Cemetery Plots: What to Do if You Have Unwanted Burial Property

Consider the following scenarios:

  • A man with a wife and three children, living in San Diego, CA learns that his recently deceased mother’s will bequeaths to him two cemetery plots in his hometown of Beaver, PA.  The plots, which are located just a few cemetery plots away from his grandparents, were purchased by his parents years ago.  This man has no intention of ever using these burial properties, and is at a loss for what to do with them.
  • A woman living in Jacksonville, FL, who was widowed at the age of 50, has recently been fortunate enough to find love again at the age of 62.  Though she looks forward to spending her remaining years with her second husband, she has not lost or forgotten her love for her first husband either.  Her second husband proposes the idea of pre-planning their funerals.  She realizes that she will have a problem, because her first husband is buried in West Palm Beach, FL, several hours from Jacksonville, and she has an already purchased burial plot located beside him.  Her second husband’s family all live in Jacksonville, and so naturally he would like to be buried there.  She decides that she will have her remains cremated then spread over both gravesites.  But the problem remains over what to do with the already purchased burial property in West Palm Beach?

In both of these cases, unwanted cemetery plots are at risk for going forever unused.  Some people don’t realize how valuable these unwanted cemetery plots truly are.  Though there is a monetary value associated with the burial property, there is also a value for some other family who will someday want to be able to be buried in those cemeteries.  If they don’t know that there are cemetery plots available, they won’t be able to make use of them.

If you have unwanted cemetery plots, it’s important that you don’t let your lack of knowledge of how to sell burial property keep you from making those cemetery plots available for someone who truly wants them.

What stops most people from selling their unused, unwanted burial property is lack of knowing how to find the right buyer for the property.  Selling burial property is not like selling your home.  You can’t put a For Sale sign on the cemetery plot and hope that a buyer comes along.

Some people try to sell unwanted cemetery plots through classified ads in the newspaper.  This is a terrible mistake, because frankly there are few people combing the classifieds every day, just hoping to be able to find burial property like you have listed.  The cost of running the ad will quickly eat up whatever profit you might have been able to make on the sale of the cemetery plot.  Why?  Because it can take years to have the right buyer need your exact burial property.

So how do you sell burial property?  The best and easiest way to sell your unwanted burial property is to make sure everyone knows that it is available.  The fastest and easiest way to have your burial property found is to register it for sale online.  When someone loses a loved one and starts their funeral planning process, one of the first things that person is most likely to do is to do an Internet search for “Funeral Planning” or “Final Arrangements.”

When the search results pop-up, they are going to want to find a resource that has all of the necessary information they need to properly plan the funeral, everything from the actual funeral planning process to how to find cemetery plots for sale.  What you need to do in order to sell your cemetery property, is to make sure you are registered with these all-inclusive types of companies.

Selling your burial property should not be an expensive thing to do.  Avoid companies or cemetery brokerages that charge commission fees, renewal fees, or advertising fees.  These companies are taking advantage of the fact that they know it will most likely take years to sell your burial property.  Instead choose a company that charges you one flat registration fee, one time.

Written By: C. Denise Stewart is a freelance writer living in Melbourne, Fl.  She is a regular contributor to “Funeral Services Advice” and writes frequently on the topic of funeral planning and  how to sell your unwanted cemetery plots.


Cemetery Plots: The Reality of Selling Cemetery Plots

There have been recent reports of people choosing to list their unwanted cemetery plots and burial property in places like Craigslist, Ebay, and the classifieds.  If you own unused cemetery plots, beware of these less than practical solutions to trying to sell your unwanted burial property.

One of the main reasons most people resort to these kinds of selling tactics for burial property is because they are hoping to be able to sell their burial property very quickly – as in by next weekend.  However, this is a completely impractical expectation.  Selling cemetery plots is not like selling anything else, and resorting to tactics that make sense when selling a used car or loveseat will only leave you frustrated and disappointed.

