How to Sell a House By Owner in Massachusetts

By 

Clever Real Estate

Updated 

September 21st, 2020

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Selling a house For Sale by Owner (FSBO) in Massachusetts can save you 2.59% to 5.66% in realtor commissions. But prepare for a lot of work, including filing the required paperwork and learning about your local market to make the most from your sale.

In Massachusetts, the average commission rate is 4.86% to 5.66%. If you sell a house worth $443,831 — the median home value in Massachusetts — that’s up to $25,121, which is a huge chunk of your potential profits.

Selling without a real estate agent, known as listing For Sale By Owner (FSBO), is a viable option for experienced home sellers who are willing to put in the time and effort.

However, selling FSBO has risks. Research shows that FSBO homes typically sell for about 6% less than those listed with agents. In addition, FSBO homes often take longer to sell, and are more likely to fall out of contract after accepting an offer — unless the homeowner is experienced and knowledgeable about the process.

In this article, we’ll explain everything you need to know to successfully sell your house without a realtor: the ins and outs of Missouri realtor fees, paperwork, and tips to walk away with more from your sale.

What FSBO Sellers in Massachusetts Need to Know

Real estate laws, processes, and trends vary greatly across the country. Understanding the details of your market and getting accurate information can make a FSBO sale complicated.

We'll go into more details about what you need to do in Massachusetts, but here's an overview of the state's laws and regulations.

Massachusetts FSBO Overview

Real estate attorney required?Yes
Required state disclosures? (learn more)
Federal disclosures about lead-based paint apply, but otherwise, Massachusetts is a "buyer beware" state.
FSBO yard sign allowed?Yes
Competitive Buyer's Agent Commission (learn more)
2.25% to 2.65%

Additionally, you'll need to know and understand all of your responsibilities as a FSBO seller, which include:

  • Preparing your home by making necessary repairs, cleaning, and staging your home.
  • Accurately and competitively pricing your home.
  • Marketing your home by writing a listing description, taking high-quality photos, posting the listing on different sites (free and/or paid), and promoting your home on social media, in print ads, and via word of mouth.
  • Vetting buyers to ensure they're qualified, from a financial perspective. Accepting an offer from an unqualified buyer will cause your sale to fall through and in Massachusetts, 9% of mortgage applications are rejected.
  • Negotiating the final price, contingencies, repair concessions, and other aspects of the purchase agreement.
  • Properly filling out all necessary paperwork for a real estate transaction in Massachusetts.

Note: Massachusetts is one of several states that require sellers to hire a real estate attorney. While they will assist you with the paperwork and legal aspects of the transaction, they will not help you find a buyer or negotiate a great deal.

>> LEARN the steps of a FSBO sale

Clever gives you the savings of FSBO without the added stress!

If you're thinking about listing your home for sale by owner, you probably don't want to pay high real estate fees. We get it. That's why we started Clever.

Clever connects you with a top agent that will provide a full-service listing for a flat fee of $3,000, or 1% if your home is more than $350,000.

Listing with Clever gets you the benefits of a top agent and maximizes your sales price while saving you thousands in commission.

It's free to meet with an agent, and if you decide FSBO's a better fit, you can still use the professional price analysis the agent provides.

How to Price Your Home

Pricing strategy is often make-or-break for FSBO sellers. List your home for too little and you leave money on the table. Price it too high and the listing goes stale, forcing a price drop that could make buyers wary of the home.

To get an accurate idea of what your house is worth, look at comparable listings in your area.

For example, if you live in Boston and think your house is worth about $502,000, search Zillow for active listings that are about $50,000 more and less than that. Analyze details about the houses and how they compare to yours. Ask yourself:

  • Is the school district better or worse?
  • Does it have the same number of bedrooms and bathrooms?
  • Has the house been renovated more recently than yours?
  • How do the neighborhoods and nearby amenities compare?

Answering these questions honestly will help you see if your price is in the right ballpark.

