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Would you buy next to a cemetary?

Posted by kimcoco (My Page) on
Sun, Apr 5, 09 at 20:03

We are in a situation where even though we are in a down market, we would consider selling to get away from an emotionally disturbed neighbor. We are currently on 1/8 acre lots - we love our home, but have absolutely no privacy.

We are looking at a home in the suburbs, a 1949 farmhouse on an acre lot, on a cul de sac next to a cemetary. There are only four homes on that street, a historical landmark, the church and a cemetary. The homeowner lot itself is tree lined. Next to us is a corn field, the property owner has 25 acres and rents to local farmers. He doesn't ever plan to sell off the land for builders, but anything can happen.

There are million dollar homes going up in the area - land purchased by high-end builders, and beautiful, beautiful homes way out of our league.

This home is a major fixer upper. We said we'd never do it again...but....it is appealing with the potential it has. We have put so much work into our current (first) home, but we value our sanity with this ridiculous neighbor, and we're young enough that we could sell and start over. People go back and forth about selling in a down market, but my response is that we're also buying in a down market. You'll never have the best of both worlds. Todays market is perfect for first time home buyers, but that's not us.

The home has hardwood floors throughout, looks structurally sound other than work I'm mentioning below, but we'd give it a cosmetic facelift inside and out - paint, awnings, landscaping, etc. It could be quite quaint and charming with a little TLC.

We were told by the realtor that the sellers are willing to come down on price based on the work needed.

The work needed:

New windows. I've read this can be very expensive, but I don't need top of the line energy efficient windows for $50-60k. Simple wooden double hung windows would suffice. I counted maybe a total of 24 double hung windows?

A new or improved garage; if we're lucky we can work with fixing the existing garage if there are any structural issues that can be resolved.

A sump pump; I've read installing is *easy* (yeah, right)and relatively inexpensive with a little sweat labor.

Bathroom needs a complete remodel, and a second bath would need to be added. The possibility for including an addition on the home is very practical - plenty of space to expand, and of course, we'd add on to the kitchen as this is where we'd get the most value.

Driveway. Current driveway is gravel. We'd have to add a concrete driveway. I have no idea the costs involved with this.

Some dislikes are that it has well water and a septic tank, a fieldstone basement, and we'd HAVE to add a second bath. The cemetary itself doesn't bother me...the more privacy the better, but wondering if this affects the resale value or if this is just personal preference? The house itself does not face the cemetary.

It is a wonderful opportunity home, but a major fixer upper. Given all the things mentioned, please feel free to talk me in or out of this one. I'm simply toying with the idea, and the fact that million dollar homes are going up just a block away is VERY appealing to me.

Thoughts??????


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: Would you buy next to a cemetary?

If I were buying a home, I'd consider having a cemetery next door a positive, not a negative. It's like a park, but without the noise. I've also found that cemeteries attract lots of lovely wildlife due to their privacy.

The million dollar homes a block away would be the turn-off to me.

You sound savy enough to determine what you do/don't want to bite into in the way of repairs.


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RE: Would you buy next to a cemetary?

I'm not following why million dollar homes in the neighborhood would be a turn-off???

It is better to have the smallest house in a neighborhood of larger, more valuable homes as opposed to having the largest house on the block - the largest house will never appreciate like the smaller lesser value homes. In other words, it is unlikely to ever lose money on this home long term.

What am I missing here?


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RE: Would you buy next to a cemetary?

kimcoco, I'll just guess about the million dollar home issue and can be corrected if wrong. Many times you see these McMansion neighborhoods go in with strings of million dollar homes, (all basically the same). They tend to lose value quickly, and when built, take existing home values down as well because the type of people looking at those homes or to try to live up to the lifestyle of those buyers don't want a ratty old home built in the 40's.

Myself, I want a ratty old home built in the 40's :oP Or before heh heh There are certain people who want old homes, and certain people who don't. The McMansion folks won't even consider your home, and if you're the only home in the neighborhood of McMansions, than the McMansions will hurt your home value quite a bit. But it that neighborhood is a bit away, and the street you are on has historical integrity to support the charm of your home, than you're ok.

I have very fond memories of playing the the next door cemetary when I was a child. We picked flowers for all of our imiganiry friends in the cemetary (normally children who'd died and anyone with a cool tombstone). We played hide and seek between the stones. And we had FABULOUS birthday parties because they always included a walk through the cemetary (a scary horror of unimaginable wonderful proportion for a 10 year old girl). As an adult...i'd enjoy the peace of the area frankly, and would probably still pick flowers for my friends in the cemetary :) (Anyone left ignored without flowers). I'd enjoy learning about my "neighbors" by looking up their history...heck I'd love it! Not a deterent at all!


