Cemetery Plot Buying and Selling
to their existing portfolio.
This is a fundamental shift for the cemetery industry. Full size
burial plots cost more than a small cremation niche, and therefore there
is a decline in revenue for cemeteries as the nation converts to cremation.
|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
to plan ahead for funeral arrangements and guarantee family burial plots.
Over the last few decades, when we traditionally buried our dead, many
families planned ahead and purchased cemetery plots to ensure they had
reserved space to secure their family heritage in the designated cemetery
of their choice. Over the last few years the funeral industry has
changed significantly, and cremation is fast-becoming the preferred disposition
choice. By 2015 it is forecast the U.S. will cremate more bodies
than we bury.
How is cremation re-shaping
the cemetery industry?
As the nation shifts towards
cremation as a disposition alternative to burial, this presents changes
and new challenges for the cemetery industry. Some cemeteries have
adapted by adding memorial scattering gardens within their grounds, or
adding new sections including cremation niches or a columbarium
How do I sell a cemetery plot
I no longer require?
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.
Buying a cemetery plot for sale
and transferring ownership
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. There
are an abundance of cemetery plots now coming onto the market for sale.
It is very important to ensure the title deeds to the cemetery plot are
legally transferred as explained below.
Rules and regulations for selling
(or buying) a cemetery plot
It is estimated that there are
in excess of a million cemetery plots in the U.S. that 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.
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%
||All cemetery plots 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 plot 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
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.
Tips for selling (or buying)
a cemetery plot
Due to the cremation trend,
and the economic downturn, there ARE far more families seeking to sell
plots than those looking to purchase. Therefore, before you embark
on a mission to sell your cemetery plot, you need to set realistic expectations!
Realistic in terms of the value of the plot, and its re-sell value, and
realistic about the prospect of selling and the time-frame.
The Internet offers an easy
and unique way to advertise a plot for sale, and there are several cemetery
plot/exchange websites that you can check out. As mentioned above,
do check the terms and integrity of a cemetery plot sales website, especially
before you pay out any listing fees.
It is always worth checking
with the cemetery where the plots are held. Some cemeteries will
buy back any unwanted plots, but be warned, it may be in the fine print
that they have the right to buy back at the original cost! In fact,
one of the first things you must do before embarking on any project to
sell a cemetery plot, is investigate the terms of your perpetual contract
with the cemetery. Believe it or not, some cemeteries have some rather
strange (and in some cases archaic) rules about what you can do with a
plot that you own!
Finally, some of the ‘old-fashioned’
modes of selling cemetery plots may still hold valid today. Funeral
and cemetery purchases are such a unique purchase as they are generally
not considered until the need arises. This therefore can make funeral
products and services difficult to market. Traditionally word-of-mouth
would be a significant way that funeral services were communicated.
You could consider communicating your intention to sell your cemetery plot
to local church circles or funeral homes.
Due to the demand we receive
at US Funerals Online from families wanting to re-sell a cemetery plot,
we are launching a free ‘Cemetery Plots for Sale’ section with effect from
2015. If you wish to submit a cemetery plot for inclusion, please
use our ‘Contact Us” page and send details of your cemetery plot including:
State, City, Cemetery, details of plot, price and contact email.
||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: 10/23/2014