From there, be realistic about what pricing strategy will lead to higher offers. Here are some key pricing metrics that will help you decide the best listing price for your home and market:

State of the Massachusetts Real Estate Market

Median Home Value*$443,831
Median Listing Price$550,050
Listing Price per sqft$278
% of Homes with Price Reduction14.18%
Median Sale Price^$483,000
Pricing Advice for FSBO SellersCurrent listing are priced too high for buyer demand. List for less than your competition to attract more offers.

*Based on data from Zillow (May 2020)
Based on data from Realtor.com (May 2020)
^Based on data from Redfin (May 2020)

How to List Your Massachusetts Home for Sale by Owner

Once you've decided on a price, it's time to write a listing description that speaks to local buyers. Understanding their priorities will help you identify what features of your property to highlight in your listing and attract more interest.

Top Buyer Priorities in Massachusetts

Massachusetts Buyer PrioritiesAdvice for FSBO Sellers
1. School DistrictsInclude appealing information about school districts in your listing description, such as its Greatschools rating, graduation rates, parental reviews, or state accolades.
2. Recent RenovationsBe specific about large updates you’ve made in the last 5 years, such as rewiring electric, putting in a new roof, or installing a new furnace. List exactly when the renovation was done, roughly how much it cost, and what its current condition is today. This will give buyers peace of mind that they won't have to worry about big issues any time soon
3. Proximity to Restaurants, Shops, EntertainmentUse your listing description to note some of the popular attractions nearby like restaurants, parks, museums, theaters, and more. You can add a personal touch by listing some of your favorite local places to visit.

Based on a 2020 Clever survey of 500+ real estate agents

When it comes to advertising and posting your listing, you have several options as a FSBO seller. Each choice has its own pros and cons as well as costs:

  • For Sale By Owner yard sign: You can buy a sign from most hardware stores or online for $20-$50. Be sure to choose one that allows you to add your phone numbers so interested buyers can contact you for property information and showings.
  • Craigslist: Posting your home on Craigslist is free and simple. Just go to the Massachusetts page, find your city, and create a "real estate — by owner" listing.
  • FSBO websites: There are multiple FSBO listing websites that allow you to post your home for free or a few hundred dollars. But each differs in how many photos you can include, how long the listing is live, and the changes you can make — do your research before choosing a for sale by owner site.
  • Flat-Fee MLS companies: Flat-fee MLS services will list your house on your local Multiple Listing Service (MLS) for significantly less than a realtor. However, they provide few additional services unless you opt for their most expensive packages, which often cost more than using a discount brokerage.

If you choose to use a flat-fee MLS company, you'll have to offer a buyer's agent commission. The MLS is how real estate agents find homes for their clients, and typically a buyer's agent commission is included to incentivize these realtors to show the house to their clients.

List with a top agent for just $3,000 or 1%.

Sell your home for top dollar and save on commission.

How Realtor Commissions Work In Massachusetts

Traditionally, both the buyer's agent and the listing agent are paid a commission by the homeowner. When sellers work with a realtor, they negotiate a commission as part of the listing agreement.

Based on the average commission rates in Massachusetts, this typically ranges from 2.59% to 2.99% of the sale price.

In a typical sale, the seller also agrees to a commission rate for the realtor who brings the buyer to the table, which runs between 2.25% to 2.65%.


Average Range in Massachusetts*Average Amount⁺
Listing Commission2.59% to 2.99%$6,479 to $7,479
Buyer Agent's Commission2.25% to 2.65%$5,671 to $6,671

*Based on the average commission rates from a 2020 Clever survey of 500+ real estate agents
⁺Based on the median sale price in Massachusetts (Redfin Data Center, May 2020)

As a FSBO seller, you automatically avoid paying a listing commission. However, there is a solid argument for offering a buyer's agent commission.

A buyer’s agent's commission is an incentive for realtors to show your house to their clients. If you don't offer a commission that is competitive compared to similar homes in your area, then your home could be shown less. Agents may prioritize taking buyers to homes with a commission.

The best way to avoid paying any commission fees is to sell to an unrepresented buyer. However, know that nearly 87% of buyers work with a realtor. If you decide not to offer a buyer's agent commission, you may severely restrict your pool of buyers.

