Do you touch wood (or say ‘choi!’ very loudly) when somebody mentions something bad will happen? Or maybe you try to avoid black cats and breaking mirrors? There are all sorts of superstitions passed down through the ages that still remain until today. Just how strongly ingrained are these beliefs in our society, and which extend to decisions about properties? Well, let’s just say that we wouldn’t want to be stuck in an elevator at 3am during the seventh month……
The Numbers Game
Of course, negotiating property prices is always a numbers game, but in a society where superstitions and beliefs still play a big part in our everyday lives, house numbers can literally make or break a deal. Number 4 is considered an unlucky number because it sounds the same as ‘death’ in Chinese, while the number 8 is a highly-coveted number for properties as it sounds similar to ‘prosperity’ in Chinese. Got your hands on unit #8 on the 8th floor of an apartment or condominium? Lucky you, huat ah! On the opposite end of the spectrum, if you happen to get unit Number 4 on the 4th floor, you might want to consider changing your address to Number 3A on Floor 3A instead. It’s interesting to note that the number 13, which is regarded as an unlucky number by ang mohs, is a relatively normal number here.
Fun fact: Fear of the number 4 is known as tetraphobia.
The Hungry Ghost Festival (7th Lunar Month)
We’re currently smack right in the middle of the 7th lunar month, which is also referred to by many Chinese as Ghost Month. In Chinese culture, the fourteenth day of the seventh month in the lunar calendar is called Ghost Day and the seventh month in general is regarded as the Ghost Month, in which ghosts and spirits, including those of the deceased ancestors, come out from the Underworld. Throughout the whole seventh lunar month, many people tend to avoid buying, selling, or renovating a house during this period because it is regarded as an unlucky time to do such things. (You usually won’t get any invitations to Chinese weddings for the entire month too.) Real estate agents are usually prepared to close less sales during this period, and sellers can expect less response from potential buyers as well.
“I See Dead People” a.k.a Haunted Houses
Ah, how could we leave out haunted properties? For most people, a haunted house is a definite no-no, unless they don’t believe in ghosts or have a really strong interest in paranormal activities. In Malaysia, a property doesn’t necessarily have to have supernatural activity to be considered haunted; as long as a violet crime or murder was committed within the property, it is almost certain to be labeled as haunted. Such a property will not appeal to many people, which can result in the property being sold for a loss or below market price. Properties next to cemeteries are also more likely to be associated with ghosts and spooky happenings, thus affecting their value.
Everybody hopes that with the proper feng shui position of their house, office, bed or even bathroom, they can somehow miraculously turn into millionaires overnight. (Hint: That’s really not how it works.) That is why properties with ‘good’ feng shui often sell for more, while ‘bad’ feng shui‘ properties are often sold below market price. You’ll find that many buildings and houses are built around feng shui principles, such as having a river in front and a mountain behind. When customised homes aren’t feasible (or affordable), interior design feng shui is a lucrative business. The point is, feng shui isn’t just for believers; many non-believers are also incorporating feng shui into their properties, because they might have to sell or rent to someone who does believe in it.
These are some of the most common superstitions that you’ll encounter when buying, selling or renting property in Malaysia. Do you know of any other special or unique beliefs or taboos from your culture or country when it comes to property? Share with us; we’d love to know! 😀