Are you thinking of selling a house in Massachusetts? The Bay State’s real estate market is as vibrant as ever, offering excellent opportunities for homeowners looking to make a move.
With the number of homes for sale experiencing a 16.7% decline, now is a prime time to capitalize on the demand.
In this blog, we will explore the ins and outs of selling a house in Massachusetts, providing valuable insights and tips to ensure a successful and profitable transaction. Let’s dive into the exciting world of Massachusetts real estate!
📉 Massachusetts Housing Market Update
- Median Home Sale Price Drop YoY: The median home sale price dropped to $364,366, down by 2.3% YoY, the biggest decline in more than a decade.
- Fewer Buyers are Applying for Mortgages: Mortgage purchase applications were down by 31% YoY. Due to expensive financing, fewer buyers are applying for mortgages.
- iBuyers are No More a Viable Option: Several iBuyers have either shut down or are suffering massive losses. As per our research, most iBuyers are not offering more than 70% of a property’s Fair Market Value.
- Bottom Line: In 2023, more sellers in the Bay State are opting to sell their homes by owner. By listing on the MLS with the best FSBO sites in Massachusetts, your Massachusetts home gets maximum exposure, and you save thousands of dollars in commissions.
Step 1: Determine How You Want to Sell Your House in Massachusetts
How you choose to sell will determine all other aspects of selling your Massachusetts home. These include the cost of selling a house in Massachusetts, marketing strategy, the level of preparation you need, etc.
Home sellers in the Bay State are no longer required to work with only 3% commission realtors to list and sell their houses. You have options now – MLS listing services, discount brokers, FSBO sites, etc. – who work at lower rates. Weigh the pros and cons of each option before you choose one.
- Sell With a Discount Broker: A discount real estate broker offers all the services similar to a traditional broker at discounted rates. Discount brokers in Massachusetts charge a 1.5%-2% commission or a $3,000-$5,000 flat rate. They will help you with everything, from listing to closing, and offer decent savings.
- Sell Your Property For Sale By Owner: You can sell your home without a Realtor, independently. You will save the entire 3% listing commission but won’t get MLS access. You can list your Massachusetts home on For Sale By Owner website. The best FSBO sites leverage technology to get you listed and connect you with potential buyers directly.
- Sell With a Traditional Realtor: We do not recommend working with a traditional Realtor. They charge a 5%-6% commission and control most aspects of the transaction. However, if you need guidance at every step, work with Massachusetts Realtors in your area who have expertise in the Massachusetts housing market.
- Offer Your Home to a Cash Buyer: Selling a house as is in Massachusetts is a viable option for homeowners, as you can sell your home in its current condition to a cash buyer. Massachusetts cash home buyers offer 30% to 50% of the Fair Market Value and offer flexible closing timelines.
Step 2: Set a Realistic Listing Price
The listing or the asking price is the most important factor for a successful home sale. Typically, the Massachusetts real estate broker will run comps and help you arrive at an asking price. However, in an FSBO sale, you can use online tools like Zestimate to determine the asking price for your Massachusetts home.
Do not overprice your home. If you do, your home will spend more days on the market, and buyers may make negative assumptions about it.
On the other hand, underpricing can be a good strategy. Remember, the listing price is not equal to the sale price. The purpose of the listing price is to attract buyers for your home.
You can set the asking price at the lowest price acceptable to you. You might get multiple offers which may lead to a bidding war among buyers. Bidding wars can help you sell at a price higher than what you had in mind. Refer to this informative guide on how to price your home for sale for more such strategies.
Step 3: Market Your Home
A good marketing strategy will help you attract more potential buyers. You can work with a broker to market your home or do it yourself. Here are a few marketing tips that can increase your home sale value substantially:
- Stage Your Home: You can sell your home for up to $40,000 more by staging it. You can either DIY it or work with local Massachusetts home staging companies. They will rearrange the interiors of your house to make it look spacious and presentable.
- Hire a Real Estate Photographer: With professional real estate photography, you could sell your home in Massachusetts 32% faster. Professionally clicked pictures will make your property listing pop. It will also help you to market your home to 90% of buyers who search for properties online. Check out the top real estate photographers in Massachusetts.