>> LEARN how real estate commissions work

How Commission Costs Break Down in Massachusetts


Selling FSBO to a Represented BuyerSelling FSBO to an Unrepresented BuyerListing with an AgentListing with a Discount Agent (learn more)
Sale Price*$454,020$454,020$483,000$483,000
Listing Commission⁺$0$0$13,621$3,000
Buyer Commission⁺ $11,123$0$11,834$11,834
Total Profit$442,897$454,020$457,545$468,166

*Based on the median sale price in Massachusetts (Redfin Data Center, May 2020) and that FSBO homes sell for 6% less (Collateral Analytics, 2017)
Based on the average commission rates in Massachusetts from a 2020 Clever survey of 500+ real estate agents

Paperwork to Sell a House by Owner In Massachusetts

Once you find a buyer for your house, it's time to start the closing process. In a typical real estate transaction, your agent will make sure you fill out all the necessary documents and forms. As a FSBO seller, you'll have to navigate the paperwork by yourself.

This process varies by state — here’s a quick breakdown of Massachusetts’s requirements.

Required for All Massachusetts Real Estate Sales

2 Forms of IDIn most cases, a valid passport, driver's license, or other form of Massachusetts-issued ID.
Copy of Purchase Agreement and Any AddendumsCopy of the original, signed sales agreement as well as any agreed upon changes.
Closing StatementA detailed list of all the costs associated with the sale and who pays them. This is often prepared by your escrow agent or title company.
Signed DeedTo legally transfer your property, you'll need the deed that proves you're the rightful owner. At closing, you'll sign the deed over to the buyer.
Bill of SaleThis is basically a receipt that includes both your information and the buyer's. It will also list the final price of the home and what was included in the sale.
Affidavit of TitleA notarized document that states you own the home, that there are no liens on the property, that you are not simultaneously selling the home to someone else, etc.

Possible Additional Documents

Loan Payoff InformationIf you have a mortgage on your home, you'll need documentation of exactly how much you still owe and any payoff fees. If you've already paid your mortgage in full, you'll need documentation proving that.
HOA Forms and GuidelinesIf your home is part of an HOA, you'll need to give the buyer documentation on the HOA's Covenants, Codes, and Restrictions, financial history, required fees, approval process, etc.
Survey Results or Survey AffidavitsA survey (or an affidavit verifying a previous survey) proves exactly where the property lines are.
Home Inspection ResultsIf you had a pre-sale inspection, you'll want the results to compare to the buyer's inspection. If having a buyer inspection was part of the sales agreement, you should receive a copy of the results before closing.
Proof of Repairs or RenovationsDocumentation proving any major repairs or changes to the house help verify its value. These receipts also provide the buyer with information about who to contact if they discover issues with the repairs in the future.
Home Warranty InformationThe home warranty service agreement will explain what is covered, for how long, and any costs associated with the policy.
Copies of Relevant Wills, Trusts, or Power of Attorney LettersIf you are selling an inherited property, you'll need copies of all legal documents that passed ownership to you.
Relevant Affidavits (Name Affidavits, Non-Foreign Affidavit Under IRC 1445, etc.)You may need additional affidavits like a name affidavit (which lists all of your or the buyer's previous names) or an affidavit proving you are not a foreign citizen and therefore exempt from certain property sales taxes.
Closing Disclosure If your buyer is taking out a mortgage and you agreed to certain seller's concessions, you may need a copy of their closing disclosure to verify the lender approved your concessions.
Correction Statement and AgreementIn the event forms are lost or errors are discovered in the future, a correction statement and agreement requires you, the buyer, or their lender, to replace or fix those documents if need be.

Massachusetts Disclosure Forms

Seller’s Property Disclosure StatementWhile optional, the seller disclosure statement details the condition and known issues of your home and its major appliances and systems.
Flood Zone StatementWith some mortgages (like federally backed ones), your buyer's lender might require information of the property's flood risk.
Lead-Based Paint DisclosureFederal law requires that if your home was built before 1978, you disclose information about the dangers of lead-based paint to your buyer.

Note: Massachusetts is a "buyer beware" state and, in most situations, sellers are not legally required to make disclosures (except those required by federal law). However, to give buyers peace of mind, many homeowners still provide a disclosure statement.