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RE: Would you buy next to a cemetary?

Not everyone views their home as an investment and may just want to be in a nice, stable neighborhood. A fixer-upper near expensive homes usually indicates a neighborhood in transition. That may be an opportunity to make some money, but it doesn't scream "place to grow old in."

As for the cemetery, the 3 most important things in real estate are... location, location, location. Near an improving area is a plus. Next to a cemetery is a minus - at least in terms of resale. Many buyers won't even consider it. That doesn't mean you won't be getting a great deal or be able to make money on the purchase in the long run, but it will limit your future market when you go to sell.


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RE: Would you buy next to a cemetary?

I wouldn't mind that sort of location at all. As far as a fixer goes, it all depends on you and what you are willing to put into it.


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RE: Would you buy next to a cemetary?

I don't think being near to a cemetery is a turnoff - at least you know your neighbors will be quiet.

I'd also suggest that if you do go with this new/old house, think twice and three times about replacing the windows. If this house has the original windows, you can spend alot less to restore them PLUS you'll maintain the historical integrity of the home. Your page indicates you are in WI - there are window restoration folks in the Twin Cities if you need referrals.

Good luck in your decision.


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RE: Would you buy next to a cemetary?

You all may laugh at me, but from a Feng Shui point of view, it is not 'auspicious' to buy next to a cemetary. You also might want to look at how the previous people in this house lived. Were they happy? O.k. finacially? I've bought & sold 7 houses and it's interesting to see how your patterns sometimes mirror the patterns of the people who lived there before. In other words,try to get the 'vibes' of the house before you make a move. One more thing...I would never buy a house that 'needs' a sump pump. What does 'needing' a sump pump tell you right off the bat?


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RE: Would you buy next to a cemetary?

Probably not.but my mother always said.
its not the dead you need to worry about..


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RE: Would you buy next to a cemetery?

Not only would a cemetery not stop me from buying it would be a plus to me.


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RE: Would you buy next to a cemetary?

For those who missed a childhood filled with frolicking among the headstones and talking to their dead imaginary friends, living next to a cemetery may be not so attractive an opportunity.

That's why homes near fields of the dead sell for less than homes elsewhere. When I was a real estate broker I'd often see a listing with a great price until I saw it backed onto one of the many small cemeteries in the city.

BTW, some cemeteries are not so quiet at night as they become scenes of teenage debauchery and vandalism.


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RE: Would you buy next to a cemetary?

I think everyone's feelings have been valid and it all boils down to what you consider a benefit or liability. The reason I'd rather live next door to a cemetery than a cornfield, is that the cemetery isn't going anywhere soon. It's never going to be turned into an apartment complex or mall in the near future. It's never going to be foreclosed upon when a recession hit, either.

Igloochic came pretty darned close to what I was saying. I live in a rural area and put up with all the negatives of such in order to reap the positives. To me, the McMansions are like scabs on the hillsides and are a detraction from the ambiance of a rural bucolic lifestyle. They are always "in your face" and never placed in inconspicuous places to blend in with nature. They are lit up like carnivals so we can see them 24/7 and bask in their glory. LOL. It's just a personal thing and it's alright if someone else doesn't share my feelings.

The old farmhouses on the larger lots near the new mansions close to town are sort of viewed as the poor cousins, despite how lovely they are. In and of themselves they are wonderful entities, but in those areas are considered the 'poor cousins' and the property taxes, because of the development, have gone from modest to prohibitive. That's something to consider with zoning and new schools. And believe me they'll go up. Somebody will look at your beautiful old home and all they'll see is an acre lot where a new mansion could be built if you would only sell. LOL.

I am quite familiar with the concept of location, location, location. I've bought and sold properties all my adult life and agree in principle. I'm just saying that there are a contingent of people who value the quality and history of old homes but old homes maintain their integrity and value best if kept in their original milieu.

Having mega homes built nearby shouldn't hinder a purchase, but in this case, I don't think the glory of a Million dollar home rubs off by proximity to someone specifically wanting a restored historical structure. It's a niche market if that is what you buy real estate for. If it's a forever home, then that just means you base your decision on your values. To me, expensive new homes nearby isn't a positive. I'd prefer my old home to be in an environment where it doesn't stick out as an oddity.


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RE: Would you buy next to a cemetary?

For me, living next to a cemetery wouldn't be a deterrent at all, it would be a plus. However, I think that myself and the people here are a minority. If this is a house that you would love, and will live in for a long time, then I think it is worth it- if this is a house that is strictly an investment, then I think you should decide against it.

