Q. As a part of our “bucket list”, my wife and I have decided to purchase cemetery plots for each of us in advance of need. But in doing our inquiries to cemeteries, we were quite surprised by the prices of these plots. We heard that that there may be a way to purchase plots in the cemetery of our choice at a “wholesale” price. Do you know anything about that?
A. Yes. I believe you refer to purchasing cemetery plots in the secondary market, such as through independent “cemetery brokers”. These folks are independent dealers who assist individuals to re-sell their previously purchased cemetery plots when they no longer intend to use them, whether because of relocations, divorces, or changed burial preferences.
These independent brokers are licensed by the State of California as Cemetery Brokers, under the Department of Consumer Affairs, Cemetery & Funeral Bureau. They are not employees of the cemeteries, but work closely with them to assist individuals re-sell their unwanted plots. They fill a very important need as the cemeteries, themselves, often will not re-purchase previously sold plots.
These brokers typically have an existing inventory of plots available for resale in most of the existing cemeteries, and you are likely to find they have just what you are looking for, often at prices 40% to 60% less than the prices for which similar plots would sell if sold directly by the cemetery. The brokers’ inventories usually also include other burial options, such as crypts and niches.
By the same token, for those who wish to sell their unwanted plots, contacting an independent cemetery broker may also be a wise move. However, before listing plots for sale, sellers should check with the cemetery to make sure they have the legal right to sell their plot and to ask about the fees the cemetery will charge to transfer the burial rights to a new buyer. Also, if the original plots were purchased together with other family members, sellers will need the consent of their co-purchasers before listing the plots for sale.
For more information, try a Google internet search using words such as “Cemetery Plot Brokers”. One example of an independent cemetery broker listing plots in the Bay Area is: www.LowCostGraves.com. Another, with a national inventory is www.FinalArrangementsNetwork.com. Consider, also, the offers of sale on sites such as ebay and Craigslist.
For more information, visit the following State of California website maintained by the Department of Consumer Affairs, Cemetery and Funeral Bureau: www.dca.ca.gov. For any questions, you might call the Bureau directly at 1-800-574-7870, or email it at: firstname.lastname@example.org.