The Importance of Cultural Traditions in Property Investing

Investing in property can be very lucrative. But it’s not without its risks. Nothing worth doing ever is. At Buttonwood Property Management, we are pleased to work with folks from around the globe right here in the GTA. And while we work with savvy investors who bring lots of financial knowledge to the table, there are other elements that govern the decision about what property to buy. We’ve become experienced with some cultural influences that go into the equation of finding the best property.


In our experience, lots come down to lucky number 8! Lucky numbers are of particular importance in Chinese culture. When it comes to an address, many clients prefer homes with lucky numbers in them, especially the luckiest of them all, 8. Eight, ‘fa’ in Cantonese sounds similar to the word for prospering and fortune.


The number 4, on the other hand, is one to avoid as much as possible, as it sounds close to the word for ‘death’ in Cantonese. In Toronto, if you find yourself in a modern condo elevator, you may notice that floors ending in 4 don’t exist.
There is also a biblical reference to the number 13 as being unlucky – Judas was the 13th guest to sit down to the last supper, and we know how that turned out. Whether they recognize the biblical reference or not, that 13 is unlucky is pervasive here, and we see lots of people avoiding this number as they choose addresses, closing dates, and more. Most hospitals and other official buildings here in Toronto skip the 13th floor for this reason.


Numerology is also often at play when sellers price their homes or put in a bid to purchase.

importance of cultural heritage

Feng Shui

The principles of feng shui that originate in China are another governing system we see investors adhere to in the search for a perfect property. This system is about creating harmony and balance with your living environment, allowing qi to flow naturally through your space and through you. Feng shui looks to balance all of the elements in your home – earth, wood, water, metal, and fire. Each element has its own characteristics; wood, for instance, is tied to natural growth and vibrant health. This element is represented by rectangular shapes, green and brown colors, living plants and is typically placed in the east and southeast portions of the home or property.


Clients that follow the principles of feng shui often look for:

  • Views of the water, as water holds qi and is a symbol of wealth, abundance, and fluidity.
  • Properties on a rectangular lot, which represents the wood element and is prized for the way energy can move about the space.
  • Properties on an upward incline indicate a rise in property value. Avoid living on a decline, which suggests your fortune might simply roll away.
  • Avoid living below grade altogether, as this is said to bring tension to relationships.
  • Front and back entrances should not be aligned in the home. That is, you shouldn’t have a direct view from one entrance to the other. With this alignment, your wealth will come in one door, only to leave right through the other. In condos, your front doors should not align with the elevator doors for this reason. Likewise, staircases in a home that aligns with your front door are also to be avoided.
  • Look for architecture with lots of curving lines. Curved lines and circling shapes are associated with the metal element, which cultivates strength, focus, and independence. These shapes enhance the flow of positive or good qi.
  • Avoid living at a T intersection, on a busy street, or at the end of a long street, all of which disrupt the flow of positive qi.

There is always so much to consider when choosing the perfect property. I feel so privileged to be working alongside clients from around the globe, developing a deep appreciation for practices, philosophies, and principles that are rooted in culture and history. It’s been an unexpected bonus for this job!

Sabine Ghali

Sabine Ghali

Helping real estate investors build wealth over time

Sabine Ghali, Managing Director at Buttonwood Property Management, Award Winning Real Estate Broker and an Entrepreneur at heart. Sabine is on a mission to help investors create real estate wealth over time in the Greater Toronto Area. Sabine is published in a number of media outlets, including Toronto Star, The Globe and Mail, Toronto Sun, Entrepreneur, Forbes, and Gulf News, among many others.