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Deal-Making in the Graveyard: Plots for Sale

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When taking stock of all your assets, don't forget your burial plot.

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When you're really desperate for cash, what do you sell after you've already hocked everything you can think of selling?

Something you'd never think of selling.

As seen on Craigslist:

Must Sell to pay Hospital/Doctor Bills!
$3200 for Four (4) cemetery plots.
Located Peachtree Memorial Park / Peachtree Ind Blvd / Norcross. Great location.


Another offered the following:

Cemetery Lots, way below retail -- must sell!
Four cemetery lots in Anderson Memorial Park, located together in Garden of Meditation (Block J, Section 888, Lots 1-4), just south of Statue of Christ in attractive wooded area.
Must sell for $500 each.


Earlier this year, Baron Chu, owner of burial plot reseller PlotBrokers.com, told the Associate Press that business was up almost ten-fold -- an increase he credits to the weak economy.

Chu said people are off-loading their plots, some of which have been in families for generations, for about a quarter of what they're worth due to the current glut of cemetery space flooding the market. He said one client, who had recently been evicted from her home and had her car repossessed but still had the deed to her burial plot, got $500 for what would normally fetch $6,800. The money allowed her to move into a hotel for a month while she looked for work.

The cemetery industry is finding that while people do, without exception, eventually die, many are choosing to put food on the table now and worry about the afterlife later.

"If a customer has something that's worth $3,000, that could pay for utility bills and living expenses," Caskets-N-More owner Olga Fernandez told the Wall Street Journal. "They're not thinking of the future. They have something they're able to sell and get money for now."

But while 100% of human beings ultimately pass on, considerably fewer spend eternity six feet under.

Cremations cost quite a bit less than a traditional casket burial, which can set the deceased's family back thousands of dollars. New York City's Frank E. Campbell Funeral Home -- one of the 1,700 funeral parlors owned and operated by Service Corporation International (SCI) in the US and Canada -- charges $12,075 for a complete burial service, including limousine, while a cremation goes for $8,200.

Wisconsin funeral director James Olson, who attended the annual National Funeral Directors Association gathering earlier this year, said his "cremation rate has gone up in the last two years, according to the Washington Post. "I'm at 42%."

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