Sean McIllwain, MOD Boulder Real Estate

Sean McIllwain, MOD Boulder Real Estate

We’ve all heard the old real estate adage about “location, location, location”. And while location is definitely important, we could also add that real estate is just as much about “direction, direction, direction”.

When looking for a new home, there are many factors to consider: the aforementioned location, architectural style, move-in-ready or fixer-upper, lot size, out buildings…I could go on. Finally finding your perfect home in the perfect neighborhood can be thrilling – but have you considered what side of the street the house is on? Where the best views are? Whether the bedroom is east-facing or west-facing? What kind of light the backyard gets? It’s these seemingly small aspects that can make a big difference in how (and where) you enjoy your new home. Some of these considerations relate to light and climate, while others are cultural or of a personal preference. Let’s dive in to some of these finer directional details.

In Boulder, we like our views – and getting a peek at the Flatirons can add value to a home. But it’s worth considering where that view is achieved. As most of our daylight hours are spent in high-traffic spaces like the living room, kitchen, and dining room, views captured from these well-trodden rooms tend to be more desirable. But for some, the romantic framing of a bedroom window’s mountain view can speak to the heart. Aside from the coveted Flatirons, any pleasant outdoor view is worthy of consideration.

Speaking of the outdoors, there are plenty of exterior features to consider when choosing your new home. If you love spending time on the patio, consider which way the sun shines and wind blows. In Boulder, for example, summer’s westerly Golden Hour is a coveted time of day – while wintery wind gusts most often come from the west. And for those with a green thumb, a south-facing backyard is better for growing plants, flowers, and vegetables.

Lot placement can be important for energy conservation and comfort. Typically, a south-facing home gets sun for most of the day, especially at the front of the house, and will usually be brighter and warmer. Meanwhile, a north-facing home gets sun at the back of the house, allowing for less light and cooler temperatures during the day. And of course, light has a direct effect on both the early birds and the night owls of the house. East-facing bedrooms are great for those who love to rise and shine with the sun. If you’re inclined to stay up late, a west- or north-facing bedroom will let you sleep in longer.

Another Boulder-specific consideration is snow shoveling. If you’re house-hunting during the summer months, this may not be something you’re thinking about – but know that those north-facing houses will require more foul-weather maintenance. Slip-sliding on your shady walkway all winter long? That’s definitely no fun.

Culturally speaking, the direction a home faces can be of the utmost importance. Many people already know about feng shui, the Chinese art of placement. In that tradition, the best orientation for the front door can depend on the “lucky” feng shui directions for the home’s family members.

In Vastu shastra, the ancient Indian science of architecture, the principles focus on how the laws of nature affect human dwellings. It’s based on directional alignments and primarily focused on how our architecture integrates into its natural surroundings.

A house constructed with Vastu principles is said to drive the negative energy away, inviting in peace, success, supreme powers, holiness, and opulence to the residents. In the Vastu system, east and north are considered to be of great importance for prosperity and health, and north-facing homes attract a wide range of positive energies into the house. If your home faces another direction, all good vibes aren’t lost; there are Vastu remedies, like bright lights and greased door hinges, that can amplify your home’s positive energy.

The next time you’re house-hunting, open up the compass app on your smartphone to get a better understanding of a home’s placement not only on its lot, but on planet Earth. Because at the end of the day, the last thing you’d want is to face the wrong way.

By Sean McIllwain, Sean is the founding broker of Mod Boulder Real Estate. Call 720.252.6051, e-mail [email protected] or visit