St. Joseph was Mary's husband and Jesus' father on earth and is the patron saint of workers and fathers in the Catholic So what does he have to do with real estate? If you go to Snopes.com, you'll read some different origins of why his statue was related to a quick home sale.
Snopes states that the first American history of burying a St. Joseph statue was in 1979 and became popular in the 1990s. I always thought the statue was buried upside down and never realized that there are specific places to bury it, although there are several locations, so which of these is correct?
There is also a divide on leaving it buried or digging it up. Some feel it must be dug up and displayed in the new homeowner's house. Others feel that it can be left in the ground to protect the property for the new owner, but others feel that leaving it buried will cause the property to continue to change owners.
I've never suggested to my seller clients to do this, but over the years I think a few have. Personally, I don't know if I believe it was St. Joseph that caused the sale, but if sellers want to give the statue the credit, so be it.
My husband Jimmy Herter is a true believer and just buried a St. Joe statue at his newest listing. You can purchase these kits online and some Ace Hardware stores might stock them.
When the market is slow, sellers need all the help they can get, especially with summer ending in Chicago suburbs - although I still recommend pricing your property correctly for its current condition. If you do that, I don't think you'll need to purchase a statue.
Update: Real estate sales have definitely picked up since this article was written, but no matter how the current market is doing, pricing your home correctly and having it show as the cream of the crop in its price range will guarantee a sale, St. Joseph or not. If your home is languishing on the market then something is wrong, and it's usually because it is priced too high for its condition (or location - see my post about Buying a Home on a Busy Street).