I just want to chime in about the windows- although it was in vogue for awhile to swap out old windows, they are actually beginning to be a negative in a home (like siding is now more of a negative than a plus). Replacing the windows rarely makes that much of a difference in the insulation of a home (the walls are usually the real problem), and new windows last only a small portion of the time that the old windows do. Plus, for future resale, most likely the people who wouldn't mind living next to a cemetery would dramatically prefer old windows!

Another quick note is that while it's considered a cold market, if you price your home right, there is so little on the market, it will probably sell quickly. Three friends of mine put their homes on the market for reasonable prices and sold them within a week- it was harder for each of them to find a house to buy because there was so little on the market.


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RE: Would you buy next to a cemetary?

Let me chime in on the sump pump :) They're NOT a big deal. We have one in both of our town houses for the restrooms on the lower levels. We live on a hill and they're necessary for the areas at the very bottom of the hill to get the "sump" pumped up to the sewer system.

I also had one earlier in life in a home that needed to have it's septic field a bit aways from the ususal location due to poor soil issues. (Not bad ground, just not good for septic and too close to the well). No biggie at all again. Having it professional replaced costs (with the pump) just a few hundred bucks.

You want to have the septic field and the well inspected as part of your purchase offer and likely by an expert in those areas verses a general home inspector, but in itself, a sump pump and a well aren't bad things. I actually miss the quality of our well water every day (city water with goober in it isn't great to drink)


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RE: Would you buy next to a cemetary?

Ditto the sumps. It is very much geographically defined as to whether they are necessary or are an afterthought. In some areas, all homes have them. In other's it's a matter of not integrating the foundation properly or grading, but you can't just look at them in a cellar and think something is 'wrong'.

Yes, wells should be tested before you purchase and get a clean bill of health. Some wells in homes what have not been lived in will test poorly but can be 'shocked' and cleaned up. But don't depend on shocking a well with chlorine to remediate a problem. It will only clean up a well system with safe water. The septic is a high price fix if it's not functioning properly.

We have spring water, and also an irrigation well. I wouldn't trade my spring water for ANY public water supply anywhere. It's wonderful water and the well, coming from a different aquifer is also very wonderful water. We had to install a septic system. It was just a cobbled up mess. But some locations are spec-ing out different systems and the prices can be exorbitant if you need to replace a system.

This is the fifth house I've owned over a hundred years old, and you can add half a dozen more if you include those my parents have owned or lived in. I understand your desire to have a vintage one, as can most of the folks who frequent this forum. Wish you luck in whatever your decision is. It's exciting.


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RE: Would you buy next to a cemetary?

Well....I live next to a very old cimetery visited by deers and ruffled grouse and hares and absolutely love it....and before I forget I have a sump pump which is a must in the Spring here.

Would love to have million dollar houses around me because my modest house would go up in value.

Anice


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RE: Would you buy next to a cemetary?

Location is largely a matter of personal taste. The necessary fixups you mention are not, so...

Autumngal is absolutely right about replacement windows.IMHO the overhyped,oversold replacement window stuff borders on outright fraud. Windows circa 1949 were probably better made than most on the market today. You also don't need to pay a window restoration company. Reputtying, insulating, adding quality exterior storm windows if needed and removable interior storm windows are all DIY projects which will result in high efficiency windows.

Make sure you really need a sump pump. Many houses of this era had gravity cellar drains which can plug over time. There may be one in your cellar that can be restored. A back up sump pump is easy to install, in any case.

The thing I would check must carefully is the foundation. Fieldstone foundations have advantages and disadvantages, and most usually need repointing over time if they are mortared.


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RE: Would you buy next to a cemetary?

we did! we live in an older house that is downhill from the cemetery. it did give our daughter the creeps but now she is used to it. our particular cemetery has a gate and is not reallly accessible to people after 8 PM. also, you can't see it from our house...but people do know it's there. i am sure it could be a factor in selling....

actually what struck me about your post was the windows. older homes have so many windows and they are so, so expensive. especially wood, and especially if they are not a standard size.

the field next door could be a concern, especially if the zoning changes and the farmer is no longer allowed to farm there (basically forced to sell for development). if that happened, what would be the minimum lot size they would allow and how would that affect privacy?

good luck
kren


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RE: Would you buy next to a cemetary?

Windows:
I renovated the old wooden double-hungs in our previous 1926 home by myself, and it was not very difficult.
Once you get the hand of popping off the trim and removing them, it's easy to re-hand the counterweights on new sash cord (make sure you buy proper sash cord, not clothes line, or it will stretch too much) and re-glaze the windows. Mine were in horrific shape and hadn't been painted or repaired in about 40 years, still, it was not the worst reno project i have done by far! Set up some saw horses in the basement, driveway, or garage, pop them out and go to it.

