Publication: Telegram and Gazette
Author: Kim Ring
Publication Date: November 13, 2009
Good article on understanding residency requirements for certain cemeteries as well as rules and regulations surrounding approved monument sizes and types.
Friends for 25 years, local businessmen Douglas J. Kruzewski and Joseph J. Spadea of West Brookfield figured they’d spend the afterlife as they’ve spent much of their time on Earth — as neighbors.
The men, in 1994, bought 64 cemetery plots in Brookfield. They chose an area carved out in a newer section of the historic cemetery. They paid $2,575 for each plot, and for more than a decade — with the exception of Mr. Spadea’s acquisition of an ornate tombstone — thought little about their purchases.
But a judge will now decide whether their plan was etched in stone or if the town’s Cemetery Commission has a right to buy back the plots after learning the men don’t reside in Brookfield.
Yesterday, the men testified they had no idea cemetery plots were reserved for residents of Brookfield. They said they’d been taking a walk back in 1994 when then-Cemetery Superintendent Harvey Bennett, now deceased, stopped them and asked if they’d be interested in buying plots.
They bought the plots for themselves and their families, who they say are so close they consider one another kin.
Read the whole story at www.telegram.com…
Image credit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/lyan_zurke/111725515/
As people move around, whether for a better climate or to be near family, they often find that arrangements they might have made years ago for their final resting place are no longer appropriate for their current needs. Perhaps you’re among that company, or you may have some other reason altogether for selling the burial plots you bought so long ago. Whatever your reason, you’ll be glad to know there are a good number of resources that can provide you with some useful assistance in selling off your unwanted cemetery plots.
Setting an attractive selling price will entail knowing what those plots are worth today. Doing the research necessary to find out what comparable plots are being sold for today will allow you to be an informed seller.
Find out what your property is worth – Cemetery
Call the cemetery
where your cemetery property was purchased. You can find their contact information in the yellow pages, or from an online search. Ask the cemetery the following questions:
- What is the current rate for a plot?
There will probably be quite a range of prices, depending on what section of the cemetery the plot is in. Some cemeteries might be hesitant to give out prices unless they have more details, or have you speak with a sales person.
- Does the cemetery have a buy-back program?
Some cemeteries might purchase back your plots at a discounted rate to the going rate. This will vary from cemetery to cemetery based on availability and the cemetery’s business practices.
- Does the cemetery participate in an exchange program?
This may be an option if you already know where you’d like to purchase your new cemetery property.
- Is re-selling your plot allowed?
Though it’s less common, some cemeteries don’t allow for the resale of property inside their cemetery.
- What are the fees associated with transferring the deed for your cemetery property to a new owner?
Knowing these fees will help you either include this cost in the property sale price, or disclose it to the prospective owner before the transaction takes place.
Find out what your property is worth – Resale Market
Research the resale market:
In addition to calling the cemetery, however, there is another measure of value you can also check into, and that is to find out what similar plots are currently selling for on the resale market. Typically cemetery property is discounted 20-40% off of the retail (or cemetery’s) value depending on supply at the particular location. Locations that are sold out could offer higher values than those where there is plenty of plots still available. Here are some places to try: (Keep in mind that these are also locations that you may use to sell your cemetery property should you decide to list it for yourself.)
- Search the local classifieds
Whether this is online or in your daily newspaper, try looking in the local classifieds where your cemetery property is located. While many papers don’t offer a “Cemetery Property” section, many have “Real Estate Other”, or more general “For Sale, Other” categories where plots may be listed. For example, Utah has a very popular free classifieds hosted by the local news authority KSL.com. Their section is called “Burial Plots” and located as a part of the “Real Estate Other” category.
- Search Craig’s list or eBay
Results here are most likely temporary since ads or listings tend to expire on a regular basis.
- Search online cemetery property listing services
Online services exist that help buyers and sellers of cemetery property connect. Cemetery-Plot.com has assembled a list of most of these resellers both paid and free on a page called Cemetery Plot Listing Services. Some of these services require registration to view details on some of the property that is listed there.
So taking into consideration the current price range at the cemetery, and the prices that plots are currently being offered at resale, you ought to be able to come up with a reasonably attractive selling price.
Publication: King 5 News, Seattle
Author: Brad Goode
Publication Date: November 13, 2009
…”The state of the economy has played a big part in our decision making and also our stress in the whole situation,” he said.
