Announcer: Welcome to Creating Wealth with Jason Hartman, President of Platinum Properties Investor Network in Costa Mesa, California. During this program, Jason is going to tell you some really exciting things that you probably haven’t thought of before and a new slant on investing, fresh new approaches to America’s best investment that will enable you to create more wealth and happiness than you ever thought possible.
Jason is a genuine self-made multimillionaire, who not only talks the talk, but walks the walk. He’s been a successful investor for 20 years and currently owns properties in 11 states and 17 cities. This program will help you follow in Jason’s footsteps on the road to financial freedom. You really can do it. And now, here’s your host, Jason Hartman, with the complete solution for real estate investors.
Jason Hartman: Welcome to another edition of Creating Wealth. This is Jason Hartman and welcome to Show No. 94. Today, we’re going to talk about something some of you may to be consider to be a soft science. Actually, I think a lot of you will consider it that. I can tell you from personal experience and sitting in real estate offices over the years and hearing the experience of many real estate people that Feng Shui, whatever you think about it, tends to be something that is really true.
Now, the question is – and we’re going to interview an expert on that in a moment – the question is, is it because of the mystical chi that makes Feng Shui work? Is that the reason? Or is it just simply that, as humans, we notice our environment and we notice the placement of things and we notice the colors of things. And of course, all of those things affect our mood.
So I’ll be interviewing a Feng Shui expert in just a few minutes here, after we get through a couple of announcements and listener questions. I hope you’ll listen in to that. One thing I want you to know about Feng Shui, too, is I remember when I visited Hong Kong and there is a high-rise building, a very, very tall high-rise, and this building has been in foreclosure many, many times. And they say that the reason is nobody will occupy this office building because it has bad Feng Shui. And so it seems to be translating into real money in the real market. This is not just an Asian thing. It is prevalent throughout the American culture nowadays. Be aware of it. I’d say it’s worth considering for your rental properties and getting them rented out faster, and just doing better with your property investments in general.
Let’s go to a couple announcements here. First of all, Facebook and Twitter, find us on Facebook, and also find us on Twitter. On Twitter, it’s Jason Hartman ROI and we have lots of people following us and lots of updates on there, and I think you’ll like that, so be sure to follow us on Twitter. Also find us on Facebook. There are several Facebook pages. One is Platinum Properties Investor Network. The other one is the Creating Wealth Show, and the other one is Jason Hartman Author, and we’ve got some other things on there as well that you’ll find surfing around, connected to those pages. So be sure to join us on those two mediums.
Also join us for a couple of live events we have coming up. On April 14, we have Real Estate Investing, Using Your IRA, and I just want to say that for quite a while, I did not consider this a very good deal. I consider it a better deal nowadays in relative terms and what I mean by that is that the terms of investing with your IRA did not change that much, but the terms of investing traditionally did change that much. So the difference or the delta between the two, that’s what’s important, and the IRA investing has become quite a bit more desirable now. So be sure to join us for that event on the 14th and also, look for podcasts on that in the future. We’ll have some shows on the subject.
Creating Wealth, our main event, Creating Wealth in Today’s Economy Live is on May 2. I think that will be good also. We have a new portfolio management service we’re working on and that is a service where we will oversee your properties and your property management in much greater detail than we offer currently to our clients. This is a full holistic service and even if you didn’t buy the property from us, we can help you with it. So look for more announcements about our portfolio management service. We’re thinking about calling it Portfolio Sync or Portfolio Coordination. Right now, I’m calling Portfolio Management.
Also, if you have a real estate license, or if you’re in another country where a real estate license is not required, you can earn lucrative referral fees. Go to a new website we’ve set up. That’s www.BonusCommissions.com, and that’s Bonus Commissions with an “S” on the end, dot com. And see how you earn referral fees and be involved in our network. I think you’ll really like that.
Also, we have a new investment specialist certification coming out for those of you in the mortgage business, real estate business, or for financial professionals. Check out www.aipis.org. That’s Accredited Income Property Investment Specialist, AIPIS.org.
Also, we are very close to launching our new show on contemporary survivalism, which goes way beyond the financial stuff we talk about on this show, and you can check out the website for that. We’ve already recorded several shows, but they’re not published yet. But the website has other materials at www.HolisticSurvival.com.
And then one more website and then I’m going to stop recommending websites, and that is check out our new mascot. And his name is Barry Fin. You’ll like Barry Fin. He’s kind of a humorous guy and he’s a Wall Street man, so just check out Barry Fin. You can watch a little video with him on there about three minutes long at www.BarryFin.com.
Also at the www.JasonHartman.com website, we love getting your questions. We’ll address a few of those in a moment and just click on Ask Jason when you’re there. Also be sure to take advantage of the free Members Only section, where we have all sorts of resources, PowerPoint slideshows. We have this special audio file of Dr. Shelly Zavala doing a guided visualization there, and a bunch of other stuff and it’s all completely free. It takes only about – I don’t know – 15 seconds to sign up.
We have some great products coming out, too. We have a do-it-yourself loan modification kit that is almost finished, which includes book and then audio materials that come with it as well. Look for that in the future at www.JasonHartman.com. And our live-recorded version of our Creating Wealth in Today’s Economy live educational event will be out soon, so look for that at www.JasonHartman.com.
