Let the principles of the Chinese practice of Feng Shui ease your real estate woes.
If you've ever walked into a house, as a potential buyer, and said: "it just feels right," then you understand the basic principles of Feng Shui. This ancient Chinese practice involves making energetic and physical adjustments to space to create balance and flow. And, in the midst of a recession when selling your house or condo may seem nearly impossible, it may just be the answer to your real estate woes.
"When it comes to selling a house, it takes more than just curb appeal," says Ingrid Hauck, an Ottawa-based Feng Shui consultant, "It takes Chi appeal!"
Chi (or Qi) is the life energy considered, by Chinese philosophy, to be inherent in all things. "Chi flow is achieved when everything is balanced beautifully," says Ingrid, the author of, Feng Shui with Attitude: Jump Start Your Joy. She explains: the decision to buy a house doesn't just come from its ability to meet all of your needs, but also from an intangible feeling — a response to the Chi.
So, before you hang out the For Sale sign, consider the following, do-it-yourself Feng Shui principles.
Set your intention
"When I see a house that’s not selling, the first place I go to is the people," says Ingrid. It is necessary that everyone in the family is clearly intent on selling the house, because lingering doubts can serve as an energy umbilical cord, refusing to let go. Consider writing out your intentions: how much you want the house to sell for, what your bottom-line requirements are, and how quickly you want the house to move, Ingrid suggests. Once your intentions are set, then your own energy won’t hold up the sale.
Fix it up
As any real estate agent will tell you, a rundown house will be a difficult sell. To begin the Feng Shui process, you should aim to fix up all glaring problems throughout the house, apply a fresh coat of paint, re-caulk your bathrooms, clean your carpets and ensure all appliances are in working order.
There is nothing more unappealing to a potential buyer than a house full of "stuff", and according to the principles of Feng Shui clutter robs a space of its Chi. "When you walk into a teenager's room you may feel the chaotic energy, like that of a pinball bouncing all over the place," Ingrid says. "That's the feeling a cluttered house will give off." Consider renting a storage unit and get rid of one-third of all your possessions. "Once you clear out excess furniture and decor, you’ll be able to tone down the energy and allow for clarity and focus," she explains
Focus on the front door
When potential buyers come to see your house, they'll probably enter through the front door. But, if you typically use the garage or even a side door, then the energy around the front entranceway is likely stale. "Positive Chi energy really begins with your front door," says Ingrid. First, get in the habit of using the front door while you’re trying to sell. Then, oil the locks (to ensure nothing sticks) and apply a fresh coat of paint. Ensure that the main foyer is as open and spacious as possible and watch for sharp edges that may be pointing toward visitors as they enter. "In terms of Feng Shui, the front door pertains to the buyer's motivation to make a purchase and how welcome they feel upon entering the home."
Wake up the energy
While you don’t want the energy of your house to flow too quickly (as happens in a messy or cluttered space) you also don't want it to feel stagnant. To wake-up the energy flow, begin by using every room in the house. "If a room sits empty, even if it’s clean and well-decorated, it will begin to feel stale on an energy level," Ingrid explains. To bring an unused room back to life consider opening a window, buying a plant, moving your pet’s bed into that space, turning on a radio, or at the very least, wandering in and out on a daily basis. "What I might do when consulting a client, is go to all four corners of an unused room and clap my hands," Ingrid explains. "In a stale room you'll hear a dull thud but once the energy is circulating, you’ll hear a bright tone to the clap."
Clean the windows
According to Feng Shui, windows act as our eyes and provide focus and insight. To help your buyer feel clear about his or her intentions, wash your windows regularly, and keep window-coverings simple, highlighting the view as opposed to closing up the curtains.
Enhance the Energy Zones
A Feng Shui practitioner will help you create an energy map (Ba-Gua) that allows you to divide your house into eight or nine quadrants or zones based on the floor plan. "For the purpose of selling, there are four zones I ask my clients to focus on," says Ingrid. These are: Wealth (back, left from the front door), Helpful People (right of the front door), Career (at the front door) and Fame (straight back, across from front door).
To get you started, here are a few suggestions for each zone of the house:
In the Wealth zone consider placing trees or furniture made of wood. The colours red, purple and green help to create feelings of abundance while wind energy (think: mobile or chimes) enhances the space.
The Helpful People zone likes metal energy, modern clean lines and subdued, metallic colours. An easy way to bring these elements into a room would be through black and white photographs or a replica of the Eiffel Tower.
The Career zone likes water energy and the colour yellow. Either install a water feature (such as a fountain) inside or outside the front of your house, or fill a large vase with water and fresh-cut yellow flowers. Even consider choosing artwork for the foyer that depicts water.
The Fame zone loves fire energy so if you have a fireplace in that area, be sure to light it when people come to see the house. Candles, extra lighting and bright reds also help enhance this part of the house.
Finally, Ingrid says, once you’ve used Feng Shui to re-balance your house, it’s time to act as if the property has already sold. "Spend time in the neighbourhood you plan to move to, start cleaning out your closets, and think as though the sale has already happened."