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Mon Jan 26 2015 |
The vicious fire that destroyed a New Jersey apartment complex caused quite a lot of comment among my colleagues in the International Feng Shui Guild
. Of course we’re all relieved there were no injuries, but it was the location of the fire and the fact that this was the second fire on the same location that had everyone buzzing. Seems there used to be a cemetery
on the site, which means constructing a building there was a Feng Shui no-no.
One colleague who lived down the street from the site in the 90's remembers an open courtyard with a cemetery, and to make matters worse, an industrial plant that produced toxic chemicals.
In Feng Shui as in real estate, it’s all about location, location, location. And the location of this particular complex resonated with me because there are several current cemeteries nearby, plus unidentified ancient Native American burial sites. I find cemeteries to be peaceful locations, and my husband and I have had fun “family-history” trips traipsing through rural cemeteries to find his ancestors’ graves. But would I recommend building on top of one? No Feng Shui way!
In Chinese Feng Shui, a cemetery is thought to have the strong yin chi of death that draws positive chi away from the surrounding homes. That means living near a cemetery could deplete your personal energy over time. Plus, ancestors play an important role in Feng Shui so you want to honor the predecessor chi
of their gravesites, not build on top of them.
Predecessor chi is the term for the residual energy in land, structures, and objects. You know how sometimes you go into a building or house and you just can’t wait until you can get out of there because something doesn’t feel right? Or, you’re attracted to one antique but repelled by another? That’s all predecessor chi. Predecessor chi isn’t always negative. I have clients in different parts of the country who say they have ghosts in their houses and like this predecessor chi just fine. But, I’m working with more clients lately who need the energy of the former occupants honored and cleared out before they bring their own positive energy into a space.
A chemical plant creates toxic predecessor chi, and no matter how skillfully the site is environmentally remediated, sometimes it also needs Feng Shui. I’m working with a commercial client who’s building on the remediated site of a former chemical plant. The project is experiencing unexpected snafus and delays, and I can’t help but think that the site’s predecessor chi is still too strong.
The official cause of the New Jersey fire was a blowtorch used in a plumbing repair, and of course there’s no way to ever prove whether the fire had anything to do with a burial site below or the predecessor chi above. But it sure makes me think that some open space needs to be left as that – open space.
Wed Jan 21 2015 |
I received an upbeat email from Adele, a client in the UK, who wrote that she had a full price offer to sell her house. That was a quick change, because just six days earlier she had written that although she had a steady flow of viewers there hadn’t been any offers. “People seem really tempted,” said Adele, “but no one has committed.”
I'm hearing the same story from many clients who ask me for Feng Shui tips to help sell their homes. Yes, I do know why their homes are getting “lookers” instead of buyers: They haven’t detached from their current home.
“I transformed my house using your book,” said Adele, “and things went from good, to better, to brilliant! I enjoy a lovely, peaceful, happy life that’s full of love and happiness,” she added. Adele’s passion for life was so reignited by her Feng Shui makeover that she decided to “take the plunge” to move to Australia!
My question to Adele and to all my home sellers is this: “You’ve just closed on the sale of your house and you have the check in hand, where are you going to spend the night?” Adele’s answer, like others who are having trouble selling a home, is some variation of “I’ll figure that out after I sell the house.” There’s your trouble! When you don’t know where you’re moving, you never really “pack up” and detach, and your house reflects that indecision. Buyers sense this and are in no hurry to make an offer. They move on to look at other properties because they think your house will still be there, and they often don’t come back.
“Have I missed anything?” Adele asked. “Your book
says to pack five valuable items in anticipation of a sale, but I haven't done that yet.”
My book recommends getting a moving box and packing up five of your most valued treasures, then sealing it up as a sign that you’re ready, willing, and able to move. “I’m not sure the number of items will make the difference,” I told Adele, “but the packing up part is critical.”
Adele had used Feng Shui to create such a comfortable home that although she was excited about her Australian adventure, it was hard to leave. Once she detached and depersonalize her home by packing up the things that made her so connected to it, like magic the perfect buyer appeared.
“I'm convinced my packing up and detaching is the reason,” she told me.
Bon voyage, Adele!
Wed May 08 2013 |
I just got off the phone with a real estate broker who invited me to give a workshop to agents and sales consultants about using Feng Shui staging to sell a house. This is the time of year when I get a lot of similar calls, especially from listing agents who want help selling a property that's been on the market for a while. Feng Shui staging is different from your typical real estate staging because it takes into consideration the Five Power Principles
of Feng Shui, and especially looks at what’s going on in each bagua area in terms of color.
The irony is that when I stage a home for quick sale I have to set it up in a way that’s directly opposite of how I would arrange it to help clients settle into their home. Mainly, I help people de-personalize and neutralize the décor so that potential buyers can visualize their own things and their own family fitting right into the space. This is especially important right now, when the real estate market is still stalled in many places. That makes it even more important to make changes that send the message that the buyer can move in tomorrow, no costly renovations required.
I know that many factors affect the sale of a home, many of which are unique to specific region, but there are certain Feng Shui changes that never fail to shift the energy and entice the buyer to make an offer, no matter where the house is located. These are the ones I most often recommend to help “sell it fast” with Feng Shui:
Mark the Spot.
Have your real estate agent place the “For Sale” sign to the right of the house, because people naturally look to that side when they approach a home.
Clear the Way.
Clear away any dead plants, vines, shrubs, and branches that block the main pathway so buyers have a clear route to the front door.
Place two healthy plants in attractive pots or planters on both sides of the front door to act as a threshold to "greet" buyers and welcome them to the home.
Clean and Refresh the Door.
Clean the front door, repaint if the finish is cracked, old, or faded, and add a fresh new doormat. Be sure the doorbell works and the house number can be seen.
Clear the Energy.
Open the windows and air out the house before any showings. Display a bowl of nine oranges in the kitchen because they bring fresh, brightening energy to a space.
Go Clutter Free.
De-clutter the entire house, paying special attention to the kitchen cabinets, pantry, closets, and garage to show buyers there is room for all of their possessions.
De-personalize. “Neutralize” the home by removing family photographs and personalized items so buyers can visualize their own family items in the space.
Deck the Walls.
Make sure the artwork throughout the house has colorful, friendly, and positive images. Remove any art that is dark, sad, or lonely, no matter how valuable.
Light the Way.
Replace all burned out light bulbs, especially those at your front door. You can also bring light into your home by cleaning all windows until they sparkle.
Get Ready to Go.
Pack up five treasured possessions and seal them in a moving box as a symbol you are ready, willing, and able to move!
The last one is often the most important. And, no cheating here -- you can’t pack up the skis you haven’t used since college and think that will make the magic happen. Choose things that you really care about and seal them up as a sign that you are ready to follow them out the door.