The reality is, cemetery plots are only needed when someone dies.  As morbid as that may sound, it’s the truth.  Not only must someone die, but their loved ones must also have plans to bury them in the cemetery where you own unwanted cemetery plots.  It’s really a very chance occurrence, and one you don’t want to rely on an expensive classified ad or limited time only Ebay auction to assist you with.

News reporter Steve Gelbach of Fox 35 news in Orlando recently reported on an Ocala, FL man who chose to list his burial property for sale on Craigslist.  The man was accepting money, or a trade of a small car or truck because, according to the seller, “Selling burial property is hard, but selling a car or truck is easy.”

Therein lies the truth of the matter when it comes to selling burial property.  People who list cemetery plots and burial property for sale have an expectation that it should sell immediately, or at least within a few months.  The fact of the matter is, however, that cemetery plots take sometimes years to find that right mix of recently deceased and burial location.

Some analysts think that the inability to sell burial property quickly is the result of more people preferring to be cremated than ever before.  To some extent, this may be true, but only in certain areas of the country.

For example, according to the Cremation Association of North America, the states with the highest cremation rates in 2006 were: Nevada (68.41%), Washington (67.57%), Hawaii (65.6%), and Oregon (65.25%).  The states with the lowest rates of cremation were: Mississippi (9.56%), Alabama (11.05%), Kentucky (12.32%), and Tennessee (15.99%).  The cremation rates for most states fell somewhere between 20% and 30%.

Given these figures, one can assume that selling cemetery plots in the states that have the highest rates of cremation may indeed be more of a challenge than the states where traditional burial is in higher demand.  However, to blame cremation rats entirely for the inability to sell burial property quickly using methods best reserved for homes and cars is shortsighted.

When needing to find burial property quickly, most people rely on funeral directors.  A great way to sell your burial property more quickly is to make sure that the funeral homes in your area have your burial property information.  This is easily – and very inexpensively – done by putting all of your contact information along with specific information regarding the cemetery and cemetery plot location on an index card and taking it to the funeral homes personally.  This way the funeral directors have the information at hand.

Another affordable solution – and one that can be used in addition to handing out your information to local funeral homes – is to register the property with an online cemetery registry, preferably one that is found on the first pages of all the top search engines, like Google and Yahoo.  To find these registries, simply go to a search engine search page and type in “cemetery plots for sale.”  The top companies are going to be your best bet.

If you do go the route of choosing an online cemetery registry, beware of any company that charges you anything more than a one-time registration fee.  There is no need to pay commissions,  or renewal fees for selling or registering your burial property.

Written By: C. Denise Stewart is a freelance writer living in Melbourne, Fl.  She is a regular contributor to “Funeral Services Advice” and writes frequently on the topic of  how to sell cemetery plots.

Cemetery Plots for Sale: How to Finalize the Transfer of Your Burial Property

For those individuals who have cemetery plots for sale, one frequently asked question is exactly how does the final transfer of burial property actually happen?

It is highly recommended that prior to listing your burial property, you take the necessary steps to ensure that your cemetery plots for sale are “Immediate Need Ready.”  What does “Immediate Need Ready” mean?

Immediate Need Ready cemetery plots for sale are those plots that are ready to transfer to a buyer within 12 to 72 hours of initial contact.  Roughly 80% of all cemetery plots are sold on an immediate need basis.  In other words, someone’s loved one may die today and that person will need to find a burial place for that person sometime within the next 72 hours.

To ensure that your cemetery plots for sale are ready to be transferred immediately,  you will need to contact the cemetery where the plots are located and ask the following questions:

  • How do I transfer burial rights to someone in the lot(s) that I own within the next 72 hours?
  • What paperwork must be completed?
  • Do I need to call someone in order to transfer the burial rights, or does the family or funeral director do that?
  • How do I insure that all billing associated with the burial, include open and close of the burial site, is sent to the family to whom I am giving permission to bury to?

Take good notes, including names and dates of people to whom you’ve spoken or corresponded with.  When you are satisfied that you know the requirements by the cemetery of how to transfer the cemetery plots for sale, you are ready to register your burial property.