He’s not alone. There’s a booming online market with Web sites such as plotbrokers.com and americancemeteryproperty.com.
Ken Brant runs gravesolutions.com and has seen a 10 percent spike within the past year.
“People sell property at a much cheaper price than what the cemetery sells them for,” he explained.
Sometimes as much as 50 percent less than retail.
Each site works a bit differently, but all charge an upfront fee, and some include a multiple listing service…
Read the article, or watch the broadcast video at www.king5.com…
Just part of the underwater cemetery
Article: Freaky Friday – Offbeat Florida: World’s first underwater cemetery – Neptune Memorial Reef (video)
Publisher: Florida Traveler Examiner
Author: Larraine Stacey
…Instead of spreading ashes over ocean waters, at Neptune Memorial Reef the ashes of loved ones are mixed with cement designed for underwater use and fitted into a mold, which a diver then places and secures into the reef. A copper and bronze plaque is installed with the person’s name, date of birth and death. There is also a line for a message.
Visiting a loved one is for divers, too, as families must charter a boat to the site and scuba dive down the reef. The man-made site is divided into sections so that as a diver swims down the reef pathways there will be themed areas done in sculptural elements.
The reef is designed to last forever and engineered to withstand the harshest hurricane that has hit Florida in the last 100 years. So if you’ve always wanted your final resting place to be serene, underwater and unique, then Neptune Memorial Reef could be just what you want.
Continue reading The World’s First Underwater Cemetery
Publisher: Forbes Magazine
Author: Tom Van Riper
Publish Date: October 26, 2007
No, you may not be able to live among the rich and famous, but you can afford to be dead among them. Exclusive and expensive cemeteries begin–but don’t end–in places like New York, California and Texas, where late stars of industry, politics and Hollywood reside. If you’ve got enough life insurance, and a hankering to get in, you can.
How much? For a plot on a cliff overlooking the Pacific Ocean, in beautiful Santa Barbara Cemetery in southern California, you’ll pay $83,000, while a spot just a short walk down from the water can be had for just over $20,000. Far more than the $1,000 average price of a burial plot in the U.S., to be sure, but a whole lot less than the millions that water-view property goes for elsewhere in town.
Just down the freeway, at Forest Lawn Memorial Park’s locations in Hollywood Hills and Glendale, a family mausoleum in a prime location costs up to $825,000. But a basic plot, complete with casket and various services, can be had for $8,000. Created in 1906 by Hubert Eaton, and now expanded to seven locations in the area, Forest Lawn is known for perfectly manicured grounds and a topography that tucks grave markers into hillsides in such a way as to make them virtually invisible to the naked eye from a distance. It was a first of its kind that still endures…
Read the whole story at www.forbes.com…
View the slideshow of America’s Most Expensive Cemeteries
Understand your options before you sell
So you have unwanted cemetery property, what options are available to you and what should you take into consideration?
- You must have the right to sell the property
Just because you hold the deed to the plot, doesn’t mean that you can sell it. Sometimes family plots that have been passed down through generations are held in family trusts. The process of investigating this matter when it comes up for sell can put cemeteries in a tricky situation when paperwork is transferred, and often it’s just not done. Make sure that you have the deed and the right to sell the property.
- You can donate the property and take a tax right-off
You should contact your accountant before you make this decision. Also, remember that donating the plot does not absolve the obligation to pay the transfer fees associated with transferring the property into the honoree’s name. (As Sandy Cobb found out in the Article “Donating a Plot for a Tax Write-off“)
- Find out what other options the cemetery offers
The cemetery where you purchased your property may participate in a buy-back or exchange program.
- Sell the property yourself
Similar to a “for sale by owner” transaction in Real Estate. There are plot listing services both free and paid, we recommend you visit Cemetery-Plot.com’s Cemetery Plot Listing Services Directory to find links to and reviews of these services.
- Hire a Cemetery Broker to sell the property for you
This is similar to hiring a Real Estate agent to represent you the seller. Just as in a Real Estate transaction, there will be a commission which is typically 15% but can be higher. You should verify that the Cemetery Broker is licensed to practice in the state where your property is located. You can start your search at Cemetery-Plot.com’s Cemetery Property Brokers Directory.
