Home Buying in Boston>Question Details

Mmyk72, Home Buyer in MetroWest Boston

How are houses right next to a cemetery perceived?

Asked by Mmyk72, MetroWest Boston Wed Mar 3, 2010

I'm interested in a house whose backyard abuds a large cemetery, which is open, well-kept, and very quiet (no druggies or drunks). It makes the property very quiet and the lot feels bigger due to the lack of structures behind the fence. However, I worry about resell down the road if there is a negative perception in general about being that close to a cemetery. Any insight on this?

Help the community by answering this question:



I agree with Jeremy. A lot of these answers are to general and not specific enough for you. Here’s how I would approach this situation:

If you’re moving into a town that’s densely populated then the cemetery will be a blessing in disguise because you will have some privacy where as others wont. However, and you say you’re looking in the MetroWest, if it’s a town in which homes are built on large lots of land then the property may be hindered by the fact that it abuts a cemetery.

At the end of the day if you really like the house it’s a judgment call. I would rather sell or buy a house next to a cemetery compared to a highway, rail road or industrial land. One thing is for sure you won’t have to worry about any future development.

Hope this helps,
- Jim

James Morrison
NextGen Realty
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Mar 4, 2010
I read a story a while ago about a very nice house next to a cemetery that people swore was "haunted", which drove the price down dramatically. It turns out that it was Mr. Jenkins who was dressing up as a ghost and scaring people away. He was just doing it so he could buy the property cheap for himself.

He would have got away with it too, if it wasn't for those meddling kids and that dog!
6 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Mar 9, 2010
When I was going to college I lived in an apartment that was facing a huge cemetary. It was a really nice apartment building and the rent was lower, perhaps because of how close it was. But after the first week I never thought anything about it being right next to the cemetary. There was nothing spooky about it, in fact the earth underneath most homes probably contain human remains from ancient civilizations.
3 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Mar 9, 2010
Well, you could always tell people that you have quiet neighbors.
Web Reference: http://www.bowenboston.com
2 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Aug 3, 2010
I sold a home in Edmonds, Washington that backs to a very nice, small cemetery. My clients thought a long time about it, but decided it was the best house we had seen, the best yard, and the best sunshine exposure. This cemetery is often used by people and children taking walks, and is full of people living life, not just there to mourn.

They've been there several years, and report that they still love it! No regrets.

I happen to be one who really likes cemeteries. I love going out of my way to find old, historical cemeteries, and seeing the old gravestones, and the family plots. These are historical markers of our societies, and give the living a glimpse back to the people who lived before us. I'd say if you are comfortable with it -- buy the house, and enjoy.

Best wishes to you!
2 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Mar 9, 2010
"Dead Space" Too Gosh?

Not that I am "Plotting" to sour your deal..... but

With Re-sale, you could be "Dead in the Water".

Although you may not have any issues with the location - some folks will. Unless you are getting a FANTASTIC deal on the property - you at least have to understand that you may have to also give an AWESOME deal when you sell.

Good Luck
2 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Mar 9, 2010
Many different factors can impact the resale of a home and as mentioned, the fact that YOU are concerned about this very topic should be sending up "red flags."

Location, location, location is the name of the game in real estate.....when location becomes a negative factor, desirability becomes a serious issue. Being located next to a cemetery will influence the resale of this property.

Good luck
2 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Mar 4, 2010
I bought my house 4 years ago. Yes, it sits very close to a well kept, cemetery. My first impression was heck no, I'm not going to step foot in this house, but once my agent convinced me to check it out I was in love. The house is beautiful, nice large inground swimming pool, courtyards, ets. The cemetery is only visible from the front porch. I've enjoyed many family get togethers, visitors and a lot of parties while living here.....it's time to move on and unfortunately for me, the house has been on the market for over 8 months. I've made many improvements, and this house is awesome. I believe this house would have sold within 30 days if people weren't so opposed to living next to a cemetery. So I wait and hope for a buyer that will love this house like I have, cemetery or not.
1 vote Thank Flag Link Fri Mar 29, 2013
Unfortunately there is negative resell backlash. I had one of these homes for sale recently and was amazed at the feedback. You actually cancel yourself out of a few different ethnic backgrounds from buying as well as it's against their religion. My sellers had to take a hit in order to move the property in the end. Buyer beware.
1 vote Thank Flag Link Mon Aug 16, 2010
I've been a Buyers Agent for 8 years and while most people are OK with being near a cemetery, its not everyone who can embrace it. My back yard is a cemetery and I like it. I gaze out there and meditate on impermanence. No drugies are ever there.
I have found that Hindus are particularly averse to cemeteries and most of them have told me not to show them anything within several blocks of a cemetery. I really think that for most people it is a spiritual/religious preference.
Hope this helps, Jeff Persons ABR http://wesellboston.net/
Web Reference: http://wesellboston.net/
1 vote Thank Flag Link Thu Jul 15, 2010
Very Scary Post -

