The most desirable homes face east, he said, because morning sun radiates energy and light, or north, because it is believed to invite prosperity. The southwest corner is the preferred location for the master bedroom, and the northeast corner for prayer and meditation.

Hindu buyers often move into new subdivisions so they can choose lots and floor plans, he said.

Real estate closings are scheduled according to the charts to determine the best days to launch new endeavors, he said.

One of Viswanathan's clients, Ramesh Krishnan, first considered price and then energy flow when he bought his Aurora home in 2003. The front door faces north and the space between neighboring homes is generous.

"You want to make sure that energy is not is blocked," he said. Before groundbreaking or after moving in many Hindus offer blessings or conduct housewarming ceremonies. Krishnan invited friends and family for prayers and feasting. Milk was boiled until it overflowed to signify prosperity.

The importance of living in proximity to a parochial school has lessened for some Catholics but there still are ties to various parishes, said Rev. Terence Keehan, pastor of St. Matthias and Transfiguration of Our Lord in Lincoln Square.

"Many of our parents don't live in the neighborhood, but they might work in the neighborhood," he said. "But I get people all the time who move here and want to send their children to our school [St. Matthias Transfiguration] and join our parish."

Regardless of physical proximity to the parish, Catholics will bless their new homes. Williams, the Realtor, and her family, Cape Verdean, R.I., natives, sprinkle table salt over the threshold and recite a prayer that welcomes Christ and asks to be kept safe, happy and healthy.

"We have had this tradition for over 200 years," she said. "We wouldn't think of occupying a home without salting it first."

Such desires have led a handful of developers and builders to include non-denominational Christian churches in their site plans. At West Ridge Village in Elgin, for example, the West Ridge Community Church, plus coffeehouse and community center, anchor the 100 Lennar-built town homes.

"The philosophy is to go beyond just building a physical structure and trying to create a sense of community for people," said Darren Sloniger, the church's co-pastor and a principal for Marquette Cos., which developed West Ridge. "You can only go so far with planning and architecture. A church that provides programs and facilitates groups takes that to the next level."

Young worshipers often prefer non-denominational churches because they tend to be less formal, said Bruno Bottarelli, a Marquette partner.

"We want to answer their spiritual needs by supporting a church with a younger, more hip vibe," he said.

Tyra Lewis belonged a traditional church in Chicago when she moved to West Ridge this spring to be closer to family. When she checked out the neighborhood church she was "blown away," she said, by the guitar music, sofa seating and free coffee. Now she's a regular.

"I also feel safer knowing the church is so close," she said. "People are praying for the land and the homeowners."

"It definitely swings both ways," said Sloniger, who leads services in blue jeans. "Some of our members have bought there and people have come to church after buying there."