Monthly Archives: March 2010

Using Feng Shui To Help A Home Sell Works

Feng Shui has nothing to do with superstition, religion, or philosophy; it’s about living in harmony with your environment through balancing energy (or “qi”).  When a room is balanced and qi can flow gently, you’ll automatically feel comfortable and at ease.  The flow of qi is essential to personal comfort and well-being, and your body intuitively feels when an environment is balanced or imbalanced.

It’s simple…when a buyer feels comfortable in a home it will sell and when they don’t the home won’t sell.

If you believe that Feng Shui is New Age fad, it may surprise you to know that the eastern cultures have practiced the art of placement for centuries. And now that Feng Shui has been westernized, buyers and sellers are using Feng Shui to buy and sell real estate.

The idea behind Feng Shui is to create a harmonious environment to support the health and prosperity of the occupants by placement of objects, use of color, landscaping, and the five elements – fire, earth, metal, water, and wood. The simplest way to look at it is that if any element is out of balance or missing, we feel off-balance too.

Every object vibrates to create a unique combination of energy.  Feng Shui helps home sellers create balanced energy which will attract buyers. For example, a white front door and a semi-circular front door mat are metal elements. To help the home sell, create balance using fire and earth elements – red or orange-colored plants on either side of the door or by replacing the door mat with a red or orange rectangular- shaped mat.

The goal of getting a home sold is to create comfort and appeal so that buyers linger in the home.  The more time a buyer spends in the home, the more likely they are to buy it.  To help buyers linger, you’ve got to create coziness.  Coziness creates comfort and it is indicative of a gentle flow of energy.  Adding earth elements like rectangular area rugs, square wall art, and window treatments help create coziness. 

In long hallways qi can move too quickly if you don’t have wall art, earth wall colors, or area rugs to slow it down.  The goal is creating slow, meandering qi.  On long straight walkways outside, you can stagger potted plants to change the feel of rushing qi.

In the current real estate market, home sellers need every advantage to get their home sold quickly, but it should be noted that Feng Shui it can’t overcome setting a home sales price too high.   However, Feng Shui will absolutely help the home to feel welcoming and comfortable which will help set it apart from other homes on the market.

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Home Staging 101 – Good Smells Sell Homes

One of the most common and costly mistakes you can make when selling your home is not paying attention to the smells in your home.  When a prospective buyer opens the front door, they’ll be hit with your home’s unique odors.  They’ll form a first impression based on whether they experience a pleasing smell, or if something immediately turns them off.  The importance of smell can’t be underestimated because it’s nearly impossible to change a first impression.

Here are 7 Important Staging Guidelines to Help you Sell your Home Quickly:

1.  Don’t try to cover-up odors, instead, do all you can to reduce them.  Buyers are generally turned-off by strong air fresheners and if you don’t remove the offending odor, they’ll not only smell it but they’ll also smell the room freshener.  Double trouble!

2. Take out the trash often.  Even if the trashcan is hidden under the sink or in a closet, it’s best to simply keep the trash empty when showing your home. 

3. If you smoke inside the house stop, start smoking outside only.  Non-smokers immediately pick up on cigarette smoke.  If you’ve got years of built-up smoke you may need to re-paint, clean the carpet and drapes, and clean the air-ducts.  And open the windows for several hours to dispel energy and clean the air.

 4.  Don’t cook before a buyer comes to see your home because cooking odors can linger and will create a reaction.  You don’t want to risk the buyer having a negative reaction.  The only exception is baking bread or pastry – which is a terrific way to enhance a buyer’s experience of your home.

 5.  The best air fresheners to use are those with natural scents like citrus or spices like vanilla and cinnamon.

 6.   To keep things natural-smelling you can heat cinnamon sticks in boiling water before a showing.  Also, cut up oranges, lemons or limes and place them in a bowl in the kitchen.

 7.  Wash your pet often.  Keep pet bedding clean and diligently clean any “messes” that may have occurred between showings.

 Best Wishes for a quick and profitable sale!

What are the 2010 New Home Building Trends?

Home trends for 2010? Smaller and more energy-efficient homes.  In the past, lots of square footage was most important, but now buyers are looking for a well-designed, energy-efficient home.  Members of the National Association of Home Builders were recently given a list of 40 home features and asked to rank which they were likely to include in their new homes and which they weren’t.   Results –

Features Home Builders Plan to Use in 2010 Features Home Builders Don’t Plan to  Use in 2010
1.  Walk-in Closet in Master Bedroom 1.  Outdoor Kitchens
2.  Separate Laundry Room 2.  Outdoor Fireplace
3.  Insulated Front Door 3.  Sun Room
4.  Great Room 4.  Butler’s Pantry
5.  Low-E Windows 5.  Media Room
6.  Linen Closet 6.  Desk in Kitchen
7.  Programmable Thermostat 7.  Two-story Foyer
8.  Energy-Efficient Appliances and Lighting 8.  8-ft Ceiling on First Floor
9.  Separate Shower and Tub in Master Bedroom 9.  Multiple Shower Heads in Master
10.Nine-Foot Ceilings on First Floor 10.Bigger Bathrooms

On buyer’s list of preferences this year?  Low flow toilets, stainless steel appliances, darker “expresso” cabinets, distressed wood flooring, and little, if any wall-to-wall carpet.

