Is Feng Shui the Real Estate Tool You’ve Been Forgetting About?

“I have witnessed several real estate deals influenced by feng shui principles, both positively and negatively,” Tian adds. “Buyers who value these principles may be willing to walk away from otherwise perfect homes if they feel the feng shui is not right and not correctable, or they may compete aggressively for homes that meet their feng shui criteria.”

For this reason, feng shui can be a valuable tool for sellers to ensure a quick and favorable sale. While not every feng shui no-go can be easily resolved, some can. Carter has noticed that many houses that sit on the market for a long time contain an overwhelming amount of “water elements,” which represent downward movement in feng shui. The element may enter the design in literal ways, such as a fish tank or water features, but wavy objects, blue colors, or mirrors can all reference water.

To balance out the water element with a more energetic one, Carter says adding fire elements can help. To infuse this “heat,” she adds light (sunlight, candles, or electric), colors such as red, pink, and purple; and triangle, arrow, and star shapes; among other things, which all traditionally relate to the fire element in feng shui. “I get a lot of bang for the buck adding fire elements to each room in homes that surprisingly aren’t moving,” she says.

Carter says adding the fire element in a home can help them sell. There are both literal and figurative ways to do this.

Photo: Delmaine Donson/Getty Images

In short, many feng shui experts agree that using the philosophy can be useful in a number of contexts, from buying and selling to living in a home. But how does one make sure they’re doing it right? According to Sophia Febbo, a Manhattan-based junior real estate agent at the Amanda Baum Team at Corcoran, a lot of feng shui is instinct and common sense. She has noticed that many of the people she works with already incorporate feng shui into their properties, whether they know it or not.

“I wouldn’t say a lot of people know what feng shui is, but if I say, ‘Do you know that having plants in your home is good for mental health,’ they’ll say, “‘Yeah!’”

She regularly uses ideas from feng shui to help clients envision how a space they’re on the fence about could be their new home, making suggestions like adding pampas grass to a corner, a mirror to a wall, or removing a desk from a bedroom (a big feng shui no-no).

Indeed, good feng shui and good design often naturally overlap. For example, Febbo says she’s seen a sale not go through because of a poor property layout or a lack of natural light—notably, these are two things that feng shui principles would look to fix. “You can also see it in client’s faces when they get the sense of ‘This is my home and I can live here,’” Febbo says. “I didn’t turn to them and say, ‘You just got feng shui-ed!’ But they’re living there now because of the feng shui in that place.”

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