Maximize Your Funeral Home Sale: Essential Steps for Funeral Directors

Finance Funeral Industry News GROW July 2, 2024
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Maximize Your Funeral Home Sale: Essential Steps for Funeral Directors

By Tim Bridgers, SVP of Funeral Lending, Live Oak Bank, Member FDIC

Key Steps to Prepare Your Funeral Home for Sale

As a funeral director, you’ve dedicated years, if not decades, to building your business. When it’s time to sell, thorough preparation is crucial. Tim Bridgers and Ryan Thogmartin recently discussed the importance of seller preparation on their podcast, “Take it to the Bank.” Here’s why preparing your business for sale is essential and how to do it effectively.

Why Preparation is Key

When selling your funeral home, meticulous preparation can make the difference between a smooth, profitable sale and a stressful, disappointing one. Tim Bridgers and Ryan Thogmartin highlight that proper preparation ensures you attract the right buyers and secure the best outcome.

Impact of Long-Term Ownership

Many funeral homes stay in families for generations, giving owners significant influence over the current and future business. Your preparation affects the sale and sets the company up for future success.  Well-prepared sellers make it easier for lenders to assess the business’s creditworthiness, speeding up the sale process and improving outcomes.

Essential Preparation Steps

1. Financial Organization: Start early. You do not want the challenge of organizing years’ worth of financials to delay your sale. Keep consistent, year-to-year financial records to show your business’s health. Organized, transparent records attract buyers and lenders by demonstrating continuity and stability.

2. Expense Management: As retirement nears, identify and manage expenses that will phase out. Clearly presenting these adjustments to buyers and lenders offers a realistic view of your business’s cash flow, enhancing its appeal and value.

3. Accurate Valuation: Don’t rely on informal offers. Get a professional business valuation to understand your funeral home’s true worth. Knowing the actual value of your business ensures you set a realistic price and avoid financial surprises that could derail your retirement plans.

Buyer Preparation Insights

While your preparation is vital, understanding the buyer’s perspective also helps. Buyers must be financially prepared, understand the business’s history, and maintain good personal credit. Clear, organized financial information helps the buyer understand your business and financially prepare for the acquisition. It also makes your business more attractive and expedites the sale process.

Common Mistakes to Avoid

Sellers’ Mistakes: Setting an unrealistic price based on a past offer can lead to financial surprises. Ensure you get a professional valuation to understand your business’s true worth.

Buyers’ Mistakes: Buyers often get emotionally attached during due diligence, leading to oversights. As a seller, encourage buyers to remain objective and thorough for a smoother transaction.


When buying or selling a funeral business, a successful ownership transition is essential to preserving the seller’s legacy and setting the buyer up to thrive. Organizing your financials, managing expenses and obtaining an accurate valuation make your business more appealing to buyers and lenders. Preparation increases the likelihood of a successful sale and ensures you get the best possible value for your years of hard work. Download Live Oak Bank’s Free Guide to Ownership Transition for a thorough overview of how to plan and execute an ownership transition for buyers and sellers.

To connect with Live Oak’s funeral lending team, visit