Life takes unprecedented turns, and we are left with things that we may not need anymore. Sometimes, divorces, relocations, family troubles, and changes in financial condition can leave you with a burial plot that you have no use for anymore. It is in these situations that selling burial plots becomes imperative.
More and more people choose cremations over burial these days because the average cost of a traditional burial with a funeral is $8400 while that of cremation is $1650. This has caused a surge in the number of people looking to sell cemetery plots.
Relocation is another important reason for selling a cemetery plot. Inheritance also brings unwanted burial plots into one’s possession that one may be trying to sell. Family disputes and divorces also result in one wanting to sell a burial plot. Reasons may vary but selling a cemetery plot is an important decision to make, requiring a lot of thought.
If you are looking for guidelines on how to sell a cemetery plot, you have come to the right place! Read on to find out to sell burial plots.
What to do before making a sale
Selling a cemetery plot is not a simple and easy task as a lot of thought needs to be put into it, and hasty decisions often lead to regrets. To avoid any regrets, here are some important things one should before selling a burial plot.
1. Consent from family
You must consult your spouse, children, and other loved ones before deciding to sell your burial plot. Married couples have joint rights to double plots that can hold people’s remains; therefore, you must be in agreement with your spouse before selling such a cemetery plot. Sometimes siblings or other relatives may hold joint rights to plots, especially ones that are inherited, so you need to consult them to make sure it is legal to sell such burial plots.
2. State Laws
Burial plot laws differ from state to state. In the US, burial plot sales and transfers are often not regulated, but some state comptroller’s offices regulate cemeteries and burial plot brokerages.
In some states, one is required to offer the plot back to the cemetery before selling it to someone else. Burial laws specific to your areas are available online so, it is advised that you read up about them before trying to sell a cemetery plot.
3. Inquire about the Cemetery policy
You must be aware of the cemetery status before selling cemetery plots. The perpetual contract with the cemetery will tell you the grounds for selling the plots.
Even though some states only allow cemeteries to sell or transfer rights to burial plots, cemeteries owned by religious organizations are not obligated to follow such laws. You must check whether the cemetery honors private sales. The cemeteries may have the right to buy back, but they only do it at the original price. Selling cemetery plots back to the cemetery is also hence possible.
Therefore, you must check with the cemetery while planning to sell a burial plot.
4. Determine the market value
The market value of burial plots depends on the current real estate value of plots in the location of the cemetery. The price varies from location to location, so it is important to inquire about prices beforehand.
5. Check burial plot advertisements
Keep a lookout for burial plot advertisements in your area. By assessing the date of publishing, you may be able to determine the demand for burial plots in your area and the turnaround time.
Burial plots tend to sell faster in places with a lot of people over retirement age. Texas, Florida, Arizona, and California are some common retirement destinations in the US.
6. Contact the cemetery manager
The cemetery manager oversees the transactions and burial plot arrangements in a cemetery. You can usually find the contact information of the manager on the cemetery website or directory. If the contact information is not indicated on the website, you can always go to the main office of the cemetery in person.
You can inquire about the cemetery’s buyback policies to the manager. They may not be obligated to buy back by law, but most cemeteries do offer buyback for unused plots.
You can complete the transaction with the manager if they do offer buybacks. The manager will also determine the price of the plot if it gets sold to a new buyer and will make an offer to buy as well.
How to Sell Burial Plots
Just like any other major piece of real estate, selling grave plots can also fetch you good money if you buy it early and sell it at a later date when price surges occur. Here are the steps to follow while selling funeral plots.
You may be wondering how to sell cemetery plots fast; advertisements are the easiest way to get buyers for your burial plots. There are websites like Plot brokers and Grave solutions that exclusively list burial plots for sale.
Posting an advertisement on these websites or classified websites like Craigslist is the best way to sell cemetery plots. Some guidelines on how to sell burial plots on craigslist and other classified websites like the ones previously mentioned are given below.
- While posting the advertisements, you have to list the type of burial site you are selling, whether it is a grave plot, mausoleum, or a crypt.
- It is also important to be as specific as possible while posting an advert. The burial plot is a permanent resting spot for deceased souls, and potential buyers would want a clear idea of what they are being offered through the ad. Therefore, it is important to give accurate descriptions about the location and neighborhood cemetery, section, lot or block, and the space number.
- The address of the plot should be mentioned in the ad, so that potential buyers may map it if they wish to. The asking price for the plot can also be mentioned.
