How to Sell Cemetery Plots Fast

Sell cemetery plots online fast

Selling a burial plot is more of a relationship business than a transactional one, due to the emotional nature of the sale.

It is likely the buyers' final resting place, and that is a profound thought. You can touch your buyers' human side by giving them more than just a space to bury their loved ones.

Below are some ideas for "something more" when you craft your burial plot selling story.

Sell Your Cemetery Features

Cemeteries, as businesses, are also working hard to attract more customers and increase their value.

Please do some research about your cemetery, see their marketing materials, website, blogs, or perhaps even talk to their team.

Learn about some of their unique offerings and include that in your listing. To give you an idea of what you could expect, here are some common offers:
  • Cemeteries are finding new ways to attract not just customers, but also visitors to their lcoations. For instance, some cemeteries are hosting events like private tours (especially when there is a famous personality buried in the cemetery), community runs, or even scavenger hunts. They host annual events such as on Dia De Los Muertos, where local partners and cultural clubs celebrate the day with live music and storytelling.
  • Some cemeteries are exploring genealogy. They have established databases to find out where the closest relative of a person might be, and then help find a plot closest to that spot. It is a new marketing tool but ensures that each cemetery plot has a unique story.
  • Cemeteries play host to many fascinating stories and rich histories. These stories are around war heroes, successful people or the community are gems for a seller. They help craft the story of the cemetery and give it a unique spin to separate it from its competition. 
  • Snow can be a problem for many cemeteries. When there is heavy snow, locating the grave or digging a grave can be a common challenge. Some cemeteries have an online mapping that helps you find empty spots or visit your loved one's grave. Some cemeteries also provide proper machinery to clear accumulated snow and dig a grave whenever needed. The same goes for other natural issues like rain or flooding. Technologies or machinery that help the cemetery overcome these challenges can be a big attraction for people looking for burial plot regions challenged by diverse weather conditions.
  • When someone buys a burial plot, it is usually for many years in the future (unless it's for investment purposes). Maintaining paper records can be both annoying and challenging, also not practical at all. Some cemeteries maintain digital files for you. All you have to do is contact them when you need said information. Although, we recommend you ensure that the cemetery has data protection to avoid any loss of records before you advertise these features.
Make sure you highlight all of the extra services offered by your cemetery in your listing. These additional items will ensure your cemetery plot stands compared to the competition. Remember, a potential buyer will look through hundreds of plots before deciding on their final resting place.

Go Green 

Living environmentally friendly is a growing trend, which does not have to end after death. There are technologies in place that can be used to bury the deceased naturally.

One example of such a system is when the dead are buried directly in the soil. This approach allows the body to recycle and does not require human intervention for embalming the body. The caskets are produced with biodegradable materials such as bamboo, banana leaves, shrouds, or willows.
This green factor can be a desirable feature for your listing as not many people are aware of this option.

Stand out in the listings clutter by highlighting this feature, merely mentioning that your cemetery offers the ability to go green!

Sell Convenience 

No one likes complex procedures with a lot of paperwork. Buying and selling a burial plot can involve many different rules, cemetery-related policies, and document exchange.

Before you plan to sell your burial plot, you, as a seller, need to do some homework (read about it here). You can reap the benefits of your homework by selling it as a convenience to find a suitable buyer. Here are some steps you can take:
  1. Map out the process for the buyer. Be as clear and detailed as you can be in your listing. These details should include buyer profile, documents needed, steps of the process, restrictions, extra expenses for the buyer (some cemeteries demand maintenance fees), and cemetery rules. Mentioning these details will also increase buyers' confidence.
  2. Provide the option of digital exchange of information and documents. We spoke about how cemeteries provide digital records, but this is a feature even you, as a seller, can provide for almost no cost at all.

Understand Your Audience and Craft a Better Listing

Not every customer is the same. What will appeal to one, often, will not appeal to others. Understand the buyer demographics in your area.

You can ask your cemetery what kind of customers they usually get. Once you have an idea about the potential buyer group, then you can craft your advertisement accordingly.
For instance, if your target group is the baby boomers (born between the 1940s-1960s) generation, which is a high probability, then list down things that will attract them. This tactic is the generation that has witnessed several wars (Cold war and the Vietnam war, to name a few). If the cemetery does things to honor the war-fighters, then you got their attention right there. Do not just stop at creating that appealing message, leverage your photos to drive your story forward. The first photo should highlight a vital aspect of the cemetery.

