Cemetery Plots for Sale: How the economy affects the sale of burial plots

Many people across the country are the owners of unwanted burial property; over the last few years significantly more burial property owners are listing their cemetery plots for sale.    Whether the cemetery plot was acquired by your own final arrangements pre-planning, or was bequeathed to you by a loved one, the decision of what to do with the property can be complicated if our country’s economic woes have had a negative impact on your financial obligations.

Given the trend for the value of burial property to significantly rise each year, this can seem like a possible financial investment to some families or individuals.  Some funeral industry experts estimate that the value of burial property in some areas of the U.S. has on the average almost doubled every eight years.

Although the possibility of making a profit on unwanted burial property alone can be incentive for many people hard hit by the nation’s recent recession to list their family’s cemetery plots for sale, other factors must be taken into consideration as well.  For example, no longer are we a culture of families who are born, raised and die all within the same town or city.  More and more families are becoming geographically distant from one another, making the practicality of being buried – or planning the burial of a loved one – across country difficult if not impossible.  Often the selling of burial property becomes a practical issue that is made more appealing by the possibility of also being able to make a small profit on the resale of the property.

Though most of us don’t like to think about the topic, the fact of the matter is that in 2010, approximately 2.4 million people will die.  Of that number roughly 64% will request a traditional burial service for their final arrangements. This means that within the U.S. alone there will be a need for about 1.75 million cemetery plots for sale this year.  The math shows that should this trend continue to exist, there is the possibility of further inflation of burial costs by a lack of supply compared to demand for traditional burial property.

This is a frustrating fact for funeral industry consumers who may already feel the financial pinch of the costs associated with burial practices in the U.S.  According to the National Funeral Directors Association, the estimated average funeral costs, not including cemetery fees, is already over $7,000.  Often times it is a savings to purchase a resold cemetery plot rather than buying new property at today’s current market value prices direct from the cemeteries.  The seller of the previously owned plot is typically willing to sell the cemetery property for far less than what a new burial plot would cost.  In this way both the buyer and seller of cemetery property benefit.

Sellers of burial property should be forewarned, however, that selling a cemetery plot is not like selling any other kind of property.  Though the return investment can be significant, typically cemetery plots for sale can remain for sale for months if not years from the time of initially being listed as available because burial property doesn’t sell until it is needed. Anyone who is considering the sale of unused burial property as the solution to a current financial hardship will most likely be seriously disappointed.

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