Many closing documents are legally binding agreements. Any errors can derail your sale and cost you thousands in fees or in costs to re-list your house.

To avoid an expensive mistake, consider hiring a real estate attorney. While this can cost $500-$5,000, an experienced lawyer can answer any questions you have along the way.

FSBO Pros and Cons

Before deciding to sell your home by owner, weigh all the pros and cons to make the right choice for your situation.

Pros

  • More control: As a FSBO seller, you can decide the price, listing timeframe, showing schedule, marketing strategy, negotiation tactics, and more.
  • No competition with other clients: Some agents take on more clients than they can handle, which could mean not getting the attention you need to meet your home-selling goals.
  • Lower commission: As a FSBO seller, you could sell your home without paying any commissions. Based on Massachusetts's average commission rates, that could leave 2.59% to 5.66% of your sale price in your pocket. Even if your buyer has an agent, you'll still avoid paying 2.59% to 2.99% in listing commissions.

Cons

  • No MLS access: Unless you pay for a flat-fee MLS service, your home won't be on the local MLS. Most agents use MLSes (not Zillow and Trulia) to find properties for their clients and most buyers work with a realtor. So if you're not on the MLS, fewer buyers will see your listing.
  • Risks of inaccurate pricing: Many FSBO sellers find it difficult to be objective when pricing their house and list for too much. If you make this mistake, you won't attract buyers and the listing will become stale. Eventually, you could be forced to accept a low offer or take your home off the market and relist with an agent.
  • Safety issues: As a FSBO seller, it will be your responsibility to show your home to prospective buyers. Not everyone is comfortable being alone with strangers in their homes since incidents such as theft or harassment can occur. Make sure to gauge your own comfort levels before deciding to sell FSBO.
  • More work and stress: Selling a home is a full-time job. Trying to cram all the steps and responsibilities into your schedule is a hassle many FSBO sellers aren't prepared for.

FSBO Alternatives to Consider

If saving money is your main reason for selling your home by owner, there are alternatives. Consider the following lower-cost options (listed from least expensive to most):

Flat-Fee MLS Services in Massachusetts

As mentioned before, a flat-fee MLS service will post your listing on the local MLS, usually for a low, upfront fee. In Massachusetts, this will typically cost you a couple hundred dollars.

Here are some Massachusetts flat-fee MLS companies to compare:

Landfall Properties, LLC

Landfall Properties

Price Range

Free to $499+

Number of Photos

40

Listing Term

2 months up to until sold

Description
Pricing
Pros & Cons
Reviews
  • Landfall Properties in a licensed broker in CT, MA, ME, NH, and VT that specializes in flat-fee MLS listing services
  • Free, unlimited changes
  • Listings go live in 24 hours
  • Set buyer’s agent commission of 2% (pay nothing if you find the buyer)
  • Buyer and agent inquiries forwarded directly to you
  • Cancel anytime
Free - Level One
  • 2-month listing on MLS
  • Syndicated to Realtor.com, Zillow, Trulia, and more
  • 40 photos
  • Unlimited consultations if also buying with Landfall Properties
$499 - Level Two
  • Same as Level One package, plus:
  • Unlimited listing/delisting/relisting of property over 2 years
  • For Sale sign
  • Forms, contracts, addendums (downloadable)
  • Dedicated property website
  • Virtual tour
  • Showing feedback
  • 100 business cards with your contact information
  • Closing services and statement review
  • $25 donation to the Wounded Warrior Project or St. Jude’s Children’s Hospital
1% at closing- Level Three
  • Same as Level Two package, plus:
  • Professional photography
  • Pricing assistance
  • Bluetooth lockbox
  • In-person showing assistance
























Pros

  • Free MLS listing package (+2% buyer’s agent commission)
  • Work directly with the broker, not a referral service
  • Free, unlimited changes, including listing/delisting/relisting (Level Two and Three packages)
  • Home buyer rebate if you also buy with Landfall Properties

Cons

  • No built-in comparative market analysis (CMA) (except with Level Three package)
  • Set buyer’s agent commission of 2% (unless you find a buyer)

As of August 12, 2020, Landfall Properties’ principal broker, Paul Marino, has an average rating of 5/5 based on 29 reviews on Zillow.

