Many years ago, in one of his many flashes of investment brilliance, my father decided to purchase four cemetery plots; one for each of the members of my immediate family. Many years later I decided to check on the value of the two remaining plots and I was very surprised at how much they had increased value.
After my father and then mother died my sister and I used the plots my father had purchased for their burial. Within the last few years, since I no longer live in the New York City area, I decided to get rid of the two remaining plots. I would prefer to be buried with my wife when we die and will be buried somewhere other than my childhood area. But how would I dispose of these two remaining plots, and what was their value? I then began a very enlightening research project. This led me to conclude that his purchase accidentally turned out to be a very profitable alternative investment strategy.
After discussing the situation with my sister I decided that it would be best to just gift her the two plots so that she and my brother-in-law could be buried there. While checking on the transfer process I decided, out of curiosity, to do some investigating. WOW! What an investment these had turned out to be. The value had increased substantially since their original purchase. Just like a lot purchased to build a home on, these plots had value. Amazingly my father had done his homework and approached this purchase as if he was buying property on which he would eventually erect a permanent structure. He apparently consulted the right real estate books and experts and just applied that same knowledge to buying cemetery plots.
I’m not trying to suggest that an investment in well located cemetery plots is the next great global investment opportunity. I can tell you that like many other real estate investments there are many factors that must be considered: these can increase in value or decrease in value, in some areas they are in short supply, they are available in many price levels for each market, there is a continuous clientele for this property, location and type of restrictions and quality of structures and services is important, and there is a vibrant resale market. In fact, while doing my research I discovered that there are many online brokers who assist in the resale of cemetery plots. Some of the brokers allowed a simple listing service and others seemed to more actively market the plots themselves.
Even with the growth of cremation, the development of memorial parks and gardens will change the cemetery concept and allow for increased value potential over time. In fact with certain religious groups prohibiting cremation, a well investigated purchase can potentially positive results. If you do your homework, and you can buy right, whether these are for personal use or for resale (where it is legal to do so) you just might find that over time your decision to purchase cemetery plots was a very wise investment.