No one can predict the future of real estate, but you can prepare. Find out what to prepare for and pick up the tools you’ll need at Virtual Inman Connect online Nov. 1-2, 2023. And don’t miss Inman Connect New York on Jan. 23-25, 2024, where AI, capital and more will be center stage. Bet big on the future and join us at Connect.
Realtor Gabriella Michin was thrilled when, a few years ago, a homebuyer she represented was approved by a co-op board for a $2 million, two-bedroom walkup in Chelsea. When the closing date was scheduled, however, the buyer screeched to a halt and hit reverse. The date wouldn’t work, she learned.
The client was anxious, she thought. But it was something else. Despite being drawn to the co-op due to the direction it faced, which she believed drew better energy, and thanks to the floor it was on, which she considered lucky, astrological tealeaves indicated the timing was off.
“We can’t close in the next 10 days because Mercury is in retrograde,” Michin, an agent with The Agency in New York, was told. “We have to wait until afterward.”
It’s been 54 years since The 5th Dimension sang of the dawning of the Age of Aquarius and how “love will steer the stars” at Woodstock in 1969. But astrology is experiencing a big resurgence, particularly among younger millennial and Gen Z homebuyers, real estate agents and interior designers told Inman.
The market for astrology has soared beyond syndicated horoscope columns into a juggernaut projected to double between 2021 and 2031, when it’s estimated to reach $22.8 billion, in part through mobile applications, themed jewelry and other merchandise, according to an analysis by Allied Market Research.
But real estate professionals are also leaning into the good vibrations, with agents, designers and project managers telling Inman they’ve deigned everything from interior design strategies to listing campaigns from the stars.
“You’re trying to get the best you can out of the situation,” Fortune Christie’s International Real Estate agent Augustine Leo told Inman of his budding interest in astrology. “I’ve got Saturn and I’ve got Mars and they’re opposing Pluto, and it’s not good for anybody — but I’m going to try and move this.”
How one agent uses astrology in his business
Leo, who works in the greater Miami market, had been intrigued by astrology for years when, in 2019, he decided to dive further into the practice in an attempt to find greater success in his personal and professional life.
Leo practices “electional astrology,” which helps him determine the most beneficial time to undergo a big project. In his business, Leo frequently leans on electional astrology to find the most propitious time to place a new listing on the MLS. Fortunately, he said, the office admin has been amenable to working with him on creating new listings under the restrictions the planets dictate.
“I remember the first time I told my admin, ‘Michael, I need you to place this listing at 2:05 pm on Tuesday on the MLS, so it’s got to be ready to go for you to hit the button at 2:05 pm,’ and he didn’t bat an eye. He knew me and we did this.”
Of course, applying astrology to real estate listings isn’t a magic bullet for attracting clients or getting a problematic listing to sell, Leo said.
“If you have a bad property that’s overpriced, you can do all the astrology you want, it isn’t going to solve the problem,” he conceded.
But it can help illuminate optimal conditions under which a listing will succeed.
“You’re trying to get the best you can out of the situation,” Leo said. “I can ameliorate the negative influences that are working here. Or, if I just take a little time and effort, I can avoid making a really bad mistake.”
Although he considers himself an astrologer and an agent, Leo said overlapping interests haven’t brought him into contact with as many astrology enthusiasts as he’d like. “It would make my life easier if I knew [their sun sign],” he sighed.
“If I know, for example, I’m working with an Aries, it’s like, ‘Oh, that just makes my life so much easier,’ because they’re going to come to a quick decision [and] I know they’re going to like something that’s trendy,” Leo said. “There are certain traits that each sign will tend to have. But it’s one of those things like politics — you can’t go there unless there’s a prior relationship and the client is open to it.”
The emergence of astro interiors
Kerry Barile, a Brooklyn-based interior designer who uses astrology to better understand her clients’ objectives and manage their finances, chose to embrace what she calls “Astro Interiors” shortly after the pandemic began to recede as a threat because she believed it enables her to help clients narrow in on what they want. The global reaction to the pandemic simply convinced her to do more.
“Now I’m starting to see, people are seeking something on a deeper level, because I think that really shook us,” Barile told Inman.
“What COVID did was unsettle all of us,” she added. “So I think what happened is that people are looking for things to soothe them, because you need something to soothe you when you feel so out of control.”
When Barile is able to identify a homeowner’s birthday, which provides her with a sun sign and strongest personality traits, the process becomes smoother, she said. She added that astrology allows her to streamline the discovery process and pinpoint the elements clients are naturally drawn to.
But with clients who allow Barile to draw up full astrological charts, which include a map of the planets on the day, time and location of his or her birthday, she can apply those insights into the design. For now, however, fewer clients have requested the full reading, Barile said.
“It takes a certain client,” she acknowledged. “I have to kind of get a read on who I’m working with and see if they would be open to something like this, because it’s very unconventional and it’s sort of private because you can get so much information from somebody’s chart and sometimes it can go pretty deep, so I have to gauge the balance of professionalism versus learning about someone.”
Nonetheless, Barile estimates that she has discreetly discerned the sun sign of approximately 85 percent of her clients, and uses the information parsed to steer her in the right direction.
“Not everything can be governed by astrology,” Barile said, “but it can give me some insight that can save [the client and me] time and money.”
Meanwhile, twin sisters Ophira and Tali Edut, known to their fans as the “AstroTwins,” have deployed their astrological savvy to advise clients on love, career and home design, and serve as the official astrologers of Elle Magazine.
Like Barile, the sisters believe’ sun signs can help determine the design strategy that works best for clients’ homes, telling Inman in a joint statement they might advise certain sun signs to help inspire an interior design plan.
“An Aries’ home is both their workshop and royal retreat,” the twins said of the zodiac’s first sign. “Because they may be sensitive to light and hue, they’ll want to avoid muddy or muted colors and bolster their spirits with bright tones. Shots of crimson and hot pink around the house — Aries’ signature colors — help keep motivation high.”
The work at a Virgo’s home is never done, however, the twins said.
“As the zodiac’s perfectionist, a Virgo’s home is an eternal work in progress,” the AstroTwins said. “Never satisfied, they’ll tweak, rearrange and clean the house forever. A Virgo’s furniture is likely to be comfortable and eye-catching. And as an earth sign, plants and fresh flowers will always find their way into a Virgo’s home.”
How the planets could impact a transaction
Barile said real estate agents can benefit from incorporating astrology into client interactions. “I think the first thing they can do is look at where the planets are,” she told Inman.
Although reading an individual client’s horoscope may be most beneficial for that project alone, identifying the location of planets and interpreting their meaning can provide insights for future assignments, she said.
For instance, Venus had been in retrograde for the past several months, Barile noted, which could potentially have negative implications on a transaction.
“Venus is a very important planet because it establishes what you value, what you love, how you spend money, what your relationship is to money,” Barile said.
In other words, an agent might be more likely to encounter clients who are reevaluating big financial decisions while Venus is in retrograde.
“As an agent, I would say, ‘OK, Venus is in retrograde: Save my money, and be very careful financially because [with] these clients, there’s a high probability that they could decide not to buy this second home because we’re all reevaluating.’”
So when it comes time to help that Gen Z client — or any other client who seems open to new ideas — with their next transaction, agents may want to keep astrology in mind, Barile suggested.
“I think the younger generation — millennials, Gen X and Gen Z — are way more open to this because I think it just gives them a sense of control in a world that’s ever-changing … It’s just a different focus. People are looking for more meaning in things.”