The real estate market is hot, hot, hot right now (in the USA at least) and lately I’ve been asked to review many properties – some being sold and some being in someone’s “potential pile” to possibly purchase. So this month, I thought I’d toss out some feng shui tips for the real estate market.
Although everything I say below is still valid for any home, if you’re scratching your head trying to figure out why a particular home has not sold when all other indicators say “it’s a go,” you might want to review the home using your feng shui eyes. (For those new to my work, feng shui is a method of arranging an environment to make it the most supportive environment it can be. It’s a cross between interior design, environmental psychology, and quantum physics. In a nutshell, environments that feel supportive, and feel like a good place to live – are snatched up quicker by buyers.)
As a feng shui consultant and a landscape architect, I have personally gone into homes that are for sale and think “Good luck getting that price!” all because of the major faux pas with regard to making the spaces simply function (let alone feel good or supportive.) It boggles my mind that someone didn’t take the time to walk through the place “as a perspective buyer” and note what bugs them about the place and try to mitigate that particular situation. Everyone knows if the “ick-factor” is high, the offer is low. Turned-up noses lead to turned-off buyers. So, what do I recommend to my clients? Here are my top five reasons and quick fix recommendations for slow-selling homes.
REASON #1 – The homes are lacking fire element.
Fix: Try adding a touch of red or “fire items” in each room before the next showing.
Fire element is one of the five elements in feng shui. Water, wood, metal, and earth are the other four, but forget everything but fire right now. Go around the home and see if you can perhaps add a touch of red to each room – or at least the rooms that rate high on “ick factor.” It doesn’t have to be fire engine red, but it does have to be lively or feel like it punched up the room a bit when you stand back and look.
If red does not work at all from a decor standpoint, try some of these other feng shui “fire equivalents:” fireplaces and candles, oranges, pinks, and purples if they look “hot,” animal print fabric, animals (except fish, etc.) and triangular or pointy-shaped objects (think a big vase of birds of paradise flowers or gladiolas.)
I suggest placing the fiery item in a location where you want to attract the buyer’s eyes. That would be the bed in a bedroom the couch or fireplace (yea, natural fire!) in the living and family rooms, the table in the dining room, and the stove in the kitchen. Do not, I repeat do NOT set up the home so its “all about the view” – even if the view is a killer one. Believe it or not, that lowers the “feel good” factor of the house. Keep all eyes IN the house for a while before you “let them out.” Set up the home so that they “find” the view – it will seem like an extra perk that comes along with the house as opposed to the only reason for buying it.
A vase of red roses here, and red throw on the couch over there….do whatever you can to add fire to rooms that feel sluggish, dreary or dead and possibly add fire to all the other rooms as well.
Dining room: place mats, table cloth, flowers, a bowl of red apples, etc.
Living Room: throw pillows or blanket, flowers, carpet or rug, furniture or accessories, etc.
Kitchen: towels, bowl of red apples or oranges.
Bedrooms: throw pillows or blanket at foot of bed if the comforter/bed is not the main focus of the room.
Bathrooms: towels and flowers, etc.
REASON #2 – The main piece of furniture is not in a supportive position.
Fix: Rearrange the furniture to create the “armchair position.”
The armchair position is a furniture position of power. Think of a throne and you’ve seen this position. It is where the main piece of furniture in the room in positioned in such a way that the person using it has their back to a solid wall and they can easily see who is entering the room.
The main piece of furniture is the bed in bedrooms, the couch or largest seating piece in a living room or family room, the desk chair in a home office, and believe it or not the stove in the kitchen. If there is an obvious “head chair” in the dining room you would want to get that chair in the armchair position as well.
If the couch is the “room divider” floating in space with its back to the entryway, spin it around so its back is protected if you can. Get the bed out from under a window even using a forty-five degree position in a corner if there is no other choice. Remove pieces of furniture if you have to make room for this to happen. Get the desk to face the center of the room as opposed to having the person face a wall while working there. And because there is usually little possibility for moving a stove, so here is the cure if you’re cooking while staring at a wall. Place a mirror behind the stove so that the cook can see who’s entering the room through the reflection. This cure can be used in the other “backwards” furniture situations, but I’d advise doing anything to make the real armchair position happen in these rooms. It will absolutely change the energy to increase sale possibilities.
REASON #3 – The home energy feels dead, stuffy, tired, or stuck.
