“Oh, St. Joseph, guardian of household needs, we know you don’t like to be upside down in the ground, but the sooner escrow closes the sooner we will dig you up and put you in a place of honor in our new home. Please bring us an acceptable offer (or any offer!) and help sustain our faith in the real estate market.”
According to FishEaters.com, that’s one version of the popular prayer offered up by home sellers after burying a statue of St. Joseph, hoping for a quicker sale.
Apparently, this odd custom dates back to 1515 when St. Teresa of Avila needed to build a new convent for her quickly growing Disalced Carmelite Order. Of course she needed to buy some land in order for this to happen but she and her fellow sisters didn’t have enough to purchase it. They turned to St. Joseph for help, burying medals with his picture on them in the ground where they wanted to build their convent. Their prayers were answered.
This method also worked for Andre Bessette, when he prayed to St. Joseph and buried a St. Joseph where he would eventually erect the Shrine of St. Joseph in Montreal, Canada.
Though the custom started out as a means of acquiring land, it changed throughout the centuries and is now performed by sellers who carefully bury a statue of St. Joseph, upside-down and covered in protective cloth, in the front yard of their property.
I recently posted a home staging business dilemma that alluded to this custom. I asked stagers what they would do if they wandered into a FSBO that had been on the market for years with the listing price having been dropped by $100,000 and all that had been done to prep it for sale was the burial of St. Joseph statues in the yard. (If you didn’t read it you can see that post here.)
Curiously enough, not many of you actually referenced this act in your feedback, choosing instead to talk about how you would approach the topic of home staging with the homeowner. A commenter named Peggy, however, did pick up on the St. Joseph reference, exactly as I’d hoped someone would when she said, “I would gently remind the client that in case she hadn’t heard, St. Joseph has been putting in some extreme overtime of late and that even the Good Lord ‘Helps those who help themselves!’ Of course I would admit to her that for ‘good measure,’ I too buried a St. Joseph statute in my yard (I did!) but then I did everything else in MY POWER to help him help me! And the utmost help I could offer was by staging my own home!”
Peggy cleverly added her own home staging success story in her comment when she wrote, “I would then tell her how my staged home sold to the first buyer through and how there were 3 back up offers in waiting! I would add that there were no less than 30 other homes on the market in my neighborhood alone at that time. I would then suggest she consider helping St. Joseph help her by setting up a time that she and I could discuss in greater detail the power and effectiveness of home staging!”
So while burying a statue of St. Joseph in the yard might help sell faster, it might be prudent to do the same thing Peggy did and ensure that the home is staged too (you know, just in case!) because as she added in her comment, “I would share with her my belief that, ‘In today’s real estate market, a home seller can’t take themselves or what they are trying to accomplish seriously until they have at least spoken to a home stager about how they can get their home sold faster and for the most money possible.’”
By the way, I confess I never even heard of this practice of burying a St. Joseph statue until a frustrated home seller called me to say that she’d tried it unsuccessfully for three years (!) and she was desperate and ready to try home staging instead. I sent her to the Staging Diva Directory of Home Stagers to locate a Staging Diva Graduate who could help her.
Have you heard of any other techniques home sellers have used besides home staging, price cuts and statues of St. Joseph? I’d love to hear your comments and share them in a future post.
Debra Gould, The Staging Diva®
President, Six Elements Inc. Home Staging
Debra Gould knows how to make money as a home stager and she developed the Staging Diva Training Program to teach others how to earn a living doing something they love.
[tags] home staging, home stager, home stagers, home staging, home staging dilemma, St. Joseph statue, buried st joseph statue, staging diva[/tags]