And we have transcripts of all of these shows and they are being laid out now – and I have to tell you, I’m really impressed with how they look. They look really good and they’re in a nice, easy, readable format, with callouts and graphics, and table of contents, so they’re really nicely sorted for you. So far, they’re in four different books with 25 shows each. That’s almost 1,000 pages of material, folks, so we have a lot of content here. Those are transcripts of the shows, very nicely formatted.
And we’re also going to parse those up in different ways for you, so you can access our content really conveniently. We’ll have one book on Core Content, so if you just want the core materials on real estate investing, we’ll have that book available for you. And then we’ll have another book with all of the famous guests we’ve interviewed, so that will be a different book as well. So look for those. We have a lot of stuff coming up. And then our Smart Wealth Series, so just lots of good stuff happening here.
I have Brittney here with me in the office. Brittney, how are you doing?
Brittney: Hi, thanks, Jason. Glad to be here.
Jason Hartman: Good. We have a few listener questions this week, so let’s address a few of those.
Brittney: Our first question or comment rather, is from Brock. He says, “I would like to thank you for all your help. A vendor referral from Sara Liskey saved my investment and I did not even buy through your network.”
Jason Hartman: Fantastic, Brock. I’m glad we could help, and remember folks; we are here to assist you. So if you get yourself into a bad investment or you have a problem with something you bought from someone else, we’ll try to help you out with it whenever possible. We’re here for the long term. We’re here to build long-term relationships, and we know that whatever we do comes back tenfold. It’s the Law of Tenfold Returns. Just give us a call whenever you need us.
Brittney: Our next question is from Paul. He says, “Hi, Jason. I’m making my way through all of your podcasts and I have to say you are doing a great job. I’m 24 years old. I have one rental and another house that I’m living in now, but will be turning into a rental come October. I refinanced my first property a year ago and invested $60,000.00 in a company that buys and fixes up commercial property, and I get a monthly payment from that. It is locked in for another two years. I really want to acquire more real estate, but I do not have very much capital. Are there any steps you can recommend I do to help my situation? Thank you. Keep up the good work. Paul.”
Jason Hartman: Well, Paul, getting more capital is without a doubt the problem that everybody faces pretty much. Capital is tough to come by in today’s economy, but of course, there are ways. You can partner with people. You can go to friends and family. You can look for hidden capital sources, things that you can sell that you may own, assets. There are just all kinds of different things to do, and since I don’t know all the details about your life and your situation, I can’t tell you for sure. People take second jobs, they open home-based businesses; they do whatever they can to acquire capital. But it sounds like you’re on a great track at only 24 years old and I definitely want to congratulate you for that.
If you want to come back and just be a little more specific about the question, I’ll try to help you more. But without more detail, I’m not sure I can do anything but give you that kind of general answer. If you have equity there and can refinance, of course, that’s a good way to do. You know, the other thing you can do when you go to friends and family, you don’t have to follow the normal loan terms. So when you do that, you can go ahead and you can offer to give them a note and trust deed on a property you have, and they might loan you money at a higher loan-to-value ratio, easier qualifying, etc, but of course, you can do that in the private market, too. So just remember that that option is always available.
Thanks for the question and congratulations on being so ahead of the game at only 24 years old. That’s awesome.
Brittney: Our next question is from Chase. Chase is from Texas. He says, “I have been looking to invest in real estate because I need more tax breaks. I found your podcast on my iPhone and I like what I’ve heard from Jason and his interview with Austin, the Texas property manager. I’m looking forward to receiving more info. Thanks.”
Jason Hartman: Well, excellent, Chase. First of all, let me congratulate you on having an iPhone. And for the rest of you, who don’t own an iPhone, go get one. I love my iPhone! And I don’t own stock in Apple. I’m just telling you that is really a great, great gadget.
So anyway, thanks for listening. I appreciate that.
Brittney: We have one more question. This is from Mike, and Mike is from Newport Beach. He says, “Hello, Jason, I enjoy your shows very much. In this instance, I’m asking you the following questions as a first-time homebuyer. What is your opinion on paying a mortgage? Sending two payments a month, sending four payments a month, sending a few hundred dollars extra a month, sending an extra payment at the end of the year, etc? Can I save money in the long run by paying off my home mortgage sooner? Does it work? Can we apply the Australian system to this country? I would love to hear more about this one on one of your future shows. Thanks Mike.”
Jason Hartman: My answer to that question is Mike, why the heck would you want to pay your loans off early? Your loans are assets. As long as they’re long-term, fixed-rate loans, at good, low interest rates, don’t pay them off. Please don’t do that. I know what you’re addressing here, is that if you make 13 payments per year, rather than 12, that 13th payment goes toward principle. If you make your payment every two weeks, because there are 52 weeks in a year, you’d be making 26 two-week payments. That essentially is 13 payments per year about, and so that additional money goes all toward principle reduction, which most people at the first level of understanding – and I used to think this, too – think that’s a good deal.
But it is not a good deal. In our philosophy, at least, it’s not because we believe in the next few years, we will have significant inflation. And if you have long-term, fixed-rate financing, you do not want to pay debt off because you get to pay that debt back in cheaper dollars. So paying off a 30-year loan in 18 years or 20 years is no deal, my friend. In 18 or 20 years, you’ll probably be thanking me for the fact that you still have a mortgage because it will seem like virtually nothing. Listen to the show, “The Great Inflation Payoff” that we did. That will tell you a lot more about this, and this subject is a big subject with us. It’s woven throughout all of our shows.