Fix: Clean, de-clutter, and freshen it up!
This is how to deal with the high “ick factor” that you maybe can’t quite figure out.
Clean the home. Grime and crud and dust are what the “ick factor” is all about. Nothing says don’t buy me like a stove hood dripping with grease. The goal is to have a nice-smelling, nice-sounding, visually clean-enough-to-live-in-home.
De-clutter the home. Clutter slows down energy. This physically weakens the buyer. If the buyer feels weakened, they will perceive the home as not supportive and tend to walk away. You must convince your clients to create rooms and spaces that have as much space as stuff. I call it the 50% rule. Believe it or not, space equals opportunity in feng shui. So the more space you can create, the more options you will have with buyers. How to de-clutter is a whole other conversation, but there are plenty of how-to’s and professional organizers out there that can help your clients with this situation.
Sometimes you need to de-clutter smells and stagnant air. Open the window coverings and windows. Exchange the air inside before a showing if weather permits. Possibly add living plants in rooms that have not been used in years or are filled with tired old stuff/furniture. (Don’t forget about the fire element in these rooms!) Apply WD-40 oil on all hinges of doors and windows if they are stuck or sticking when opening or closing.
If the furniture has not moved in years, it may be making a room feel too still or stuck. If you can simply move the stuff/furniture around – even if it ends up back in the same spot – it will help. If you need to create the armchair position, you might have a good excuse to get that stuff on the move!
Also, if you know any space clearing rituals, feel free to add them to your list of things to do here. Burning salt or sage, or even sprinkling water infused with citrus can add to the home’s energy quality.
REASON #4 – The home has incongruent functions.
Fix: Remove anything that is incongruent from each room or create a space for it where it makes sense.
If the computer is on the dining room table, the bike in the foyer, and the ironing board and treadmill are next to the bed, you’ve got incongruent uses. Each room has to appear to have enough room to perform its function. And let me remind everyone what a garage is for – cars. Homes that have incongruent uses send signals that they are not big enough to do the job. (If you are a Realtor, perhaps that is why you’ve got a client selling in the first place, but you don’t want the home to appear too small to others.)
Sometimes it just takes a fresh pair of eyes to come into a home and see that there is space for a function and that it simply has to be relocated rather than removed.
And yes, a storage facility may be needed while the lock box is on the door!
REASON #5 – The home has “energy leaks.” Most often, they are caused by an expansive view from inside the house, or from basic plumbing leaks.
View leaks: This elaborates on what I said about the view above. If the eyes are immediately led outside because the view is the “selling point,” the home energetically feels empty. Yes, I’m going to say it. It’s like the house has diarrhea. It’s not able to easily hold vital energy for the occupants.
The goal is to get the buyer’s eyes to float around the room – not too fast and not too slow – so that the energy is held in a while before the view is discovered. This will ensure that the home actually feels capable of supporting life – a subtle quality often overlooked, but one that is ever so important.
Fix: If you can’t distract the eye enough using the fire fix from reason one above, close the curtains to big views on open house days.
Create situations where the prospective buyer “finds” the view. Do this especially in the master bedroom and the room that you immediately enter upon entering the home – usually the living room. If no window treatments are available, place show-stopping, eyeball-grabbing items like a big vase of flowers or a sculpture or a brightly colored rug or accessory in the room to attract attention away from the view.
Water leaks: Another leak is a literal or energetic water leak. Water energetically equals money in feng shui, so if it is leaking somewhere in or around the home for sale, buyers will feel that their finances aren’t safe and pass on the buying opportunity. (And if you ask the seller, they’d probably tell you it’s true if the leak has been going on for a little while!)
Fix: Be sure to fix any leak inside or out.
That dripping hose bib, toilet, or faucet could be your reason for low offers if you get any at all. (If I was the listing agent, and my client wasn’t interested in fixing water leaks, I would consider fixing them myself because it will mean more money in my pocket in commissions later on.)
And, believe it or not, a big feng shui no-no is to have the toilet lid up if the toilet is not in use. So, do yourself a big feng shui favor and put the lids down at least for open houses!
If you need my personal help creating the optimal house (to sell or otherwise) or if you are looking for the right one to purchase or a tie-breaker if you can’t decide which property is right for you, CLICK HERE and I’ll be happy to help.
For more information, purchase and listen to my full list of tips here:
And if you are buying and selling at the same time, get the combo here: