If you’re getting ready to pre-plan a funeral and are looking to save some money on burial costs, it might be a good idea to look into pre-owned cemetery plots. Although the name is a bit macabre (bringing to mind burial plots that have already seen bodies come and go), the concept of a pre-owned plot is actually quite normal.
In many pre-plan funeral packages, people pay for their cemetery plot ahead of time, intended for use when their time arrives. However, due to changes in families, marriages, location, and general funeral decisions, these plots of land don’t always get used…which means they can be available for resale at a discounted price.
How Cemeteries Work
Every cemetery is a little bit different, but it’s standard practice to include a contract clause that allows people to resell, trade, or change ownership of their cemetery plots at their own discretion. In most cases, you’ll have to pay a processing fee for transferring the title to the plot (much like you would the deed to a home), but the steps involved are fairly standard. Find a buyer, negotiate a price, transfer the ownership of the title, and the job is done.
Why Buy Pre-Owned?
The biggest reason to buy a pre-owned cemetery plot is the amount of money you can save. Cemetery real estate is just like any other kind of real estate, in that the prices go up over time. That’s why people buy ahead of time—they can lock in low prices and enjoy knowing that they have a place to go when they die. Of course, if their plans change, that means they need to sell their land. This is good news for everyone.
In many cases (especially if enough time has passed), they can sell their plot for more than they originally paid for it. And buyers can save money on their purchase, since a secondhand plot almost always costs less than a brand new one.
How to Buy or Sell a Cemetery Plot
Cemetery plot listings can be found anywhere buying and selling goes on. Craigslist, want ads, forums, discussion boards, and even church bulletins are all good places to start looking. The most important step is to ensure that the cemetery is aware of the transaction taking place and that the transfer of title will be valid.
It’s not a bad idea to solicit the help of an attorney in this process. Because the funeral industry isn’t as regulated as the home or car buying businesses of the world, it doesn’t hurt to have an outside opinion ensuring that everything is above-board and legal.