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.
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
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