Whether or not you personally give any weight to superstitions, it may pay to consider them if you are buying or selling a property.
Generally speaking, westerners are not overly superstitious and males less so than females, but we do live in a multi-cultural society.
Many immigrants bring their traditions and superstitions with them and if there is a strong community of a particular culture in the area you are looking to buy or sell, it could influence a number of property decisions.
Furthermore, the Aussie real estate market becoming increasingly appealing to overseas investors, particularly those from China – and some of the most superstitious cultures include China, Malaysia and Japan, as well as India and Italy.
Keeping these superstitions in mind could give you insights into how best to market your property to sell. It could also explain why or why not a property you are interested in gets snapped up quickly or hangs around on the market for months on end.
Let’s check out some of the more common superstitions:
There are certain numbers that incite fear or celebration and when they are associated with a property, they can influence buying or selling decisions.
Unfortunately, these numbers are not uniform across cultures.
What is lucky in Chinese culture may be viewed differently in Italian, Indian and here in the west.
- In China, numbers with an 8 are considered lucky and are a sign of prosperity.
- The number 4 is unlucky as it sounds like the word for death in Chinese languages.
- Unlucky in western culture is the number 13 – often the 13th floor is completely skipped as developers decide to not take the risk. Architects may design stairs so there aren’t 13 steps, either.
- However, the number 13 is lucky in Italy, as it is thought to bring prosperity and life.
- The number 17 is bad luck in Italy because the numbers look like death – 1 being the hanged man and 7 being the gallows.
- In India, the amount of money presented should always end in one and should not be an even number. The extra rupee is said to bring good luck.
If you are selling your property, take into consideration the demographic of the area and cater to that market.
For example, you could consider advertising an asking price that ends in an 8 or highlighting a house number of 8 if there is strong interest from the Asian community.
If you are a developer or investor, you might consider skipping floor number – or property number – 13 and 17.
2. Feng Shui
Feng Shui is the ancient Chinese study of balancing energy in a particular space in order to create harmony and ascertain health and good fortune for the people living there.
While Feng Shui may be Chinese in origin, it has been made popular in the west by the Japanese.
Many people seek Feng Shui audits on their home and interior designers now frequently incorporate Feng Shui into their standard practice.
- A house on a busy road or at a T intersection generally has bad Feng Shui as traffic disperses qi (pronounced chi, meaning good energy).
- The shape and slope of a block affects the Feng Shui of a property. The best Feng Shui in a property occurs when it is rectangular in shape and is sloping slightly upwards – it is supposed to be symbolic of the property growing in value.
- The location of a property is also important. Water is said to hold qi so it is good to have nearby. On the water is best but water views and even a pool could suffice. Backing up to a hill or mountain can also be a positive as it protects the home from strong wind, which has the opposite affect of water – it blows away qi.
- A red front door creates good Feng Shui as it invites positive energy into the house. Throughout history, a red front door has also symbolized protection from the angel of death and a safe place to rest.
What this means for you as a seller: when you stage your property for viewings, consider the principles of Feng Shui to make the most of your space.
What this means for you as an investor or developer: hire a Feng Shui expert to have input into your architecture and interior design plans.
What this means for you as a buyer: use any good Feng Shui that your property has to full advantage in photos, marketing and discussions with your agent.
3. Some other superstitions to keep in mind
There really are an endless number of superstitions that influence people’s decisions around real estate.
Here are a few others that are worth your consideration:
- Friday the 13th is a day that superstitious people avoid doing anything significant due to the belief that the day is cursed and a source of ill fortune – so don’t host an auction on that day!
- Saturdays are unlucky in Indian culture as it is associated with the god Shani (Saturn) and is associated with the crow in Hindu mythology. The superstitions associated with Saturday have led to a saying, “Saturday, the day of hopeless people.” This could make the traditional day for open houses a bit tricky.
- Deceased estates can be considered bad luck for people from a number of different cultures, including western cultures. While some think of a potential bargain, others can’t handle the idea of a dead body or spirit occupying the house.
If you are looking to buy or sell and you aren’t superstitious, you have nothing to lose by being aware of these interesting cultural norms.
You are now aware of some of the reasons why a property may be still on the market besides the usual structural, location or price concerns and although it may no influence your decisions, it could explain why a particular house, suburb or community is doing well (or not so well).
Ultimately, it is important to note that nothing can beat good research and preparation when it comes to buying or selling a home.
If you are struggling to sell or are looking for a unique angle in a particular market, these superstitions may be of benefit to help you think outside the box when re-launching your sales campaign or renewing your search efforts.