Keeping in mind that it can take years to sell your burial property, once a buyer has expressed interest in your cemetery plot,  the actual transfer process is relatively easy.

When transferring the deed to your cemetery plot, typically cemeteries use a single page document called a Quit Claim.  The cemetery should be able to send the document to you or help you with the transfer.  This is usually handled without hassle on the part of the cemetery officials.

The exchange of money is something to consider ahead of time as well.  Typically it is recommended that you establish an escrow account or electronic deposit number with your bank.  You want to eliminate the use of checks or money orders if at all possible.  And you definitely need to establish payment before any final cemetery plot transfers occur.

A word of caution for those with cemetery plots for sale.  Beware cemetery brokerage companies who charge a commission or representation fee, or both.  These cemetery brokers must possess a license to act as a broker in the state where the cemetery plot is being sold.  In almost all states there are very strict rules that cemetery brokers must follow.

It is not necessary for you to hire a cemetery broker to handle your cemetery plots for sale.  Your best financial option is to register the property with a company that attracts both buyers and sellers of burial property.  One such option is The Cemetery Registry. Ideally the company you do choose to register your cemetery property with should only charge you a one-time registration fee.  There is no need to pay any renewal fees, commissions, advertising fees, finder’s fees, etc.

Selling your burial property can be a very affordable, easy task to accomplish.  Just be sure that your property is Immediate Need Ready, that you understand how to transfer the deed, have a method for collecting payment that doesn’t require the use of personal checks or money orders, and that you have the property registered somewhere that charges a one-time flat fee for listing your burial property.

Written By: C. Denise Stewart is a freelance writer living in Melbourne, Fl.  She writes frequently on the topic of funeral planning and information on how to sell cemetery plots.

Cemetery Plots for Sale: Seller Beware

For those who may own unwanted cemetery plots, understanding how to turn that unused burial property into a financial investment can be confusing.  Though it seems that selling burial property should be the same as selling anything else you may own, the sale of cemetery plots are is an entirely different kind of transaction.

People come to own unwanted burial property for a variety of reasons. Maybe you’ve relocated with no intentions of moving again, but still own a burial plot across country. Another common way to acquire unwanted burial property is having it bequeathed to you at the time of a family member’s passing.  However you have come to own the unwanted property, it is important that you are aware of some common misconceptions or mistakes concerning the selling of your cemetery property.

How long does it take to sell cemetery plots?

The short answer is: forever.  Burial property is unique to any other sales transaction in that though cemetery plots are in high demand, they are only sold as needed and very quickly when the demand is present.  The only way to ever sell your burial property is to register it with a reputable and experienced cemetery registry. Once it’s registered, you will most likely have to wait months or even years until someone needs your property.  Once they do, though, the sale will happen within a few days, so you will need to have all of your paperwork ready to go.

Where do I sell my burial property?

There are several ways to sell your burial property.  Perhaps the most effective means is to register your property with an online cemetery registry.  These online databases host many other cemetery properties for sale, which means they will attract the most potential buyers.  Buyers won’t want to have to search hard for burial property.  They will want to have several options available to them when choosing a burial lot.  Having your burial lot listed with other lots will give more visibility to your property than if it was listed somewhere with few other cemetery lots.

The other advantage to having your burial property registered online is that you will have a global market potentially searching for a burial lot just like yours.  More and more families are living far apart, which means that often family members are forced to try to make funeral arrangements for loved ones who are thousands of miles away.  They won’t look in the classified section of your local newspaper for burial property.  They will go online to try to find cemetery plots there.

A Word of Caution

When considering where online to register your property, you must be careful of Cemetery Brokers who require a listing fee plus commission on the sale of your property.  These fees can become very steep, especially if they ask for advertising fees, too.  Also, because it can take months or years to sell your burial property, any listing service that requires you to constantly pay to maintain your listing will quickly drain any value out of the sale price of your property.  There are top quality online cemetery registries that only require one-time registration fees.

