On Sale! Cemetery Plots

Island Cemetery in Newport, Rhode Island.

Island Cemetery in Newport, Rhode Island.

Hard times may bring harsh measures, and – according to this Washington Post article – people have resorted to selling their cemetery plots at reduced prices to help make ends meet. On one hand, this attempt to sell plots at reduced prices means now is the time to snatch up some cemetery property. On the other hand, if you were making a decision for a full-body donation or cremation and you no longer needed your plot, this is not the time to sell to see a profit or to break even.

While conducting some family research one day, I discovered that – in the early 1900s – my great-grandfather had purchased four plots in a city cemetery. What I knew was that he and his wife, his son and his wife and at least six other plots that he owned were all located in another cemetery. I discovered, eventually, that he had purchased those original plots in hopes of making an investment. He did. He sold the lots at double the profit within three years.

When you purchase a cemetery plot, you essentially own all the land between that plot and the center of the earth. In other words, unlike residential or commercial plots, you have bought into mineral, water and other rights for the most part. This is not to say that if uranium was discovered under that cemetery and the world was in dire need of that resource, that the cemetery would be safe from disinterment and relocation. But, on the whole, your cemetery plot is purchased with “spiritural” rights that you need not be disturbed after death.

Additionally, when you purchase (or sell) a plot, you may also be adding services or amenities such as the opening and closing of the grave, a vault, a marker or headstone and a copy of the burial permit in addition to the plot itself. Other considerations may include a relationship between a funeral home and that plot, the ability to purchase adjacent plots, the ability to transfer one plot for another within a given cemetery and more.

No matter if you want to sell or purchase a plot, you can find deals through the cemetery, cemetery property re-sale brokers or ads online (such as in Craig’s List) or in the local newspaper. A handful of purposeful Web sites where you can buy and sell cemetery lots are included in the following list. The list is alphabetical to assure readers that we do not favor one service over another:

  • Buy and Sell Cemetery Plots: Buy and Sell Cemetery Plots is committed to connecting people wanting to buy a burial site with those seeking to sell a burial site. Unlike a regular classified listing, however, they become involved with all aspects of the sale, including transference of paperwork.
  • Cemetery Registry: Cemetery lots, burial plots and grave sites are registered nationwide for sale or purchase. This site also maintains an extensive list of other funeral items and services.
  • Cemetery Sales: Nationwide 15-day cemetery plot listings here are free to anyone who joins and becomes a member.
  • Grave Solutions: Grave Solutions is a business designed to give consumers reasonable and economic alternatives in the choice and selection of funeral and cemetery products and services.You can list your cemetery plot here for a reasonable price.
  • Plot Brokers: This is a licensed and bonded Cemetery Broker for the State of California. They mainly service the Los Angeles County Community in the business of buying and selling cemetery property. They claim to have over 70 years of experience.
  • Plot Exchange: PlotExchange.com provides consumers the opportunity to access a current – and free – consolidation of cemetery property and related funeral goods and services at reasonable and negotiable prices. This site also offers information about the resale of cemetery property, goods and services related to the funeral industry.

If possible, the best way to push your cemetery plot sale is to advertise in as many places as possible. However, be sure to read the Terms of Service (TOS) for any site that you use, as you may not be able to extricate your sales from the site if you do not follow their rules and regulations. Additionally, make sure you learn whether the site accepts flat fees or percentage of sale for your ad placement. A flat fee on a high-priced item might be a better way to go in some instances.

In all cases, remember that a cemetery plot is replaceable. Maybe not in the same location or by the same person, but – in many cases – that’s the goal. Alternatively, once you lift the burden of ownership through a sale, you are free to look at other options for your burial.

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