A hardware store will cut new panes to size for you. Mine had many panes of original wavy glass which I left intact.

If you decide to get replacements, I wouldn't go through all the bother if you're not getting double-pane glass. But nice, wooden Anderson double-pane windows are about twice what the cheapie all-vinyl ones cost. I have both types in my new house and the vinyl ones look so awful. They also decrease the amount of light since the frames add several more inches.

In our old house we opted to restore the old windows and add good-quality aluminum triple-track storms. I have to say, though, that it was a drafty cold house. If they're old double-hungs, they're going to have the hollow sides for the weights, therefore no insulation there. Perhaps there is a way to convert old windows to a new sliding system, and fill the cavities with insulation? Something to look into...


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RE: Would you buy next to a cemetary?

My .02 cents....

After listening to my next door neighbor's drunken all weekend party with AC/DC blasting and playing the same song over and over and over....my new fantasy is living next to a cemetary!

That doesn't even include my 'emotionally disturbed' crazy neibhors who live on the other side of me!

Heck, living in the middle of a cemetary would be even better!!!!


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RE: Would you buy next to a cemetary?

Saintpfla, I'm with you on this one. I'd take a cemetary hands down over my freaky neighbor. LOL

I've actually walked my dog a few times at night through our local cemetary (I don't let him do his business there, just for the record), but nothing interesting to speak of, just very peaceful.


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I can see our local cemetery (specifically the Civil War headstones) from my 2nd floor balcony. I wish I lived closer!


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RE: Would you buy next to a cemetary?

There are a couple of aspects to the question. The most important one is property value vs what you're willing to put into the house. That's the easiest question to answer. If it is a good investment, then by all means buy it.

The second aspect is the spiritual one. Lots of folks are afraid of cemeteries. They believe they're haunted and that ghosts will just wander on over to your place. As an amatuer paranormal investigator, I can say that in my experience, cemeteries can indeed be haunted. But the spirits that reside there are attached to their bodies and aren't going to wander away to come visit you. Most of the time cemeteries are just empty, peaceful places. My best advice for folks visiting a cemetery or any other place they feel is "haunted" is to make sure when you leave that you state that nothing is allowed to come with you. All energy has to stay there. If you buy the house you can always put up shields to keep out negative energy. I'd actually suggest that to you now considering you're in a bad spot with crazy neighbors.

Kelle


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RE: Would you buy next to a cemetary?

Two words: Zombie Apocalypse


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RE: Would you buy next to a cemetary?

I would have a hard time bathing and drinking water from a well next to a cemetary. The thoughts of decaying bodies so close to the water would never leave my mind.


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RE: Would you buy next to a cemetary?

Oh gosh, I've never thought of that. Glad we decided against. LOL.


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RE: Would you buy next to a cemetary?

dvdfrnzwbr-
One should probably be more concerned about pesticides and toxic chemicals that may be in the well water than any animals -- human or otherwise -- decomposing near the surface of the ground.


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RE: Would you buy next to a cemetary?

The farm we live on has a cemetery on it, and 40 graves of the original late 18th-early 19th c owners of the property. I find it very restful to visit; it reminds me that whatever has me in a tizzy is pretty transitory and won't matter a whit in another 100 years. We plan to be buried in an area adjacent to the old cemetery.

L.


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RE: Would you buy next to a cemetary?

Let me be the tenth or twentieth (I lost count) pro-cemetery vote. Most cemeteries are not only quiet, but beautiful: trees, beautiful old gravestones and statuary, etc. Like the Feng Shui person upthread, I consider energy when buying a house, but a cemetery is not necessarily bad energy. It can be very peaceful.

One thing that's interesting to me is that basically everyone on here said a cemetery was a plus, not a minus... and we are in the Old Houses section of the site. So is this a sign that people who like old houses also like (or don't at all mind) cemeteries? If so, then buying an old house near a cemetery is a good thing from an investment point of view, because the buyers who like old houses are perhaps more likely than the average buyer to also like cemeteries. And the buyers who wouldn't like the cemetery, well, maybe they're also the kind of people who want their house to be 15 years old at the outside... they wouldn't be your buyers anyway, so don't worry about pleasing them.


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Water table

***I would have a hard time bathing and drinking water from a well next to a cemetary. The thoughts of decaying bodies so close to the water would never leave my mind.***

They're nowhere near the water table--they're only 6 feet underground. Maybe in New Orleans the water table is that shallow, but they have French-style, above ground cemeteries there (like so: http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:New-orleans-cemetery.jpg). In most places water is usually a good deal further down than that.

