Lincoln Tan is the New Zealand Herald’s diversity, ethnic affairs and immigration senior reporter.

Feng shui app points estate agents in positive direction

A Chinese magnetic compass and a feng shui mobile app are set to become standard operational tools for property agents and brokers at one real estate company.

James Law Realty, which has about 40 real estate agents in New Zealand, wants all staff to know feng shui - a Chinese philosophical system of harmonising everyone with the surrounding environment - to meet changing client demands.

Principal agent James Law said the drive to get his staff to learn the ancient art stemmed from a growing demand for feng shui help from prospective Asian property buyers and sellers.

"It's not about whether we believe it or not but, rather, many of our clients are feng shui believers so it's incredibly important that all our agents know feng shui," said Law.

Using the magnetic compass - called a luopan - and a mobile app, agents can determine the direction the house is facing and take into account negative features such as pylons and sharp edges.

Stairs shouldn't face the front door because the ancient Chinese philosophy holds that all luck would flow out.

Law said seven in 10 people who used his firm's services were Asians, mainly of Chinese descent. Last July, Chinese buyers snapped up 23 sections within minutes of release at the agency's Epsom office.

On Saturday, about 15 of his staff and agents had been signed up to attend a session of feng shui run by a specialist from Taiwan.

The agency's North Shore regional manager, Michelle Kennedy, said she became a believer after seeing positive changes when feng shui principles were applied at her workplace. "We went from a period where staff were falling sick and everything was going wrong to getting 10 contracts signed in two days," she said.

Another real estate specialist, Kim Diack, said he was a sceptic, but a lot of feng shui rules were common sense.

Auckland's largest real estate firm Barfoot and Thompson's spokesman Eric Koh said there was no push for its agents to learn feng shui.

"Knowing the principles of feng shui will definitely be an advantage for any agent, and having a feng shui app can be useful in some cases when clients ask for it," he said.

But he believed a vast majority in New Zealand would not be too bothered with applying feng shui principles, but rather "common sense" and make their decision to buy based on location, structure, orientation and how comfortable they were with a house.

- Herald on Sunday

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