Feng Shui Can Help With Your Home Decorating Decisions

You may not be aware of it, but you’re always experiencing and reacting to the energy in your environment.  Using the principles of Feng Shui will help balance energy in your home.  Why is this important?  Because when your home looks and feels good, you can relax and feel comfortable.  And that creates a better life!

So – how do you balance energy?  By using the five elements – fire, earth, metal, water, and wood and the principles of yin and yang.  The feeling you get when you walk into a room is dictated by the way the elements are used (knowingly or not) in decorating the room.

Take a look at these photos and notice whether you feel differently when you look at each one.  If you do, you’re experiencing the power of Feng Shui.  What you’re reacting to at the most basic level is the arrangement of the elements.  Shape, color, and placement of the elements create energy which then makes a room feel warm or cool, comfortable or uncomfortable.

First photo – There’s a lot of  water and metal energy here and it creates a cool, modern feel.  Looking closely, here is the breakdown of energy:               

  1. Water energy is created by the curvy shape of the chairs and their blue color.
  2. Metal energy is created by the metal floor lamp, the white color of the shade, and the plant on the table.
  3. Earth energy is created by the shape of the table and the beige color of the carpet.
  4. Fire energy is created by the red color in the wall art and the magazine.
  5. Wood energy is created by the rectangular shape of the wall art and in the table.

Second photo – Lots of fire energy here in the color of the chairs, the accessory on the table, and the wall art.  Does the space feel warm and inviting?  Fire energy creates warmth.

Third photo – The most basic level of energy, yin and yang, is displayed here.  White is yin energy and black is yang energy.  When black and white are used together they create a formal and rigid feeling.   This rigid feeling is alleviated by the shape of the wall art.  Even though the art is without color, it feels vibrant, doesn’t it?  It’s because of the shape.  This is the most vibrant part of the space.

Here is a helpful guide for you to identify the five elements in your environment:

The Five Elements and their Characteristics

Element Quality Color Shape
Water Flows, falls Black, Blue Wavy
Earth Compacts Yellow, Brown Square, Cubic
Wood Grows upward Green, Turqouise Rectangular
Metal Contracts White, Gold, Silver Round, Spherical
Fire Radiates Red, Orange, Purple Triangular

And for more information, see my post “Feng Shui 101 – the Five Elements.”

Feng Shui your Office for Success

Your office is an important part of your life. It’s where you make decisions, manifest new ideas, and talk to clients.   To put your best foot forward in life,  you need to feel relaxed and comfortable.  The way your office is arranged can either help or hinder your ability to work with a relaxed attitude.

If you work at home, it’s best to have a dedicated room for your home office.  (You’ll be eligible for a tax write-off too!)  If you don’t have the space for a separate office at home – renting an office space is a far better idea than trying to cram a workplace into your bedroom, dining room, or corner of your living room.  If your garage has heating and HVAC (especially important here in Austin) it’s a viable option.

Lighting

Working in a space with at least one window is desirable.  You’ll not only benefit psychologically from natural light, but if the window opens, you’ll be able to bring fresh air into your space which is one of the very best Feng Shui secrets you can utilize.  There are also immeasurable benefits to looking out at nature.

Use table and desk lamps and avoid overhead lighting.  Lamps should be placed about four to five feet away from each other.  Consider adding a Himalayan salt lamp to your desk area.  It gives off a warm glow and is said to absorb toxic energy from your computer.

Furniture Arrangement

Don’t sit with your back towards the door if possible.  If it’s impractical, simply keep the door closed or put a small reflective mirror on your computer so you can see who’s coming in behind you. 

Avoid placing your desk in line with a door unless you keep the door closed.  The energy coming in from the door can cause you to lose focus.

It’s best to have a wall behind you to give you support.  And avoid setting up your desk on an angle or with your back toward the window.

Try to have as many of these features as practical given your space:

A wall behind you

Your desk not in line with a door

Your desk facing a window

Position yourself in a “U” shape with furniture supporting each side

Avoid sitting under beams in the ceiling

If you use your office primarily to meet with clients, ensure that the clients seating are is comfortable and arranged in a U-Shape if possible.  This formation aids in relaxation.

Special Energy Enhancements

Generally speaking, the northeast corresponds to wealth.  Place a fire-colored object in this area to gather wealth energy.  Fire colors are red, pink, purple, and orange. 

