The Official RealEstateAgent.com Blog

9297

Last updated: June 25, 2020 • Real Estate Investing

Does Living Near a Cemetery Affect Home Value?

You might be tempted to go with the flow and give “Yes!” as an answer to this question. Location does have an impact on any property’s value and it’s very interesting to see how graveyards shape the real estate market. Cemeteries are like a magnet with two poles – some are attracted to them, others find them appalling.  

Some home buyers want to move away from the bustling city and homes around a graveyard usually provide the silence and the tranquillity they are after and are at the top of their list. Living next to a cemetery guarantees quiet neighbors (literally) and no noise complaints. Young people don’t mind living near a resting place, but the elderly, they don’t want to constantly be reminded of their next stop. So, how do houses near a cemetery behave from a real estate agent’s perspective?

Living near a cemetery: pros and cons

Hollywood Forever Cemetery board from corner street

Buying a house near a cemetery may have an adverse effect on the home selling process in the future. Although living near a cemetery doesn’t automatically affect the home’s price, it does have the potential to drive down home prices. This is largely based on people’s personal beliefs and superstitions. Many people consider it taboo to live near a graveyard. If prospective home buyers don’t like the idea of living near a cemetery, then it can make the home selling process much more difficult.

Living near a cemetery doesn’t really affect your home’s value, instead, it shrinks the market. What does this mean? Due to cultural reasons, Indians and Asians do not want to live near a cemetery and this translates into fewer buyers who would consider purchasing such a property. For example, Chinese people only visit cemeteries one time a year, during Qingming (Tomb-Sweeping Day) and believe that it negatively alters the feng-shui and attracts bad energies. Indians hold similar beliefs, too. Hinduism and Vaastu greatly influence their buying behavior. For example, when the Beaverton School District wanted to build a new elementary school across the road from Bethany Presbyterian Cemetery, Indian parents raised an eyebrow. For them, cemeteries are places that are best avoided. Muslims believe the same and fear Jinn or Ghoul.

A house near a graveyard might stay longer on the market, waiting for a buyer – up to 48 days, according to Redfin. But it can also sell for a better price. There are not many statistics related to this, but a Redfin study from 2013 had revealed that homes near a cemetery are usually smaller but slightly pricier. After all, with so much greenery and trees, cemeteries are a pump of oxygen. And in some areas, it is safe to walk or do some physical activity, especially if you don’t have a home gym. In other regions, during the Toussaint day, graveyards turn into a celebration of the afterlife when thousands of candles are lit to light the path of the deceased and for a few hours, the scene is mesmerizing.

Another great thing about cemeteries is that the area is very unlikely to change in the future. Cemeteries are like a border or – to put it even better – a time trap. Here, things don’t change too fast and people who prefer stability and timeless values will not be disturbed by the idea of having a graveyard next door.

What hurts property value?

an old house that looks haunted and scary

Toussaint is following another world-famous holiday – Halloween – celebrated on the last day of October. While it is no longer perceived as a pagan holiday, its Celtic origins are. Apart from celebrating the end of summer, the Celts believed that the ghosts of the dead revisited the Earth. To this day, many people are fascinated with the occult and believe in evil spirits or supernatural powers. What could really decrease the value of a property? The news that it might be haunted or that there takes place some kind of poltergeist activity drastically reduces the price. And many even remain deserted, like The Sallie House (Atchison, KA).

What makes property values decrease? Murders, suicides or stories of unusual deaths. Even more so if the property is close to a cemetery. Nobody wants to live in a house that could easily be the set of a horror movie. You must be a really brave real estate investor to purchase a house with an eerie and blurry history. No matter how hard you try, you will never be able to cover the past. Even if you improve the curb appeal with the best home improvements and landscaping, a mischievous allusion from one of your neighbors could ruin any attempt to sell such a property.

Ironically, there is a demand for horror stories and the ones who would never live in a house near a cemetery have watched all the horror movies release to date. But only a few of them cash in on unsolved crimes and mysteries. Is it possible to turn something evil into a profitable business? Yes, for sure! No matter how strange it sounds, there are people who make a lot of money by exploiting properties that give uncanny feelings and thrills. For example, those looking for some shivers down the spine can spend a night in the Villisca Axe Murder House (Villisca, IA) for over $400.

