Wind and Water

When Anne Bowe came to my house to discuss feng shui's ability to improve a house in preparation for sale she crouched down by the front door and said, "You know, I'm not going to analyze your house." But I could tell she couldn't help it, and the feeling was a little scary.

It felt very much as though she could see into the dark crevices of my soul. Talk about airing your dirty laundry. We started by pretending I was trying to sell my house as she asked what areas cause problems (as if she didn't already know.) Our entry room, practically as big as our entire last house, sits devoid of carpets, paintings or much furniture because we can't quite figure out what to do with it. I assume that qualifies it as a "problem area." I can't figure out what to do with it because I am a closet perfectionist and am afraid to make a mistake, which is my personal "problem area."

She delicately commented, "If you think something doesn't work, it doesn't." Then offered practical advice for fixing the problem.

Mostly this space concentrates on buying houses, but let's shift our focus for a moment to buying's partner in any real estate transaction - selling.

In order to sell your house it must appeal to buyers. The things that don't work for you will be the sticking points for potential buyers as well.

According to Anne Bowe, there are several solutions for overcoming problem areas that may keep your house from selling as quickly as it should.

Feng shui, which literally means, "wind and water" strives to create a balanced, harmonious home or workspace that fulfills needs, strengthens health and increases abundance in all areas of life.

She emphasizes that making any small change to affect balance and harmony will influence potential buyers.

Something as simple as the inability to read the address on the front of the house could create an initial negative impression. If a person has to pass your house before he can see the address, he arrives at your door thinking that you must not want him there too badly or you would have made it much easier for him to find you. OK, OK, this actually happened - I invited Anne Bowe to my house so I could interview her. She couldn't find the house on the first pass because the last owners hung unreadable brass numbers on a small oak plaque that I have never gotten around to replacing.

The first place to attract buyers is with the front of your house. Beyond the obvious advice, which includes highlighting the most attractive elements of the facade, and easy fixes such as repairing broken doorknobs, replacing burnt-out light bulbs and clearing away debris that might make the entrance impassable, Bowe suggests determining what type of message you wish to send.

Bowe tells the story of a woman, recently divorced who could not seem to attract company. Bowe suggested that she cut down the tree blocking the path to her door. She did and realized that the tree had made her feel safe from the world but also kept her away from the world. Within three weeks of the removal of that tree she had entered into a "wonderful" relationship.

In order for you to feel comfortable and for potential buyers to place themselves in your home, the rooms must work as they are intended to work. An entryway, for instance, like any good introduction, should tell people who you are and what sort of experience awaits them.

Entries often, like mine, face dead-end walls. Bowe says that dead-ends feel awkward. Many people put a mirror on them (I didn't admit this was my first instinct), but that just makes them all the more strange because no one wants to be confronted with his own image coming toward him. She advises hanging a painting that suggests depth. For my specific room, she essentially said, "put some furniture in it," supporting her thought that feng shui is really based on common sense.

Really the feng shui practitioner operates much like a therapist - she scrutinizes, then asks you to deal with your more glaring problems. She hit the nail on the head with this most disconcerting observation at my house, "The person with the most power in the house sleeps in the furthest back corner." That's where Lucy, my two-year-old sleeps.

My house isn't really for sale, but you can check out this luxuriously appointed townhouse with its first floor bedroom in Walden Grove with an eye for harmony and balance.


3517 Windgate Way


3 bedroom; 2 bath

Contact Sue Beard 294-2517

If you have a unique or interesting house for sale contact Lissa Sims at lsims@aceweekly.com.