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Sunday October 2, 2022

Savvy Living

Savvy Senior

How to Sell Unused Burial Plots

How do I go about selling pre-purchased burial plots in my hometown cemetery? How can I best accomplish this?

Life changes such as relocating, divorce, along with the growing popularity of cremation in the U.S. is causing more and more people to sell previously purchased burial plots they do not intend to use. Depending on where you live and the location of the cemetery, selling a plot can be difficult. If you do decide to sell, you will most likely get less than what you initially paid for it. Here are a few tips to get you started.

Contact the cemetery: Your first step in selling your unwanted burial plots is to contact the cemetery and find out if they would be interested in buying them back, or if you are allowed to sell them yourself to another person or family. If you are permitted to sell it you can ask what paperwork will you need to complete the sale and find out if there transfer fees. Note that some states require sellers to offer the plot back to the cemetery before selling it to others.

Selling options: If you find that it is permitted to sell your plots yourself, many people choose to use a broker. There are a number of companies that will list your plots for sale and handle the transaction for a fee or commission. If you go this route, you will need to sign paperwork, giving the broker permission to work on your behalf. Listings typically last up to three years or until the plots sell.

Alternatively, or simultaneously, you yourself can also list the plots on seller marketplace type websites and handle the transaction yourself. In the advertisement listing, be sure to post pictures, describe the area where the cemetery is located and give the plot locations.

What to ask: Appropriate pricing is key to selling your plots. It is recommended that you find out what the cemetery is selling their plots for today and offer your plots for a discounted price. If you are pricing too close to what the cemetery charges, there is no incentive for potential buyers from you.

Beware of scammers: If you choose to sell your plots yourself, it is not unusual for scammers to reach out and try to get your personal financial information. Phone calls tend to be more genuine than emails and text messages.

Donate them: If you do not have any luck selling your plots and money is not an issue, another alternative solution is to donate them to charity such as a religious congregation, a local veteran's group or an organization that aids the homeless. To get a tax deduction, you will likely need a qualified appraisal, which a cemetery or broker may supply for a fee.

Savvy Living is written by Jim Miller, a regular contributor to the NBC Today Show and author of "The Savvy Living" book. Any links in this article are offered as a service and there is no endorsement of any product. These articles are offered as a helpful and informative service to our friends and may not always reflect this organization's official position on some topics. Jim invites you to send your senior questions to: Savvy Living, P.O. Box 5443, Norman, OK 73070.

Published July 29, 2022
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