Who said that a grim past cannot increase a property’s market value? This is the case of LaLaurie House (New Orleans, LA) located in the French Quarter of New Orleans. Madame Delphine LaLaurie used to find satisfaction in mistreating her slaves and she often went far beyond cruelty.  Before losing the home to foreclosure in 2009, actor Nicolas Cage owned the house for a while but was listed for sale in 2009 for $3.5 million due to foreclosure. That house is not near a cemetery. It actually has a cemetery in itself because Madame LaLaurie had been a serial killer. However, this property has also been the epitome of beauty and high class back in the 19th century – a sweet-sour combination that fascinates wealthy buyers. As the new owner, composer Michael Whalen invited interior designer Katie Scott to rethink the interiors.

When do you know that someone’s taken evil to the next level? When they are turning a haunted house into a bed and breakfast. This is the case of the current owners of Lizzie Borden House & Museum (Fall River, MA). It is believed that Lizzie Borden got away unpunished for murdering her parents on August 4, 1892. Now, 126 years later, it remains “America’s biggest unsolved murder mystery”. People can tour this house for $20/adult. Then, there is the Winchester House (San Jose, CA) –  with daily tours priced between $20 and $49; Farnsworth House Inn (Gettysburg, PA), and Ferry Plantation House (Virginia Beach, VA).

Why people avoid living near a cemetery?

  • Hollywood manipulation
horror movie image from a cemetery with a zombie hand getting outside from ground

Of course, Hollywood has it’s part in this story. All those zombie movies have increased the fear of living near a cemetery and stigmatized a place that represents a resting place for our loved ones after all. Horror movies that depict paranormal activity and behavior also turn people off. The top 3 horror movies of 2018 sold almost 52,000,000 tickets! Fifty-two million brains (re)programmed to think in a certain way. Hollywood is responsible for some devastating herd mentality not only in the US but also abroad.

  • Religious beliefs

One of the most obvious reasons behind the buyer’s avoidance, strong-held religious beliefs, and cultural inheritance make real estate developments near cemeteries less appealing. For Muslims, for example, not only the location of the property is the problem, but also the fact that they cannot purchase it with a mortgage. The Koran forbids the payment of interest so the purchase of a house usually follows the road less traveled.

  • Fear of losing money

From the beginning, the pool of potential buyer is considerably smaller. Home buyers who are not sure how long they’ll live in a certain place are usually concerned about the potential to recover all their money if they have to sell sooner. Due to all the pros and cons of living near a cemetery, the price of a house near a cemetery might have to be reduced if it doesn’t sell quickly. And nobody wants to lose money. Nevertheless, this kind of properties is an open door for house flippers.

  • Fear of pain and sorrow

Living next to a cemetery means also spotting hearses or funeral cars, mourning families and crying children. So much sorrow and grief, although temporary, could become a burden for someone who is very empathetic, caring or introverted. Some home buyers want to stay away from anything that could cause depression or melancholy, while others simply don’t want to unearth old painful memories such as the loss of a baby or loved one.

In short, what increases or decreases a property’s value? People’s mentality. To change your reality, you have to change your mentality. And then you will be able to appreciate better the price of a property.

Cities where you can buy a home near a cemetery

Now that we have touched on some of the aspects that affect the value of homes near the cemetery, let’s take a look at some of the cities and areas that commonly sell homes in the vicinity of a cemetery. Here are some of the cities with the highest number of homes listed for sale near a cemetery.

Chicago, IL

You would expect a city as big as Chicago to be on our list, and according to redfin, there were about 115 homes listed for sale near the cemetery. Most of the homes listed were in the area of Mt. Greenwood where the St. Casimir Catholic Cemetery is located. Out of the 115 results, 77 were listed for sale in this specific area.

The median home price in Chicago is about $250,000 and if you decide to buy a home near a cemetery you will probably find homes on the cheaper side. You can always use the aspects highlighted in this article as a tool to negotiate the price. Contact our top real estate agents in Chicago, IL for more information on housing near cemeteries.

Bentonville, AR

Unlike other cities, Bentonville and other cities around it have a reputation as far as ghost stories and hauntings go. If you like spooky adventure or have never heard of all the haunted houses in Arkansas you missed all the fun. This city and the area around offer some of the most thrilling Halloween experiences, if your into it, and the real hauntings surrounding cemeteries and abandoned homes around are of major interest for tourists.

