Feng Shui for Real Estate
Putting the Appeal back in Curb Appeal
Chinese buyers are now the biggest international players in the U.S. Housing Market, reports CNN Money News; and some states, including California, are seeing billions of dollars in Real Estate deals as a result. According to the National Association of Realtors, this is up 72-percent from the same period in 2013. And what exactly are these all cash buyers attracted to? In addition to the mild climate, major cities and attractive lifestyle, buyers are looking for properties that stand out for all the right reasons.
As many real estate agents can confirm, most potential home buyers decide within the first 30-seconds whether or not a house is right for them. So how do you make the biggest impact possible in a half-a-minute or less? In two words: Feng Shui.
The classical disciplines of Feng Shui contend that one of the most important features of a property isn’t located within a home it’s located outside of the home and, specifically, the exterior front entrance. Referred to as the Ming Tang or “Bright Hall”, the front entrance of a property is designed to capture interest by intriguing visitors and healthy energy (Ch’i) to enter and circulate within the structure. Ch’i is what gives a home its life force… It is, simply put, a subtle but profound energy that is either: favorable or unfavorable, healthy or unhealthy.
One of the ways to attract healthy energy and, in the case of real estate, create interest from potential buyers is by enticing their curiosity. To accomplish this, one must establish an immediate connection between a potential home buyer and the property. This is achieved mindfully by appealing to their senses and, in particular, through sight, scent and sound. Here are a few ideas you can use to capture good energy and increased interest:
Create Appeal Through Balance: Similar to a Shu Yu (a traditional Japanese stroll garden that utilizes the five elements of nature to create a sense of harmony between our outer and inner worlds), the entrance to your property should tell a story. Simplicity is essential. In fact, when visiting a Japanese garden you may notice that its beauty lies within its simplicity. You may also notice that a representative of each of the five elements of nature is used to create a harmonious balance not only visually but, also, through scent and sound. This includes an element representing: Earth (stepping stones, large rocks/boulders or statuary); Fire (illumination in the form of lanterns and additional lighting); Wood (fragrant and colorful flowers/plants, especially those that will attract birds and butterflies); Water (the tranquil sound of a water feature such as a pond or fountain); and Metal (which could be depicted through the material of metal, such as a metal wind chime, or through a Metal shape – which is arch-shape).
Use Subtle Symbolism: Now that you know which elements to use, these items can be arranged in such a way to discreetly draw visitors and energy up to the house. Many people are counter-intuitive when using symbolism or, possibly, just unaware of the influence it can have. Typically home owners display items such as seating, statuary, the flow of water, etc., directed outwards, sending energy away from the house. Rather, symbolism should be used to focus attention on the journey up to the house and, in particular, to the front door.
Although the use of symbolism is done subtly, it is welcoming and inviting nonetheless. As an example, rather than having statues placed randomly throughout your front garden, statuary can be used strategically to guide your guests up the front walkway. Other features that are inviting include: Slightly curved walkways, planters and/or fencing; lighting (especially when used in various forms, heights, locations and/or at varying levels of illumination); and, of course, color. A splash of color can be very effective at drawing the eye from the ordinary to the extraordinary.
Focus on the Journey & the Destination: The location of the front door is a chief consideration in the world of Feng Shui. Think of the Ming Tang as a gentle yet inspiring tour guide that assists your guests in transitioning away from their daily stresses while leading them to their desired location – the front door. The ideal front door should be accessible, without feeling too exposed. Also, the door should be in scale to the remainder of the home. It is customary, in classical Feng Shui, to have a pair of Greeters on both sides of the front door, or within close proximity.The Greeters serve dual purposes: to welcome visitors and good luck, and to offer protection from bad luck. Traditionally speaking, this would include a pair of statues such as Lions or Fu Dogs, however, large potted plants or trees, or lamp posts could serve as contemporary guardians. Color, once again, can be used to awaken the senses or to offer an unexpected surprise. An excellent example of this is to have a red front door (especially if the front door faces to the South). A red front door symbolizes good fortune entering the home. And let’s face it, when it comes to real estate, getting as many people through the front door can make all the difference in attracting a successful and timely sale.
Kathryn Holt is a classically trained Feng Shui expert and a Real Estate agent for Pacific Sotheby’s International Realty. Learn more at www.kathrynholtrealestate.com.