This is the final post in my series on feng shui and selling your home. (If you haven’t already, read Part One, “What’s In, What’s Out” and Part Two, “Energy Flow.”) Today’s post concerns little details that will emphasize yang energy in the home. This is desirable because a sale is a yang activity.
The term “staging” in real estate means that the house has been decorated to look its best, regardless of how it looked before being put up for sale. It would be nice if all homes looked their best at all times, but that’s not reality. Regardless of how your home looked before it was for sale, it needs to start looking perfect as soon as you’ve decided to sell it. Your goal is to make potential buyers’ jaws drop. Beauty so stunning that they almost faint and quickly say, “I’ll take it.” Or better yet, “I’ll pay more.” Try not to stop at anything short of perfection. That goal is too high to achieve, but keep aiming for it. It’s now your job, and the payoff is really big. Take it at least as seriously as an eight-hour-a-day job.
Most people experience architectural detail subconsciously, but haven’t trained themselves in seeing it consciously. These are the parts of a home that really lend it its specific character. They tend to be “selling points.” If you think that you don’t recognize architectural detail, then ask someone such as an architect, builder or interior designer, even a friend who simply knows the subject better than you. Appropriately emphasize architectural detail when possible—perhaps just by cleaning a complicated but grand stone fireplace, or painting a built-in feature a matching color to something in the room. Historic authenticity has a vibe to it that can never quite be in a reproduction. If your house is even twenty years old, it most likely has something about its design or detailing that dates it. Don’t carelessly erase that. Appropriately emphasized architectural features give a home an authentic charm that works wonders on potential buyers. They are literally charmed, but may not know exactly why.
The subtle things matter. Pay close attention to small things like making sure to lubricate hinges. Repair anything that could use any kind of repairing, no matter how minor. Take the time to set all the grooves in the heads of the screws in the light-switch plate and electrical socket covers identically. If you set them vertically throughout the house, you are tilting the scale a bit more in the yang direction because vertical is a more yang and active direction than horizontal. If all the screws are already nicely set horizontally, you don’t need to change them. The fact that they are all the same is the main thing. It simplifies the look, making it more yang. It also subtly says, “The last person to touch these was a professional,” because they’re often the only ones who will set the screws identically. Buyers’ eyes notice these details, even subliminally. The light-switch plate screws are especially important because they are usually closer to eye level.
The switchplate on the left has misaligned, crooked-set screwheads. The plate on the right has nicely aligned screwheads which are also set vertically, a very yang orientation.
Speaking of subtle, there’s a reason why so many houses for sale have white interiors. Bold and dramatic colors can stop real estate sales. They’re too in-your-face for something so decidedly personal. Much of what attracts chi energy is vision related. If your eye is getting a big dose of a color that you don’t really care for, it does make an impression. You’re not tempted to linger. Part of you is consciously or subconsciously trying to paint it out. Bold colors and wall murals usually get painted over by the new owner. Save them the trouble. You’ll have a faster sale. That’s the bottom line. You’re not going to continue living there. Get used to it. (That also encourages the yang energy that says, “I am moving out; parts of my personality are not permanently stuck here.”)
Don’t use over-the-top colors anywhere, inside or out, when a building is for sale. Frankly, inside a home, they’re not a good idea any time. They’re likely to bring too much drama into your life. The designer Clodagh says, “Kindergarten colors are hard to live with. Colors should not be intrusive. I prefer subtle colors, not-quite colors…” Leave drama for the soap operas. Off-white may seem boring, but it sure sells a lot of houses.
Emphasize yang in a place for sale with fresh cut flower arrangements or silk flowers. Real flowers are best because of their freshness, but artificial plants are not a problem. They represent a living, growing plant. Use them to create beauty and enhance empty areas, taking care that you don’t over-clutter the home. They must be clean. Take the time to arrange the leaves, and try to imitate nature. The extra effort is worth it. Do not have dried plants in a house that is for sale. They are dead, and they symbolize death, a rather ultimate yin state.
This arrangement has a good height ratio of vase to plants. The rule is that the vase should (generally) be about one third the height of the full arrangement, including the vase. The arrangement also has good relationship energy because there’s more than one flower (parakeet heliconia). There’s a good yin/yang balance because some of the plants have an bright, upward energy which is balanced by the darker, rounded-leaf foliage of dinnerplate panax. Note that even though some of the plants are pointy, they don’t point at people.
They might be family to you, but if pets are currently living in the house for sale, they, and their smell and hair, need to be gone any time the place is shown. Also gone, their bed and waste box. That may sound harsh to you owners of wonderful pets, but some people are allergic to certain animals. You shouldn’t say no to those possible transactions. That’s called slamming the door in the face of chi energy. Just because someone has an allergy doesn’t mean they don’t have money. There’s no problem with well-behaved pets outside the house during a showing.
Ask your agent or friends to be very honest if they notice pet smell. You may be used to it. The smell in a house should be fresh—not like animals, and not like mildew. Lingering smells get noticed by buyers, but not in a good way. It’s fine to have a smell of freshly baked, delicious food. You’ll probably make chi energy linger, perhaps hoping for some cake.
Admittedly, aiming for perfection can be frustrating and overwhelming for someone in a home that needs a lot of work. If you know you can’t get it all done, just make sure it’s very clean throughout, and then work primarily on the first impression. Try for simplicity and charm. Hopefully that will cause people (chi energy) to smile. Attracting chi energy is what it’s all about.