Buying a Grave Plot

The real estate, pre-owned plots and other fees

In an ideal situation, everyone would have a pre-planned funeral that included the purchase of a gravesite. However, not everyone prepares their funeral in advance, and this can sometimes result in problems for their loved ones. When you're funeral planning, you need to be aware of cemeteries' special provisions concerning grave plot purchases.

Grave Plot Pricing and Purchasing

Grave plots can range in price depending on where they are situated. Plots in certain areas of cemeteries (for example, on hilltops or in 'exclusive' areas) will be more expensive. Most plots start around $1000, although you may be able to find more affordable grave plots in some areas. Buying a grave plot is similar to buying real estate (and in a sense, it is real estate) - if you're interested in saving money, shop around.

Purchasing a Grave Plot Ahead of Time

If you have the foresight to pre-plan your funeral , or at least buy a grave plot ahead of time, you may need to heed warnings about pre-need contracts, which heavily favor the funeral industry and cemeteries. On the whole, purchasing a grave plot ahead of time may give you a good price advantage, but you always have to be sure to protect yourself. 

Buying a Pre-Owned Grave Plot

Despite the way it sounds, a pre-owned grave plot isn't actually a 'used' grave plot, but rather a plot someone has decided to sell because they are moving, or for other reasons. This may actually be the best way to get a good deal on a plot. For example, some sellers are only trying to recoup the price they paid several years (or decades) ago. In an industry where prices can double in less than ten years, you may be paying significantly less for a good plot.

There are some boards on the internet where people buy, sell and exchange previously owned grave plots.

Other Costs of Burying

There are other costs associated with burying that you may be unfamiliar with. These are important to consider both when pre-planning or arranging a funeral. These costs include the burial plot (also called the crypt) as well as:

  1. Opening and closing the grave. The cemetery needs to hire workers to do this and the cost may actually vary by day of the week. Weekends may be more costly.

  2. A burial container may be necessary to prevent collapse of the grave, but there are important differences between liners and vaults.

  3. A grave marker, a separate but significant expense (grave markers don't usually come cheap).

  4. Installing the monument may be an additional cost charged by some cemeteries.

  5. Perpetual care of the grave site (lawn cutting, etc.) can be a charge levied by cemeteries, though some states regulate these fees or require funding through a trust (sometimes called 'endowment care').

Other Options

Traditional burial isn't a requirement for any funeral. Instead of buying a grave plot, while funeral planning you can look into some of these alternatives:

  1. Cremation

  2. Burial at sea

  3. Entombment in a mausoleum

  4. Green burial

  5. Non-Traditional Memorials such as an artificial reef or having remains sent into space
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