That’s why, whether you’re moving up the property ladder to accommodate a growing family, downsizing in later life, moving abroad or selling inherited property, it’s good to have a bit of extra help. This is where the ancient Chinese art of Feng Shui (pronounced ‘fung shway’) comes in.
Far from being the latest New Age craze, the principles of Feng Shui have actually been used by the Chinese for thousands of years to create harmonious physical spaces, indoors and outdoors – and a lot of practical lessons we can learn from them too.
Have you noticed how some properties exude warmth and hospitality while others literally leave you cold? A new colour scheme can completely transform how the room feels – think soothing neutrals vs bold prints, for instance. And even your grandmother knows that a good spring clean brings fresh energy into the home!
Feng Shui (literally translated as ‘wind and water’) is all about that flow of energy (or ‘chi’) in our physical environment and how it affects our wellbeing. Create auspicious surroundings and you (or more importantly: your potential buyer) will benefit from the positive energy all around. However, if the flow of energy is blocked for any reason, this can lead to stagnation, obstacles and negativity, in other words: no sale.
If this sounds complicated, don’t worry, it isn’t. Here are 4 simple ideas that everyone can put into practice to improve their home’s appeal to potential buyers.
- Kerb Appeal
According to the Chinese, your front door is the ‘Mouth of Chi’; it’s where energy enters the home, so it’s important that the vibe should be welcoming. Make a good first impression – get rid of any clutter, hide the dustbins out of sight, sort out drab looking paintwork and shabby looking drives, soften a harsh exterior with healthy, lush plants and generally give everything a bit of love.
When you open the front door, make sure there are no obstructions to getting inside – shoes, toys, bikes should all be tidied away. You’ve heard of the 11 second rule? It’s is how long it takes a typical buyer to instinctively know whether a property is for them.
- Less is More
Energy can’t flow freely if your house is full of clutter, so get tidying! Whether you put your precious possessions into storage, sell or donate them, the important thing is to show off your home’s spaciousness to maximum effect. Less stuff means more space, and that’s what sells homes.
At this point, you may need to remind yourself to LET GO of what is technically still your home, since too much emotional attachment on your part may actually prevent potential buyers from connecting with the property. Instead, try to focus on presenting your home for sale to as wide an audience as possible.
- Light and Space
Light and space are two key factors with universal appeal to property buyers everywhere – so let the light flow in! Make sure your windows are clean and unobstructed. Cut back shrubbery outside if you need to. Reconsider your window dressings – are net curtains really necessary? Perhaps blinds would be more advantageous than heavy curtains, especially if you have a feature window you would like to showcase.
You can also use mirrors to create an illusion of light and space – but be careful to harness positive, not negative energy. According to Feng Shui principles, mirrors facing the front door are not recommended (chi is reflected back out), nor should you position a mirror opposite a bed (can create insomnia and relationship problems) or facing a toilet (flushing prosperity away).
- Harmony at Home
The aim of Feng Shui is to create balance and harmony – in your home as well as in your life generally. When your house is up for sale, potential buyers needs to be able to navigate the space easily, without any harsh obstacles in the way such as awkwardly positioned pieces of furniture jutting out. Think of open pathways, or of water gently meandering, and you’re on the right track. It’s also a good idea to group your seating areas so they face towards the door (and perhaps notice how no-one ever likes sitting with their back to the door).
Keep your décor tasteful and neutral; wild patterns and vivid colours aren’t everyone’s cup of tea. Plainer, more natural colours blend into the background and let the building speak for itself rather than distract from it.
Finally, artwork can be used to great effect to enhance the atmosphere of a room. Art is also a very personal affair, so when you’re selling a property you need to take yourself literally out of the picture. Think of what puts potential buyers at ease – relaxing images, soothing colours and nature themes should all do the trick, while anything overtly controversial, personal or religious is best avoided.
Article provided by Mike James, an independent content writer in the property industry – working alongside a selection of companies including Barry Homebuyers, who were consulted over the information contained in this piece.