Funeral, Cemetery and Cremation Final Arrangements - Cemetery Plots for Sale? There is No Magic Selling Button to Push
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Cemetery Plots for Sale article about how Cemetery Lots and Burial Plots really get bought and sold in the USA.

From the Pages Of:

  The Final Arrangements News Journal
A Light of Understanding in A Forest of Fear About Death, Dying and Debt.
Advisors to The Consumer about Final Arrangements Planning

Topic Discussed:  
Cemetery Plots for Sale? There is No Magic Selling Button to Push. Part One of Four articles discussing Cemetery Plots for sale. The misconceptions about selling cemetery plots that is keeping most of the nearly 2 million cemetery plots for sale out of the marketplace that private owners could be selling but aren't


Cemetery Plots for Sale? There is No Magic Selling Button to Push

by RW Ward, Death Care Consultant

Cemetery Plots for Sale what Sellers don’t understand

There are nearly 2 million cemetery plots and gravesites that should be on the market that are not. The sellers of these billions of dollars worth of valuable cemetery property don’t understand how the selling process works.

Evidence of how little is known about how this multi-billion dollar market really operates, can be seen in a recent letter sent from one seller, with cemetery plots for sale, thinking about listing for sale, to another seller, already listed, asking, “I, too, have four cemetery plots to sell. Would you mind giving me your opinion of this site for selling the plots?”

If you have any real knowledge of how the cemetery plots for sale market operates, there is generally only one response one would expect to such a question, "I haven't sold yet."

How else could a seller who hasn’t already sold expect to respond? The thinking, by most cemetery property sellers, that all you have to do to sell is just put out an ad and people will come running, is a complete misunderstanding how cemetery property gets bought and sold on its most basic level.

It assumes cemetery plots or gravesites for sale are no different then a car, sofa or even a dining room table when it comes to selling.

It is not to say these cemetery plot sellers are unintelligent but rather that they are naïve, in a major way, as to what kind of marketing and sophistication must go into the selling process if they ever expect to even get someone to voice an interest, let alone buy their cemetery plots.

The sad fact is that, in any given year, more cemetery properties are needed, in just that year, than the entire availability of all privately owned cemetery property, currently available, for sale. In other words, if every cemetery plots for sale offer, of every private owner who has them for sale, was sold this year to those who will need them there would not be enough for sale to fulfill the need. There also would be no privately owned cemetery property for sale the next year because all of it would already be gone to those who needed it last year. 

Cemetery Plots for Sale, How they really get Bought and Sold

You might ask if this is true then why isn’t every cemetery plot put on the market sold immediately? If the need is so great buyers should be coming out of the walls to scoop up the plots the minute they hit the market. Why don’t they?

Why don’t they? The answer is simple. The Buyer doesn’t know he needs to buy or what to buy until he or she actually has to do it and then must make the purchase in generally a single day or less. This moment of clarity for a buyer comes suddenly and, generally, unexpectedly in a sledgehammer jolt to both his and her emotional and physical being. Remember, this moment of purchase has just been preceded by, him or her being told a loved one is dead and a funeral and burial final arrangements must be undertaken, right now.

This is not an isolated or unusual situation in the cemetery plots for sale marketplace. It is the norm. 80% of all cemetery plots and gravesites are sold this way and until the sellers understand what this marketing and selling fact means, they will continue to ask the question like the naïve seller asked in the opening passages of this article.

If a seller can grasp the above fact of the cemetery plot-selling marketplace they then may be in a position to intelligently approach how they can sell. The real kicker about all this is that, although most sellers may not like the wait that may be involved, most will see a substantial gain in the actual value they will get for the property they are selling.

Most cemetery property doubles every eight years in value and for owners of property more than ten years this means the price will be substantially higher than the amount they spent originally. It isn’t an investment, in the strict sense of the word, as most people don’t buy cemetery property to sell at a profit but rather to fulfill an obligation to the family to take care of this most difficult of tasks so others aren’t burdened with it. Despite this, however, the facts of the matter and the economic realities of cemetery property sales indicate such an increase in value and selling price will inevitably be there. 

The bottom line for sellers is that they have to be visible all the time. They have to have some organization that will push their property whenever the opportunity for a sale comes up, when a buyer has to buy.

Cemetery Plots for Sale and what doesn't Work

Newspaper ads don’t really work. Not because they can’t reach the buyer but because it generally takes too much money to just stay visible waiting for a buyer to come along. Even at $20 a week for an ad, would lead to an expenditure of $1,000 a year just to keep the ad running. Any thought of just breaking even on a property that has doubled or even tripled because of cemetery property values is quickly eaten up by classified renewals.

So what should a seller do? Hire a professional organization with the visibility and tools that in the long run will give him the best chance of selling without going broke. It should be one that can do more than just list the property and leave the buyer seller matching to chance.

