Janet Laughead BHHS Commonwealth Wellesley MA

If you’re choosing a houseplant for yourself or as a gift, it’s hard to know where to begin. With so many options and different care needs, the world of indoor plants can be intimidating. However, one fun way to choose is by zodiac sign. This is an excellent birthday gift idea and a way to get your own plant collection started. We’ve put together a brief guide for what plants best match each Zodiac sign.


Aries are characterized as proud and impulsive, but also low maintenance. Succulents of all kinds (including cacti) are perfect for an Aries as they don’t require constant attention, but will provide excellent color and satisfaction through their growth.


Taurus’ common traits are stubbornness and dedication to hard work as well as deeply caring. Fiddle Leaf Figs are perfect for Taurus as they require care and stick-to-it-ness. A Taurus won’t give up on this higher-maintenance plant.


Air plants are the best suggestion for a Gemini. Both are easily adaptable and changeable. Air plants get their nutrients from the air and water rather than soil, making them completely mobile—you can move them at a whim and they will still thrive.


Cancers are sensitive and dedicated but with a tendency toward dramatic emotions. Peace lilies make the perfect match, as they are resilient plants that will happily spring back from a bad spot if given the proper care.


Leos have strong and fiery personalities, making them a perfect fit for bromeliads. These vibrant tropical plants come in bright colors and make a big statement in a room with their impressive foliage and flowers. A Leo’s bromeliad will be the center of attention.


Virgo tend to be characterized as narcissistic but are more often concerned with detail. They are dependable and caring and will do well with a rubber plant. These bold and hearty plants are simple in appearance but require an exact amount of light and water to thrive—perfect details for a Virgo to tend to.


Libra’s traits are a love of harmony and sophistication. There are few houseplants more sophisticated than the monstera. These plants are designer favorites because they present well in any style of room and have large, symmetrical leaves that are pleasing to the eye.


Scorpios are like snake plants: bold and independent. These plants can survive with very little care and still make a big statement in any room with their tall, pointed leaves.


Prayer plants are perfect for an exciting and adventurous Sagittarius. These plants move constantly throughout the day in order to absorb sunlight. You never know what to expect with a decorative and changeable plant like this one.


Capricorns are known to be practical and patient. Jade plants are similarly practical and their very slow growth requires a lot of patience. They are beautiful at any size but with dedicated care may grow as tall as the Capricorn themself if given enough time.


The wild vines and colorfully variegated leaves of the pothos plant make them great for a creative and eccentric Aquarius. These plants can thrive in almost any indoor conditions and will grow in unique and exciting directions with each new leaf.


Pisces are selfless and compassionate. Spider plants are a low-maintenance and enduring plant that require little in return for the beauty they bring to a room. Self-sufficient Pisces is a perfect match for these plants that give without hesitation.

Regardless of whether you practice or believe in astrology, using zodiac signs can be a fun way to decide on gifts and even purchases for yourself. Consider these options above if you’re searching for a plant that will match a specific personality.

Z-wave automation is a new method you can use to connect multiple devices. The next logical question might be whether this is a safe thing to do. After all, hacking into one device could potentially be enough to hack into every device, since they're all on the same network. The good news is that Z-wave automation has not only been remarkably efficient for many homeowners, it's also has built-in security features that any developer would be proud of. Learn more about what Z-wave automation entails, how communication works and if the technology makes sense in your home.

What Is Z-Wave?

Somewhat similar to Wi-Fi, Z-wave is designed to help smart devices link and share information. Much like a laptop will share data from a smart phone, Z-wave will optimize your experience with a variety of equipment in your home.

The major advantage of Z-wave is that adding more devices doesn't interfere with your connection. Unlike Bluetooth or Wi-Fi, you're on a dedicated frequency. When the pandemic first hit and more people began working from home, there was a clear drop in reliability from service providers. Z-wave would make it possible to avoid these inconsistencies.

It's also an incredibly versatile tool to have around the home. There are thousands of compatible products on the market across a variety of manufacturers. So in a real-world setting, your alarm system might communicate with your thermostat. This way, when you leave home, you're not heating and cooling the house at the same rate as if you were there.

Is Z-Wave Automation Safe?

Z-wave developers use the same encryption standards as online banking technology. Z-wave is also on a mesh network which means it allows for more than one access point. This allows different devices to 'talk' to each other without the need for wires. Signals are sent through radio waves on one frequency and a signal repeater moves information from the network from one place to another. Despite the multiple access points, the network is closed off to outsiders. You won't have to worry about unauthorized visitors.

Smart Home Concerns & Advantages

The concern over smart home technology are taken seriously due to the amount of information we keep in digital format. The consequences of a hack can be as devastating as any other form of identity theft. As such, many people are reasonably hesitant to have so many things on one system. The good news is that those in charge of Z-wave have gone the extra mile to keep people (and their homes) safe. The security framework has been strengthened with each new version with any vulnerabilities quickly assessed and addressed.

People with Z-wave automation tend to find life a little easier, especially if they already have a rather demanding schedule. Turning off lights, locking doors, closing the garage: these are all easy to check and fix when you have the right technology. It can save you from excess utility bills and potentially even mitigate a natural or man-made disaster.

If you want to purchase a home, it may be beneficial to check out the residences available in a major city. In fact, there are many reasons to pursue a city house, and these include:

1. You can live near a variety of attractions and landmarks.

Most cities provide quick, easy access to attractions and landmarks. And if you purchase a city residence, you can explore a wide range of attractions and landmarks any time you choose.

Of course, it generally helps to plan ahead if you intend to buy a city residence. If you enter the real estate market with a homebuying strategy in hand, you can narrow your city house search to residences near your preferred attractions and landmarks.

