Buying and Selling Cemetery Plots



Cemetery Plot Buying and Selling

The funeral industry has witnessed many changes to tradition in recent years, one of which is the purchasing and selling of cemetery plots.  The costs for a burial plot can vary enormously from area to area, and even within a cemetery.  In order to secure plots many families buy cemetery plots well in advance in order to plan ahead for funeral arrangements and guarantee family burial plots.

In many cases families inherit cemetery plots that are no longer required and wish to sell their burial sites.  This has become especially the case with the recent downturn in the economy in the United States, and families looking to release cash from ‘property’.  As the price of some burial plots can amount to thousands of dollars, selling an unwanted cemetery plot or mausoleum, has proved a significant way to release family equity.  Likewise, for those undergoing the unfortunate process of burying a loved one, purchasing a cemetery plot for resale from a private individual, can prove a significant way to lower the total expenditure.  Purchasing a cemetery plot for sale can prove a lot less costly than purchasing direct from the cemetery.

It is estimated that there are in excess of a million cemetery plots in the U.S. than individuals no longer have a need for.  In the past attempting to sell a grave site was often quite difficult.  Firstly it came with a sense of a ‘morbid’ type of product resell, and then there was the issue of how and where you advertised.  The only real way was to place adverts in local paper obituary sections, which could be costly if repeat adverts were required. Word of mouth via funeral directors or church ministers was perhaps the preferred method, although again restricted.

Selling your cemetery plot

Now there is a whole cemetery plot sale and transfer of ownership business, largely borne out of the boom of the Internet and electronic commerce.  There are multiple companies who specialize in helping a family locate a cemetery plot that is for resale, and acting as brokers for those individuals who wish to sell a burial plot.

Of course, as with any business, one must be mindful for the ‘sharks’ in the business, and we would strongly recommend you ensure you are dealing with a reputable company if you are seeking to buy or sell a cemetery plot.  Some firms merely take a commission fee for the sale and/or purchase, whereas a professional cemetery plot brokerage agent will ensure that the whole process of the transfer of legal ownership is undertaken as well.

All cemetery lots have ownership papers, therefore, these deeds need to be legally verified and rewritten for the transfer of ownership.  A statement of sale should also be provided for both seller and purchaser.

Cemetery brokers need to have a license in certain U.S. states, although in many states it is not illegal to operate as a cemetery plot broker without a license.  As with funeral legislation, the rules governing the resale of cemetery property can vary between states, and if you are unsure about the laws governing the sale of a burial lot in your state, it is advisable to check first with your State Government’s Cemetery Regulations and Licensing.

These regulations inhibit cemeteries in some states from engaging in this resale practice, so if you are approached by your local cemetery offering to sell your burial plot for a fee, be sure to check it is legally permissible in your state.  Legislation governing the funeral industry is strict for a reason, it is to protect the public, especially in an industry dealing with vulnerable, distressed purchasers!  A Cemetery Broker, similar to a Real Estate Agent, will derive his commission from the sale value of the property, and fees are ordinarily between 5% and 15%.

A great benefit of these online cemetery plot resale companies, is that you can search for an available plot, or sell an unwanted plot, from the comfort of your own home with a prearranged agreement for the cost for these services.

As mentioned earlier, with more Americans needing to release cash from property-owned, and more needing to reduce the costs of their funeral expenses, the selling and purchasing of cemetery plots is becoming a growing business.

Expert Author: Sara J. Marsden

Sara is the Editor in Chief for US Funerals Online and has been researching and writing about the death care industry in the US for the last 5 years.

Last Revised:  06/10/2013

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