Cultural Numerology

Julie, a good friend, listed her home over a year ago. Though she recognizes the market is down due to the recessive economy of last year her home is situated in a very trendy, inner-city neighbourhood. She has three spacious bedrooms on the upper level and a developed basement maximizing space. She has granite countertops, stainless steel appliances and Kohler sinks. She also has a downtown view with lots of lighting. Julie was optimistic that she would sell her home sooner than later but definitely became very frustrated when her neighbour sold her home over four months ago. She lacked some of the space and certainly the upgrades that Julie’s home currently has.

In a bold move she changed realtors thinking this might make her home sell quicker. Her new realtor, “Evan” changed the price of her home- in fact, he actually increased the price of her home. Julie thought he was delusional given the home had already sat on the market for over a year. Yet, in seven weeks, Julie signed a conditional offer and, much to her delight, sold her home. “Evan” a young realtor astute in his understanding cultural numerology and how it pertains to pricing strategies had increased the price to make it more attractive-and was successful in its sale.

In many Asian and South East Asian cultures many numbers are considered to be more auspicious than others. Strong cultural beliefs in numerology, cultural numerology, will strengthen certain numbers significance and usage. In the Chinese culture, lucky numbers are based on Chinese words that sound similar to other Chinese words. The numbers 6, 8, and 9 are believed to have auspicious meanings because their names sound similar to words that have positive meanings. However, due to the pronunciations in different regions of China this ‘rule of thumb’ does not necessarily apply to everybody. Furthermore, first generation Chinese immigrants to Canada might feel more strongly about numerical significance than second and third generation children of immigrants. The number 6 in Mandarin is representative of happiness and in Mandarin, sounds like the word “sleek” therefore considered good for business. Business phone numbers might have quite a few 6’s in it to assist in attracting more influential business. The number 8 sounds like “prosperity” in Mandarin and is extremely well-utilized for pricing strategies, particularly for homes, cars and other high-end items. For example, a home might seem more attractively priced at $686,000 versus $644,000 due to the significance of the 8’s and 6’s. Interestingly enough, the number 4 sounds like the word “death” and is often not utilized in many pricing strategies and product lines. The number 4 is considered an unlucky number in Chinese, Korean, Vietnamese and Japanese cultures because of its close sound to the word “death”. Due to that, many numbered product lines skip the “4″: e.g. Nokia cell phones (there is no series beginning with a 4), Palm PDAs, Canon PowerShot G’s series (after G3 goes G5). Though, it would be interesting to test the theory with Toyota and see if Toyota Rav4’s are more demographically geared towards a North American market rather than a Japanese market. Many high-rises and office towers in many Asian countries lack a fourth floor- similarly, many North American office towers lack a thirteenth floor due to the unlucky significance of the number 13.

So what happens if you are trying to sell your home and your address starts with an inauspicious home number such as 440? There is not much one can do to change a house number to make it more attractive to sell, however, from a feng shui perspective there are a few small, cost-effective things a seller can do. For example, most numbers are boldly placed for prospective buyers to read such as on the door. However, if placed on a clean porch that utilizes some metal (an essential feng shui element) or placing the number on a large piece of stone or granite surrounded by fresh greenery or shrubs (earth also being an essential feng shui element) this might assist in counteracting the inauspicious number of 4. The usage of wind chimes (a metal element) also might assist.

A friend recently attended a Chinese wedding ceremony and noted that most of the decorations on the tables were in pairs. Even numbers, in Chinese culture, is considered more auspicious than odd numbers and the number 2 is representative of ‘harmony’ therefore pairs of candles, pairs of birds, pairs of vases or similar decorations in pairs of two would be common and symbolic.
Many people choose to have a lucky number- some for fun, some for luck and some for religious and cultural conviction. Why is it that when individuals buy lottery tickets that most do not have their numbers chosen randomly yet statistically the odds of winning is the same? Because of the significance numbers play in our lives- take notice of numbers- in pricing strategies, phone numbers, license plates and even birth place within families. The significance of the number might be surprising.

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Tina Varughese

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