Never buy a house that "abuds" anything-

Avoid Druggies and Drunks-
1 vote Thank Flag Link Wed Mar 17, 2010
The cemetery may be very quiet with no druggies today. WHo knows what tomorrow will bring. Think about it. Back in the 50's few cemeteries had problems. People pretty much avoided them. Now, druggies go there, people walk their dogs through them and so on. Given time things can and will change. The question is how.
1 vote Thank Flag Link Mon Mar 15, 2010
".... If that trend continues, as most analysts believe, we'll see an increase in the percentage of buyers who not only won't live near a cemetery, but won't buy a home if you have to drive past a cemetery."

Gee, I hope not! I happen to think cemeteries are an historical, and important segment of our society. If people don't want their remains to be kept, stored or buried in a cemetary, that's a personal choice, and I respect that. But to suggest that homes that are near enough to cemeteries may lose value or be hard to sell because someone "won't buy a home if you have to drive past a cemetery" is as far a stretch of the imagination as I hope to never see in this country.
1 vote Thank Flag Link Mon Mar 15, 2010
Thanks everyone for your input. I decided to pass up this property because of the downside potential. I hate to not be able to resell when it comes time for me to move on, especially if the market isn't red hot any more. Also, I'd be ok if the cemetery was not that close to the house itself, but being only a few yards away does make me feel a little uncomfortable.
1 vote Thank Flag Link Mon Mar 15, 2010
As Tom and Joanne point out, "You will have certain cultures that will not live near a cemetery so that will eliminate some future buyers." To this point, this hasn't had a tremendous impact on resale value.

However, one of the fastest-growing groups of homebuyers in the U.S. is foreign-born buyers. If that trend continues, as most analysts believe, we'll see an increase in the percentage of buyers who not only won't live near a cemetery, but won't buy a home if you have to drive past a cemetery. This would suggest that any discount you pay for such a location today will only be greater in the future when you go to sell.

Good luck!

Bill Kuhlman, CRS, green
Kuhlman Residential Real Estate
2007-2008, 2010 President of the Board of Directors for
The Massachusetts Association of Buyer Agents
2010 President-Elect of the Board of Directors for
The Mass. Chapter, Council of Residential Specialists (CRS)
781 444-1399 (phone)
Web Reference: http://www.BillKuhlman.com
1 vote Thank Flag Link Sun Mar 14, 2010
If you have to ask the question, I think you know the answer already! Intellectually, it shouldn't matter, but emotionally we know it's a concern. When buying a house with resale in mind the objective is to increase the pool of perspective buyers not limit it. It would also largely depends on the type of house. Would it be considered a "family" house. Backing up to a cemetery could be a major concern for those with children for many obvious reasons...
1 vote Thank Flag Link Tue Mar 9, 2010
I'd feel comfortable living next to a cemetery, especially something like you're describing. Go for it!
1 vote Thank Flag Link Tue Mar 9, 2010
Not to hijack this question but did anyone else play the game where you have to hold your breath when you drive by a cemetery until you pass a white house? With that said, Mmyk72 if you buy this house PLEASE paint it white. It's tough when your a little kid and there's no white house in sight (thumbs up for Optimizedprime for their response).

To provide something useful to this question, yes there is a negative perception in general with living next door to a cemetery. As said below though, if you get a great deal and more importantly if you plan on spending a long time there then it might not be a bad purchase. If you are looking for a solid investment property then that is a different story.
1 vote Thank Flag Link Tue Mar 9, 2010
I have a client buying a house in New Jersey on a much bigger piece of property. When we were reviewing the appraisal, which I thought could potentially raise red flags with the underwriter because of the comps, there was one comp that appeared to be a much better house. My client said, "Yes, but it's right next to the cemetery." The problem is that for every person that doesn't mind, you probably have 2 that do. It really depends on what type of market it is when you go to sell. If it is a hot market, anything sells. If not, you will be the one who's house is sitting on the market longer, waiting for the right buyer to show up.

It is something like pools, if you want one, you will pay anything for a house with a pool, but if you don't want one, you wouldn't buy the house no matter what a great buy it is.
1 vote Thank Flag Link Fri Mar 5, 2010
Cemeteries can be beautiful! One good selling point down the road; Protected by Guardian Angels.
1 vote Thank Flag Link Fri Mar 5, 2010
I want to argue with all of these answers. I have sold home close o a cemetery and it can actually be a positive if it is well kept and quite. It really depends on the neighborhood and town. All these answers are giving you a general thought and I think the REAL answer is it depends. Also if the house is priced well and is priced lower than other homes similar to it without a cemetery it really does not matter because you are buying at a discount so when you sell you can afford to sell at a discount. I hope this helps.
1 vote Thank Flag Link Thu Mar 4, 2010
I am currently trying to buy a home that abuds a cemetery. I LOVE the home! GREAT NEIGHBORS! I work in mental health so I am more afraid of LIVING people. You can access the home by driving through the cemetery but apparently the appraiser did not realize there is a back entrance to the home and took like FIVE PICTURES of the cemetery stating that you must drive through it for access.... Now the bank wont loan me the money because they are afraid that they will not be able to resale if I default. So... now I will be trying to find a new loan company and a new appraiser. He deducted at least 20K due to it. The tax value of the home is 185K and his appraisal is 90K :( There are not many homes sold in my area to compare it too, which was another issue. But I'm not giving up! God's going to work this out!!
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Jun 25, 2014
hmmmm...let's see...

