When Liang Mei wanted to buy a Melbourne apartment for her ageing father, she told our team that it had to be in the suburb of Box Hill.
Her father, a widower, would be moving from China’s Guangdong province to live closer to Mrs Liang and her two children – his only grandchildren.
Box Hill already has many Chinese-speaking residents, services and clubs. That would make it easier for him to develop a network of friends. Nor is it too far from Mrs Liang’s own home in Richmond. Best of all, the area has good feng shui.
Because Box Hill is about halfway up a hill, it has especially good feng shui. If your home is at the bottom of a slope, some say you stay at the bottom in life and don’t progress. If your home is on the peak, then there is no room for further progress.
Feng shui is not important to all offshore and local buyers of Chinese background, but for many it can break a deal. One survey found that feng shui makes a difference to 83 per cent of ethnic Chinese homebuyers. More than three quarters are willing to offer an average of 16 per cent more for a house that meets feng shui standards.
Some houses and apartments can’t be fixed. For example, if the stairs face out the front door, the consequence is that all luck will flow right through the door and out of the house. It’s not easy to rearrange a staircase.
Two other common feng shui deal breakers are a home’s location at the end of a dead-end street or having the front and rear doors aligned.
In many cases, however, feng shui problems can be corrected and a house or apartment can be made more desirable.
Feng shui is centuries old and has the goal of creating a calm, harmonious environment that improves the flow of positive energy and outcomes. You achieve this through your layout and the manner in which you place furniture, plants and other decor elements.
Simple ways to improve the feng shui of any home include cleaning up clutter, carefully placing mirrors (for example, not opposite a bed) and painting in complementary colours.
If a bed is in the ‘death position’, with its foot pointing at the door, you can usually just relocate it. This may seem a minor change to you, but it can have a major impact on your sales prospects. Forty-one per cent of surveyed ethnic Chinese buyers indicated a badly oriented bed would discourage them from buying a home.
Other improvements you can persuade vendors to make include repainting kitchens in complementary colours, adding live plants and a full-length mirror to the bathroom, and rearranging furniture.
If you don’t believe in your own capability to advise your vendor about feng shui, there are many consultants who can help. Consider including the cost of feng shui consulting in your marketing plan, and ensure the consultant works with your stager towards the same goal.