- List on MLS: With an MLS listing, you can sell faster and for up to 17% more. Your property listing will also get syndicated to 100+ real estate websites. But, only licensed real estate agents in Massachusetts have access to the MLS. They charge a 3% commission which can burn a hole in your pocket. You can list your house on MLS in Massachusetts with Massachusetts Flat Fee MLS companies. Houzeo will get you listed for $379, and that too within 48 hours.
- List on Free FSBO Websites: Several FSBO sites allow you to list your home on their website for free. Your Massachusetts property can attract buyer traffic that visits a particular FSBO website. Some examples of free FSBO listing websites in Massachusetts include Craigslist, Zillow, ForSaleByOwner.com, etc. However, you may attract unverified buyers or scammers as well.
- Post a Yard Sign: With a yard sign, you can attract unrepresented buyers and save the buyer agent commission. Ensure you get a yard sign with your phone number so that the buyers can contact you directly.
- Host Open Houses: In a hot market like Jacksonville or Miami, an open house can be a great way of showing your property to home buyers. Also, you can attract unrepresented buyers.
Step 4: Show Your Home to Potential Buyers
Showings are essential when selling a property in Massachusetts or anywhere. The more the number of buyers touring your home, the greater the chances of you getting an offer. But this doesn’t mean showings should be inconvenient for you. You can use an online showings management tool like Houzeo Showings.
Houzeo Showings allows you to schedule slots for buyers to tour your Massachusetts house. Home buyers can also request and reschedule or cancel showings.
Step 5: Negotiate Offers
Interested buyers will send written offers to your agent or directly to you, in case of an FSBO sale. In a seller’s market, buyers might make offers above the list price. But, experts predict 2023 to be a buyer’s market. So, be open to negotiations.
As a seller, you can accept, reject, or counter an offer. A counteroffer is a way of negotiating an offer for better terms or prices. It should be in written format and must have a set timeframe for the buyers to respond. In the counteroffer, you can offer seller concessions, repair credits, etc., in exchange for selling at the list price.
In case of multiple offers, weigh all of them across various merits and do not accept the highest bid right away. You may want to consider the following before accepting an offer amongst multiple offers:
- Mode of payment (cash vs financing)
- Home buyer’s mortgage approval status (pre-approval vs pre-qualified)
- Buyer’s willingness to cover the closing costs in Massachusetts or some part of it
- Buyer’s willingness to bypass some contingencies like a home appraisal, home inspection in Massachusetts, etc.
- Closing timeline
In a traditional home sale, a real estate professional will negotiate for you. However, as an FSBO seller in Massachusetts, you are on your own. In such a situation, you can use digital offer management tools like Houzeo Offers. With Houzeo Offers, you can counter an offer, call for the highest and the best offer, and more.
Step 6: Close the Sale
After the seller accepts an offer, the MLS listing status is changed to “house under contract“. You and the buyer have to complete a lot of tasks from contract to closing. Here are the key milestones in the closing process in Massachusetts:
Allow the Buyer to Complete the Due Diligence
After you accept an offer, your Massachusetts property goes off the market, and the buyer can perform the necessary due diligence. The buyer inspects their to-be-home to proceed with the purchase.
Post due diligence, the buyer works on securing a mortgage, known as the underwriting period. During this period, the lender verifies the buyer’s finances and inspects and appraises the property. An amount equivalent to the property’s appraised value is sanctioned to the buyer.
Pay the Closing Costs
As a seller, you will pay 5%-6% in Massachusetts real estate commissions, equally split between your and the buyer’s agent. Additional seller closing costs in Massachusetts that you may have to incur include:
- The escrow or the title fee
- Taxes on selling a house in Massachusetts such as the transfer tax, capital gains tax, etc.
- Outstanding HOA dues
- Real estate attorney fees
- Seller credits (if you have offered any).
» Seller Closing Costs Massachusetts Calculator: Estimate the exact cost to sell a house in Massachusetts.
