Sea and Carpet Seams Bring House Bad Luck in Boca Raton, FL

Boca Raton Real Estate

My good friends and next door neighbors moved the other day and my wife and I are a bit down about it. They decided to relocate deeper into the Washington, D.C. suburbs (by about 80 miles) for more space, less big-city hassle and lower expenses. Meanwhile, our new neighbors are a delight.

Ann, my former neighbor, was very excited to receive a hand-painted apron, which she proudly displays in her new kitchen. The artwork was inspired by our new neighbor’s Brazilian roots. They immigrated here years ago and now live the American dream with a new home.

In response, Ann, an accomplished interior decorator, pointed out to the buyers of her old home that the mirror she left in the master bedroom bath had special significance for her family as well and she wanted the new owners to enjoy it. The mirror had a border made up of sea shells the family had collected from around the world. Ann had spent years collecting just the right shells and then hours to glue the shells in just the right pattern to frame the oval-shaped mirror.

Unfortunately, she told the new owners the significance of the mirror weeks after she had moved. If she had known the Brazilian belief that anything from the sea brings bad luck if it is displayed in the home, she probably would not have left the mirror to convey with the house. As it was, the new owners kept the mirror, but had removed and discarded all the sea shells during the remodeling of the house.

Thus, another example of the clashing of cultures as the American Melting Pot simmers year after year. Cultural diversity continues to grow in the United States real estate market. In fact, by 2020, two out of three purchasers of real estate will be foreign born, according to the National Association of Realtors. By 2010, the Fannie Mae Foundation reports there will be more than 2.2 million immigrant buyers in the market.

With the influx of immigrants, comes the growth of clashes in how the American real estate market operates, versus how immigrants do business in their homelands.

For an Asian couple in Houston, Texas, a few years ago, this clash cost them $20,000 in forfeited earnest money deposit. As they were inspecting the new home being built for them, they discovered that the carpet installed in the master bedroom had a seam where the bed would be placed.

In their practice of Feng Shui (which means “wind and water), this was totally unacceptable. The seam represented a potential division in their marriage. Thus, they reneged on the transaction. Even if the carpet had been replaced, it would not have solved the dilemma.

If you decide to research Feng Shui online to assure your home meets the tenants of this ancient practice, don’t expect to find a list of do’s and don’ts without paying for it. I was able to find this list of lucky and unlucky facets of the practice at the Real Estate Center operated by Texas A&M University in quoting Sheida Hodge’s booklet “Feng Shui: A Realtor’s Guide For Increased Sales to Asians.”

Symmetric houses or buildings are most desirable; New homes are often favored to fixer-uppers because they present a clean slate, and the present buyer won’t be affected by previous occupants’ problems; The front door should not be in line with rear doors or windows; and Large trees, columns or poles should not obscure the front door. In addition, numbers, colors and patterns play an important part in feng shui.

For example:

The number one signifies the beginning, or birth; Four represents death and is an unlucky number; Eight is a lucky number; The color red signifies happiness and warmth; Gold and yellow connote wealth, authority and longevity; White is the primary funeral color; Phoenix and dragon patterns connote perfect balance; and Fish scales represent success Fish scales, that is, except in Brazil.
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