Also, what you’re probably talking about when you address the Australian system is the Podcast No. 67 that we did. That is the only accelerated mortgage payment program I actually like, and you can do an analysis for that on our website. Just listen to Show No. 67 and it gives you all the details. I don’t like accelerated programs, but this one is a little different and there are good reasons I like it. Anyway, thanks for listening, Mike. And I think we’re finished with questions, so let’s go to the interview about Feng Shui with Steve Kodad. And remember he talks a lot about selling a property and we’re not talking about selling properties. We want to keep our properties for the long term. So the same thing, whenever he says selling a property or what a buyer looks at, a tenant looks at it, and the same thing applies to renting a property. But occasionally, there’s a property that we want to sell in our portfolio and of course, this applies to that, too.
Again, I don’t think this is a real soft science. I was a real skeptic at first. I think there is something to this Feng Shui stuff, whether it be some crazy metaphysical thing, like chi, or it’s just simply that people relate to the environment in which they find themselves. So let’s listen in.
Interview with Steve Kodad
Jason Hartman: It’s my pleasure to welcome Steve Kodad of the Feng Shui Cure to the show. Steve, welcome.
Steve Kodad: Thank you, Jason.
Jason Hartman: It’s great to have you here. We’ve never covered this topic before, Steve, and I tell you I have to say I’m a believer. Many years ago, in my old real estate company, I hired a Feng Shui consultant and I had heard it talked about so much, and she came in, told us to do a few things, and I don’t know if I’m just being superstitious or it’s a placebo affect or what it was, Steve, but it sure seemed to work. Can you tell our listeners, is there any sort of scientific basis here, or is it sort of like an ancient art form? What is Feng Shui really?
Steve Kodad: Well, there’s actually a little bit of both. There is a scientific backup to the whole thing. My first college degree is in mathematics. I’m a very rational person, so I had to really get into sort of understanding this.
Jason Hartman: Most people would say that this is a rather soft, kind of airy topic. You are a mathematician and you study quantum physics, so wow!
Steve Kodad: That’s right. And because of my educational background, I’ve always wanted to make sure that I could back it up in a lot of ways to my clientele. And quantum physics has an awful lot of basis to back up the idea that everything is connected and that everything is energy. I’ve always found that very intriguing.
But it’s a philosophy that was created, depending on whatever book you read, maybe 3,000 – 4,000 years ago, and it has several different schools, and it can be defined very simplistically as the art of placement. That is a very simplistic definition.
Jason Hartman: What is the more complex definition in art of placement?
Steve Kodad: Well, I don’t know that I could give you a really quick definition of it, other than it is creating an environment that actually benefits your life and encourages success. I got involved with it because I was a real estate agent and owned a real estate company in Charlotte for a number of years. I was an active agent, trying to get my homes listed and sold. Like almost any real estate agent, you’re trying to find anything that actually sets you apart and also makes it easier to get rid of your inventory.
So I started getting involved with it years ago and I had a great deal of success with it. I became so intrigued with it that I decided to become certified and I actually got my training with a couple from California by the name of Helen and James Jay. And since then, I have studied with a lot of other very big minds in the world of Feng Shui and continue to train.
Jason Hartman: A lot of the Feng Shui people that I hear out there talk about having the right chi, which is energy. What is the Feng Shui basis?
Steve Kodad: The No. 1 goal is really to manipulate energy and one of the biggest culprits is the idea of clutter. So one of the things that all Feng Shui schools will push on folks is to get rid of extra clutter, and in my feeling, clutter is a lot of different things. It’s also, in some cases, stimuli, extra stimuli, when you walk into an environment.
Jason Hartman: It distracts you.
Steve Kodad: It distracts you and any real estate agent, Jason, wants to make sure that when somebody walks in that they’re not distracted to things that are not really pertinent to the sale, and they want to make sure that they actually notice the particular architectural benefits of the house and the space. But clutter is a real problem. It’s not just necessarily extra furniture or a closet that’s full. But it can be in a lot of other ways, too, with respect to where you store things. In Feng Shui, you don’t want to store things under beds and you don’t want to even fill up the garage with stuff. You want to make sure that there’s an easy path to be able to walk through from room to room. And if that is taken away from you, the feeling is not the correct one, not the right one, and the person doesn’t feel, again, comfortable or secure.
I always use the idea of getting small. When somebody has to get small to walk through an environment, they don’t feel their best, and right away, it starts to chalk up things that are not quite right about the house, and once a buyer gets going on what’s wrong with the house, then things start to just deteriorate.
Jason Hartman: So let’s talk specifically about our listeners, our real estate investors. Most of them, when they’re investing through our company, Platinum Properties Investor Network, they are purchasing brand new homes, four-plexes, and then on resale, apartment buildings and larger commercial properties. So what are some tips that they can do on a brand new home, that they’ve never even seen, for example, where they have a property manager that may be a 1,000 – 2,000 miles away? They need to instruct that manager, here’s what you do to get my property rented for me faster, at the highest possible price. Are there a few quick tips they can use?
Steve Kodad: Sure. One of the things you must keep in mind, especially in a market like this, is that that house needs to be memorable, and there are a lot of ways to make sure that the house is memorable. One of the things that I really fight against is the idea of using “builder beige,” if you know what I mean by that.
Jason Hartman: Right, “Builder Beige” is sort of that standard color.
