- Despite its popularity, feng shui shouldn't be a selling point for any development
- A walk-in robe to separate the entrance to the ensuite from the bed, so you never see into the bathroom when lying on the bed, is one such feng shui principle
- Kitchen designs popular too
Peter Li, General Manager of Plus Agency, discusses feng shui, and how it attracts more buyers to new developments.
Whether you call it an art or a science, the Asian tradition of feng shui has a significant influence on the Sydney market.
Here’s what I say about feng shui to the developers with whom I am working to sell apartments.
Don’t make feng shui a selling point
We don’t emphasise feng shui as a selling point in our project marketing. I wouldn’t want to suggest to buyers that any project is only for Asian buyers.
If I over-emphasise feng shui, other buyers may feel excluded. We never want to do that.
We use feng shui to increase the pool of buyers rather than shrink it.
Feng Shui means more buyers
Please understand me. I’m not saying feng shui is important to everyone.
What I am saying is that when you launch a project in Sydney, a significant portion of the market does care about feng shui. And because those people do care, you will lose sales if you do not respect feng shui.
When your floorplans are feng shui-compliant, Asian buyers make decisions more quickly and raise fewer objections. If you’ve ever worked with a buyer who never seems to close, a feng shui-related objection to the floorplan could be holding them back.
When I returned to China in 2019, I went through a proper feng shui course with a master. Feng shui is based on a series of calculations, so good feng shui experts will all tell you the same thing about a property.
I have worked with at least ten different feng shui masters on various properties, and their advice has been consistent.
Align your buildings fair and square
We recently sold out the price-record breaking luxury townhouse project in Lindfield called Wolseley Eight. In that project, everything is fair, square, and right-angled.
The bedrooms are perfectly aligned, the stove and sink do not face one other, and there is no mirror facing the bed in the bedroom.
And we use a walk-in ‘robe to separate the entrance to the ensuite from the bed, so you never see into the bathroom when lying on the bed.
These are some of the basic precepts of feng shui that every developer should follow.
Feng Shui can attract new demographics to an area
When we launched the first stage of Chapman Gardens, a $200 million, park-front apartment project in Castle Hill. It sold very slowly, and almost all the buyers were local buyers of European family backgrounds.
The floor plans were directly from the architect, and they were fine, but they didn’t account for the feng shui principles I have mentioned above. The architect was good but was unaware of what people with an Asian background might think is desirable.
We changed the floorplans before launching stage two and, as a result, exchanged over 60 units to the clients we met on and before the day of launch (which also happened to be election day).
And we continued to sell strongly after the launch. At the recent Sydney Property Expo, we obtained near 200 enquirers. That’s more than enquired about the house and land projects which were on exhibition in the next booth.
While Caucasians purchased most of the first stage, Asian buyers bought the overwhelming majority of the units in Chapman Gardens’ second stage.
So, you can see that floorplans that fit buyers’ expectations can make a big difference to sales results. Of course, we also did a lot more marketing to the Asian-Australian community, but that extra marketing would have been wasted without culturally appropriate floorplans.
Once again, the revised floor plans are just as appealing to buyers of any background. They are not Asian-specific.
We revised the plans to make them more inclusive rather than less. Buyers from every background can appreciate the changes we made.
Easy floorplan fixes to appeal to more buyers
At Chapman Gardens, we implemented easy floorplan fixes that were essentially cost-neutral.
The first thing we did was look at the line of two-bedroom, two-bath units. These units had two problems in the master bedroom. First, the bed had an unappealing view of the toilet. Second, the main bedroom was triangular due to an angled wall.
The fix wasn’t as complicated as you might think.
We simply relocated the master bedroom to the other side of the unit, where the second bedroom had been. Then, we added a wardrobe to the new master bedroom so residents wouldn’t be able to see directly into the bathroom from their bed.
Changes to kitchen layouts benefit everyone
The second change we made was even more straightforward.
There was a line of one-bedroom, one-bath residences with a beautiful kitchen island and cooktop. However, the design located the sink in the middle of the island, directly opposite the cooktop.
I won’t explain the reasoning behind it, but —just like seeing your toilet from the bed— lining up the sink and cooktop is a feng shui no-no.
To remedy this problem, we just moved the sink to the side slightly, so it was no longer in direct alignment with the cooktop.
We changed the kitchen and bedroom layouts to adhere to feng shui principles. However, both improvements will benefit all buyers, including those who can’t even spell the words “feng shui.”
Whether or not you believe in feng shui, you probably don’t want to be looking at the toilet all night long.
And, if two people hope to work together in the kitchen, the sink and the stove must be separated. Having them directly opposite one another creates a choke point that makes it difficult for one person to cook while the other does something at the sink.
Feng shui may have Asian roots, but everyone can appreciate its results.
These are just a few small examples of how we advise developers to consider feng shui when designing their projects. Most developers need only a basic understanding of this ancient practice to help them boost their sales and prices.
If you hope to sell some of your units internationally, feng shui becomes even more critical.