The Yellow Emperor’s Dwelling Classic, a fifth century Chinese text, states, “A good earth will grow exuberant sprouts, a house with a good fortune will bring prosperity’” (Kwok & O’Brien).

tipsThis proverb offers sage advice for both first-time homebuyers and those who are looking to relocate or upgrade. In fact, anyone who is in the market for a home should keep this proverb firmly in mind, for if they do, they can avoid making a purchase they will later regret.

The Lay of the Land

The principles of feng shui teach that a house sits amid four animal spirits: the Green Dragon, the White Tiger, the Red Bird, and the Black Tortoise. Each spirit maintains a certain position around a dwelling. To the left is the Green Dragon; to the right, the White Tiger; in front, the Red Bird; and to the rear, the Black Tortoise.

According to Feng Shui master Man-Ho Kwok, on an ideal site even balance should exist between the left and right sides of a house, with neither the Green Dragon nor the White Tiger being dominant. For example, a wing on either side of the house should not extend into the front yard since it would make that side of the house dominant.

Ideally as well, the land should be flat (most Chinese Buddhist temples and shrines are built on flat land); but if the land isn’t flat, that which lies in back of the house (the Black Tortoise) should be at least slightly higher than that in front (the Red Bird), since higher land in the back protects the home from invading forces (negative energy) and provides support (in the form of family and friends).

Buyers should avoid a house built on a triangular plot if the front of the house faces the triangle’s point (this indicates ill health) or if the back of the house faces the triangle’s point (this indicates fatal illness or suicide).

English garden
English garden

Additionally, flower gardens in the backyard should be larger than those in the front, since large back gardens will help assure the homeowner of prosperity and admiration, as well as successful, although often unexpected, business ventures. Plus, the property should be deeper than it is wide since this layout encourages happiness and stability of home life.

Neighbouring Structures

When house hunting in a subdivision, potential buyers should look for a house that is built close to the other houses but in a rectangular pattern. This allows Chi (the breath of life) to move smoothly and evenly from one house to the next. Moreover, the house should be as tall, if not taller, than any directly opposite it and slightly lower than those behind it, which encourages the free circulation of Chi but also provides protection from secret arrows (irritating conditions).

On the other hand, in order to attract positive Sheng Chi (moving energy) instead of Si Chi (dying energy) or Sha Chi (harmful energy) and to deflect secret arrows, a house should not be positioned so that the corner of a neighboring house points directly at its doors or windows. Plus, according to Raphael Simons, author of Feng Shui Step by Step, other undesirable traits include such things as:

Fallen tree on the roof
Fallen tree on the roof
  • Doors and windows that face a steeply pointed roof on another structure;
  • A front door that faces an empty lot;
  • A house or other structure immediately across the street that is in disrepair;
  • A dead or dying tree that stands directly in front of a door or window;
  • Electrical wires that sag and block the view from a door or window;
  • Nearby large structures, for example, a bridge, water tower, or building, that overwhelms the house;
  • A graveyard, hospital, or funeral home that is visible through the doors or windows;
  • Glaring lights or neon signs that are visible through the doors or windows.

Considering Amenities

Although many people love the sound of tinkling waterfalls and enjoy watching colourful tropical fishes swim around among lily pads in a backyard pond, feng shui practitioners know that water in the backyard, with the exception of swimming pools, should be avoided because ponds create an excess of yin. In the ideal setting, yin and yang should be balanced.

On the other hand, if potential buyers are determined to have a home with a pond, once they purchase the home, they can balance the backyard’s yin and yang by planting certain shrubs and trees, for example, magnolias and bonsai, while eschewing plants like azaleas and banyan trees.

Finally, though an inner courtyard might be attractive, according to Man-Ho Kwok, it is considered a “Heaven Well” because the yin spirit is far too strong in such settings; therefore, an inner courtyard is considered bad feng shui. If a buyer, however, finds no other fault with the house and is willing to make the investment, he or she can enclose the courtyard and turn it into a home office or game room. The important thing is that the area is not allowed to remain conducive to an overabundance of yin.

Ultimately, when it comes to finding just the right house, although most potential buyers tend to concentrate on the inside, they need to devote just as much time, if not more, to scrutinising the outside, that is, if they want a home that will ensure them of good health, happiness, and prosperity.

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