- Taking a photo of the burial plot and attaching it to the advertisement is also beneficial in attracting buyers. People are more inclined to buying plots if they can get a visual idea of how it looks in real life. It serves as evidence of your description of the plot as well. Many of these online burial plot registries and websites have the option of attaching images as well to give buyers a preview of what they are buying.
Advertising in cemetery registries will give you a lot of exposure as people looking to buy grave plots usually look in these registries first. Placing ads in these registries is usually free of charge, so you do not need to worry about advertisement costs.
Working with burial plot brokerages is another option since they exclusively take up the work of selling such plots. They may either charge a monthly fee or reduce the fee from the final price you get on selling the plot. Some may take a combination of both as well.
Close the Deal
It is important to stay in close contact with the cemetery representatives while the transaction happens. While transferring the ownership of the burial plot, proper paperwork and legal documents will be issued to you and the buyer, which both the parties will have to sign in. The burial rights will then be officially transferred to the new owner.
They may also require you to pay a closing fee, which may range anywhere between $15 to $100. You may inquire about the closing fee upfront, if need be.
In some cases, the buyers might need the ownership to be transferred immediately. On such occasions, it is possible to move the paperwork of transferring the ownership before making the sale.
You need to contact the cemetery administrators and inform them of your intention of selling the plot. They will then guide you through the process and provide you with the paperwork you need to complete to transfer ownership before making the sale.
Since different states have different laws regarding the transfer of ownership of burial plots, it is important to bring a lawyer with you to assist you while you complete the paperwork.
You should make sure that the paperwork contains the correct address of the burial plot and the clean transfer of ownership. It is also essential to get the signature of the cemetery manager so that the buyer has no reason to doubt the authenticity of their purchase.
You may make the exchange of the title and the transfer of payment a private affair.
Precautions to be taken
Scammers are found in every market, and this applies to the burial plot market as well. But, there are precautionary measures that can be taken to be safe from scammers.
The first step to take before selling the burial site is to check with the cemetery about the rules or buyback and whether there are certain laws that will be followed while selling your desired location.
If you can sell the plot on the secondary market, you must advertise your offer to get buyers.
However, while placing the adverts, you must be wary of third-party services that require exorbitant amounts of money upfront. A burial plot may take anywhere between a few months to several years to get sold, so it is advised not to go for services that may charge you monthly or annually.
You must not give away too much personal information while posting the advertisement online. Internet fraudsters and scammers may use this information to harm you. If the website asks you to provide an email address and contact number, you can set up a separate email address for selling the plot and give a business phone number instead of your personal email or home phone number.
When a potential buyer contacts you, it is essential to be cautious about the information you give out and be mindful of not giving out any personal information. Scammers are on the look-out for vulnerable people, so it is important to be cautious.
If you suspect any potential buyer of being conducting fraud, you must contact the plot broker (if you are working with one) immediately.
If you are working with a brokerage or a third-party service, follow their guidelines, and they will help you find a qualified buyer and receive the price agreed upon. It is also beneficial to get your lawyer (if you have one) to review all the documents and proceedings leading up to the sale so that you do not get scammed.
You should be cautious about the documents you sign during the proceedings and always read and understand what you are signing in. Transfer the ownership of the burial plot only after receiving the full payment.
How to buy a Burial Plot
Buying a burial plot years in advance is much more cost-effective than buying at the last minute as prices are not flexible when you make last-minute purchases.
While going through advertisements online, there is no need to be discouraged if you spot the words ‘pre-owned’ or ‘used’ since it does not mean that the plot has been used for burial before. Usually, it just means that the plot was arranged as part of someone’s prefuneral planning that changed.
Putting a burial plot up for sale also does not mean that the seller is struggling financially. Most of the time, it just means that the seller is moving away from the place and would prefer a cemetery closer to their new location.
Funeral plots are an investment as the plot will increase in market value if the plot is in a desirable spot giving a return on your investment. Buying a burial plot years in advance will also help you in saving money in the long run, as buying one on short notice is even more expensive.
Precautions to be taken
There are some precautions you need to take to be free of scammers in the burial plot market.
You need to make sure that the seller’s name is on the record with the cemetery. If the plot was inherited from a family member and the name not changed, the ownership cannot be transferred before sorting out the issue of the name.
Always ask what is included in the quoted price. Sometimes only the price of the land may be listed, while some may include the cost of headstones and burial as well. Some may not include the cost for in-ground crypts, for which the buyer will have to pay another $2300.
Buying and selling cemetery plots are both profitable endeavors, as the seller will get a deal that would benefit them monetarily, and the buyer can make an investment that will increase in value as time goes on.
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