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Go with the flow.

Faced with high vacancies, reduced rents and struggling bottom lines, multifamily professionals are turning to non-traditional solutions. In order to replace today's negative economic environment with a more positive one, some property practitioners are turning to the ancient practice of Feng Shui, the Chinese art of energy placement. Fast becoming a mainstream practice in the Western World, Feng Shui (fung' shwA'), is a science squarely rooted in architecture, astronomy, physics and design.

By applying some basic Fang Shui principles, you can enhance the Ch'i (energy) and establish harmony and balance in your apartment environments. The foundation of Feng Shui is built on three basic principles. First, all physical things, including buildings, have energy. Second, everything is connected. An outdoor water landscape can be heard and seen as a vibrantly positive effect. Items such as an uncomfortable chair or bright light, which may seem small and irrelevant, actually can have a major impact. Third, everything is changing. Feng Shui is all about paradox.

In addition, Feng Shui is based on the principle that the human condition is happiest when a Yin and Yang balance is achieved. This is readily accomplished by working with five basic elements: wood, fire, earth, metal and water.

For example, to balance a room in an apartment, choose a table and display items representing all five elements. Place a candle (fire) alongside a plant (wood) in a decorative piece of pottery (earth). Add a metal box or sculpture (metal) and hang a mirror on the wall over the table (water).

To fix and enhance a property or space, you can implement simple cures such as mirrors, plants, crystals and water features. Adding light and movement can promote the circulation of Ch'i, such as the moving water in a fountain, plants, wind chimes or ceiling fans. Bright colors, art and mirrors can reflect light that keeps energy circulating.

Some quick fixes for common apartment community areas include:

* Entryway signage. Place colorful plantings around entryway signage for a simple enhancement. Be sure to keep this area properly trimmed and lit for evening viewing.

* Directional signage. This type of property signage needs to be clear, concise and easily viewed. Make sure your property has sufficient signage to direct a potential customer from the entryway to the leasing office.

* Management offices. To provide a congenial work space and enhance the energy of your property, it's a good idea to Fang Shui the office.

* Difficult-to-rent units. One of the most common challenges multifamily dwellings face is apartments difficult to rent. Feng Shui can help managers solve this dilemma through the concept of "space clearing," which cleans the energy in the area, allowing you to fill it with your intentions for quality residents. To implement this practice, follow these simple steps:

1 Clean the apartment thoroughly, including the carpets and window treatments. Perform all repairs prior to performing this ritual.

2 In a key area, such as the kitchen, light a candle and place fresh flowers and sea salt next to it.

3 Stand at the front door and walk around the inside perimeter of the entire apartment clapping your hands. This will disperse any negative energy lurking in this space. Do this step twice and pay special attention to the corners of the rooms where energy can get "stuck."

4 Ring a bell as you walk around the apartment, verbalizing what you need. Example: "An exceptional resident lives in this space."

5 Write a description of the resident, the date they will move in and how long you would like them to stay. Be very specific and include details. Leave the sea salt in the room for at least 24 hours (it absorbs negativity) and then discard.

By following the above suggestions, your newly refocused energy will help create abundance, prosperity and harmony for you and your residents.

Janet Stimach (, Ph.D., CPM[R], is a commercial broker, property manager and a Feng Shui Practitioner Candidate.

Katie Austin (, a Licensed Mental Health Counselor and Certified Feng Shui Practitioner, is author of Invisible Fang Shui[TM].
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Title Annotation:special report
Author:Stimach, Janet; Austin, Katie
Publication:Journal of Property Management
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Nov 1, 2003
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