It may be hard to sell an apartment in this ever-deteriorating economy, but the business of reselling grave sites is booming. People who have lost their income or home are offering their final resting places to get some much needed cash fast.
And for those looking to plan ahead, many grave sites are available for a substantial discount.
The Hartford Courant: Baron Chu, who owns plotbrokers.com, a Los Angeles-based cemetery plot website, said calls have increased tenfold since 2008, mainly from cash-strapped people who have lost their jobs or are facing foreclosure.
“Originally, the calls were for selling, but after we had the local news do a story on us, more people are buying plots because they’ll pay 20 to 40 per cent below retail,” said Chu, who is licensed by the state to sell plots in California.
Chu said a woman who was laid off and on the verge of homelessness after facing a foreclosure recently sold her plot on his site. The money she made allowed her to pay for three months of rent.
Secondhand mausoleums are also selling at a discount but much like luxury apartments, lavish final resting places are struggling to find buyers. We’re sure the people selling them to get some much-needed cash are disappointed.
The granddaughter of William Bateman Leeds, a tin-plate magnet, has slashed the price for the Leeds mausoleum in the Bronx, N.Y. to $3.5 million from $5 million after seven years on the market. The tomb was Leeds’s final resting place for almost a century, before his offspring disentombed him and shipped him to Indiana. [For more creepy details, read the Times article.]
We don’t know whether it is listed as ‘mildly used’ but we hear that the Leeds’s mausoleum is the quite the find, featuring Italian marble, Gorham bronze door, and rays of meditative sunlight.
The New York Times: Despite attempts to sell the mausoleum in the years since, the property — as brokers often put it — has not moved.
“We’ve had a couple of ‘drive-bys,’ but no sustained commitment,” said Susan Olsen, executive director of Friends of the Woodlawn Cemetery, a nonprofit group that is overseeing the sale. “There’s a definite ‘ew’ factor involved. People freak out a little when they find that someone else has already been there.”
Buying a secondhand tomb is not a novelty. About 100 tombs (10%) at the Woodlawn cemetary have been transferred over the years.
Ms. Olsen points in particular to that of J. C. Penney, founder of the department store chain. It seems that Mr. Penney bought his from Mrs. Randolph Hearst for what Ms. Olsen called “a steal.”
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