[Before Paradise] If I Were Selling a Jeepney, It Would Be Sold Already!

The anxiety of moving to paradise can be taxing. Anyone who has ever made the move to their chosen Philippines paradise can attest to the frustrations involved in the planning, packing and waiting….waiting…. and waiting some more before that departure day finally comes.

We have made some good strides in preparing to move, but this little piece of real estate on which we reside continues to hold us captive here in the U.S., Still on the market!  I could sell a Jeepney in the U.S. faster than selling a home. As a practicing real estate broker for the last 12 years, I am very familiar with all the methods available to market and sell real estate. Even in today’s tough marketplace, effective marketing includes everything from selective newspaper print advertising to electronic mass media. For many years I excelled as a local leader in applied digital marketing applications and systems used to sell homes. Readying and presenting a home for sale to the market can include many things including remodeling, updating & upgrading, repairs and the ever continuing curb appeal maintenance just to keep the attraction going on.  Taking all that a step further and you have de-cluttering, home staging, pre-inspections, photo shoots, virtual tours, video tours…all in preparation of  the digital marketing side and internet syndication.

Okay, with all the preparation and exposure, you would think selling a home (assuming it is priced in the market) would be a piece of cake! Hmmm. Not really. While there may be buyers who wish to buy homes, banks and lenders have made it difficult to obtain a mortgage these days without seemingly giving up your next unborn child.

Patron Saint of Many Peoples

Patron Saint of Many Peoples

So now what? The one plan of action I have not implemented….call in the heavy hitter -religion! Now I don’t want anyone to jump to any conclusions here so to avoid portraying myself as an _________ (insert any adjective that you feel applies here), I’ll try to explain with this short synopsis. I was raised a Catholic and attended parochial school until I reached 5th grade. From  Baptism through Confirmation, and performing alter boy services for a couple years, I am no stranger to Catholicism.  However, I am not an overt Christian by most standards. While my own devotion to a “faith” is somewhat undermined by my lean towards agnosticism, I do believe there is a reason the universe exists – and even overseen by a cosmic engineer if you will.

All that aside, people will always turn to their chosen “faith” when the going gets tough, whether it be a serious illness or a bad accident to a loved one, and even in the event of death, prayer is used to comfort, heal and grieve. Prayer provides both a spiritual and emotional benefit in being part of a community of faith. In many folk magic systems, especially magico-religious systems, beliefs can be borrowed from the larger mainstream religions and mixed and mingled with superstitions, leading to folklore. In most mainstream religions though, it is believed that one must have a true and genuine faith to be a beneficiary of ones own salvation. I’m sure many people practice their belief in accordance with the old idion “it is better to error on the side of caution” as fear of the unknown can be the greatest of all motivators.

Okay, my intent is not to preach, bore, incite, or piss anybody off here, and by now I’ve probably got anyone who is still reading at this point wondering what does selling real estate have to do with religion. So stay with me and here goes. While I admit my own convictions have suffered over the years because of way too many unanswered questions, and like many closet Christians who may simply practice faith risk management, I have been known to say a prayer from time to time, as I can’t discount the idea that it doesn’t hurt anything to pray.

But today, I’m upping the game so to speak. In Catholicism, the veneration of saints dates back to the beginnings of Christianity. Saints are spiritual guides and companions to many on life’s journey and today there are even Patron Saints for modern day challenges. It wasn’t until I’d begun working in real estate that my mother told me that there was a Saint for such things, the Patron Saint of Real Estate, St. Joseph. At no time during my Catholic upbringing did anyone ever point out that Patron Saints had expanded collateral duties of sort. According to some online sources, the practice of burying a plastic St. Joseph to help speed the sale of a home dates back to around 1979 in the U.S.A. In 1990 it seemingly became all the rage, with Realtors buying plastic saints’ statues by the gross.  The standard practice calls for the statuette to be buried upside down, near or under the for sale sign, and once the property has been sold, it is to be dug up and placed on the grateful seller’s mantel or in another place of honor. There also seems to be a myriad of methods, procedures, tactics, accompanying prayers, after the sale scenarios, etc. that have been injected into this recent widespread adopted custom.

The Commercialized St. Joseph

Made in China no less!

So as we are waiting for the luck wagon to show up with the lucky buyer, and as we continue with the decluttering and packing process, St. Joeseph shows up. The other day I was cleaning out a filing cabinet and low and behold what do I find? A commercially boxed version of St. Joseph, the Patron Saint of Real Estate, complete with prayer card and instructions, given to me by a past client years ago. Made in China no less!

Now I figure since my faith in the end will be supposedly “tested by fire” (as some believe), why not practice some advanced risk management and just bury that statue in the yard? I mean it really isn’t doing the job it was intended for by sitting in the dark recesses of a closet somewhere, is it! And while I don’t intend to offend or insult anyone’s belief system through belittlement or by practicing silly superstitions in contradiction to Christianity, it is I that will be the one judged in the long run for my own actions (or inactions).

The complete kit.

The complete kit.

So, in accordance with the direction on the box, I bury the “Protector of home sellers and buyers, carpenters, families, fathers, expectant mothers, travellers, immigrants, craftsmen and working people”.  And I decided since I was going to abide by the burial instructions, I might as well complete the ritual and incite the simple prayer: “Most holy St. Joseph, I beseech thee to intercede on my behalf to help me find a worthy buyer for my home, preferably one who will pay full price and waive inspection. Amen. ”

With all kidding and seriousness aside, I just want this house to sell so I can get on with my retirement and the higher-consciousness thought of what has been intended for me….with my life – with further hopes that this recognized Christian statue would have no lesser effects as a result of being made in China by a practicing Buddist.