SHOW MORE

Simply Sell Realty

Simply Sell Realty

Price Range

$85-285

Number of Photos

40-42

Listing Term

12 months

Description
Pricing
Pros & Cons
Reviews
  • Simply Sell Realty is a licensed, New Hampshire and Massachusetts real estate brokerage that specializes in flat-fee MLS listing services
  • Set your own buyer’s agent commission (request average rate at checkout)
  • Listing is live within 24 hours of purchase
  • Built-in home valuation on website
  • Buyer leads forwarded to you
  • Unlimited free changes
  • No cancellation fee

$85 - 1 Year Flat Fee MLS Package

  • 12-month listing on the MLS
  • Syndicated to Realtor.com, Zillow, Trulia and more.
  • Max photos allowed (40 in NH, 42 in MA)
  • Set your own buyer's agent commission
  • Leads forwarded directly to seller
  • Contracts and releases available
  • Free edits or cancellations
  • Unlimited open house postings through the website

$285 - Home Visit MLS Package

  • Everything in the 1 Year Package, plus:
  • Up to 40 professionally taken photos
  • Room measurements taken
  • Paperwork completed on-site


A-la-carte services include comparable market analyses (CMA), additional MLS listings, hosted open houses, appointment services, professional photography, and for sale signs.

Offers a full-service listing for a 3.5% commission for those near Tyngsboro, Massachusetts or Nashua, New Hampshire.

Pros

  • Max photos and virtual tour included in base package
  • Built-in home valuation on website
  • Buyer leads forwarded to you
  • Unlimited free changes
  • No cancellation fee
  • Unlimited open house postings

Cons

  • No free CMA is provided 
  • Does not list on the Berkshire or Barnstable County MLS in MA

As of August 11, 2020, Simply Sell Realty LLC has an average rating of 5/5 based on 17 reviews across Google and Facebook.

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Entry Only New England

Entry Only New England

Price Range

$297-697

Number of Photos

10-42

Listing Term

12 months

Description
Pricing
Pros & Cons
Reviews
  • Entry Only New England is a flat-fee MLS service operated by Stuart St. James, a licensed real estate brokerage in Massachusetts
  • Listing typically go live by the next business day
  • Buyer and agent inquiries are forwarded directly to you
  • You set the buyer’s agent commission — Entry Only New England offers a buyer’s agent commission report on what competitive percentage is to help you decide (Standard and Advanced packages)
  • Pay no commission if you find an unrepresented buyer
  • Unlimited, free listing changes and open house announcements
  • Free cancelation anytime
$297 - Basic
  • 12-month listing on MLS
  • Syndicated to Realtor.com, Zillow, Trulia, and more
  • 10 Photos
  • State real estate forms (downloadable)
$697 - Advanced
  • Same as Standard package, plus:
  • 42 photos
  • Realtor.com Seller Report
  • Online FSBO education video
$497 - Standard
  • Same as Basic package, plus:
  • 30 photos
  • Marketing flyers
  • Home selling guides
  • Buyer’s agent commission report


Pros

  • Free changes, cancel anytime with no fee
  • Buyer inquiries forwarded directly to you
  • Pay no commission if you find an unrepresented buyer

Cons

  • No built-in home valuation or pricing assistance
  • No a-la-carte or additional services to get more help if needed

As of August 5, 2020, Entry Only New England has an average rating of 4.9/5 based on 102 ratings across Google and Yelp.

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>> LEARN about flat-fee MLS services in Massachusetts

Clever Real Estate

Clever is a nationwide real estate service that connects sellers with top, local agents. You pay Clever nothing and only pay your full-service agent $3,000 (or 1% on homes over $350,000) if and when your home sells.