Craft a Story with a Plot

The death industry heavily relies on human emotions. It is a sensitive topic for everyone, and you want to give them human elements in your offering. Crafting a story to include in your listing could help elevate your ad to the next level. 
Here is a great example; you initially inherited this burial plot from your mother. She loved sunsets, and hence the plot is at a location where you can see it every evening.

You need to sell the plot as you are moving abroad permanently but would love to have a buyer who likes a location with a beautiful view every evening. This way, you are also selling a feature of the cemetery and a relatable story that makes your plot unique.

Before You Start Selling Your Plot Online


Be Sure That You Can Sell the Plot

There can be several reasons for restricting your sale. Some of them are listed below:

Review State Laws

Each region can have different state laws when it comes to burial plots. The county office or the city office should help you determine if your plot is eligible for sale. If yes, then to whom you may sell (sometimes you can only sell it back to the cemetery or to a person who is a registered resident in the same area), if there is a market cap for the price (more relevant for state-owned cemeteries), and how this process works.
Your cemetery can also help you kickstart this process as they have likely been through it a few times.
Pro Tip: Check out our listings page and see if other cemetery plots are listed already!

Read Your Cemetery Policies

Even in the same region, two cemeteries can have different governance and, consequently, not the same rules. Cemeteries that are under religious institutions, for example, have policies that are more inclined towards their religious practices and have different rules than general or state cemeteries.

When you contact your cemetery, they should help you determine if you can sell the plot to a third party, or you first have to sell it back to them. This caveat is also likely outlined in any literature related to your burial plot.
They can also help you determine the prices, as sometimes, there are extra costs associated with the maintenance and upkeep of the area and the surroundings that are part of the sale price.

Additionally, they help you understand the rules regarding the right to install memorials, tombstones, future ownership transfer, a period of ownership, and the process.
Burial Link can also help you determine pricing by simply reviewing your cemetery and the related pricing information. The cemetery website usually has all the essential details and can save you all the time contacting them, but if not, then contacting the management should be relatively easy.

Speak with Family

If another member who co-owns the plot, another family member has rights to the plot through a will, your spouse (according to many state laws they also have rights over the burial plot owned by you), does not agree with you selling the plot, then it could become a legal dispute.
To avoid a legal procedure and sore relations, talk to the family members who have an interest in or a stake in the plot.

Analyze Market Conditions

Several market indicators can give you insights into whether your plot will sell at your desired price. You can check newspaper ads, classifieds, online platforms (we will discuss this in-depth below) and get a first understanding of the demand from the date posted and the price demanded on these ads.

You can also check the average age of your local area and get a hint. Areas with an older population will have higher demand, more affluent areas will have more exceptional prices, and areas with families will not want individual plots (reducing the price).

Sell Your Burial Plot Online

There are many challenges when it comes to selling a burial plot, and many of these challenges are avoided if you sell the plot online. Firstly, the buyers avoid the hassle too. When someone in the buyer's family/network dies, they have limited time to make the buying decision and therefore go for easy approaches like contacting a nearby cemetery or buying online (after conducting a quick internet search).

They try their best to avoid the traditional way of going through newspaper ads and classifieds. This route is extremely tedious and time-consuming, and overall challenging to find the right plot amidst the clutter.
Secondly, when you advertise the plot traditionally (in newspapers, local magazines, etc.), you need to pay a fee each time you advertise or multiple times till it is sold (this can be very costly). With online ads, it is usually a one-time payment, if any. More and more people are giving up traditional media and switching to online platforms. Your chance of finding a buyer online is simply better.
Selling online also gives you more transparency and security. Burial Link ensures the contact details entered by the buyer and seller are correct and offers transparent market pricing based on recent transactions.

