Selling your home without a realtor means you won’t have to pay a listing commission, which in Massachusetts averages 2.6% of the sale price. Considering a typical Massachusetts house is worth about $546,000, that’s a savings of $14,087.
However, trying to sell a home For Sale by Owner (FSBO) can be tough. It will cost you a lot of time and energy because you’ll have to complete most parts of the selling process.
In the end, selling a house without a real estate agent isn’t worth it for most homeowners in Massachusetts. Especially considering there are low commission real estate companies that offer professional assistance for a lower cost.
If you’re considering selling a house without a realtor in Massachusetts, read on to find out everything you need to know to do it successfully.
✍️ Key Takeaways of FSBO Sales
- Selling without a real estate agent means avoiding a listing commission (2.6% on average in Massachusetts). But in exchange for those savings, you’ll have to do everything from advertising your home to completing legal paperwork to negotiating the final deal.
- In most cases, you’ll still need to offer a buyer’s agent commission. 2.3% is typical in Massachusetts.
- Selling without an agent is best for experienced sellers or people selling to family or friends.
- For most sellers, there are better cost-saving options that will net you more money and provide professional support.
Should I sell my house without a realtor?
Selling a house for sale by owner in Massachusetts comes with many pros and cons. While it’s not recommended for everyone, FSBO can help experienced home sellers save on commission—but only if they know what they’re doing.
✅Selling your home without a realtor might be right for you if…
- You want to save on commission
- You have plenty of time to take on the responsibilities of a real estate agent
- You already have a buyer lined up
- You’re in a hot seller’s market and you have a desirable home
🚫 Selling without a realtor might not be right for you if…
- You don’t have a lot of free time
- You’ve never sold a home in Massachusetts
- You want to sell for market value – or higher
If you’re still not sure, check out our thorough guide to selling FSBO to help you decide. If you’re open to other options, some low-commission real estate companies, like Real Estate Witch, allow you to work with a top local real estate agent at half the typical cost.
Cost of selling a house without a realtor in Massachusetts
Below, you’ll find a list of prices for common services you might want to consider if you decide to sell without a realtor. However, know that if your home is in need of repairs or is in a buyer’s market, you might need to spend a lot more to prep and market your property.
💸 Common costs for FSBO sellers
|$330 to $420
|To price your home more accurately
|To compete with homes listed by agents
|To stand out to local buyers
|Real estate attorney
|$150 to $363 per hour
|To assist with paperwork, contracts, and legal requirements
|Flat fee MLS listing
|$400 to $1,500
|To get listed on the MLS
|Buyer’s agent commission
|2.3% of sale price
|To compensate the agent that represents the buyer (it’s customary for the seller to pay)
Overall, on average, it costs 7.5% of the home price to sell by owner and about 10% of the home price to sell with a real estate agent. However, the amount you’ll actually save will depend on repairs you need to make, concessions, and other expenses.
Use our calculator to get an idea of how much you can expect to spend if you sell without a realtor.
If you’re considering selling without a realtor in Massachusetts, check out Real Estate Witch. We eliminate all the hassles and headaches of FSBO while helping you pay less than you would for a traditional realtor.
In Massachusetts, sellers pay an average of 2.6% to a listing agent. Considering the median home value in Massachusetts is $546,000, that amounts to $14,087. But with Real Estate Witch, you can sell with a top local agent for just 1.5%, letting you keep more of your home’s equity in your pocket.
7 steps to sell a home in Massachusetts without a realtor
Selling a home without a realtor involves many of the same steps as selling with one, except you’re on your own. To learn more about the basic steps to sell, read our simple, 12-step guide to selling a house.
For Massachusetts FSBO sellers, here’s what you need to know.
1. Get your home ready to sell
To appeal to buyers, your home not only has to be clean but also welcoming for those trying to imagine themselves living there. Create a somewhat neutral space free of personal items like family photos and mementos. Paint the walls a neutral color like off-white or light gray.
Outside, improve the home’s curb appeal by adding colorful flowers that will create a bright and memorable first impression. If you need suggestions for what to plant and when to plant it, check out this flower planting guide from UMass Amherst.