2. You can upgrade or downgrade from your current residence.

If you find your current residence no longer matches your needs, don't stress. Houses are available in cities around the country so you can upgrade or downgrade from your current home.

Oftentimes, it helps to get pre-approved for a mortgage before you start to explore city residences. If you are pre-approved for a mortgage, you'll know exactly how much you can spend on a city home. Then, you can hone your city house search and speed up the homebuying journey.

3. You can find a residence close to family members and friends in the city.

If your family members and friends frequently rave about life in the city, now may be the perfect time to join them. And if you kick off a city house search, you can find a great home that allows you to live close to loved ones.

The city real estate market often fluctuates, and a housing sector that favors buyers today may shift into sellers' favor tomorrow. Thus, if you want to buy a city home near loved ones, you should allocate time and resources to learn about the local housing sector. Because if you have housing market insights at your disposal, you can differentiate a buyer's market from a seller's market and prepare accordingly.

As you get ready to launch a search for a home in the city of your choice, you may want to hire a real estate agent too. By employing a real estate agent, you can get the help you need to streamline your city house search.

Typically, a real estate agent will meet with you, find out where you want to reside in your city of choice and help you budget for the homebuying journey. He or she also will keep you up to date about city residences that meet your homebuying criteria. And if you find a city residence that you want to buy, a real estate agent will help you submit a competitive offer to purchase this home.

Simplify the process of locating and purchasing your ideal city home. Hire a real estate agent today, and you can receive extensive assistance at each stage of the property buying journey.

Photo by Edar via Pixabay

You’ve been considering an investment in real estate but are you really ready? Putting your money into something you haven’t done your homework on could be detrimental. You may even have all the tools, but are still straddling the fence. How will you know it’s time? Here are a few signs that indicate you have some ways to go:

Long-term Investment Strategy

If you don’t have one of these, you aren’t ready. Although flipping homes and other elements of getting into the real estate game may seem attractive, all the income coming in is tied to you doing “work.” When you stop doing it, the money stops to. An actual investment strategy means once you’ve found the home, did the work and found the tenants, the income continues rolling in. That means your assets continue to grow year after year.

Finances Need Work

Are your finances in order? That means you’re living below your means and are saving a good amount of your income. How’s your rainy day fund? If you don’t have at least three, six to a year’s worth of expenses that you can quickly get to, investing in something that may not give you a return on your investment doesn’t really make sense.


Do you have insurance? It’s important to have at least a term life insurance policy that’s 10 to 12 times your income.


Unless you have the cash to pay for your investments outright, you need to have a high enough credit rating that allows you to get the financing you’ll need. While your credit doesn’t have to be perfect, it should be good enough and showing indications of improving over time.


Capital is the name of the game. You should have access to enough capital that will allow you to secure long-term financing to get those properties when you want. Take a look at your risk profile. Purchasing high quality, low-risk property instead of maxing out the capital you have can make a difference. If you don’t have the capital, you’re not ready.

While you’re giving these areas some thought, it’s also a good thing to look at the market. While there are always ongoing talks about a recession, consider the stock market. Which one is riskier? Market stats are usually based on the entire country, but real estate stats are only based on specific cities, properties and neighborhoods. That means even if a recession hits, each property is impacted in its own way.

It’s time to study how to beat a recession if one hits and know the fundamentals. If you have a property that provides significant cash flow now, chances are it will during a recession as well. If you have quality properties in high-demand areas, you can withstand a market downturn. The goal is to make a recession an opportunity if you can. It's time to get things in order. If you purchase the right property in the right area, you’ll be just fine. 

Although you might have entered the housing market with a strategy to help you streamline your search for your dream home, it is important to remember that even the best-laid plan may need to be changed. And if you fail to discover your ideal residence after a comprehensive search, now may be a great time to revise your homebuying strategy.

Let's take a look at three tips to help you revamp your homebuying plan.

1. Consider Your Home Must-Haves and Wants

Creating a list of home must-haves and wants may be done at the start of a house search. Over time, however, this list may evolve. And if you update your list, you may be better equipped than ever before to reenter the real estate market with a fresh perspective.

Think about where you want to live in the foreseeable future too. Then, you can narrow your home search to specific cities and towns and accelerate the homebuying journey.

2. Review Your Budget

If you recently paid off your student loans or eliminated your credit cards, you may want to reassess your homebuying budget. That way, you can hone your house search and explore residences that fall within your up-to-date price range.

Of course, if you have yet to get pre-approved for a mortgage, you can still do so. Meet with banks and credit unions to learn about all of the mortgage options that are available. This will enable you to gain the insights you need to select a mortgage that matches your finances.

3. Learn About the Housing Market

The housing market may favor buyers or sellers. And if you have been searching for your dream home for several weeks or months, the market may have changed.

It does not take long for a buyer's market to become a seller's market, or vice-versa. As you consider your homebuying options, you should study the local real estate sector closely to determine whether the current housing market favors buyers or sellers.

Evaluating the prices of recently sold houses in a particular city or town usually is a good idea. This housing market data will enable you to find out whether sellers are receiving offers at or near their initial home asking prices.

You also should find out how long current residences in a particular city or town have been listed. If houses linger on the real estate market for an extended period of time, you may be operating in a market that favors buyers. Or, if homes are selling quickly, you may be operating in a seller's market.

Lastly, hiring a real estate agent often is helpful, particularly for homebuyers who are struggling to identify the perfect residence. A real estate agent can offer lots of tips as you conduct your search for your dream residence. Plus, if you need to revamp your homebuying strategy, a real estate agent will make it easy for you to do just that.