These steps are good gatekeepers for both selling and buying parties. Lastly, when you read on, you will realize that selling plots online is more straightforward and requires little to no effort.
When you are sure you can sell your burial plot and are convinced that you want to sell it online, these steps will guide you through the process:

Step 1 - Choose a Service

You get different kinds of online services to choose from, such as specialized services or general selling platforms. Specialized service platforms are dedicated to selling cemetery plots and related products (transfers, caskets, etc.).
General selling platforms will have relevant categories for you to choose from and list your item. For instance, eBay will have everything from furniture to electronics to books as categories, and you can choose the one that is most fitting to you. You can usually list your ads on such platforms either for a fee or a percentage of your sale.
Try to go for platforms that verify your listing, like Burial Link, which increases the buyer's confidence, as they prefer such platforms. If you do not wish to do the listing on your own, you can opt for the Burial Link Concierge Service (similar to a cemetery broker). These platforms will have a higher associated cost, but they handle most of your advertising and help to find a buyer.

To Choose the Right Platform, Here Are Some Points You Can Consider:
  1. The platform already has a decent number of burial plots listed (More plots coming everyday to Burial Link)
  2. The platform has some following or a strong search presence, or else no one will see your listing  (Burial Link is one of the fastest growing plot marketplaces)
  3. The platform gives you the option to promote your listing for an additional fee (Yes, coming soon for Burial Link - we will even email prospective buyers your new listing)
  4. The platform does not have outdated plots and keeps the site updated (Yes, check for Burial Link)
  5. The platform has its fees policy listed clearly and does not charge you for hidden expenses (Yes, another check for Burial Link)
  6. The platform has a way to verify the listing and buyer accounts. This approach increases the confidence of both parties (Coming soon to Burial Link)

Step 2 - List All Details

Burial plots, in many ways, are like any other property. Factors like the location, surrounding area, neighbors, upkeep/maintenance of the cemetery, and amenities can play a significant role even when it comes to burial plots—these factors and more affect both the desirability and pricing.
People love ocean-side plots, manicured grasses, and tile tombstones, which can fetch you extra thousands of dollars. A famous neighbor, well, it's like owning Newman's Rolex, your plot asset just tripled in price!

Apart from the aesthetic and attractive elements, it is also essential to include required details such as plot/grave number, exact address, history, and asking price, to name a few important ones. You can also add photography to make your listing stand out.

Step 3 - Advertise Your Listing

There are several ways to advertise your listing. Paying the platform to list your ad on the top or highlight it is one of the most common and recommended approaches.
Next, you can send the link to your listing to your network or online groups. Clergies, estate attorneys, will executors, funeral planners or directors, social workers, estate consultants, nursing homes, and retirement offices are some groups you can contact.

These groups will help you generate some buzz around your plot listing, trust us, buzz sells about everything! You can check if these groups have websites or Facebook groups, and you can send them a link to your listing.
If you want to sell it urgently, you can also advertise your listing on other platforms to find a potential buyer, for instance, on google ads, blogs for older people, and retirement finance blogs. You can also talk to the local hospitals to check if they would be willing to pass on your listing to someone in need of a burial plot. We know of a few, so just reach out to us for help!

Step 4 - Finish the Transaction

This step is when you already found a buyer, and now need to do the paperwork to complete the burial plot transaction. If you did the "pre-selling steps" mentioned above, that is, checking with your city office and cemetery about the process, you will have a good idea about the documents required from both sides.
This information can sometimes also be on the website of your cemetery. The documentation required from the seller's side usually includes your previous purchase papers, address registration, and proof of right to sell (signed by the cemetery).

If you do not have these papers, you can take help from your cemetery or city office again as they are required to keep the historical records. When you produce a copy instead of the original document, you might have to notarize these documents.
Many sellers/buyers involve a lawyer in this step to ensure that the paperwork is as expected and contains all relevant details. We recommend that you spend the additional money to ensure that it is a smooth and legal transaction.

Time for You to Get Creative

This article lists some ideas to help you sell your burial plot online, but the options are limitless. The best way to approach this is first to understand your buyer. Once you have a clear understanding, then you can think of ways to market your burial plot to them by stating what makes your plot stand out.
BurialLink helps you make your plot stand out in a few different ways. From basic help in adding your list to set an optimal price to more advanced support like giving you information on cemetery features and buyers, the BurialLink platform acts as your guide.