It needs to be aligned with the Internet if it is going to reach the buyer in the nearly split second timing of decision making for a cemetery plot purchase. That means it needs high Internet visibility. Beyond that it also needs personal contact with buyers, like a real estate agent has for a home seller.

Since no one can predict when the need to buy will arise. Remember it occurs 80% of the time when a person actually dies. Maintaining visibility becomes crucial and therefore costly, unless length of time to be listed doesn’t matter. Therefore, there should be a way to maintain listing privileges without the costs to do so always going up. A $1.00 a week doesn’t sound like much until you realize you are selling cemetery plots and not a dining room table and that it may take you two years to find a buyer for the plots, that’s over a $100.00 and you still might not be done yet.

Most important of all to a seller, should be that the organization needs to be experienced at cemetery property sales not cemetery plots, automobiles, boats, furniture, computers, books and all the other things most Internet classified sites are listing.

A seller with cemetery plots may think, “Wow this is cheap and look at all the people that go to classified sites. I can’t lose and look at all the money I am saving.”

If that is the attitude the seller still doesn’t get it. If uncle Joe died today, I can guarantee his family is not going to go to the classifieds to find his grave. They will go where their funeral director tells them to go or even their friends but not to the same place they got that used refrigerator last month.

They also aren’t going somewhere on the Internet where they have to bid for uncle Joes grave. Anyone thinking they are going to sell their cemetery plots through an auction to a family who needs a burial site is not paying any attention to how the cemetery property market works.

They aren’t going to go somewhere on the Internet where they have to go through a bunch of autos, homes, boats, furniture, trinkets, you name it, because classified sites bread and butter is not listing cemetery plots for sale but rather those things that get bought and sold everyday and lots of people are looking to sell or buy everyday.

They aren’t going to search forever or find that site on page five of Google or even page three. If it isn’t on page one or two forget it. They won’t find it. It isn’t going to be found by some obscure key word either. If Uncle Joe dies in Florida or Michigan, that buyer is going to type in “Cemetery Plots Michigan” or “Cemetery Plots Florida” and click. If a site shows up they will click it and hope to find the right city and cemetery and they better find it quick or the seller loses again because that buyer will simply give up and call the Cemetery or have his funeral director do it.

Cemetery Plots for Sale what a Seller can do

So a seller has to understand how a sale happens. Remember what we said. 80% of all cemetery plots for sale get sold when someone has just died. That same seller must also know that it isn’t going to be done quickly or slowly. It is going to happen when that moment in time occurs for a need of his property and that could be right now, an hour from now, tomorrow, next week, next month or next year.

The sale will have less to do with whether the seller just dropped the price than whether the property is in the right place at the right time and within a reasonable price range or at a savings over what the Cemetery will charge for the same.

He needs to pick a very high visible Internet service that won’t nickel and dime him to death with renewal costs. The ideal service should not have a renewal or any kind of time sensitive fees of any kind attached to the sellers use of it as the chosen service.

Professional services that know the cemetery plots for sale market and how it works will already have taken these unnecessary and costly burdens of renewal and advertising into consideration and rejected them in favor of doing the right thing for the seller. 

The right service won’t try to take advantage of the fact that it can take a very long time for a seller to find a buyer. These professionals will know they could easily string a client along with a renewal fee every month or quarter or year or two years but they won’t.

This service will be as complete and as sophisticated in its marketing tactics, as any big league Real Estate Company would be. Like a major real estate or travel organization is, they will be national in scope. 

This means everyday thousands of potential buyers from all over are coming to find cemetery plots for sale and then passing the word that such a service exists. This word of mouth is the seller’s assurance that eventually that buyer in need will hear about the service and when that time comes to buy will know to go there and find that seller.

This service will not only list the seller’s cemetery plots for sale but also actively be able to lend their marketing to find a buyer. They should already be working with those 20% of cemetery plots for sale buyers who are looking in advance for property and be able to help the seller get his offer to these buyers.

The seller should expect to be able to get help, guidance and advice from this service when they have questions or need help. They should further be able to get changes made easily.

There is only one organization we know of who does all of the above and has been for several years. They not only list property but have a team of professionals that match buyer and seller. Their visibility in all English speaking Search Engines is extremely high for cemetery lots, burial plot and grave sites for sale. Just try the terms in Google, MSN, AOL, Yahoo and dozens more to find this truth yourself.

The organization is the Final Arrangements Network who is the caretaker and manager of The Cemetery Registry multi-list service for cemetery property for sale. The Cemetery Registry is an enormous database with nearly all the nations publicly accessible cemeteries listed and private seller properties available at them.



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About the Author
RW Ward, Essexville, Michigan, USA
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RW Ward is Founder and Managing Director of The New Concept Consultants Organization which conducts Death Care, Senior and Mature Adult consumer market trend research and consulting from its offices in Essexville, Michigan, USA. The author writes and studies marketing and consumer trends in the death care industry as well as the Senior and Mature Adult markets and around the world. His industry experience includes some of the world's largest death care providers.

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