📸 Take listing photos while your home is looking its best.
If possible, wait for a sunny day and take about 25–50 photos of the interior and exterior of the home. Be sure to capture any unique features you want to show off, like a backyard deck or recent renovations.
You can also hire a professional photographer if you have the budget. In Massachusetts, this will cost about $168 per session.
If your home needs too much work to sell to a typical buyer, you might consider selling to a cash buyer. You can quickly compare cash buyer offers against your home’s value on the open market with Clever Offers. Try it for free with no obligation.
2. Price your home accurately
Pricing your home just right can be a challenge. Even with a realtor’s help, 20% of Americans surveyed admitted that choosing the listing price was the most difficult aspect of selling. Massachusetts FSBO sellers may not have a realtor’s advice, but they can still use the same methods real estate agents use to determine an appropriate price.
Get a comparative market analysis (CMA)
During a listing agent’s initial meeting with a client, they typically provide a comparative market analysis (CMA for short) that shows what comparable homes are selling for in the area. A CMA looks at homes with similar age, size, condition, and other features, noting their final sale prices. This should give you a pretty good indication of what your home could earn on the market.
If you’re selling your own home in Massachusetts, you can make your own CMA in just a few simple steps. Be honest when describing the condition of your home. If you overestimate the condition of the house, you may end up with too high a price, leading to it sitting on the market for months.
Some flat fee MLS companies provide a CMA as part of their service package.
Hire an appraiser
Using a professional appraiser is typically the most accurate way to get a valuation on your home. An appraiser will visit the home and perform a thorough inspection to determine its market value. If you end up selling to a buyer who’s financing the purchase, the lender may send an appraiser before closing. In Massachusetts, hiring a professional appraiser costs an average of $330 to $420.
3. List and market your home
Start by listing your home on free FSBO listing websites like Facebook Marketplace, ForSaleByOwner.com, and Zillow/Trulia. But if you really want to compete with homes listed by realtors, think about working with a Massachusetts flat fee MLS company.
Massachusetts flat fee MLS companies
The MLS is a database realtors use to list the homes they have for sale. Buyer’s agents start with the MLS when searching for homes they think their clients will like. Only realtors can list on the MLS, but you can work with a flat fee MLS company that will list your home there for a one-time cost.
In Massachusetts, you can expect to pay $400 to $1,500 to list your home on the MLS, depending on the specific service you choose.
Our top picks for flat fee MLS companies in Massachusetts are:
Read our in-depth guide to flat fee MLS companies in Massachusetts to decide which one works best for you.
Can I use a For Sale By Owner Sign in Massachusetts?
If you choose to list your home with a flat fee MLS company, you must follow the rules of the MLS the company uses. Many flat fee MLS services available in Massachusetts list on the MLS Property Information Network (MLS PIN) because it’s the biggest MLS in New England.
However, its rules and regulations require that sellers only use “For Sale” signs from their listing broker (this would be the flat fee MLS company in most cases). If you decide to use a flat fee MLS company in Massachusetts, find out if they list on the MLS PIN and whether they provide a yard sign because there’s a good chance you won’t be able to use a “For Sale by Owner” sign.
Required Massachusetts Seller Disclosures
Massachusetts is a “buyer beware” state, so sellers aren’t held to the same strict disclosure rules required by other states. Sellers only need to disclose the presence of lead paint (if the property was built before 1978) and prove that the home has a septic system.
However, sellers are not permitted to be deceitful if a buyer asks about the home’s condition or history. Because of the lack of required disclosures, buyers in Massachusetts are also likely to be cautious and have a thorough inspection done before closing.
Certifications and inspections
Massachusetts sellers need a certificate of compliance to verify that their smoke and carbon monoxide detectors meet the state’s standards. Sellers can contact their local fire department to conduct the inspection.
The fee for the compliance certificate varies by county, but the average cost is between $50 and $100.
Massachusetts law also requires homes with septic systems to be inspected within two years before a sale or within six months after a sale if weather conditions prevent an earlier inspection. This is referred to as a Title 5 inspection.
