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There are a batch of variables to consider when purchasing a grave site, such as cost, whether it satisfies your religious needs, convenience for mourners, and whether there is room for loved ones.

There are services that will tend graves anywhere in the U.S.  

Be cautious and make sure that you receive all pertinent price and other information when purchasing a site. The Funeral Rule which protects against unfair practices with respect to funerals does not apply to cemeteries unless the cemetery also sells funeral goods and funeral services.

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Funerals 101 The Funeral Rule

What To Consider When Purchasing A Cemetery Plot

When purchasing a cemetery plot, consider: 

  • The type of cemetery. There are traditional religious and non-sectarian cemeteries to consider. In addition, a recent development is green graveyards. Green graveyards are set in a wooded area. Part of the idea is to protect green, natural space, with burial in a natural setting. Caskets are often biodegradable or no casket is used.
  • The location of the cemetery.
    • Is it an area in which you want to be?  
    • Is it convenient for the people who love you to visit?
  • Does it satisfy you emotionally?
    • Does it have the feeling you want?  
    • Does it have special meaning for you?  
  • Is there room for burial for additional people you care about? 
  • Does it meet the requirements of your religion? 
  • Is it well maintained?  
  • Does it allow the type of monument or memorial you desire? Plantings you want? Seasonal decorations?
  • Are there restrictions on flowers or other remembrances on or around monuments or memorials? 
  • Do you have to purchase monuments from a particular company?  
  • If you plan to be buried in a mausoleum or columbarium, does the cemetery allow them? 
  • Does the cemetery require burial containers? What, if any, restrictions does the cemetery place on burial vaults purchased elsewhere? 
  • Costs
    • How much does it cost to buy? Cemetery plots can be expensive, especially in metropolitan areas. Most, though not all, cemeteries also require you to purchase a grave liner, which will cost several hundred dollars. 
    • How much does it cost to open a grave for burial? Is there an additional charge for filling in the grave site?  
    • Is perpetual care of the cemetery plot to keep it neat included in the purchase price? If not, what is the separate fee for maintenance and grounds keeping? ' Is it less expensive per grave to purchase a family plot than individual plots? (It often is.). 
  • Are the visitation days and hours acceptable?
  • Is there perpetual care of the grave site?

NOTE: You can save money by purchasing a plot from the resale market instead of directly from the cemetery. For instance, check offsite link or type "burial plot brokers" into your favorite search engine. If you want to buy a plot from someone other than the cemetery, take the following precautions:

  • Make sure the cemetery allows resales
  • Confirm with the cemetery that the seller is the legal owner of the plot.
  • Check to find out what the prices does, and does not include. For instance, opening the grave, closing the grave, headstone, future care of the site.


If you have a specific preference about a headstone, let the person in charge of your funeral know it. If you don't have a specific wish, consider walking with a family member or significant other through a cemetery. Point out the markers that you like. Ask them to do the same.

Set a dollar limit. Headstones are an easy source for heavy overspending by bereaved family members.

Consider what you want your marker to say. (As a related matter, see Do You Want To Send A Message After You're Gone?)