Grave flippers

POSTED: Wednesday, October 5, 2011 - 11:53am

UPDATED: Thursday, October 6, 2011 - 11:12am

Holly Purkey is one of many Floridians trying to sell her pre-purchased burial plots for some quick cash.

She is selling two burial plots in Forest Hills Memorial Park in Palm City.

"This is new to me. Kind of a weird investment," said Purkey, of Port St. Lucie.

The side-by-side plots belonged to her grandparents, who had moved out of state.

She bought them seven years ago.

Now Purkey, a stay at home mother, wants this cemetery real estate off her hands.

She would like $3,000 for the pair of plots in return.

"The money would help. That's the reason why I should get these on Craigslist and do something about it," she said.

Sellers are posting online, using burial plot brokers, and also funeral homes to market the real estate.

Some of those advertisements show single plots starting at about $1,000, while family plots can go for up to $50,000.

Julian Almeida owns Palms West Funeral Home and Crematory in Royal Palm Beach.

When money gets tight in life, Almeida says many people begin to cut costs when it comes to planning for death.

"The cemetery is the part of the funeral that really has gone up drastically," said Almeida.

Almeida has been seeing more people trying to sell off their pre-purchased plots as well as veterans looking into government-financed burials.

More of Almeida's customers are skipping the burial altogether and opting for cremation, which makes up about 68% of his business. "It's sort of doubled in the past ten years," he said.

No offers have been made on Purkey's plots yet.

She is hopeful that will happen soon.

"Really they are no good to me right now and hopefully I won't need them anytime soon," she said.

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