This goes back to 1989 or 1990 or so. I was finishing up an inspection on a very nice house. The inspection went very well. As we were walking out of the front door, my client, an elderly and exceptionally polite Asian gentleman, asked me if I had a compass handy. "Sure!" As I am always somehow Boy Scout connected I am prepared! I actually have two. So I dug one out of my tool kit.
"What way house point?"
"Oh no! Cannot buy house! Cannot buy house!"
The realtor's jaw dropped! I did not understand either.
"Bad Feng Shui! The house, bad Feng Shui!"
I had never before heard of Feng Shui! I had heard of, and often enjoyed, Chow Fun, but not this other thing!
Neither had the realtor... She stood right in front of him, looked directly into his eyes, and politely asked what in the world he was talking about. He had a hard time explaining in English. It went something like:
"This much bad luck! Very, very much bad luck!" He was pointing toward the way the house was facing. "It small. It not strong."
He was making no sense. Neither of us understood. And should we have? She shot me a wicked glance that said, "Look what you've done!" Gee, all I did was answer a question. How could I know it all meant the house pointed away from Marriage and Romantic Happiness, had a vanilla color and was Small Earth? My brother's name is Ken -- doesn't that count for something?
I now understand that Feng Shui has a fascination to some people. It is basically folkloric and mythical. But there are those who follow that sort of thing. I know interior designers who follow it in case their clients have such inclination. Certain "bad" things can be counteracted by the placement of plants and mirrors and and furniture and so forth. But it is complicated and doesn't assure a good outcome. Even the direction the head faces while lying in bed can be significant. So even a house that faces what you want may not be the right house depending on the interior architectural design! The elderly client either did not consider the direction before making an offer on the house, or did not understand that so many things would happen, involving so many people, tying up the house for many weeks, and cost so many people so much money, him included.
Long story short, he canned the deal. The Realtor canned him as a client. She also canned me I think because I have not heard from her since. The word got out though. Even to this day, there are Realtors who put the direction of the house on their listing information. And not just the Asian Realtors! I have had the direction question many times since, but never resulting in that outcome.
My recommendation: It seems to me that if Feng Shui is that important to you as a buyer, you should have a compass in your pocket so when you pull up to the house the deal could be canned at THAT point! But since they might not always have one handy, YOU as a Realtor should have one too. My house faces due north. How about you?
Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC
Based in Bristow, serving all of Northern Virginia.
Office (703) 330-6388 Cell (703) 585-7560