Sign the Escrow and Title Documents
This is the final step in the process of selling a home in Massachusetts. Here, you sign the escrow and title documents needed to sell a house in Massachusetts. Additionally, you sign the deed and closing disclosure. Ensure you bring two valid ID proofs at the signing.
After the close of the escrow, the new homeowner’s details are registered in the public records. You receive a wire transfer or a check for the final home sale price, and the sale is complete.
Selling a house in Massachusetts can be a lucrative endeavor in the current real estate market. As the number of homes for sale continues to decrease by 16.7%. Therefore, Bay State offers a competitive environment for sellers.
In a fluctuating market, staying informed and using effective marketing techniques is essential to attract buyers. Remember, whether you’re in Boston, Worcester, or Springfield, understanding the real estate market will help you navigate the selling process.
Get on the MLS with a Flat Fee Realtor or a Flat Fee MLS company like Houzeo. With Houzeo, your home will be listed for $379 within 48 hours. Read Houzeo reviews to know what home sellers across Massachusetts say about Houzeo.
So, get ready to make a splash in Bay State’s real estate market and secure a successful sale for your Massachusetts property!
1. What are typical closing costs for a seller in Massachusetts?
Typically, closing costs for sellers in Massachusetts are around 8% to 10% of the home sale value. Massachusetts closing costs consist of real estate commissions, the title fee, owner's title insurance, recording fee, and other closing expenses. The real estate commission of around 6% forms the biggest chunk of the Massachusetts closing costs. You can save thousands of dollars in the listing agent commission by selling your house by owner in Massachusetts. You can work with a Massachusetts Flat Fee MLS company to get listed on the MLS and manage the other aspects of the home selling journey on your own.
2. What disclosures are required when selling a house in Massachusetts?
You need to furnish the following disclosure while selling a house in Massachusetts:
1. Standard Property Condition Disclosure Statement
2. Lead Paint Disclosure
3. Condominium Disclosure Statement Massachusetts
4. Home Owner’s Association Disclosure Statement
5. Massachusetts Radon Gas Disclosure
6. Coastal Properties Disclosure Statement
7. Property Tax Disclosure
8. Seller Non-Occupancy Disclosure Massachusetts
Read this guide on Massachusetts real estate disclosures to know your disclosure obligations in Massachusetts.
3. Do you need an attorney to sell a house in Massachusetts?
It is not mandatory to hire a real estate attorney in Massachusetts. However, it is highly recommended to work with an attorney to review the drafts and contracts. This will protect you from unforeseen legal problems and the expensive penalties that come along.
4. Should I sell my house in Massachusetts now?
Yes, now is the perfect time to sell your house in Massachusetts. As of March 2023, the median sale price in Massachusetts has increased by 3.2% YoY. However, expensive financing and rising mortgage rates can turn the tables anytime, and you may have to settle for a lower sale price in the future. So, if you are ready, now is the best time to sell a home in Massachusetts.
5. Can you sell a house while in probate in Massachusetts?
The state laws allow home sellers to sell an inherited property in Massachusetts while it is in probate. The home seller needs to provide certain documents in court. These include a petition for an order authorizing the property sale, a copy of the sales contract, a broker letter, etc. The court approves the sale of the property after verifying all the submitted documents.
6. Do you have to pay taxes when you sell your house in Massachusetts?
Yes, you need to pay the federal capital gains tax, transfer tax, and property tax when selling a property in Massachusetts.
7. Can you sell your house in Massachusetts without a realtor?
Yes, you can sell your house without a Realtor in Massachusetts. List your Massachusetts home with a Flat Fee MLS company like Houzeo. Flat Fee MLS companies usually get you listed within 48 hours, or in most cases, even faster. You can manage other aspects of selling real estate in Massachusetts using Houzeo tools like Houzeo Showings, Houzeo Offers, and more. With a Flat Fee MLS listing, you will sell fast and save thousands in real estate commissions. Check out our rankings for the top Flat Fee MLS companies in Massachusetts.
8. What is the commission for selling a house in Massachusetts?
A home seller pays 5.5% to 6% in real estate commissions when selling a house in Massachusetts. This 6% commission is split equally between the listing agent and the buyer agent. Check out this detailed guide on how real estate commissions work in Massachusetts.