Cemetery Easements and Selling Land in North Carolina

In the State of North Carolina, a property with a cemetery or graveyard on it should have a permanent easement for relatives of the deceased to visit the gravesite.

In the video above, Land Expert Eric Andrews discusses a recent land sale. In this case, Eric represented the seller. There was a gravesite mentioned on the perc permit. Eric assisted the seller in finding the gravesite. Some gravesites are easy to find, and others are overgrown with trees and weeds. Some gravesites have relatives who come pay respects, but, most of the time the gravesite just sits there.

How do you find a gravesite?

In the video, Eric explains he doesn’t know exactly how to find a gravesite, but he knows it when he sees it.

  • Some gravestones are large, and others are simply rocks pointing upwards
  • There’s usually a 6′ x 2′ indention
  • There may or may not be a footstone
  • Some graves were quickly put together, like when the Spanish Flu spread through the area
  • Gravesites are usually on a hill or higher elevation part of the property

The quietest neighbors ever?

A client of Eric’s who moved built a house on some land that had a graveyard, and this was the typical graveyard surrounded by a black wrought iron fence, marked with gravestones and the whole works. Of course, the law still required this client to allow the family of those buried there to have access.

But this wasn’t a problem because they kept the grass mowed and the weeds clipped. They came and put flowers on the graves and kept up the site. The client got a good deal on the land because there was a cemetery in the middle of the 17-acre plot. He thought it was great, they were the “quietest neighbors I’ve ever had.”

Sellers must disclose

In North Carolina, the seller must disclose the existence of a gravesite to any prospective buyer. Eric did it right. The best thing is to disclose the gravesite so the buyer knows what he or she is getting when they purchase the property, and the seller doesn’t get sued later once the graveyard is discovered.

Eric had another property in a nice subdivision in Durham NC, that had a gravesite and a huge powerline easement, and he was asked by the seller what they should do about those easements. Eric said to just disclose it, and see what happens. The property sold in five days and the buyers were well informed about what they were buying.

Disclosure is the Best Policy

Eric closes this discussion by telling the story a more recent case in Pittsboro NC, where a buyer from New Jersy wanted to know about a large mound in the middle of an eight-acre property. Eric didn’t know what it was, so he asked and found out it was a horse that had died and the owner buried it.

Now that Eric knew about it, he had to disclose it, so he did and the buyer had no problem with it and bought it anyway.

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