Patience will certainly be rewarded when it comes to selling your unwanted burial property.  Though it could take months or years to sell your property, there are no sales taxes on the sale of your burial property, and the value of the lot will always increase over time, so your patience truly is an investment that pays.

Cemetery Plots for Sale: How to find burial property

No one ever wants to think about death or dying.  However, facing death – either our own or the death of a loved one – is a fact of life.  Few people stop to think about what death entails beyond the loss of life.  There will be final arrangement details that may seem superficial compared to the loss of your loved one during your time of grief, but will be of utmost importance to attend to.

If the departed has pre-planned their own funeral arrangements, your job will simply be to make sure all of the details that were laid out ahead of time are followed.  More often, though, the loss of life is sudden and without warning, meaning you will need to make decisions quickly and efficiently. One of the first steps you will have to take is deciding how to handle the internment of the deceased.

In the U.S., traditional burial in a cemetery is still the first choice for final arrangements of the departed.  If your loved one did not already have burial property, this means you will need to find cemetery plots for sale.  Hardly anyone ever gives any thought to how cemetery plots are sold, so the idea of trying to locate one quickly – usually within only a few days time – is unimaginable.  Here are some suggestions of where you can start your search.

Funeral Homes

If you choose to use a funeral home and funeral director to help you with funeral arrangements, he or she will be able to assist you in locating burial property.  This is an easy and convenient means of finding burial space, but be sure to ask for several options of lots.

Online Cemetery Registry

An online Cemetery Registry will provide listings for burial property in your area.  There are registries that will also have listings for cemetery plots in other states if you need to plan a funeral for someone not living near you.  The nice thing about an online Cemetery Registry is that you will easily be able to see many options for what is available within the area or cemetery that you would like to make the final resting place for your loved one.

Religious Affiliates

Local religious leaders may have information about burial plots for sale, especially if you are in need of burial space within a certain religious cemetery property.

Veterans Administration

If the deceased was a veteran he or she may be able to be buried in a military cemetery.  You can check with the local veterans administration for information and availability.

Anyone Who Assists in Estate Planning

If the deceased had a will or trust, the consultant for that will or trust may know of available cemetery property.  Likewise, accountants, attorneys, estate planners – anyone who plays a role in taking care of matters surrounding death may have knowledge of available burial property.

A Word About Cost

Cemetery property is much like housing real estate in that location affects the price of the lot.  Not only does each cemetery affect the value of the property, but also the location within the cemetery.  One way to save money is to decide if you need to have a premium location for your loved ones final resting place.  Though lots located on hilltops and by waterways are nice, consider how often friends and family will visit the gravesite before making your final decision.  It’s a good idea to have someone less affected by the loss of your loved one accompany you when making the cemetery plot purchase.

Finding Space in Cemeteries: What do I need to know about cemetery burial?

Traditional burial is still the top choice for most funeral planning. If you are trying to make funeral arrangements for yourself or a friend or loved one who has recently passed, you may be wondering where to find cemetery plots for sale and what else you will need to purchase for the burial.  There are four basic types of cemeteries.  By understanding each type a little better, you will be able to narrow your search for the best burial place for yourself or a loved one.  Also, if you educate yourself about what other purchases are necessary, you will limit the opportunity for you to be taken advantage of by funeral directors or funeral planning services who may try to overcharge or up-sell you on your funeral arrangement costs.

District Cemetery

A district cemetery is owned by a city, county or other regional government entity.  Sometimes, though certainly not always, a District Cemetery is the most affordable of the public cemetery plots for sale.

Religious Cemetery

A religious cemetery is owned and operated by a particular religious denomination.  For example Christian and Jewish cemeteries are different from one another in issues of custom, design, etc.  Catholic cemeteries are different than many other Christian cemeteries.  Though most religious cemeteries offer cemetery plots for sale, the kind of property available may vary from one religious cemetery to the next.

Private Cemetery

A private cemetery is privately owned by a commercial company or companies.  Some private cemeteries can be religious based and limit burial to those persons of a particular faith.

