There is a lot of talk about creative office and living environments that aren’t just run-of-the-mill, cookie-cutter spaces. One way to potentially achieve this goal is through Feng Shui, an architectural formula that began its roots in China thousands of years ago that intends to put humanity closer to nature in and around structural dwellings, among other goals. In contemporary real estate, there are some utilizing this practice in both residential and commercial spaces. One of them is Steve Kodad, who is the owner of the Feng Shui School for Real Estate, in Bradenton, Fla. A long-time educator-turned-broker, Kodad started incorporating Feng Shui into his real estate practice well over a decade ago. He spoke to us about how he got started, and the benefits of Feng Shui in today’s real estate environment.
Feng Shui in real estate seems like a pretty niche area. How did you get involved?
I was a realtor who specialized in listing homes. I had already been heavily into helping my clients “stage” their properties. I quickly understood the correlation, and decided to become a certified home stager. It was easy to see the outcome, but I was always trying to simplify the process and make it more than just renting expensive furniture.
I had heard of Feng Shui and initially had sent away for some Feng Shui tapes for real estate. I watched them many times over a five-day period, and as luck had it, received a vacant listing in my neighborhood that had been on the market for a long time. Even though it was vacant, I was able to follow the new Feng Shui techniques I had learned by using some accessories “borrowed” from my own home. I held an open house the next weekend with these few changes and received an offer.
I decided to start mentioning Feng Shui to my other homeowners and pretty soon, my listings had more positive results and these clients started falling in love with the concepts and the “feeling”.
You do a lot of single-family work, but you also work on multifamily as well. What is the difference between the two?
Feng Shui is a lot about security and comfort. Comfort comes about for a human being in different ways, but one is with respect to privacy. In a single-family home, you follow what is referred to as the Classic Armchair setting — a furniture-arranging technique — inside and out. You can easily create this security by landscaping outside. Of course with some multifamily dwellings you might be restricted. So it is very important to that you pay close attention inside to use the Classic Armchair and create buffers.
An armchair has a back that supports us. We want to place our beds, as an example, on a solid wall (referred to as the mountain). We also attempt to create buffers on the left and right (the arm rests), to give further protection or support. And then we finish it off by making sure the person who is sleeping in this bed has a direct view of the doorway. A practitioner will do the same with the house itself. The back is protected and offers some privacy, while the sides of the house may have some trees, and the inhabitants will be able to see, always, what is headed their way upfront.
Since the multifamily sector is so hot right now, do you see more people wanting your services because of competition?
Living in Southwest Florida, I have little business from multifamily homes. This area is sort of funny. It is feast or famine for agents. Two-to-three years ago, homes weren’t moving well, so I was being called. Currently it is a much stronger seller’s market.
In an office setting, how does Feng Shui promote more productivity?
Many office settings, sadly, are not constructed to make employees comfortable and feeling secure. In any environment, you attempt to get a positive, under control flow of chi. This helps create comfort and permits an employee to be more focused and creative. Many offices are way out of balance with respect to the 5 Elements. In the West especially, we have way too much wood and earth, and it doesn’t feel right to us. The other three elements are metal, water, and fire. All of the elements can be represented in three ways: the object itself, by specific colors, and by particular shapes. For example, the fire element can be brought into an environment by the colors of red or bright orange. It can also be represented by “pointy” objects, such as pyramids and triangular shapes. These often show up in paintings. I often need to bring in this element to brighten up a space and create harmony. I often use a lot of modern paintings to accomplish this. A painting like this can actually bring in more than one element at a time.
Clutter and disorganization can disrupt a business in so many ways. It hurts the flow of positive energy, but it also lingers as frustration. The mental aspect is huge in Feng Shui.
When an office or business is handled correctly with Feng Shui, you notice more productivity and higher employee loyalty.
Are there certain types of industries (tech comes to mind) that this setting best accommodates?
Not really. Good Feng Shui impacts all industries. One of my biggest interests in using Feng Shui is how it can greatly impact our school systems. I’ve put together a three-hour workshop that focuses on making school environments friendly, comfortable, safe, and attractive. As an ex-teacher in public and private schools, I can tell you that these subtle changes have a big impact on the student and the teacher.
As an example, getting rid of old florescent lighting and replacing them with new bulbs that resemble natural light permit everyone to enjoy their time spent in learning. Feng Shui has developed a lot in taking into account some modern inventions that distract us or, as in the case of yesterday’s florescent lights, give us headaches. Any business can greatly improve their bottom-line by making changes using Feng Shui.
I assume there is an education process that goes along with you interaction with clients. Is it difficult to convince them of the benefits of your services?
Not as much as six-to-seven years ago. Many people have heard of Feng Shui and have a vague idea of what it is. Gone are the days when someone says to me “is that like Kung Fu?”
Many of the shows about home improvement bring up the term pretty consistently. I always say to my clients: “If something has existed for over 3000 years, there must be something to it.” Acupuncture was sneezed at for a long time, and it has now become more mainstream.