Steve Kodad: Right. I think a lot of real estate agents, Jason, have sort of hurt us a little bit by trying to keep it neutral, neutral, and a little bit of that is just fine. And you don’t want to go crazy. But I always like to make sure that two rooms especially are always memorable, and those two rooms should always be the kitchen and the master bedroom. The master bedroom, because in my way of thinking – and I think even because of the way the world is now – a person is looking for a sanctuary. They’re looking for that special place to get away from the maddening world, you might say, and if you’re not giving it to them or not getting the idea that it really has that potential, then you’re probably going to lose them.
So I try to make sure that the master bedroom is memorable, and it might just be painting the walls what I call one of the new neutrals, and that could be a sage green or a gold or a deep rose. But you want to do something that is universally liked. You’re certainly not going to go to a pink or something that would turn off a male, but you also want to make sure that it shows to be what I call more yin and less yang.
Jason Hartman: So what is yin and yang?
Steve Kodad: Well, yin and yang are –
Jason Hartman: Alternating polarities, but tell us which one’s which.
Steve Kodad: Right, and the yin part of it, which would be some adjectives like soft and cold and inward and sleepy, are what you’re looking for more for the bedrooms and the bathrooms, and they should be more 70/30 percent that way. And the colors would be more blues and greens and earth tones of some sort, whereas yang would be definitely more of the brighter colors. You want to make sure that you don’t confuse the buyer, so the master bedroom sometimes can be very confusing to a person when they walk in there and they see, for example, a desk, and they see –
Jason Hartman: Yeah, no office and no books in the master bedroom. It’s supposed to be a retreat.
Steve Kodad: And I’m actually to a point where I upset a lot of my students by saying there’s no TV either. TV is again something that, for a lot of reasons in Feng Shui, should not be there. The master bedroom is in Feng Shui for two things: it’s for romance and restoration, and nothing else. And if you start confusing the buyer and start giving them that maybe this is this or maybe it’s that, then you’re starting to lose them.
Jason Hartman: One of the colors that I am using in all of my offices – I’ve built a couple of offices since I’ve had this consultation and I’ve had a couple of houses since then, new houses that I personally lived in – and I always use this color that I really like. It’s the same color. It’s Ralph Lauren Milano Red. And I was talking to a client and this client was saying to me, “Well, shouldn’t we put that same color in the bedroom, too? Passion, right?” And I said no. According to the Feng Shui people, the bedroom is for a little bit of passion, but it’s also for sleep. It’s a retreat from the world and it’s for restfulness, and that is not a restful color.
And the other thing I found out about it is don’t go crazy with it. Use it as an accent because red is the color of fire. It has a lot of energy to it. And so, in my office now, we’ve got a gorgeous office here in Costa Mesa that’s pretty new, and we use that as an accent color on several of the walls, like in each private office, one wall had it. But we didn’t use it everywhere. If you go too crazy, your business is going to burn down is what they told me was the metaphor for it.
Steve Kodad: You’re right. Everything needs to be in balance, and often, we can go out of balance very easily. Of the five elements in Feng Shui, which are wood, water, metal, earth, and fire, our houses in the West are pretty much out of balance because they have too much of two of those elements. They have too much wood and too much earth. And so often, when I go into an evaluation, I’m looking for the other three elements to see if they exist.
Jason Hartman: So say the elements again.
Steve Kodad: Wood, water, earth, metal, and fire.
Jason Hartman: And you want all of these in balance, right?
Steve Kodad: You want all of them in every room, but there is a dominant element for particular parts of the house, using what’s called a “bagua,” which is an energy map or template that you lay over the top of the house, aligning it with the front door, and it gives you the dominant elements in each part of the house. So if the master bedroom was in the back right-hand corner of the house, the dominant element back there is earth. I’m looking for earth there. But then I want to make sure the other four elements are there, and as you had already stated, a lot of bedrooms don’t have any fire, so there’s no passion there you might say.
Jason Hartman: So if you want to put some spice in your marriage, you paint one of the walls red in the bedroom.
Steve Kodad: Well, that’s a possibility, but you at least bring in some red pillows, that’s for sure.
Jason Hartman: Oh, okay. Don’t go overboard with the paint and maybe don’t make it permanent. It might go overboard, right?
Steve Kodad: That’s right. It’s very easy to go overboard and some people really have favorite colors, especially like a lot of teenagers, and in some cases, they’re way out of whack and so there’s a dynamic relationship between the elements that can sometimes douse the effect. For example, water actually douses the fire, and you can imagine that some teenage girls have walls that are hot pink or fire engine red, and so they have an awful lot of fire, way too much fire. So you need to bring in more water to douse the effect somewhat, since they probably will not repaint the walls for you.
Jason Hartman: Okay, so when we’re talking about just colors, fire would red, water is blue? Is it that simple?
Steve Kodad: Yeah, the colors for the element water are blue and black. For wood, it’s green. And for fire, it’s red. For earth, it’s browns and beiges and yellows. And for metal, it’s white, silver, gold, gray, and brass and bronze and stuff like that. But those are the colors and that’s the first thing you think of when you’re thinking about balancing it. You can change the elements by using objects also and even shapes, so there are a lot of ways to get around things. But again, all rooms should have all five, but each room will probably have a dominant element that you have to consider.
