New York City, NY, USA

Pros and Cons of Living Near a Cemetery in NYC

Living near a graveyard has its advantages and disadvantages. Two brokers break it down for us.

Photo by: Zillow This four-bedroom townhouse sits across the street from Brooklyn's historic Green-Wood Cemetery, where Leonard Bernstein and Jean-Michel Basquiat are both buried.

Depending on your point of view, living near a cemetery can either be eerie or appealing. While some buyers would never even consider a home where tombstones are visible from their bedroom window, others might find a unique charm in living a stone's throw away from a cemetery. In the spirit of Halloween, we asked two real estate agents — Gwen Alexis with Halstead Property and Frank Dell'Accio with Century 21 AA — to describe their experiences selling properties that are on or near cemeteries.

What would you say are some of the benefits of living near a cemetery?

GA: Some of the benefits of living near a cemetery are that you have quiet neighbors with no wild parties or parking issues. There is no fear that you will be looking at a condo development or that the view will change in the near future. And the property will always be well maintained.

FD: Typically it allows for more on-street parking for your guests. You never have to be concerned with what type of new neighbor you will get — friendly, aggressive, clean, loud. Rarely will you have any dispute over property lines or receive a negative response to a building permit or variance you may wish to apply for.

What are some typical questions you get from prospective buyers who might be unsure about living near a cemetery?

GA: Each buyer is truly different and their wants or needs vary greatly. For example, people who are very into feng shui will not live near a cemetery. There are people who believe in ghosts and do not want to live near a cemetery. Some people associate living near a cemetery to be a constant reminder of death while others see it as part of the circle of life.

FD: Questions I’ve gotten before about living near a cemetery include who owns the cemetery? Is it busy with visitors? What days is there the most activity? Who is buried there? How long has the cemetery been there? Typically, the older and smaller the cemetery, the less concerned the buyers become, especially a cemetery that no longer has any new burial plots to fill. Do kids play or congregate on the grounds? Who maintains the grounds? If you need to communicate with the owner or caretaker, are they easily accessible?

Have you run into superstitious buyers?

FD: Absolutely. Some buyers will not even get out of the car to look at the house if it is next to or near a cemetery.

What are some reactions you get from people who love the idea of living by a cemetery?

GA: Some people who love living near a cemetery like the idea that they are near history. Just like living in an antique house gives some people a sense of the past and continuity, living near a cemetery — especially one of the very old and historical ones — can provide that same sense of continuity and grounding.  

FD: I have found that buyers with older children or no children seem to mind living near a cemetery less than those with younger children.  Others tend to be reserved at first, then warm up to the idea. 

Do buyers ever try to use the cemetery as leverage for lowering the price?

GA: As far as using a cemetery to leverage a lower price — yes, it's probably more of a negative than a positive. But for those who do see it as a positive, they can get a better house at a lower price and never have to worry about the neighbors. For those who don't see tombstones just as a symbol of death and dying, it can mean more square footage and an updated kitchen.

FD: Yes, buyers tend to be very aware that these properties are not appealing to all buyers and take the opportunity to negotiate a better sale for themselves.

Zillow Real Estate Search

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