



  • Plant a tree. Carefully positioned trees can save up to 25% of the energy a typical household uses for cooling. 
  • Consider water use when replacing the irrigation system—native plants are well adapted to the amount of water your community usually gets and will cut down on overall watering needs. 
  • Replace outdoor flood lights with compact-fluorescent versions— they’re just as bright and use 1/4 the energy. 
  • Replace low-wattage halogen landscape bulbs with LED versions. They cut energy use by over 80% and can last for 10 years or more. 
  • Install motion sensors on any nonessential lights. New versions just screw right into your existing light socket. A typical 100-watt flood light, if used for six hours per day, can consume up to $40 of electricity a year. 
  • Consider solar-powered outdoor lighting for walks, paths and more. 


Pool and Spa

  • Consider a time clock that will give you day-to-day, automatic control over your filter’s and heater’s hours of operation. 
  • Consider replacing your old pump. Pools are commonly equipped with larger pumps than needed. Replacing an oversized pool pump—even one in good working order—with a smaller, energy-e cient pump is an investment that usually pays for itself in just two to four years. 
  • Go solar. Solar pool heating systems are especially effective during the summer months and can back up a regular pool heater in the spring and the fall. A solar pool heating system can be a significant investment, so make sure the savings have a payback time of less than, or equal to, the useful life of the equipment


Before purchasing any of these items for your home, check with your local gas and electric company for possible tax credits and rebates. Also check with federal, state, and local government agencies. Estimate your potential savings by using one of the many online free energy audit calculators and if you need to buy appliances consider ENERGY STAR® rated appliances. You can get more detailed information about the ENERGY STAR® program on their [web site] as well as a list of products that qualify for rebates. 

Please don't hesitate to contact the Kelsey Lane Real Estate team if you have questions or if you would like some guidance on which home improvements will be best for you.