Jason Hartman: If you’ve never seen the property you own and you’re not planning to go there because we want these things, as much as possible, to be armchair investments, where the person is in California or they’re in New York or wherever, and the property is in a market that makes more sense than the two I just mentioned. They’re not going to the properties. They want this to be like a stock investment where it has as little involvement as possible. Can we just sort of create a checklist or do a few things real quick? Email this checklist to your property manager. Have them just do it.
And maybe it’s not even done the first round. If you buy the property brand new, and a lot of times, we’ll get them rented before the deal even closes or right after, so it’s not a problem there. But the second time it comes up for rent or the third time, it probably needs a coat of paint anyway. It would just be smart. I mean it doesn’t really cost more to use some color when you’re painting and maybe do a few other things that I’m sure you want to mention to us, too. So what would the checklist say, Steve?
Steve Kodad: I teach selling a house by using eight tests, that if you pass the eight tests, then you have a much better chance of getting a contract. And the first test is curb appeal. I even tell folks that if the budget that you run into is very small, then use it all outside, that you have to attract people. And if you attract people, you’re attracting energy at the same time. You’re getting a double plus there. So curb appeal is the first thing.
And the second thing is the walk from the car up to the house, and that can be part of curb appeal, too. Often, houses have too much of the color green in the landscaping. You need to add some color to draw attention, and this, of course, has to do with your photos on the MLS or your photos on the internet, wherever you’re actually advertising.
Jason Hartman: So we have a rental coordinator here that helps our clients get their properties leased, and she should have what kind of photo because we post those on the internet for our clients.
Steve Kodad: Well, certainly, the photos from outside should be from the side to some degree and not straight on. You want to, again, add color, and I certainly would want to try to put some color in the beds. And I want to put a couple of pots next to the door. The door, as you may already know, Jason, is very pivotal in Feng Shui. It’s called the “mouth of chi” and that’s where we attract most of the energy into the house.
Jason Hartman: The mouth of chi.
Steve Kodad: The mouth of chi.
Jason Hartman: Chi is energy and the door is the mouth.
Steve Kodad: That’s right. And so we’re always trying to attract as much energy as we can to the front door. We want to try to get it under control so that it’s more of a meandering pattern. We don’t want it too forceful or stagnant. But we want it to come to the front door, enter in through the front door, and do its thing.
But again, going back outside real quickly, you want to make sure the mouth of chi or the front door is extremely obvious and put a lot of special attention on that because this is quite often one of their big first impressions. If they like the curb appeal and they’ve told the agent let’s go ahead and take a look, and not said let’s go onto the next one kind of thing, if they’ve gotten up to the front door, you’ve already passed a couple of tests. But the front door needs to be really immaculate. It needs to be cleared of any kind of clutter. Again, everything needs to be very easy. Movement to the door, movement through the house needs to be very simple and easy.
Jason Hartman: Okay, so these properties that our clients are buying are usually brand new, so they’re not going to have a clutter issue usually. Should the door be painted a certain color?
Steve Kodad: The first thing you should keep in mind is that the front door should be a contrasting color to the exterior. So if the exterior, let’s say, is a red brick, do not paint the door red. I know some people have this thing about Feng Shui doors being red, but you don’t want the door and the exterior to blend. You want the door to be very, very obvious for the energy to locate it, but for people to locate it.
Jason Hartman: In your brick house example, what color would the door be, redbrick house door?
Steve Kodad: Well, if the door is in the middle of the house, which most front doors are, coming in the center of the front, then it would be more of a watery color, like blacks, dark blues, but it can even be a dark green, dark brown. That’s probably the best color for the center. If the front door comes out on the left-hand side, it can be a little bit different colors, but more of the earthy colors. If it comes on the right-hand side of the front, then it could be more of a metal color.
Jason Hartman: What if the house is grayish siding color, gray wood color? Can your door be red then? Would that be the ideal color?
Steve Kodad: Yes, it could be, actually, because it would definitely be a great contrast, and since you’re talking about it being gray, the house is sort of metal at that point and we need to probably douse that effect a little bit. And the fire color, actually, the dynamic is that it melts metal. So that wouldn’t be a bad time to bring in a red door.
But you don’t want your door to hide. You want your door to be very obvious, in your pictures, in your advertising, and the same from the street.
Jason Hartman: Okay, so we have the door. That’s good advice. What else?
Steve Kodad: Now, the pots next to the door should be rounded because you want to take away sharp edges. Sharp edges are stressful for people, and again, it’s one of the reasons why people, when they walk into a place and let’s say there’s a bunch of columns, Jason, where they are sharp-edged, and a person might feel less comfortable. So you want to make the pots rounded, probably black, and I would use either red or yellow flowers. And that would again have to do with the exterior of the house. You don’t want them to blend in. So if the house is, again, a red brick, I wouldn’t probably go red. I’d probably go yellow. So always consider the backdrop of what you’re going to use.
But the two colors that are probably the biggest drawers, that actually draw a human being’s attention, are red and yellow.
Jason Hartman: Okay, what else?
Steve Kodad: All right, the hardware on the door needs to be sparkling. The door should probably be repainted if it has any problems with it. You want to make sure there again are, of course, no cobwebs or anything like that. And then I often, with my clients, I make sure that the welcoming mat is welcoming.
Jason Hartman: I do a welcome mat that just says “Welcome” on it. I mean anything else? Is that the right thing to do?
Steve Kodad: Well, I usually use black semi circles because it’s the water. And the dominant element in the center of the front house is water. I want to make sure that that is handled.
Jason Hartman: Round welcome mat, black. What else?
