How to Choose and Purchase a Burial Plot

Hannah Halberstam
February 18, 2021
How to Choose and Purchase a Burial Plot

Planning a funeral is stressful. When a loved one passes without their arrangements in order, one must prepare a funeral while simultaneously mourning their loss. Choosing and purchasing a burial plot is a highly important part of this process, as it directly affects the future of one’s bereavement experience. A decision made in haste can potentially lead to paying a high fee to bury a loved one in a less than desirable location. Despite any external pressure from family members to rush the process, consider the following prior to your purchase, once you’ve chosen a cemetery.

Plot Preference

There are various types of burial plots to choose from. Before automatically deciding to pick a standard single depth plot, ensure that the deceased does not have a family plot or a pre-purchased double depth space that they would want to be buried in. If they do have a family plot, make sure that there is enough room there to accommodate them. This is an important first step, as much depends on the type of plot that one chooses.

Headstone or Marker?

A traditional burial plot includes a monument, which is a headstone with the deceased’s name and date of birth and death engraved on its surface. One can decide to purchase a burial marker instead. These markers are usually found in memorial parks. They lay flat on the ground, and portray the same information as a monument. 

Location, Location, Location

Unfortunately, real estate location isn’t only a consideration during this lifetime. You probably want your loved one to be in a location that is both aesthetically appealing, and well taken care of. Unfortunately, such locations are the city penthouses of the afterlife, which means that you might often find yourself paying top dollar. Do your research when it comes to this step. Often, buying multiple plots at once reduces cost, and allows for loved ones to be buried near each other in the future. Before falling in love with a specific location, ensure that there is availability, and that it’s within your budget. Also, be sure that it isn’t in a busy section, or an outside plot that will see a lot of traffic. This will increase the wear and tear of the plot, as well as disturb your peace when you visit. 

Accessibility matters. What will the visiting experience be like, especially for older family members or those who are less mobile? Are there hills or uncomfortable curbs that might make the location wheelchair inaccessible, or uncomfortable to reach? Are headstones densely packed with no room for a wheelchair to get through to the resting place? See our post on cemetery accessibility for more. 


Ask for a detailed price sheet so that you can have it in front of you, and compare it with other options. There are many added costs to keep in mind, such as a grave liner, which will generally cost between $700-$10,000 as well as fees to open and close a plot, prepare for funeral service, back-fill the ground, and landscape. Remember, pre-planning allows for better pricing, as it gives you time to shop around to find the best option. 


Be sure to always take some time for yourself, despite the stress and pain that you might feel. And if you end up burying your loved one far from where you live, take comfort in AFTR - your eternal connection, no matter where you may be.