Home Selling in Chester>Question Details

Amanda, Both Buyer and Seller in Chester, NJ

How do I put a price on land that isn't worth much to most but has a lot of value to a cemetery behind me?

Asked by Amanda, Chester, NJ Thu Jan 24, 2008

I want to sell a 1 acre plot located at the back of my property to the cemetery behind me. While the assessment isn't much because it is not buildable ($15K-$25K) for a house, it can be a potential profit of $1M for the cemetery for additional plots. I have no idea what I can ask for it! THanks for your help!

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You could perform a discounted cash flow analysis of the revenue stream that the cemetary could expect. Try to find a valuation specialist.
1 vote Thank Flag Link Fri Jun 6, 2008
Unless you are building mausoleums or columbaria (buildings with niches for cremains) on that that acre, the land is not worth nearly that much. Presuming that you have precisely one acre (43560 square feet), roughly two thirds of that land is not buildable for cemetery plots, although you can increase the occupancy somewhat you allowing two people to be buried in a single-width, double-depth plot. Pennsylvania also requires concrete vaults to be used for burials, increasing the size required for the burial plot.

The suitability of land for various types of burial varies. Presuming that the size of the plot required for burial plus a contribution to spacing between plots is 10' X 10', you have at most 435 plots. If your land is not perfectly rectangular, this will reduce the number of plots that can be fit into your land. Another thing to consider is the price of burial plots in that area of the cemetery. If it is a newer and more desired area, the cemetery might be willing to pay somewhat more. The cemetery will also have to develop your land, installing drainage and making other modifications. such as extending the fence to enclose your property . Suppose that the cost of a plot in the area of the cemetery that adjoins your home is $250. This makes the value of the sold-out, fully-developed lot about $100,000. If I had plans to expand that cemetery, I would not offer you more than $25K for your land, presuming that I can pack as many plots into it as possible and don't have to give up any land to extend existing roads inside the cemetery to your lot. Unless the cemetery is both sold-out and conducting regular burials, your land is worth no more than what you would get for it as a regular building lot. You want relatively flat land to use for burial plots. If it is not buildable for regular construction, it might not be that useful for burial plots. Your best cue that that the land has value to the cemetery is an offer from them to buy your land.

One thing that hurts you is that cemeteries are in consolidation, as is the death care industry. Stoneridge Partners, a real estate investment trust that is publicly traded under the symbol STON is buying something like 10 cemeteries and a few funeral parlors for a total of $10.2M. These are fully developed cemeteries. They may be worth less because many of the plots are already sold.

You might get some cash for selling the land,but wind up depressing the value of your house because a lot of people might not want to live next to a cemetery, particularly one the is right next door.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed May 11, 2011
The value of raw land is, as you surmise, difficult to determine. In Chester, in the past 2 years, therre have been only 2 land transactions recorded for comparison purposes. The prices for those properties ranged between $100,000 to $200,000 per acre, but were very small lots (around 1/20th of an acre each). If you have a full acre, which would be of value to a buyer, I would expect to price it accordingly. Feel free to call me directly if you want to talk about ways to get the most for your property. There are half a dozen or so vacant lot properties on the market right now, and they typically fall into that price range, unless they are in the area of the waterfront redevelopment. Some of those properties are listed around $400,000 per acre.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Fri Jun 6, 2008
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