Even though most of it’s haunted stories are embedded in the culture since tourism is promoted mostly through these aspects, it is quite a peaceful place to live and for some, it might be to slow-paced. Unlike other homes near cemeteries here in Bentonville, you might find them to be more expensive than usual. Arguably, a good haunting story that attracts enthusiasts of the sort might be willing to pay more for a home in the vicinity of a cemetery.

Have one of the best real estate agents in Bentonville, give you some advice on buying homes in the area. Therefore, you can have a quiet and peaceful life that is far from what some of the stories of haunted houses might suggest.

Arlington, VA

While some cemeteries give you chills at night and they tend to push away home buyers, not the same can be said about Arlington National Cemetery. This cemetery has been rated as one of the most beautiful cemeteries in the world. Sadly it is the burial ground for more than 400,000 U.S. veterans and their families, along with the grave of John F. Kennedy,

The immaculate lawns along with the perfectly lined up gravestones and centuries-old trees make this cemetery a place of beauty. It is a cemetery and a reminder of the fallen soldiers that gave their lives on the battlefield, but a cemetery can be a beautiful burial ground for all these heroes, and the Arlington National Cemetery is just that.

Unlike other places, some of the top real estate agents in Arlington, VA will tell you that home close to the cemetery doesn’t come cheap as you would expect.  Beauty comes at a cost, and that is reflected in the high median home price in Arlington that is about $600,000.

Canton, GA

If you find yourself looking for a home in Georgia the cemeteries are soothing sight rather than a frightening experience. The Cherokee Memorial park is a beautiful cemetery and the team managing the park put a lot of effort into maintaining the park and providing good services to anyone reaching out to them. Also, Macedonia Memorial Park is a funeral home and cemetery with eleven gardens that hold beautifully marble statues and funeral stones in a natural landscape that is calm and peaceful.

Also, if you find yourself looking for a home in Georgia, Altlanta has one of the highest numbers of homes for sale near a cemetery in the USA. Also, Bonaventure is a cemetery located in Savannah that is renowned for its beauty, with moss-veiled angels and live oaks, that form a breathtaking view.

Some of the best real estate agents in Canton will surely tell you all about homes near the cemetery and how well they keep the value in spite of the location.

Do cemeteries have a smell?

People who never had to spend much time in the proximity of a cemetery will probably have many concerns when first moving near one. The thing that probably throws off many people is the smell of the dead. All of us probably at some point in our lives had to endure such a smell and living near a cemetery raises the question of whether you will have to endure the same smell.

Well luckily, you won’t have to deal with any bad smell when going or living near a cemetery. The bodies are buried about 6 feet deep in the ground and it is practically impossible for the smell to reach open air. Also, modern caskets are very well sealed and that makes it even more impossible to feel any unpleasant odor. Some of the bodies are buried for a very long time and way pass the smelling point. 

If you had read about some of the cities mentioned in this article you will see that some of the cemeteries in these cities are renowned for their beauty. I doubt any bad smelling cemetery would have a place on the list of the most beautiful cemeteries in the world. You don’t have to worry about any bad smells if you plan to live in the vicinity of a cemetery.

print

9 Responses to " Does Living Near a Cemetery Affect Home Value? "

  1. Melissa says:

    Interesting article. Never thought about it til now but i wouldn’t want to buy a home next to a cemetery.

  2. We are currently building a spec home (converting an old church to a home) next to a cemetery. The cemetery is actually quite beautiful and will never be developed. many people use the well cared for road for their daily walk in a quiet, peaceful setting. We love it!

  3. Debby says:

    Lived near a historic cemetery and loved the peacefulness and beauty. I can see where others may have issues.

  4. Sandy says:

    I live next door to a cemetary and love it. I never have to worry about a noisy, messy or nosey neighbor. It is quiet and peaceful. I actually prefer my location to being surrounded by neighbors.

  5. Stan says:

    Homes within 100 feet of a cemetery are actually worth more per square foot, according to a Redfin study.

  6. Jane Olinger says:

    What is the seller’s and agent’s Disclosure requirement regarding the proximity of a cemetery or proposed cemetery…
    The builder?…The seller?
    Thank you.

    • Ovidiu Tarnaceanu says:

      Hi, Jane!

      I’m not fully understanding your question. Please elaborate a bit so we can provide an answer. Also, feel free to give us a call 1-866-495-4953, or get in touch with us via live chat.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

%d bloggers like this: