Thinking about buying a house in Massachusetts? That's great, but remember this is a costly endeavor so you want to go into it prepared.
The average home buyer in Massachusetts spends between $44,253 and $159,308 on home buying costs when purchasing a $587,998 home — the state median value.
And after you manage to close on your home, you'll still need reserves to ensure you can pay all the ongoing costs of homeownership.
Working with Clever Real Estate is a great way to ensure you manage the home buying expenses wisely and have a positive home buying experience. Working with a Clever agent means you'll not only get great service from start to finish, but you could also be eligible for up to 0.5% cash back after closing. That's about $2,940 back on an average-priced home in Massachusetts!
Average cost to buy a house in Massachusetts
If you're trying to figure out how much it costs to buy a house in Massachusetts, you should start with the down payment. That's likely to be your largest expense, but it also has the largest possible range of options.
Besides the down payment, you also need to account for closing costs, appraisal and inspection fees, and financing costs. All of these expenses factor into how much you end up spending when buying a house.
Earnest money deposit
Good faith money that acts like a security deposit
$5,880 to $17,640
Down payment (3.5-20%)
Initial cash investment in the house that determines your equity
$20,580 to $117,600
Lenders often require enough cash in the bank to pay your bills for 2–3 months when buying a home
$5,271 to $7,907
Additional expenses that must be paid to close on a house
A certified inspector checks the property for any issues that need to be fixed
A qualified appraiser analyzes the property and the local market to determine its fair market value
Although it usually happens after closing, you need to account for the cost to move
$1,250 to $4,890
Many homebuyers like to fill their new home with new furniture and appliances
$44,253 to $159,308
One thing to note is that earnest money deposits are not actually expenses by themselves — they are a show of good faith and more like a security deposit to show the seller you are serious. When you close on the property, the earnest money funds will be applied to the total cost of buying the property.
Specific Massachusetts closing costs
Outside of the down payment, closing costs tend to be the next largest expense for home buyers — though they're really a bunch smaller of fees lumped together.
In Massachusetts, the average buyer spends about $10,908 on closing costs, but that's just an average. It could be more or less depending on your sale price, lender's fees, and negotiations with the seller. In particular, sellers sometimes offer to cover some of the closing costs — called seller concessions — to sweeten the deal.
Below is a summary of the most common closing costs for buyers in Massachusetts:
What is it?
Paid to the escrow company or agent for conducting the closing process.
Paid to local government to update land ownership records
Title service fees
Looks for claims on the property to ensure title is clear
Fee paid to the lender for the work involved in underwriting and processing your loan.
Lenders charge a fee for verifying your loan paperwork
Money paid to your lender to bring down your loan's interest rate. One point equals 1% of the loan amount.
$4,704 per point
Lender's title insurance
Protects lenders from future claims on the title of the home.
Owner's title insurance
Protects buyers from future claims on the title of the home.
Typically paid by the seller
Prorated property tax
Buyers must pay the property taxes for the home, prorated for the remainder of the year
Some states tax the transfer of ownership in a property
Typically paid by the seller
$10,908 + taxes
One optional expense you should seriously consider is paying a lawyer to file a Massachusetts homestead declaration. This protects up to $500,000 of equity in your home if someone should file a lawsuit against you, and they generally only cost $100–$200 to file. In effect, this is some of the cheapest insurance you'll ever buy for what it covers.
Average cost to buy a house in major Massachusetts cities
You know the old adage: location, location, location. Well, as you probably expected, most of the costs to buy a home in Massachusetts vary significantly based on where you are buying. Besides different sale prices, taxes and local fees can impact how much it costs you to buy a house in different areas.
Below is a table showing the average cost to buy a house in some of the more popular cities in Massachusetts:
Average home value
Average cost to buy
$51,676 to $187,781
$48,822 to $176,971
$27,861 to $97,600
$25,981 to $90,483
$32,621 to $115,624
Note: The low end of the cost to buy estimate range assumes a down payment of 3.5% and 20% for the high end.
If you're concerned these costs are adding up, we recommend working with a local expert. They can walk you through the buying process and help you avoid the many pitfalls to ensure you get the best deal possible.
How much do I need to buy a house in Massachusetts?
So how much do you need saved to buy a house in Massachusetts? It really depends on the size of your down payment and the sale price. This may seem obvious, but the large range of possible down payments could mean the difference of tens of thousands of dollars for the average-priced home in Massachusetts.