If you buy a home near a grave yard...What possibly can go wrong?

Buying a home near anything where people perceptions of ghost or sprits can truly crush the price and foot traffic from walking thru the door...unless...your a ghost from christmas past...ha..ha

It can be a negative or positive response depending on the home itself. If it's a great home with curb appeal and great maintenance then there shouldn't be any problem.

I know on plenty of shows we watch on T.V. some people hire mediums, pychics and exorcist to come and pray or feel the home before you buy or move in.

I hope this helps with your answer and don't be afraid of buying not in this market.

I say buy where you think you can lye...no need to spend money if your uncomfortable or others can be a huge influence on your purchase and your decision making.

Good Luck!
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sat Nov 16, 2013
Often there is a Stigma attached to homes next to cemeteries. How one feels on living next to a cemetery is a completely personal beliefs. I often help my buyers get great homes at great prices just because they are near cemeteries. If you don't have an issue with living there, then I suggest you use other potential buyer's fears and paranoia to your advantage and negotiate yourself a fantastic deal on that house.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Sep 12, 2013
Spooky but no body will bother you there. They are all dead. Maybe some murmuring sounds and an occasional scream or two. Other then that , they won't even know its there. Hope this helps. PS. We'll all be there one day.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Sep 11, 2013
Cemeteries -much like a home located on a busy street -can impact value. Usually it is most obvious with length of time it takes to sell the home. I.e expect the property to sit longer on the market then other properties (unless it is priced very aggressive compared to neighboring sales) . Living near a cemetery or on a busy street is a very personal decision (some people will care and some wont at all but at the end of the day it will likely decrease the pool of buyers).

I hope that helps!

Territory Real Estate
Massachusetts Destination for Home Buyer's
617 848 5407 ext 704
Web Reference: http://territory.com
0 votes Thank Flag Link Fri Sep 6, 2013
You had no problem moving next to a cemetery, I am sure another buyer wouldn't have a problem with it. Just focus on the things you can control if you decide to sell, Price, condition, and the access that potential buyers would have to it!
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Aug 22, 2013
I guess it depends all on the person- I am a fan of things that go bump in the night and likely would not bat an eye at all to buying next to a cemetery, in fact... for me... I would think it was fantastic. But not everybody appreciates such things.

Would it hurt a sale... maybe? But maybe not... I know I am not alone when I say that I would love living next to one, or have one across the street
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Aug 19, 2013
Honestly, most of the buyers do care about this... But I normally look at it this way:

If you do not believe in after-life etc., then what you need to ask yourself is: Do I like this house? Is this a good value to buy in?

Remember one thing: cemetery affects the house value. So you will get it in low and sell it low as well. So not much to lose. If you buy at the down market like right now, and sell at a peak market, you will still make money. Just make sure that your broker negotiate hard for you to get a good deal.

Hope this helps.

Yuan's Team Realty
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu May 10, 2012
Any homes near a cemetery for sale, OR Apts for rent??? Email me, & Thanks in advance!!
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed May 9, 2012
Great info here, on a tough question. Thanks for all the input guys!
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Aug 2, 2010
Good grief. All these "no-no-no" people with amplified explanations of horrors :-).

Mmyk72, you've seen the cemetery house as compared to all the other houses you've seen. If you want it, and feel it's a good value, go for it.

Thousands, and more likely. millions, of people in the United States live near or next to a cemetary, many of them for decades and even generations. They seem to be thriving. In fact, maybe a good idea to knock on a few of their doors and ask them what they think.

There is no higher rate of foreclosure next to cemeteries than anywhere else. Gee. I think that's a clue that most people who live next to cemetaries are happy with their choice of where to live.

