Living next to a cemetery has its pros and cons

Buyers who realize the home listing they are perusing is next to a cemetery may be prompted to think of the classic 1982 horror movie "Poltergeist." Near the end of that film, it is revealed that the haunted house of the protagonist is built on land that was once a graveyard – and that the developer moved the headstones, but failed to relocate the bodies.

Even if they aren't worried about malevolent spirits, buyers may still be scared away from a property located adjacent to a cemetery. At the same time, many people have discovered that these residences have a number of benefits. Some homeowners have even taken to residing in former caretakers' homes located within the cemetery, joking that they live in a gated community.

Another bit of dark humor illustrates one of the biggest benefits of living next to a cemetery: you have a lot of neighbors, but they sure are quiet. Jeanne Sagar, writing for the National Association of Realtors, says buyers are often unpleasantly surprised to find that they have moved in next to raucous or inconsiderate neighbors. The dead tend to keep to themselves, so a cemetery is a comparatively peaceful place to have next door.

You'll still need to be prepared for some activity if the cemetery is active, however. This will include funeral processions, earth movers used to dig graves, and noise from lawn mowers or other maintenance equipment.

Cemeteries will also have people drop in during their open hours. Family members pay respect to a loved one, and community groups plant flags on the graves of veterans. Leslie Mann, writing for the Chicago Tribune, says larger cemeteries have even attracted tour groups to visit famous graves and take rubbings of headstones.

In general, these visitors are respectful and will not be permitted into the cemetery after sunset. However, buyers may feel that they have less privacy if there are no shrubs or other barriers between the cemetery and their home.

While some older graveyards have fallen into disrepair, active ones are typically well-maintained. The site is landscaped to have an attractive layout of trees, hedges, and other natural features. Grounds crews work to mow the grass, trim branches, and otherwise keep the cemetery looking nice.

This work often makes living next to a cemetery akin to having a home next to a park. It is almost certain that the site will remain open space and not given over to development. Families may find it an interesting experience to peruse the graves, or to walk, jog, or ride bikes on the paths that wind through the cemetery.

Still, some buyers might be uncomfortable with the idea of being so close to a cemetery. Even if you aren't worried about ghosts wandering over to haunt the home, you may not like the idea of living next to a reminder of one's mortality.

There are conflicting ideas on how the proximity to a cemetery affects its appeal on the market. The National Association of Realtors determined that these homes typically sold for 12 percent less than comparable properties – making them a steal for buyers, but a potential drag when it comes time to sell. Christin Camacho, writing for the real estate site Redfin, says the company determined that being near a cemetery didn't result in lower home values, but that these homes spent more time on the market.

If you are considering a home located near a cemetery, it can be helpful to inquire about how the site is maintained. Mann says you might ask questions such as how many funerals are held there and how many plots are left.


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