Veteran’s Cemetery

A veteran cemetery is reserved for the burial of military veterans and, usually, their families.  Usually by contacting the Veteran Administration you can locate burial plots free or very low cost for veterans of the armed forces.

A “cemetery plot” is the term used for the space reserved for the internment of human remains.  This could mean a traditional ground burial plot, space within a crypt or mausoleum, or a niche used for interring cremation ashes.  When you search for cemetery plots for sale, you will need to decide ahead of time which type of cemetery space you will require.

Something to consider when finding a cemetery plot for sale is that location within a cemetery will affect the cost of burial property.  If you can be flexible about where you or your loved one will be laid to rest, you may be able to save money by searching for a cemetery lot that is in a less expensive area of the cemetery.

If choosing to do a ground burial, you will need to know if the cemetery requires you to use a burial liner.  Choose the least expensive option for a liner if you are required to purchase one (the liners are not state mandated, they are required by the cemetery to help limit maintenance issues caused by the settling of the ground), and if you are even given the option.  Not all cemeteries offer, so you may want to ask if you have a choice in the type of liner used.

While headstones or markers are not required, if you do wish to purchase some type of marker for the burial plot, you will want to know what limitations may be set by the cemetery.  Some only allow flat markers, making maintenance of the cemetery easier.  Markers come in a variety of styles and designs, which means they also come in a variety of price ranges.  Choose based on your budget, and remember that this is something that can also be added later.

By learning as much as possible about the costs involved in planning a cemetery burial, you will guarantee not to be taken advantage of or cheated during your funeral planning process.

How do I sell my cemetery or burial plot?

During an economic slowdown such as we are currently experiencing, many people will try to find different ways to make money.  On occasion, one person may have overheard another person talk about having recently sold burial property at a considerable profit.  If you have cemetery plots for sale, or would like to place your burial property for sale, there are some things you should understand before making the effort.

The more important thing to know is that you cannot expect your burial property to sell overnight.  While it’s true that once your property is needed by someone it will sell quickly, the time it takes between when you list it and when it’s needed can be very lengthy.  This is the main reason why you should choose your method of listing the property very carefully.

Some people might think that to simply place an ad in a newspaper or online auction site would do the trick.  But the reality is that you may need to keep placing that ad or re-listing that item for months or years before the right buyer comes along for your property.  Think of the number of dollars wasted during that long wait period.  By choosing a one-time-fee, no commission listing broker such as Final Arrangements Network, you will be saving a lot of money in the long run.

Though the wait can seem counterproductive for someone who is hoping to earn money immediately on burial property, an important thing to consider is that burial real estate, unlike housing real estate, is guaranteed to continue to increase in value over time.  So ultimately your wait will pay dividends in the end.  And besides, if you list your property and it doesn’t sell for a months or years, it’s still better than not listing your property and having zero chance of ever making any profit from it.

The fact of the matter is, that there are not enough cemetery plots for sale for the number of buyers looking to buy.  The problem is the majority of buyers won’t know they need your property until someone they love has recently passed.  This is why the actual sale of your cemetery plot will most likely happen within a matter of hours or days.  You need to make sure that you are ready to sell when the buyer is ready to buy.  Even if your buyer turns out to be someone who feels less pressure because they are pre-planning their own funeral arrangements, you will still need to know how to go about making the actual sale.

Utilizing a professional burial real estate listing service ensures that all required paperwork will be ready to process and that you will have expert assistance in how to handle the transaction of your property.  The sale of cemetery plots is something best left to a professional service.

The added bonus of using an online professional service is the search engine exposure and prominence afforded by a large funeral industry organization such as The Cemetery Registry.  When considering placing cemetery plots for sale, you should first think of a service like this.  We live in a time when the first place most people look when they want to make a purchase is online.  By listing your cemetery plots for sale with an online burial property registry, you will guarantee your cemetery plot listing will have international access to a potential buyer.

Be sure to research your cemetery plot listing options very carefully. Avoid paying annual renewal fees, commission on the sale of your property, or monthly re-listing charges. You want to be sure to choose a professional service that has your rights and interests in mind.