Publisher: Forbes Magazine
Author: Tom Van Riper
Publish Date: October 22, 2008
…”There’s a marked increase in those looking to sell,” says Ward, who estimates that about 10% of the 28 million burial plot owners around the country are part of the secondary market that’s looking to unload. The only factor he sees preventing even more selling? Some of those eager to dump their grave sites for cash are balking at the $100 listing fee. Those going ahead, meanwhile, are finding a tough buying market that won’t meet their initial asking prices. But most go ahead anyway, settling for less.
“People have become desperate to sell, and dropping the price is one way to do that,” Ward says.
Traditionally, unrelenting demand helped cemeteries avoid the kind of huge market swings afflicting the real estate market right now. About 2.4 million people in the U.S. die each year, with most buying property beforehand. Also keeping prices high: Family purchases of burial plots and funeral services aren’t done rationally, given the stress levels involved.
But more and more families are skipping full burials in favor of cremations, a much less expensive formula for laying a loved one to rest. Cremations account for over 30% of all funeral services in the U.S., according to the Neptune Society, a Florida-based company that specializes in the service…
Read the whole article at www.forbes.com…
http://www.flickr.com/photos/38911797@N07/ / CC BY-NC 2.0
What types of Federal burial benefits are available to veterans, their dependents and survivors of veterans?
The United State Department of Veterans Affairs 2009 Booklet on Federal Benefits for Veterans, Dependents and Survivors reads:
Burial in a VA national cemetery is available for eligible veterans, their spouses and dependents at no cost to the family and includes the gravesite, grave-liner, opening and closing of the grave, a headstone or marker, and perpetual care as part of a national shrine. For veterans, benefits also include a burial flag (with case for active duty) and military funeral honors. Family members and other loved ones of deceased veterans may request Presidential Memorial Certificates.
VA operates 125 national cemeteries, of which 65 are open for new casketed interments and 21 are open to accept only cremated remains. Burial options are limited to those available at a specific cemetery but may include in-ground casket, or interment of cremated remains in a columbarium, in ground or in a scatter garden. Contact the nearest national cemetery to determine if it is open for new burials and which options are available.
New national cemeteries in Birmingham, Ala., and Sarasota, Fla., are scheduled to open in 2009.
Read the entire section on Federal Burial Benefits at www.va.gov…
The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has put together a guide to help consumers make smart decisions when making funeral arrangements. Here is an excerpt from their section on Cemetery Sites:
When you are purchasing a cemetery plot, consider the location of the cemetery and whether it meets the requirements of your family’s religion. Other considerations include what, if any, restrictions the cemetery places on burial vaults purchased elsewhere, the type of monuments or memorials it allows, and whether flowers or other remembrances may be placed on graves.
Cost is another consideration. Cemetery plots can be expensive, especially in metropolitan areas. Most, but not all, cemeteries require you to purchase a grave liner, which will cost several hundred dollars. Note that there are charges – usually hundreds of dollars – to open a grave for interment and additional charges to fill it in. Perpetual care on a cemetery plot sometimes is included in the purchase price, but it’s important to clarify that point before you buy the site or service. If it’s not included, look for a separate endowment care fee for maintenance and groundskeeping.
If you plan to bury your loved one’s cremated remains in a mausoleum or columbarium, you can expect to purchase a crypt and pay opening and closing fees, as well as charges for endowment care and other services. The FTC’s Funeral Rule does not cover cemeteries and mausoleums unless they sell both funeral goods and funeral services, so be cautious in making your purchase to ensure that you receive all pertinent price and other information, and that you’re being dealt with fairly.
Read the whole guide at www.ftc.gov…
Publisher: Forbes Magazine
Author: Betsy Schiffman
Publish Date: November 1, 2002
Considering the fact that in some cemeteries a 20-foot-by-20-foot private plot of land can cost as much as $1 million, death can be a pretty expensive proposition.
Although the most exclusive cemeteries offer burials at (somewhat) affordable prices, wealthy individuals who want to enjoy death in the same style they were accustomed to while alive can easily spend several million dollars on a final resting place. There is, of course, nothing new about the very rich spending a fortune to create memorials to themselves. Look at the Great Pyramid of Cheops, for example, or the Mausoleum of Hallicarnassus, both among the seven wonders of the ancient world.
But while today’s millionaires who are contemplating their mortality may not be able to call upon the talents of a Michelangelo, they are still able to ensure their tombs have such attributes as Tiffany windows and a state-of-the-art stereo system that plays a requested tune 24 hours a day.
Read the whole story at www.forbes.com
View the slideshow of America’s Best Cemeteries…