Listing Fee

1% (minimum $3,000)

Buyer Rebate

Up to 1%

Avg. Customer Rating

4.8/5 (386 reviews)

Description
Locations
Pros & Cons
Reviews
  • Clever Real Estate is a nationwide, online concierge and agent matching service for sellers and buyers — learn more
  • Buyers and sellers are matched with multiple highly rated agents from major brands, such as Keller Williams, Century 21, Compass, RE/MAX, and more
  • Sellers choose a full-service agent and pay a flat, $3,000 fee — or just 1% for homes more than $350,000
  • Buyers may be eligible for up to 1% back at closing (in qualifying locations)

Clever has pre-negotiated lower commission rates with top agents in all 50 states, D.C., and Puerto Rico

Pros
  • Listing fee of $3,000 (or 1% on homes >$350K) for a full-service agent
  • Sellers only pay once their home is sold
  • Partner Agents are top, local realtors with at least 5 years experience
  • Agent matches are customized and based on your specific situation
  • Eligible buyers receive a home buyer rebate of up to 1%
Cons
  • Sellers may not be matched with an agent from their preferred brokerage
  • While homes are listed on the MLS, there's no independent Clever listing site.







As of May 20, 2020, Clever's average customer rating is 4.8/5 based on 386 reviews on Trustpilot.

SHOW MORE

>> LEARN more about Clever Real Estate

Discount Real Estate Services in Massachusetts

While pricing and services vary, discount real estate companies will help you sell your house for less than a traditional realtor. In most cases, you'll still need to offer a competitive buyer's agent commission, but you'll save on listing fees.

Redfin

Redfin

Listing Fee

1-1.5% (min. fees apply)

Buyer Rebate

Avg. $1,500 (where availabe)

Avg. Customer Rating

3.2/5 (243 reviews)

Description
Locations
Pros & Cons
Reviews
  • Redfin is an online listing portal and multi-state real estate brokerage operating in 80+ markets across the United States
  • Sellers get full service and support from a Redfin agent for a reduced listing fee (rates and minimums vary by location)
  • Redfin agents are salaried. Since they do not work on commission, there is no incentive to get sellers the highest sale price — learn more
  • RedfinNow — Redfin's iBuyer program — makes all-cash offers on qualifying homes in 10 markets for a 7% service fee (but no additional commission)
  • Buyers in select markets might be eligible for a home buyer rebate — learn more
AshevilleHouston*
Orlando
AlbanyIndianapolis
Palm Beach
AtlantaInland Empire*
Palm Springs
Austin*Jacksonville
Philadelphia
Birmingham^Kansas City^
Phoenix
BoiseKnoxville^
Pittsburgh
Boston
Lake Tahoe
Portland, OR^
BuffaloLas Vegas*Raleigh
CharlotteLittle Rock^Rhode Island
ChicagoLos Angeles*Richmond
CincinnatiLouisiana^Sacramento
Cleveland^Louisville^Salt Lake City
ColumbusMarylandSan Antonio*^
ConnecticutMemphis^San Diego*
Dallas*MiamiSan Francisco
DelawareMinneapolisSavannah
Denver*Nashville^Seattle
Des Moines^Nebraska^South Carolina
DetroitNew JerseySouth Texas^
El Paso^New MexicoSpokane
FlagstaffNew York CitySt. Louis^
Fort MyersNortheast VirginiaTampa
Grand RapidsNorthern New EnglandTucson^
Hampton RoadsOklahoma^Washington, D.C.
HawaiiOrange County, CA*Wisconsin^

*Also a RedfinNow location

^No home buyer rebate available

Pros
  • Sellers get full service and support for a discounted rate of 1.5%
  • Rate drops to 1% when you sell and buy with Redfin
  • Access to a variety of online tools and services, including virtual showings, paperwork, closing, and more
  • Commission rebate offered to eligible buyers in select markets
Cons
  • Only available in ~80 U.S. markets
  • Minimum listing fees can result in paying more than advertised 1-1.5% rate
  • Choice of agents is limited to Redfin's in-house team or local partners
  • Local partners don't necessarily adhere to Redfin's discount pricing model

As of May 20, 2020, Redfin's average customer rating is 3.2/5 based on 235 reviews across Yelp, Google, and Consumer Affairs.

*These reviews are for Redfin's Seattle, WA office. Reviews may vary by location.

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REX Real Estate

REX Real Estate

Listing Fee

2% ($9,000 min.)