In any case, the bodies are embalmed and lying inside thick boxes. Even if they were unembalmed and lying unprotected directly in the water, it would have zero effect on you unless they were located *upstream* from your well.

Kudzu is absolutely right: "One should probably be more concerned about pesticides and toxic chemicals that may be in the well water than any animals -- human or otherwise -- decomposing near the surface of the ground."


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RE: Would you buy next to a cemetary?

Saintpfla - don't worry - some day you will be living right in the middle of a cemetery, most likely! ;)

Mustardsandwiches - you made me and my husband - who I read aloud to - laugh out loud.

I would KILL (mwa hahahaha) to live next to a cemetery! Quiet, peaceful, fun at Halloween, space, the knowledge it won't get built upon... and I've always liked cemeteries too like the rest of you. A few friends and I when we were younger used to go lie in the sun there or sometimes in the moonlight. Yeah I sound like a freak I know but there's this comfortable feeling of connectedness - I guess connecting to the past and the future and acknowledging the lives of strangers who once probably wondered the same wonders, you know?

That said, I think if my windows looked directly over a flat field with flat markers on the ground or just modern stones and no trees, it would be less nice. If there were trees and old tombstones that would be a different thing, or trees or hedges separating my property from the graveyard at least.

The other problem could be noise pollution from the lawn care they have to keep up with regularly and yes spraying constantly to prevent weeds (cough cough). But then I guess neighbors' lawn mowers would also be going all the time too. But some neighbors, at least, have draught-tollerant plants, rocks, pavers and push-mowers whereas graveyards will only and always have loud huge machinery and leaf-blowers and hedge trimmers going, etc.


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RE: Would you buy next to a cemetary?

Doubt it but then again its not the dead you have to watch out for..


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RE: Would you buy next to a cemetary?

I can appreciate your situation re: the neighbor and no privacy. I would definitely buy a house next a cemetery and if I were house hunting, I would be jumping up and down at the prospect of a house that was located next to such quiet neighbors. ;)


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RE: Would you buy next to a cemetary?

The McMansion idea is a "Dallas" thing and refers to older homes in established neighboods being purchased for the land, the house torn down and a large upscale home being built on the lot.

I will share another example. These is a small rural town in the middle of a larger city. Two examples are Highland Park and University Park, two independent cities completly surrounded by Dallas.

Getting back to the other situation, the small rural village has many older homes that have been there for many years. However, there were a lot of homes that sat on several acers. Gradually, these home owners sold parcels of there land to people who liked the rural atmosphere and wanted to build a nice home. As a result, there are established homes and newer upscale homes now sharing this charming village know as Dalwortington Gardens.


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RE: Would you buy next to a cemetary?

advice about buying a house right Next to a small cemetery (~one Acre of land n i was told no more space for future bury n last buried was ~ 7 years ago).Cemetery is like a triangle shape and runs parallel to the house so the house front door not facing the cemetery at all.You can Only see one side (edge) of the cemetery if you look out from the kitchen.Furthermore, there are trees line in between the house and the cemetery.House needs to use well water n septic tank..my concerns r Ground water contaminations due to embalming fluid like arsenic/ formalin from the old buried methods. Oh one more thing is the cemetery is situated above the house on a slope so u c my concerns!! Craps roll downhill..lol Nice neighourhood though..Highschool one mile down the hill from the house..Cemetery is well taken care and i drove there at night during X"mas time.. peaceful with one big tree decorated with X'mas lights nicely. What do u think..thanks


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RE: Would you buy next to a cemetary?

Nad,

(First my pet peeve: your post would be so much easier to understand if you could take the time to use normal spelling and grammar, u no?)

Modern caskets are sealed except, I believe, for Jews and, possibly Muslims. Both faiths also prohibit embalming.

In our area the permissible distances for wells and septics and separation from each other, and from active cemeteries, paved driveways, buried fuel oil and gas tanks are controlled by the authorities (usually health departments or public sanitarians) who review those plans. If their review says it's OK, then it it would be fine. The separation distances are also affected by the slope of the land between the items.

Ask at your town or county health department for info about the separation distances. They probably have a pamphlet describing the general standards, as it is a FAQ. Expect that you will also have to hire a licensed engineer to test your soil and draw up the septic design plans.

The only other thing to consider is that cemeteries, particularly recently-used ones, may come with right-of-access easements for visitors to the grave sites. Depending on the pathway that might, or might not, be a problem for you.

L


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RE: Would you buy next to a cemetary?

Thanks for your good advice.I will make an attempt to contact the local county health department for more info.

Any advice about how to negotiate the price?

Thanks.


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