At HomeMoving

Bury a Saint to Sell Your Home

St. Joseph, commonly known as the Patron Saint of real estate, can help sell a home from underground.

The folklore or urban myth is that if a Seller buries a plastic statue of St. Joseph in their yard, a successful closing is not far off.

“St. Joseph was originally a carpenter and rumour has it he could work miracles with wood. Somehow because he could build houses he became associated with real estate,” explained Brian Madigan, Remax West, Toronto.

Now religious artifact stores, real estate agents, building supply stores and eBay all sell statues of St. Joseph.

According to Madigan reputed origins of the practice vary. Some claim it may be connected to a practice by German carpenters who buried the statues in the foundations of houses they built and said a prayer to St. Joseph.

Others say in the Middle Ages an order of European nuns in its quest for a convent buried a medal of St. Joseph while asking the saint to intercede.

While researching Madigan found, others trace the connection to a chapel building effort in Montreal in the late 1800s. Brother Andre Bessett wanted to buy some land on Mount Royal in Montreal to construct a small chapel called an oratory. When the landowners refused to sell, Bessett began planting medals of St. Joseph on the property. In 1896, the owners suddenly relented and sold, and Bessett was able to build his oratory.

“These theories may be instances of retrofitting lore to a custom because mentions of burying statues of St. Joseph are older than contemporary times and have failed to materialize in standard folklore references. Now that the custom has an interesting backstory does not mean its backstory is valid or even that old,” said Madigan.

The practice of burying a plastic St. Joseph to help speed the sale of a home dates to at least to 1984 in the United States. Madigan found that in 1990 it became all the rage for real estate agents to buy the little statues by the box so they could give one to each of their clients.

As a prudent realtor Madigan also recommends, in addition to burying Joe, sellers must first do such practical yet all important chores like completing all necessary cleaning, repairs, staging and adjusting the price of the home in order to support St. Joe’s hard work in the yard.

Instructions to bury St. Joseph vary. Each homeowner must make the decision how to proceed:

1. Upside down, near the ‘For Sale’ sign in the front yard. (An upside down St. Joseph is said to work extra hard to get out of the ground and onto someone’s mantle.)

2. Right side up

3. In the rear yard, possibly in a flower bed

4. Lying on its back and pointing towards the house, like an arrow

5. Three feet from the rear of the house

6. Facing the house

7. Facing away from the house. (One who tried this reported the house across the street sold, and it hadn’t even been up for sale.)

8. Exactly 12 inches deep

Brian Madigan LL.B., realtor, Remax West, Toronto was a lawyer for 25 years before becoming a real estate agent. He has worked with many serving military clients and many transitioning military retirees. To connect with Brian please email [email protected]

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Vicki L Morrison

Thanks to her husband's military career Vicki reinvented herself as a writer so she could work from home, while taking care of their three kids. A former MFRC executive director Vicki is a passionate advocate for military families who loves telling their stories.

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Canadian Military Family Magazine