Can a Higher Power Sell Your Home?
Realtor Magazine Online
Sellers are always looking for new ways to entice buyers, particularly in a slow housing market. Some update their kitchens and bathrooms to make their homes stand out from the rest, others offer creative incentives, such as a free year of maid service or pre-paid condo assessments.
But there are also those who favor a decidedly more spiritual approach, calling on higher forces fro extra help finding buyers. One such practice involves burying a St. Joseph statue in the yard of a home. More complex is the ancient Chinese philosophy of feng shui and the Indian practice of vaastu.
Although these methods are more common with certain cultures and religious groups, hyou can expect them to nudge closer to mainstream during a softer real estate market.
To boost your familiarity with these alternative approaches, we spoke with real estate professionals who are experienced in harnessing higher powers. They explain the basics of four different approaches and provide tips on getting started.
St. Joseph Kit: Saintly Sales Assistance
How does it work? You bury a statue of St. Joseph – the patron saint of home sellers and buyers in your yard, and a successful sale will be right around the corner.
Some say the ritual began centuries ago when a nun prayed to St. Joseph because her convent was in need of more land. However, no one’s exactly sure when or where the ritual began, and it’s not endorsed by any church.
First-hand experiences: Stephen J. Binz was having a rough time selling his home. His real estate practitioner asked if he’d heard about the belief some people have about St. Joseph statues. Binz first dismissed the idea as ridiculous, but after learning more about the practice, he decided to give it a try.
“I’d been waiting to sell the house for seven months, and within a few days of burying the statue, it sold,” says Binz, who later wrote the book St. Joseph, My Real Estate Agent. “Most people move during the most joyful or difficult times of their lives, and these are times when we all need the prayers and aid of others.”
(You can order St. Joseph kits on line or from the Catholic Store on S . Broadway.)
Getting started: In a sign of the popularity of this ritual, there are online retailers that sell St. Joseph statues and kits. Prices range from $5 to more than $20, depending on how large the statue is, what it is made of and what the kit includes.
People argue over specifics: should the statue be buried in the front or the back yard? Must it be buried near the For Sale sign? Should it face away from the house or toward the house? Binz says these intricacies don’t matter, the secret is to approach the ritual from a religious standpoint rather than as a superstitious act. If you don’t believe in the power of prayer, it might not work, he says in his book.
Feng Shui: Making the Home “Feel” Right
How does it work? Feng shui, which literally means “wind water” is an ancient Chinese design philosophy that centers on rearranging living spaces to enhance positive energy, called “chi”, and to create harmony.
“Feng shui isn’t about spending money to make something gorgeous with designer furnishings,” says Holly Ziegler, a feng shui expert and broker with Ziegler Properties in Arroyo Grande, CA. “It’s about balance and harmony of energy in the home.”
The direction a home faces, its proximity to water, and the location of rooms within a home, also are factors in determining if a home has “good” feng shui. When selling a home, you must focus on the factors that you can control. That may call for rearranging furniture, adding plants, or introducing new colors or materials into a room.
First-hand experiences: “We’ve all been to properties we’d love to stay in, and places we can’t wait to get out of,” Ziegler says. “The goal is to make buyers want to stay in a space and call it home.”
The first time she applied feng shui to a listing, she asked sellers to remove nearly a third of their furnishings and declutter their house among other things. In short order, there were multiple offers and the house sold for $10,000 over the listing price.
Ziegler wrote four books on the subject, including “Sell Your home Faster wit Feng Shui”.
Getting started: Learn about feng shui by reading books, (or asking me) and taking classes. Then, make an effort to be in touch with your intuition as you prepare a house for sale. Make sure every room feels good, from the furniture layout to the lighting.
Other simple tips for good feng shui: Make sure the entrance to the house is unobstructed and clear of clutter, keep toilet seats down, enhance natural light, show off the home’s best views, and pepper healthy plants throughout the house.
Vaastu: In Tune with Nature
How does it work? Vaastu shastra, or simply vaastu, is very similar to feng shui in that its goal is to create a peaceful, balanced environment. Applied in architecture, site selection and interior design, this ancient Indian science focuses on being in harmony with the five basic elements of the universe – sky, earth, water, fire and wind.
First-hand experiences: Bhaskar Alan Deva, a vaastu consultant in San Francisco, works with clients to evaluate potential home purchases and to create a more balanced living environment.
“The direction a house faces is important, as well as size and materials of the house,” says Deva. “Sometimes problems can be fixed simply by changing a room’s purpose, like switching the master bedroom to another area of the home.”
Vaastu is less common and more complicated than feng shui, so it will be harder to find classes, but books on the subject are abundant.
Metaphysical Energy: Tap into the Soul of a Home
How does it work? By recognizing that everything emanates energy – including your feelings, pets and even objects such as furniture and TVs – you can make changes to yourself and your home that will create a positive, welcoming vibe that attracts buyers.
Faith Ranoli says, “The mind know the information it is fed, so we want to be conscious of what we put into it to create exactly what we want.”
She encourages owners of difficult properties to literally speak to the house, ask why it’s not being receptive of a new owner and what can you do in order for thehome to accept a new family. Then, listen to what thehouse says.
“Whether you believe in this or not, try it as an exercise of imagination and just see what happens.”
A house is a “living breathing organism with a life of consciousness of its own. You have to tap into that consciousness to see what’s going on.”