Steve Kodad: Okay, so let’s say that they’ve now walked into the house. The foyer is the fourth test and at this point, you again want to make sure that they feel very welcomed. And if we’re talking about a vacant house, quite often the first thing that they’re going to actually register with is smell. And so I use particular smells to try to make them feel comfortable, make them possibly have some good memories of past times, and the smell that I normally use at this point is more of a cinnamon, and a cinnamon is more yang, which makes them more focused. I don’t want them sleeping on me at this point, of course, so I want it to be more focused and it’s a smell that also reminds them of grandma baking cookies possibly.
Also, it’s a very universally liked smell, and it’s also very easy to figure out what the smell is. You don’t want to confuse people and if you start confusing buyers anywhere, they start to waiver.
Jason Hartman: Okay, so these are renters now. How do we do the cinnamon smell, Steve? With an air freshener? Tell our property managers to get an air freshener?
Steve Kodad: I hate to give Bath and Body Works a plug here, but Bath and Body Works has a product that I’ve been using a lot. It’s called a Wall Flower, and I use a cinnamon stick and it’s fairly strong. You want it to be subtle. Depending on your square footage, you may need two or three down and maybe two or three up, if you have a decent sized house. But I use that primarily.
But another good smell is a French vanilla. And there are other smells that are universally liked and accepted, like citrus, which gives off a smell of fairly clean, but I try not to change my smell from room to room. Again, I don’t want to confuse people.
Jason Hartman: Right, that’s a good point. So we have the smell. We’re in the foyer now. We’ve passed our obvious front door, our neat and clean entry, our rounded black pots with the red and yellow flowers, the semi-circle black mat. The smell is cinnamon, mostly likely, French vanilla, or citrus as a possibility. One smell throughout the entire house; not different ones. What else?
Steve Kodad: I do a fair number of vacant houses, so I’m going to give you some ideas that may or may not be suitable. Often in the houses that are built now, and I’m sure probably also in California, quite often when you walk in, you can look right back out through the backyard.
Jason Hartman: Yeah, so it has that pass-through and that’s a bad thing, I’ve heard, right?
Steve Kodad: Well, in feng shui, the idea is that the energy is going to totally leave as quickly as possible.
Jason Hartman: You want to trap the chi in the house.
Steve Kodad: That’s right. You want to get the energy to actually go to the left and to the right and upstairs. You can make a big mistake right here, where all of a sudden the house is not being nourished and made to feel its best. And that will, again, come back to haunt you because you’re going to have folks that are going to not understand why it just feels stagnant, it feels off, it’s not right.
Jason Hartman: Okay, so you don’t want a window directly opposite the door, like across the back of the house, or a door opposite the door? Is that what you’re saying?
Steve Kodad: Well, what I’m saying is when you’re walking into the foyer, often when you look straight back, you see maybe a large bank of windows or French doors or something that immediately takes your attention to the back yard, and that’s the way the energy is going to flow, too. And that’s a very common way of building houses nowadays and it’s beautiful, but it’s still somewhat of a problem that I have to take care of.
Jason Hartman: So what do you do about it?
Steve Kodad: One easy way to do it is to take a circular rug, and it doesn’t have to be a big one, just put it in the foyer. And that circular rug actually –
Jason Hartman: On the inside, okay. On the inside, right. This is a second rug.
Steve Kodad: And that’s one way to do it, but since you don’t have any furniture or pots of flowers and stuff inside, if I did, I’d use them sort of as a bumper pool effect, where I’d have them as obstacles, where the energy would hit and have to go around kind of thing. So I’d start to slow it down and make it go left and right. If we don’t have that, probably the next best thing is to just use a circular rug in this one particular situation.
Jason Hartman: Steve, when it comes to plants, plants you mentioned are a thing to use as kind of that bumper pool analogy, so use those like in front of the French doors in the back? Is that where you would do them, in front of those windows in the back?
Steve Kodad: No, if you have a hallway that leads from the front door to the back, you would be staggering them, maybe one on the left, take a few steps up, one on the right, and so forth.
Jason Hartman: Okay, so the question is we’ve got a vacant house we’re talking about, so can we use the silk plants, the fake ones?
Steve Kodad: You can use a good silk plant and, of course, certainly the color of the plant can help with our elements, too. But, yeah, you can use a good silk plant. Of course, most builders that I work with use silk plants. They don’t have the time or the energy to get themselves over there to water those things, so that’ll work.
Jason Hartman: All right, what else?
Steve Kodad: Well, after the foyer, my next test is the room of first impressions, which often is the dining room or the living room. One of the things that I would tell your listeners is if they really want to get into pushing things fairly quickly is to consider buying maybe one round table that you put in the dining room, just a table. And the reason why it’s round is, again, we want to take away the sharp edges. It’s more comforting to people, and I usually use a round table with a tablecloth over it, often just a white table cloth, and I put a nice little silk flower arrangement on it, draw their attention into it so it registers that the dining room is actually present because a lot of buyers will not register that indeed, it does have four bedrooms, indeed it does have a formal dining room. You want to make sure these things register with them.
Jason Hartman: I agree with you, and they look at a whole bunch of different properties, like they’re looking at eight different houses for lease in the same day, and they start to forget. They all run together. Steve, I think those ideas are fantastic. I think they’re just kind of hard to execute, though, when you put furniture and rugs. Maybe you could get the property manager to do an air freshener for you and maybe the welcome mat that you just leave there between tenants. But what can we do that’s really permanent? I mean color, painting on the walls, that sounds pretty easy to me. I like that one a lot for our style of investing when the people aren’t going to the property.
