Selling your home can be an exciting prospect, but also a stressful one. Besides the stress of actually moving, one of the things that gives us the most anxiety is the administrative tasks required to sell, and that’s largely because we don’t know what to expect and do not feel prepared.
The good news is that you’re here, and we’re going to guide you through all the documentation you’ll need to sell a home under normal circumstances. If you’re preparing to sell a home that still needs to go through probate or has other complications, make sure you check out the other helpful guides on our blog which will help you navigate more difficult circumstances.
With that said, let’s get into the list of documents you’ll need to sell a house in Massachusetts:
Documents You’ll Need to Sell a House in Massachusetts
Massachusetts does not legally require you to disclose any specific information about a home during the buying process outside of those we’ll outline below, but if you know that there is something about the property that cannot be seen at face value and may put a buyer off, it can be a good idea to outline a disclosure agreement. This can be anything from the home having potential structural damage in the basement to having been the scene of a murder a decade ago. This however is not necessary or compulsory in Massachusetts.
The only documents that are compulsory are for homes built before 1978. You need to disclose:
- Whether there is lead paint on the property or any other structural materials
- Whether there is a septic tank on the property
If you’re selling your home via a realtor, they’ll be able to guide you and help you attain any other documents they think you need.
For more information on what you need to disclose when selling a property in Massachusetts, see our guide here.
If you plan to sell your house via a real estate agent, you’ll need to sign a seller’s agent agreement which outlines the terms you’ve agreed to with your realtor. This will include their agreed fees and/or commission, who is responsible for paying them, what’s expected in the relationship, and termination clauses. Most realtor agreements are for a limited time, so you’ll be naturally released from it after a certain amount of time has passed if they do not sell your home.
Make sure you read this document carefully and keep it safe so you know your rights if anything goes wrong. If desired, you can talk to a real estate attorney and get them to look over the document if you have any concerns.
If you’re working with a realtor, they’ll need to collect more information about your home to accurately represent it and market it to potential buyers. This will include details about the rooms, any recent repairs or renovations, and photos. In most cases, the realtor should arrange having the photos taken by a professional for you. It can be a good idea to look back through any receipts you have for work done on the property before you move forward so you can show your realtor or even prospective buyers.
A Purchase and Sales Agreement is the initial contract the buyer and seller sign that legally binds them to the terms they’ve negotiated for the sale. It includes the sale price agreed upon and any other terms agreed upon, such as closing costs, closing date, and so on. This document ensures neither party can back out of the sale without a good reason.
This is one of the easiest steps in the process. If you’re working with a realtor and/or attorney, they should ask you to provide two legal forms of identification. This is simply a best practice to ensure you are who you say you are (not many people try to sell a property they don’t legally have a right to, but it’s not unheard of!). They may ask you for any one or two of the following:
- Valid driver’s license
- Social security card
- State-issued ID card
- A utility bill, bank statement, or another official document showing your name and address
This document is essentially a receipt of the sale of the home and formally states how much was paid, when, and to who.
The deed is the document that legally states who owns a property, and so you’ll need to sign the document before a buyer can file to have the deed changed. You won’t need to worry about this document until the final stages of the sale.
As you gather all these documents, make sure you have digital copies you can duplicate if necessary. It’s also good practice to keep these documents for at least a year after you sell the home so you’re prepared in the unlikely occurrence you have any legal issues with anyone involved in the sale.
Don’t panic if you’re not sure where to find or how to put together some of these documents – if you can’t find them in the records for the house, your real estate attorney will be able to find them for you or help you put together a new document.
One of the other major concerns for sellers when gathering documents before a sale is that they’re worried about there being something wrong with the house and being unable to sell it. If your home needs repairs that may put off a normal buyer, you’re not out of options.
We buy homes for cash in Massachusetts in as-is condition, which means we buy what we see, with no in-depth inspections. Whether your home has a leaky roof you can’t afford to replace before moving or you’re selling the home of a loved one who didn’t look after it as well as they perhaps should, we’re still interested and we can go from offer to closing in just a matter of weeks.