To give you a ballpark idea of how much you'll need, we've created the table below to show how much you need saved for just the down payment at various price points.
With 3.5% down payment
With 10% down payment
With 20% down payment
Remember that there's more to the cost of buying a house than the down payment though. You need to add the closing costs, inspection and appraisal fees, lender fees, and reserves to get a more accurate picture of your total cost to buy a house.
Getting the seller to cover some or all of the closing costs is one of the more effective ways to keep the cost down, besides making a smaller down payment.
Cost to buy a house in Massachusetts calculator
For a more specific estimate of how much money you'll need for a certain house with a specific down payment, use our home buyer calculator below.
Ongoing costs of homeownership in Massachusetts
Unfortunately, the cost to buy a house is just the beginning. After closing, you'll officially own the home and begin paying for the ongoing costs of homeownership. This includes your mortgage, taxes, insurance, and regular maintenance. The total amount you spend on these can vary greatly, but experts suggest planning to spend about 1% of your purchase price on maintenance per year.
» MORE: The true cost of home ownership
We've provided a summary of what the average home-related expenses could cost you per month below:
Average monthly cost
Mortgage (principle and interest)
Varies by county, but averages $594 statewide
Note: All numbers are estimates based on state averages and a median home value of $587,998 and a down payment of 20%.
Besides the expenses outlined above, there are a few others to be aware of. For example, if you pay less than 20% as a down payment on your house, you will probably have to pay private mortgage insurance — or PMI — to compensate your lender for the additional risk they run of losing money lending to you. This usually gets removed once you reach an adequate level of equity in your home by paying down your mortgage.
You also may need to account for homeowner's association (HOA) fees. These don't apply to every home, but the national average for HOA fees is around $250 per month; so if your house belongs to one, it will be a relevant expense you need to plan for.
Top ways to save money when buying a house in Massachusetts
There's no getting around the fact that it can be inconvenient paying for a house. That said, there are steps you can take to lessen the burden and get the most bang for your buck.
Look into better financing options
Since most of us finance our home purchases, this tends to be a good place to start when cutting costs. Making a smaller down payment will certainly help keep the initial cost to purchase a house down, but it will mean larger monthly payments for the life of the loan.
Paying off debts and getting your credit in the best shape possible before applying for a loan will help you get a better interest rate, which will lower your monthly payments for the life of the loan.
You can also shop around to compare lenders so you get the lowest fees and interest rates available. It may be a good idea to enlist the help of a mortgage broker if you're not sure how to go about vetting lenders.
Get Pre-approved Today!
Get matched with a lender who can tell you how much house you can afford. To get started, where do you plan on buying?
If the upfront cost is your primary concern, you could look into no closing cost loans, but you should proceed with caution. These loans lump the closing costs in with the loan itself, so you pay for them over time, but this usually comes with a higher interest rate. This means you'll pay more over the life of the loan.
Participate in home buyer programs Massachusetts
Massachusetts offers various programs to help buyers begin their homeowner journey (e.g., STASH, Operation Welcome Home). Some offer favorable financing or down payment assistance, others focus on helping specific demographics.
We recommend you apply for this assistance if you qualify for any of the programs — every little bit helps.
Partner with an expert agent offering cash back
Some real estate companies, like Clever, offer home buyers a percentage of their home's price back after the sale finalizes.
That means if you work with a Clever agent, you'll not only get the expertise that helps you get the best deal possible — you could also get up to 0.5% of your home price back after closing!
The amount of money you need to save to buy a house in Massachusetts varies widely depending on your purchase price and size of down payment. That said, the average home buyer in Massachusetts spends between $44,253 and $159,308 when purchasing a home. Making a lower down payment is the easiest way to keep this amount down, but it will result in larger monthly payments.
Lenders sometimes have different debt-to-income requirements — that is, your total monthly income divided by your monthly debts — but 36–43% is commonly the high end of what is allowed. For an average-priced home in Massachusetts, you would need a minimum monthly income of $6,129 to $7,321 cover the monthly housing expenses. The more you have in other debts, the higher your required income to qualify for the same purchase price amount.
The median value for a house in Massachusetts is currently $587,998, but this number can vary dramatically depending on size, quality, and location. Home values also change regularly as the real estate market shifts and economic conditions change. If you're in the market for buying a home, you should talk to a local expert realtor to determine the fair market value of a home that interests you and to determine how much you need to afford it.