Pehaps it also means that there is something financially good about living next to a cemetery :-)!
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Mar 17, 2010
Well good luck with your search! I hope you find something perfect for you!
Web Reference: http://www.sellyourden.com
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Mar 15, 2010
I've had a lot of buyers that have not bought the perfect place for them because of a cemetary behind or across the street from a property. It can definitely be a turn-off for a buyer.
Web Reference: http://www.sellyourden.com
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Mar 15, 2010
Perception is reality. Your perception is real to you and everyone else has their perception. Location is just one factor in the purchase of a home yet for many it is often considered the most important. The better the location the higher the percentage of people who could see themselves living there. The worse the location the lower this percentage becomes. This will tie into Supply & Demand economics which will have a direct impact on Price. At the end of the day if you choose to live there forever it doesn't matter much because you like the location. If this is a short to medium term location for you then certainly weigh location more heavily.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Mar 9, 2010
Nope. Go find another home if you want to reap the maximam investment potential you want and deserve. No insult to the "passed away" , I didn't create the haunted mystique.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Mar 9, 2010
They are viewed as "BAD INVESTMENTS".

You may like it, quiet and pretty, but many buyers hate these places and will not buy a home that abuts or views a grave yard.

If you want this home, make sure that you get it at a great price. Otherwise, you will pay the price when it comes time to sell.

Bill P.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Mar 8, 2010
More details about the location: It's in Waltham abutting the north side of the Calvary Cemetery. That section of the cemetery is old and the new part where active burials usually take place are really far away.

Usually for lots of this size (below 5000 sq ft), the neighbor's house or garage would be tight up against the fence line. In this respect, the cemetery makes the lot seem larger (no structures looming against the back fence). A call to the Police department reveals that the cemetery is indeed very quiet as mentioned before (no one hangs out there because it's too open).
0 votes Thank Flag Link Fri Mar 5, 2010
Most buyers will feel that you have very quite neighbors. You will have certain cultures that will not live near a cemetery so that will eliminate some future buyers. I would probably take a 2-4% adjustment for living next to a cemetery and then call it a day. Hope your happy there. Best
0 votes Thank Flag Link Fri Mar 5, 2010
Hello I am going to answer your question, I have actually sold a home a few years back, The homes backyard backed up to the cemetery, the buyers had thought about the homes location , they thought about it and they figured that no developments could be built on that land, no pesty neighbors to deal with great place to walk their family dog, this one gets me, when their time came not a far trip for family to visit. They knew they were getting a great value on the home, just need to remember that there is home for everyone and you never know what motives a buyer. It could be worse could be next to a junk yard.

I saw them a few months back and they said that they made the right choice and they are very happy with the home and the location.

Karen Hover
Netherfield Properties
508 962 6990
Web Reference: http://www.karenhover.com/
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Mar 4, 2010
I am going to treat this with my patent, cop-out response: It Depends...
Practitioners of Feng Shui (and some of Western superstions as well) would argue bad mojo.
However, some people like the privacy, the quiet and the fact that their neighbor keeps their lawn in order (no joke).
As Tim Ambrose suggests below, he only way to know for sure if there is signifcant impact on resale is to have your market-saavy agent (or an appraiser) show you a comparative analysis. I think it is also important to consider and compare days on the market. Depending on your circumstances when you go to sell it is important to know if your area absorbs such a property at a similar rate to non-impacted properties. Else, this could still cost you in a case where you have to make a quick sale.
Another consideration should be how long you intend to hold the property. If this is where you intend to stay for the rest of your life, not a big issue. If this is a speculative buy of a starter home for you, it is best to do your homework on how your local market reponds to such a property.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Mar 4, 2010
The fact that you asked the question is evidence that there is a perception propblem. That perceptioin should be reflected in the value which should be built into the price. Many people live in areas others would not. If you like the property, it is likely that others will too.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Mar 4, 2010
Being that close to a cemetery, highway, train tracks, high tension power lines, cell phone towers, the town dump are ALL objections that will limit buyers and decrease price.

Cemeteries are haunted, druggies hang out there, you have the dead bodies contaminating the water supply.

great apple tree. Wonderful apples... then years later it is discovered that the trees roots are in the coffins. (said to be a true story)

We are thinking about putting a fence around the cemetery.
Why? Those that are in aren't getting out. And those that are out are in no hurry to get in.

That is a popular cemetery. How do you know? People are just dying to get in.

I am just saying, some people do not mind. Some never want to be close to one. It simply reduces your potential buying pool as you are thinking about it twice so will others in the future. Some will reject it immediately for being close to the cemetery.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Mar 3, 2010
Check to see how long property sets on the market.

Can you install a privacy fence for resale? Or how much can be seen? GREAT QUESTION, however a girlfriend of mine family home is built beside a cemetery it always scared me as a teenager .

Web Reference: http://www.lynn911.com
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Mar 3, 2010
Hey Mmyk 72,

Real estate 101, Location, Location, Location. While the place might work for you it will have a negative impact to some people and certain cultures. How many times has the property changed owners since being built? How has the value held up to other properties in the area. If the one you are interested in has sold for less that others, that is a good indication of the perception. Have your Realtor run some comps to get a picture of how the value has held up over time.

I hope this helps!

0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Mar 3, 2010
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