Buyer Rebate

Up to 1-1.5%

Avg. Customer Rating

4.6/5 (536 reviews)

Description
Locations
Pros & Cons
Reviews
  • Sellers get full service (minus MLS access) for a 2% listing fee — $9,000 minimum fee for homes below $450,000
  • REX does not post listings on the MLS. Instead, it uses digital advertising to target unrepresented buyers and help you avoid paying a buyer’s agent commission (typically 2-3%)
  • This may significantly reduce your pool of prospective buyers (roughly 87% of buyers work with agents), making it harder to attract offers
  • Represented buyers must cover their agent's fee themselves, which could hinder their ability or desire to purchase your home
  • If you buy a non-REX home with a REX agent, you may qualify for a 1-1.5% commission rebate. If you buy a REX-listed home, you are not eligible for a rebate
Arizona
California
Colorado
New Jersey
New York
Florida
North Carolina
Georgia
Pennsylvania
Oregon
Illinois
Texas
Maryland
Vermont
Massachusetts
Virginia
Nevada
Washington, D.C.
Pros
  • Save up to 1% on listing fees
  • Potential to avoid buyer’s agent commission (2-3%)
  • Get full service (minus MLS access) and concierge support



Cons
  • $9,000 minimum may result in listings fees higher than advertised 2%
  • Not listing on the MLS significantly reduces your home's visibility
  • Not offering a buyer's agent commission puts you at a competitive disadvantage

As of May 20, 2020, REX Real Estate’s average customer rating is 4.6/5 based on 536 reviews across Zillow, Facebook, and Google. See the breakdown below.

>> VIEW REX’s Better Business Bureau profile here.


*These reviews are for REX's main California office. Reviews may vary by location. We recommend conducting your own research for customer reviews specific to your area.

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>> LEARN about discount real estate services

iBuyers

iBuyers will buy qualifying homes for cash, meaning you avoid realtor fees — and the stress of listing on the open market entirely. While these companies make fair-market offers, they will deduct any required repairs after an on-site visit. They also charge a service fee typically ranging between 6-14%.

>> LEARN about iBuyers

5 Tips for Selling Your Home Without a Realtor in Massachusetts

Pulling off a FSBO sale successfully is a difficult feat to accomplish. Here are some helpful tips from Clever CEO and real estate investor Ben Mizes, who has experience listing homes without an agent.

1. Make Minor Repairs

Small upgrades and repairs can do a lot to sway potential buyers. The key is knowing how and where to spend your money to get higher offers. Simple DIY projects like a fresh coat of paint or new cabinet pulls have a high return on investment, whereas pricier improvements like adding a new bedroom may not.

Overall, the most important factor is knowing where the line is between necessary and over-the-top. You want your house to meet buyers' expectations.

"If your kitchen is a disaster, spending more money on a remodel to get it in solid condition will pay off in the end," said Mizes. "But spending money on high-end features to take it from good to extravagant will be a waste."

Also consider how valuable specific repairs are to buyers in your area. Focus on upgrades that have a higher cost recuperation in your region.

Home Repairs with Highest Resale Value in Massachusetts

Top UpgradesAvg. Repair CostAvg. Resale ValueCost Recouped
Garage Door Replacement$3,732$3,71599%
Manufactured Stone Veneer$9,629$8,45377%
Siding Replacement (Vinyl)$15,115$11,57577%

Based on regional data from Remodeling (May 2020)

2. Price Your Massachusetts Home Competitively

In order to sell a home without a real estate agent, you'll need to price it competitively. Set too high of a listing price, and you'll limit your buyer pool. But if you price it too low, you'll leave money on the table.

Conduct research on Zillow or Neighborhood Scout to find out the prices of homes recently sold in your area. Compare their information, such as whether or not they had a garage or central air, to your homes, and try to assign a value to the features your house possesses and lacks. Essentially, you're trying to pull together the information in a comparative market analysis, which is what agents use to competitively price a home.

You'll also need to look at how long comparable homes stayed on the market or if they had to drop the price. This will help you determine where the line is for pricing too high in your area.

3. Stage and Market Your Home

You can hire a staging company to rearrange furniture and clean up, or you can go it on your own. A professional photographer is a must, however, as high-quality photos can sell your home 32% faster. Homes with more (and better) photos spend fewer days on the market. Most realtors pay this expense out of their own pocket.