North corresponds to water, which is creative energy in Feng Shui.  Put a table fountain, a picture of water, or a blue and black colored object to strengthen this energy.

Keep current bills in any of these areas of your office – northwest, northeast, south, or west.  In Feng Shui, these directions have “active” energy.  Active energy helps things move and that’s exactly what you want your bills to do.

Put investment and savings paperwork in the non-active areas of your office.  These areas are the north, east, southeast, southwest areas.  These directions help things grow – which is what your bank account to do!

 And Don’t forget the basics!

Keep your office uncluttered and clean.  Give it a “spring cleaning” at least every six months.  Energy can become stagnate – and make you stagnate – if you don’t dispel it.

Home Trends – Cozier, More Efficient, and Greener

For many home buyers here in Austin, Texas, and around the country, their next home will be smaller than their current home.  Buyers are willing to eliminate some of the most popular features of homes built five years ago which include media rooms and extra bedrooms. These changes are dictated in large part by the uncertain economy, and the green-living movement.  In large part, we’re getting back to cozy and soulful homes and away from cavernous structures.

The new trend for home buyers is toward energy-efficient, cozy homes which focus more on living areas- including outdoor areas- rather than on individual rooms.   And if you’re staying put in your current home this year, you may want to make some of these improvements to add more comfort and efficiency to your home.

1.  Roomy kitchens, with a center island and granite counter-tops. Trends include induction cooking (30% more efficient than gas or electric) and stone composite sinks that are more durable and easier to keep clean than stainless sinks.  Stone composite sinks also have a cleaner look because they’re built into a countertop.

2.  Green features like energy-efficient appliances, efficient insulation, high window insulation efficiency and ceiling fans.  Better insulated refrigerators and environmentally friendly cabinetry are trending.  Though widely available abroad, dual-flush toilets—with separate mechanisms to handle liquid or solid waste—are gaining attention here, says Lenora Campos with Toto USA, a leading toilet manufacturer.

3.  A home office or study area in place of a formal dining room.  People use home offices so much more than formal dining rooms!

4.   A master bedroom on first floor.  This is particularly in demand for baby-boomers who don’t want to subject themselves to the daily stairs. Laundry rooms on the first floor.

5.   Oversize showers with seating areas and soaker tubs.

 6.  Outdoor living areas with all the coziness of an indoor area.  This is made possible with outdoor carpets, weather-proof artwork and outdoor draperies for privacy.

7.  Neutral color palettes such as white and beige or gray and pink, with bold accents.  Neutral earth tones offer serenity, enlarge a small space, and create coziness and warmth.  Pink, especially with a pearlized finish, is popular as an accent because of its perceived healing power.  It’s also a fire element in Feng Shui and adds warmth to a space.

Six Feng Shui Home Staging Secrets for Adding Irresistible Appeal when Selling your Home.

If you’re selling your home in the current real estate market whether here in Austin Texas or another part of the country, the more you do to make it stand out from other homes on the market, the better.  More than selling four walls and roof, you are selling the possibility of a more fulfilling, inspired life.  Attention to detail is crucial in creating warmth and coziness, which creates comfort in the buyer.   Here are six relatively inexpensive things I do when preparing a client’s home for sale based on the principles of Feng Shui.

1- Place new flower pots with colorful flowers on each side of the front door and flower boxes on the porch (if practical).  Buyers are going to form the very important first-impression before they even walk into your home.  There’s no way to change a first impression.  Ensure that everything they see on the way inside your home looks healthy and pretty.

2 – Create a seating area on the porch with a chair (or two) and a table, an outdoor rug, and colorful seat cushions.  For a little extra effort, hang a porch-swing.  Creating a sitting area creates instant comfort and allows buyers to imagine relaxing on the porch.   It’s important to create areas that lend themselves to a buyer’s imagination. 

3- Buy a new, colorful, heavy-weight front door mat.  The front door is important and nothing says “I’m not a well-cared for home” more than an old and faded doormat.

4- Install a few upgraded outlet covers in high visibility areas.  You’ll add instant  charm and character with a sophisticated or whimsical electrical switch outlet.  It gives the impression of extra care you’ve taken with your home and it gives your home unique appeal.

5- Place magazines like Architectural Digest, Dwell, and Gourmet on your bed or on an outdoor seating area.  Publications associated with home or relaxing are best (travel magazines are great too) in order to create an idea of relaxing and creating a more fulfilling life. 

Buyers aren’t just buying a home, they are buying the dream of a creating a happier life.

6- Place an accessory with an uplifting saying on it where buyers can see it.  I’ve used river rocks that say “patience” and “trust,” a wood cut-out that says “happiness” and a plaque that says “love is spoken here.”  Adding nurturing sentiments can trigger a buyer’s feeling of relaxation and okay-ness.  When a buyer feels relaxed and inspired in a house, they are much more likely to buy it.