Steve Kodad: Okay, so going back to the master bedroom, I would definitely – and I tell my builders this – you need to paint at least one to two rooms, and the rest of it can stay beige if you want to do that, but you need to make certain rooms more memorable. And paint, as you alluded to, is not very costly. And so I would always paint the master bedroom more of a yin color. I use sage green so much I can’t even tell you. It also shows off any kind of molding, crown molding, or whatever you have in there, wainscoting. It shows it off beautifully. So right away, I would do that.
Jason Hartman: Can you give me a couple other colors for the master? Sage green; what else?
Steve Kodad: Sure.
Jason Hartman: And this is just one wall, right?
Steve Kodad: No, it really could be the whole thing. In a lot of cases, it would be because the colors that I use, as I call the new neutrals, are pretty much universally liked and nobody really doesn’t care for them.
Jason Hartman: So the master bedroom sage green or gray, really?
Steve Kodad: In the master bedroom, I’d use more of a sage green or possibly a gold, or a deep rose.
Jason Hartman: Oh, gold’s a good color. Deep rose?
Steve Kodad: A deep rose. I can’t get pink by a guy, so I use deep rose a lot. It works well. Deep rose, again, brings in the romantic idea, too, and on a subconscious level, that starts to seep into the couple. Let’s say it’s a couple. Again, it starts to meet their needs, so deep rose works well, too.
Jason Hartman: Okay, what else? Are we done with the master now?
Steve Kodad: Yes. And then, of course, the master bath is a very important thing and it needs to be very, very clean. One of the things we always talk about before we even get into feng shui is we talk about doing a deep cleaning, making sure that there are no items of maintenance ever because again, to me, a buyer is looking for ways to say “no.” In this market, they’re going to say “no” even faster.
Jason Hartman: Right and they’re always looking for a way to eliminate the property. But remember, we’re not talking about buyers. We’re talking about tenants, about renters. Same idea, though.
Steve Kodad: Right. I would make sure that the kitchen and the bathrooms are just spic and span. They have to be really, really clean. And I always would keep the toilet seats down. And in a lot of the homes that I work with, I try to keep the doors to the bathrooms closed. The reasoning is there that the energy leaves the house a little too abruptly –
Jason Hartman: Through the plumbing.
Steve Kodad: – if you allow the drains to take over, and so I do a lot of that. I don’t care if it has one bath or five bathrooms. All the doors are usually shut unless there’s a natural light problem and then I need to use that.
Jason Hartman: I’ve heard that in feng shui before, but my inclination is to say “light, bright, and airy” is what people want, so that’s kind of a catch-22.
Steve Kodad: Yeah, well, that is definitely extremely important in feng shui, too. You want to have as much natural light as possible. You want to make sure the windows are sparkling and that the light comes in, pouring in. So I do take that into account. If the bathroom is in a dark hallway, if it’s the only light coming into the area, then I’m not going to shut the door. But I’m certainly going to have all the toilet seats down.
Jason Hartman: Okay, kitchen; do you want to talk about the kitchen? You mentioned that earlier as an important part.
Steve Kodad: The kitchen, yeah. Again, you have a vacant house, so this is not going to be a problem. But the countertops, to me, are very pivotal and they need to be in very good shape. I always want to make sure that if somebody is living there, that there’s very, very little on the countertops. And the lighting can be very important, too. I try to stay away from as much overhead lighting as I can because, especially if it’s fluorescent, it tends to make people feel less comfortable and they don’t look as good in that light either. So when they’re looking at their significant other, neither one of them look their absolute best under that type of lighting.
So if I can, even in the kitchen, I might bring a lamp in and turn that on. But again, that might not be something that you can probably work out with some of your folks, but the lighting can be a problem.
Jason Hartman: Okay, how about kitchen color?
Steve Kodad: The kitchen color, depending on again where it’s located in the house, I like to get it to be a little bit more earthy usually. Kitchens are usually in great balance. They have fire, of course, with the stove. They have water. They have almost every element, including wood, the wood cabinets and so forth. But often a pale yellow works really well in a kitchen. You do not want to go with sterile white and you probably know that I don’t want to go with Builder Beige, so a pale yellow works really nicely in most kitchens.
Jason Hartman: Any overall conceptual themes? Definitely avoid clutter; neat, clean. Those things would seem so obvious, but it’s amazing how many people don’t do that.
Steve Kodad: No, they don’t.
Jason Hartman: And definitely conceptually, I would just say color. Investors, you’re listening to this show now. Put some color in your houses. Accent colors. If nothing else, even if you break all the rules of feng shui, just so people remember your house and it’s remembered. Like you said, the first thing you said, Steve, is make your house memorable outside of all the other properties they see that are Builder Beige. So get some color.
Steve Kodad: And if they have seen seven or eight properties, they are going to blend in, and it happens so easily that you as a real estate agent would get back to the car and ask them about it and it just doesn’t turn them on and they don’t even know why. But you want to do everything you can to make it memorable, whether the smell is pleasant or the bedroom is a very nice shade of whatever.
