Feng Shui consultant Christine Ayres, co-author of Sell Your Home With Feng Shui: A Complete Guide to Staging Homes for Quick Sale in Any Market (AuthorHouse, 2007), responds to your questions.
Q: How can feng shui help you to sell a home faster than using other design principles?
A: The intention of staging with feng shui makes all the difference. The focus is on the buyer. We make the home more welcoming to the buyer walking in and through the space, rather than creating an environment that is necessarily comfortable for the seller. The emphasis is on form — not function — and we do not create any overwhelming décor. Another point of difference is that in using feng shui we also enhance important life areas that give the sale a boost such as wealth, career, and the fame/reputation guas of the house. We look at the house as an energetic container for a sale and stage accordingly.
Q: The National Association of Exclusive Buyer Agents recently released a survey that found the majority of real estate practitioners say staging can distract buyers from seeing the defects and important aspects of a home. Do you think staging a home could be harmful to buyers?
A: I believe that proper staging emphasizes the selling points of the home. And it is important to remember that we are not selling furniture here, we are selling space. I think the “distraction” you mention can come when the house has been over-staged — that is too many pieces of décor and too many pieces of furniture. Then, we totally miss the dimensions, layout, and quality of the space as we are too busy looking at the décor.
Q: In following the bagua map, how can you best activate the buyer/wealth part of homes?
A: For the buyer gua, hang a wind chime up under the eaves on the front right corner of the house or place a flag on this corner of the home (especially good for cul-de-sac homes). If this front right corner happens to be the garage, a chime up inside the garage will also stir the energy to call in the buyer. For the wealth gua, think abundance. Expensive art, china, crystal,
or other higher end items can be placed here. Water equates with money, so representations of water or a fountain works nicely. Or you can use colors for wealth, purple, red, green, gold or silver, to tickle the chi of money.
Q: With buyers that have very outdated taste and truly don’t understand what features are important in an expensive house, do you have any suggestions of how to get it across to them that some changes need to be made to attract buyers? Also, what would you suggest are some easy, quick fixes that wouldn’t take too much convincing?
A: I spend time with the sellers in the beginning of our session explaining that now we are staging the home to welcome in the buyer, and we are moving them along to their next home. Therefore, if their personal taste is very prevalent in the house they may be limiting the market for their home. If they have been in the home a long time, this may take some gentle education about what the competition is like out there. Then, start with something simple that makes sense to them. Such as: removing objects behind the front door so that the door can open fully, placing a welcome mat out front that is as large as the door (double doors, double size mat) to make the entry as grand as possible, taking their name off the house if it’s there to make it easier for a buyer to not feel they are “trespassing” when coming to see the house. Also, recommend they pick anything up off the floor that blocks hallways, pathways, and circulation through the house, etc. Keep it simple, get them involved, and then work up to the larger changes.
Q: Are there any good feng shui colors to paint the front door of a house to gain some curb appeal and draw buyers in?
A: You can generate sales with great front doors. The main point to remember with the front door is that you want it to pop and stand out from the siding and trim. If it blends, or is the same color as the trim, the chi just bounces off it and no real entry is created to pull in the buyer. You want it to be dramatic with a bolder or brighter color than the siding and trim. Red doors are fantastic, but don’t always work with every house. For example, if the house is white with green trim, try a bright teal blue (which has the green in it). Or if you have a pine house, use a cedar stain on the door to make it stand out.
Q: If you only use feng shui in one room, will you lose its effect by not using feng shui for the entire house?
A: Good question! You will not lose the effect if that one room is the room of first impression — the first room you encounter when you enter the house. This is the room that sells the house. It is the one in which the buyer decides whether or not they like the house, and this is only confirmed as they move through the house. The room of first impression sets the tone and energy for the entire house. If this room is welcoming and has good feng shui you are off to a great start. It is one of the most important rooms of the house, and we devote an entire chapter in Sell Your Home with Feng Shui to selecting the best room, directing the buyer there, and setting up a welcoming furniture arrangement.
Q: Is there any must-have items you would recommend keeping on hand to stage a home with feng shui?
A: In our book, we include a chapter on preparing your feng shui staging kit. It includes items such as welcome mats, red candles, a metal dish for your business cards, wind chimes, and a runner rug. We list about a dozen inexpensive items plus a few for staging a vignette in an empty house.
Q: Is it expensive to use feng shui to stage a home?
A: Definitely not. The vast majority of changes made will involve the furniture, art, and décor present in the house. An example would be moving a couch to open up a pathway to the window with the view. Another is placing the practitioner’s cards in the Career area. In most cases, the expense will be minimal such as purchasing a wind chime or a flag.