Then you'll need to describe your home, emphasizing its best features, in a listing description for local and online advertising forums. If people express interest in seeing your home, expect to leave work early and drive home to let them in. You'll be giving up your weekends, most likely, and unable to go do something fun while an agent presents your home.

>> LEARN how much it costs to stage a home

4. Prepare for Showings

Organization is key when showing your home to potential buyers. You'll need a good system for scheduling showings and saving buyers' and agents’ contact information. You'll want to be flexible and try to show your house at buyers’ convenience.

Keep the home clean and decluttered at all times. The last thing you want is to scramble around with a vacuum after a buyer calls for a last-minute showing.

Also, focus on creating a homey atmosphere for buyers. You want to make a great first impression on as many buyers as possible, so add little touches that speak to most people.

"Bake cookies or light scented candles before a showing," advises Mizes. "Smell plays a huge part in how buyers will perceive and remember your house. Use comforting scents to your advantage so they feel at home the moment they walk through the door."

5. Negotiate for the Best Possible Price

Negotiations are about deciding more than the final sale price. You and the buyer (or their agent) will also have to agree upon contract contingencies, how closing costs are divided, the timeline, and more.

To gain the upper hand, get creative with the seller concessions you offer a buyer. While they might cost you a little more at closing, concessions sweeten the deal for buyers and could lead to a higher final sale price.

The most popular concessions vary from market to market. Knowing what works with buyers in your area will help you strengthen your offer.

For example, a 2020 Clever survey of over 500 real estate professionals found that in Massachusetts, sellers often cover 0.30% to 0.54% of buyers' closing costs. On a home of median value, that equates to $1,311 to $2,360, but can help you close the deal sooner and for more money.

You should also consider offering these popular seller concessions:

Most Common Seller Concessions in Massachusetts

ConcessionBenefits of Offering Concession
Home WarrantyIf your home has major appliances or systems that are on their last leg, a home warranty can give buyers peace of mind. A warranty will cover possible issues and is typically less expensive than paying for the repairs (or accepting a lower offer from a wary buyer).
Repair CreditsIf your home needs repairs, a buyer may request that you fix the issues, or you can offer repair credits. Repair credits allow you to close the deal and avoid the hassle of handling renovations. Once they own the house, the buyer oversees the project and, since the concession is a set amount, you pay nothing else if the repairs go over budget.
Property TaxesOften, you have to share past tax information about the property before closing a sale and many first-time home buyers are shocked by how much property taxes actually are. By covering some of those costs, you can offer these buyers some financial relief and make them more inclined to close on the sale.

Conclusion: Is FSBO Right for You?

FSBO isn't a perfect fit for everyone. But now that you know what awaits, if you're feeling confident about all the steps and possible challenges, you might be ready to sell without a realtor.

Remember, to succeed at selling a house by owner you'll need to:

  • Make a plan: From getting photos of your property to lining up the correct paperwork, there’ll be a lot on your FSBO to-do list. Work out a schedule for when you need to accomplish everything so you can find a buyer and close in a timeframe that works for you.
  • Get ready to hustle: Attracting qualified buyers is hard work. You'll need a great listing description and a killer marketing strategy to generate interest. Also, prepare to spend a considerable amount of your time fielding calls from prospective buyers, handling showings, hosting open houses, and more.
  • Make smart investments: Even though your main goal as a FSBO seller is saving money, spending some money on small upgrades or repairs can lead to higher offers and a faster sale. Also, consider paying for a flat-fee MLS service to list your home on the local MLS to reach more buyers.
  • Seek some professional advice: You don't have to sign a listing contract to talk to a realtor. Professional agents understand that smart sellers weigh their options; they'll be willing to meet for a free consultation. After seeing your home and looking at comps, they might notice issues or advantages you overlooked. Once you've heard their advice, if you still want to sell by owner, you can do so confidently because you thoroughly explored all your choices.

If you'd like some professional guidance with no strings attached, Clever can help. Fill out your basic info below to connect with a top, local realtor for a no-obligation consultation.

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Additional Resources for Massachusetts Home Sellers