Jason Hartman: Steve, one of the really easy things to control for our clients, who are investing in properties all over the country, is the rental price, the asking price of that property for rent. Should the price be $1,300.00 a month or should it be $1,288.00? Talk about price for a moment. Really easy to control. This might be the hottest tip you give on this whole show.
Steve Kodad: The price is another way that I make sure that a buyer remembers a place. It’s a very easy way to do it and often, I’m brought in at the last moment. The house has been priced at $259,900.00, and I just ask them to take a few dollars off or add a few dollars to make the price very memorable. I get to the point where I use certain numbers a lot. I use a lot of eights and a lot of nines because they’re very powerful numbers in feng shui, and I even want the number to add up to an eight or a nine.
Jason Hartman: So the point is, though, that the numbers add up to a single digit, and is that single digit the lucky digit or the auspicious digit. Okay, so you want that number to be the eight, the nine, the seven.
Steve Kodad: Eight means wealth and nine means longevity, so those are numbers that are pursued.
Jason Hartman: Just kind of sum this up, some general quick tips.
Steve Kodad: I think feng shui really has a lot to do with psychology and the subconscious, and we really don’t understand sometimes why this works. But whatever it is, whether it really is there, which I do believe, or it’s not, as you said, it is something that a person is going to feel a different way when they walk into a house if it has these things handled. You want to make sure the house is sparkling clean, it’s uncluttered, it is memorable, and I think you have a much better shot at that point of getting a house under contract. Definitely, you have a better shot at getting a second shot.
Jason Hartman: Yeah, and getting it rented as quickly as possible. Excellent advice. Steve, where can they find out more, and tell us about your website?
Steve Kodad: My website is www.thefengshuicure.com, and I’d love for you to go to the website. We have a lot of recurring events. We even have newsletters on there, and if you’d like to be getting our newsletter on a quarterly basis, just contact me. The hotmail address is on there. And our phone number is (803)802-2255.
Jason Hartman: Excellent. Steve, thanks so much for being on the show. We learned a lot today. It’s an interesting topic. I would encourage any listener to, at the very least, hedge their bets and know about this and be conscientious about it. Thanks again for being on the show.
Announcer 1: Copyright, the Hartman Media Company. All rights reserved. This show is designed to provide general advice and education concerning real estate for investment purposes. Nothing contained in this show should be considered personalized investment advice because every investor’s investment strategy and goals are unique. You should consult with a licensed real estate broker, agent, or other licensed investment advisor before relying on any information contained in this show.
The Hartman Media Company and/or its affiliates, such as Platinum Properties Investor Network, Incorporated, collectively HMC, have used its best efforts in preparing this content of the show. No guarantee is made as to the accuracy of its content contained in this show or the effectiveness of any strategy recommended or discussed. HMC is not responsible for errors and/or admissions in the contained show. The opinions of guests are their own.
You understand that the real estate market can be volatile and subject to fluctuations based on the variety of economic conditions outside the control of HMC. Investing is an uncertain endeavor and the future is unpredictable, even to those who claim to have exceptional forecasting abilities. With regards to real estate investments, appreciation of property value cannot be assured. Actual rental income may vary from expected levels and many circumstances may change over time. During periodic down cycles in real estate, prices can and do fall, sometimes significantly. You understand that such price declines will occur and that certain real estate holding may not return or exceed previous price levels.
Likewise, rents are based on market conditions outside of the control of HMC and property owners. During periods of economic downturn or recession, rents can decrease as the number of qualified tenants decline or the number of rental properties on the market expands. There can be no assurances if the rents do fall, that they will shortly return to previous high levels.
HMC is not qualified to advise on tax or legal matters. Please consult the appropriate professional for such advice.
While HMC would like to verify the details of properties offered throughout its network, it is impossible to check every aspect of every property everywhere in the country. Therefore, it is very important for perspective investors to inspect properties in person whenever possible and to do their own due diligence as to the condition of the property, the features of the neighborhood, community facilities, and regional demographics before writing a purchase order or entering into a contract to buy.
Also, neither HMC nor its agents or affiliates can guarantee that any property will appreciate or be positive cash flow either from close of escrow or during subsequent periods. Therefore, it is essential that investors have an adequate financial reserve to cover periods of vacancy, instances of late or uncollectable rents, fix-up and maintenance costs, legal fees for evictions, and related actions, and management fees. It is also essential that investors not over leverage themselves and purchase more property than they can reasonably afford.
Our affiliation with brokers, sales agents, and management companies that are independently owned and operated are not under the management or control of HMC. While HMC may receive compensation in the form of referral fees, no employment or agency relationship exists between us and the affiliated individuals and companies referred to the above.
Any claims, representations, or statements of fact made by brokers, agents, management companies, or their representatives should be verified independently by the investor before entering into any purchase agreement.
By using any of the services offered throughout this website or by participating in HMC sponsored events or by purchasing property through the referrals from HMC, investors waive any or all claims against HMC, its presenters, speakers, agents, and affiliated companies that may arise, from statements, actions, representations, recommendations, or warranties made by referral real estate agents, loan brokers, property managers, new home builders, sales agents, or vendors.
HMC and affiliated companies will rely on this waiver as a condition for referring investors to those referred to above. In general, HMC acts as a facilitator or matchmaker between investors, brokers, and/or properties. As in relationships, a matchmaker introduces two hopefully compatible parties, but whether they live together happily ever after is up to them once the introduction is made. HMC is not qualified to advise on tax or legal matters.
[End of Audio]
Duration: 53 minutes