Saint Joseph’s Home Selling Kit – Part 2

Sales of the Saint Joseph Home Sellers Kits have been brisk of late. One mid-West hardware store reports last year’s sales up over 50% to over 120,000 units. A Modesto California mortgage broker and statue distributor reports a 100% annual increase in sales for three consecutive years. His best customers are Realtors and Real Estate Auctioneers.

For those who shop locally, a short ride takes you to Lamb’s Book Store in North Wildwood. I asked proprietor Joseph Olwell if sales of the home seller’s kit have picked up since the real estate market tanked. He said sales have been “steady” but about 20 years or so ago, at the height of the last bear market in the Wildwoods, sales doubled after an article appeared in the local press about the use of the kit. Mr. Olwell, who has a business degree from Villanova, stocks two versions of the kit: the 3 1/2 inch basic, plastic “Chevy” and the taller full-color “Cadillac.” Apparently, General Motors has a commanding market share in religious statues. My editor is selling her house. For $4.40 I bought her a “Chevy.” As far as Saint Joseph is concerned, size does not matter. One should not buy a bigger statue for a larger home, or a smaller one for a one-bedroom condo. Beware of ads that promise better results using a bigger statue.

Saint Joseph is not the only incorporeal intermediary when it comes to asking a favor from above. Saint Anthony and Saint Jude are often asked to intercede on the behalf of people who might need a little heavenly juice. Saint Anthony of Padua is the patron saint of lost things.  In grade school it was not uncommon to pray to Saint Anthony to help find missing homework assignments. Not more than ten minutes after I typed this sentence I found a missing key belonging to one of my rental units. Saint Anthony statues have also been buried upside down in front of homes for sale. Is it possible a homeowner locked himself out? A Saint Anthony statue was recently found decapitated in the town of San Antonio, Texas. Irrational behavior is to be expected in bad times and Saint Anthony is not the only one who has lost his head in a down market. On the same page was an article about a teenager who set himself on fire while using gasoline on his head lice. Unless he was a Buddhist, I do not think this is real estate related.

Saint Jude is the patron saint of lose causes.  I might ask him to intercede in behalf of my retirement portfolio. Since October 2008, it might not be unreasonable to suggest a tandem of Saint Joseph and Saint Jude be enlisted in the sale of homes and in picking stocks. San Antonio could have used Saint Jude in 1836.

One of the hardest hit areas in the recent real estate slump has been Las Vegas. My “partner-cousin” Tom was there in the winter checking out the housing market.  He saw thousands and thousands of unsold condos listed for a fraction of their original prices.  70% discounts were not uncommon. The Arizona and Florida real estate market have also suffered incredible losses, with values down over 30%. One can picture future archeologists unearthing thousands of Saint Joseph statues from lawns and flower pots all over a landscape of unsold rubble, asking “What were these people thinking?”

Of course nothing is certain in real estate. As we go to press, my buyer’s home inspection report reads like a Russian novel. I was selling the home “as is” and now it looks like the deal is falling apart.  I may have to start all over again. Do I need another statue? Maybe, I should have asked Mr. Olwell where I can get the “Lexus.” In any event, at least something is selling. There’s always a bull market somewhere!

This is Wayne Piersanti, Broker-Salesperson for Coastline Realty, keeping it real. I can be reached at (609) 540-3374 and Coastline Realty is a full service, family owned and operated, award winning real estate agency.

Part 2 of 2.  Hope you enjoyed the article!