The average cost of a Title 5 inspection can vary between $500 to $800, depending on how accessible your system is to the inspector.
4. Manage showings on your own
Choosing to consider a FSBO home is already a leap of faith for some buyers, so if a buyer senses disorganization, they’ll move on.
For most FSBO sellers, tools like Google Spreadsheets and Google Calendar will be enough to keep everything in order. The flat fee MLS company you work with may also offer apps to help schedule showings.
💡Tips to make the most of each home showing
Give the buyers some space when touring the home. Most realtors will tell sellers that it’s best to be away from the home during showings. Having the current owners there is often more distracting than helpful. Get a lockbox from a local hardware store to provide realtors access when you’re not there.
Schedule showing appointments close together. If buyers see each other coming and going when they arrive to tour the home, they’ll get the impression that your home is a popular listing and they better act fast if they want to make an offer.
Promptly respond to questions from prospective buyers. Buyers having questions is a great sign—it means they’re interested in the home. Don’t let their curiosity fade by waiting to respond to phone calls, emails, and text messages.
Leave out disclosure forms, property fact sheets, and your contact information in a prominent place in the home, like a kitchen counter or dining room table so buyers can take this info with them.
5. Review and negotiate offers
Any offers you receive from buyers or their agents will come in the form of a purchase and sale agreement. This is what a Massachusetts purchase agreement typically looks like.
Reviewing and negotiating offers is when most sellers are glad they have a realtor to ask for advice. Since you’ll be on your own as a FSBO seller, it’s crucial that you understand everything in the offer.
Massachusetts requires a real estate attorney to be at the closing, but it might be helpful to hire one to review the offer as well. In Massachusetts, hiring an attorney will cost, on average, $150 to $363 per hour.
In addition to the offer price, pay attention to the following details:
Is the buyer paying with cash or financing? Cash provides a fast path to closing and is generally preferred, although there are some exceptions. However, most people buy homes with financing, or a mortgage. Financing adds a few extra steps because the lender needs to approve the buyers for the loan and appraise the home to confirm it’s worth the cost of the loan.
Are there any contingencies listed? A contingency is a condition that must be met before the deal can go through. It’s up to you to decide if any contingencies are worth it to you as the seller.
Does the offer address any specific concerns? If there’s a major issue with the house, for example, an aging roof, the buyers may note they want a home inspector to look at it before closing. The buyers could also note they’re reducing the offer price by an amount that would cover the cost of repair so they can fix it themselves after buying the home.
Once you’re sure you understand the offer, you have three options: accept, reject, or propose a counteroffer.
If you get a lowball offer or one that asks for unreasonable contingencies, you can simply reject it. If the offer is close but not quite what you need, consider making a counteroffer. Just be careful about being too aggressive when negotiating, as you may turn the buyer off for good.
It could be helpful to imagine a few different negotiation scenarios before you even start getting offers. Our guide to 26 negotiation strategies can help you feel more comfortable when it’s your turn to do the deal.
6. Allow the buyer to conduct due diligence
Once both the buyer and seller agree on the terms of sale, you’ll move into the “due diligence” period in which the buyer (and the lender, if applicable) has an opportunity to make sure the home is a good investment.
Complications could arise from any one of these steps, and it may lead back to negotiations. For example, if a home inspection uncovers the need for a critical repair, the buyer could ask the seller to either fix the problem or agree to a repair credit that covers the cost of repair after closing.
The buyer or seller can back out of the agreement at this point, but we recommend speaking to an attorney before doing so.
If there are no problems, or if everything is resolved amicably, you can move forward to closing.
In Massachusetts, your closing appointment will probably take place at the office of an attorney, a realtor, or a title company. You and the buyer will sign a lot of documents, including the deed transfer that officially makes the buyer the new owner.
A real estate attorney is required for closing in Massachusetts. Massachusetts law considers the transfer of property a legal matter, and it’s against the law in the state for anyone other than an attorney to practice law.
When closing is complete, you’ll receive a statement that details the sale price of the home, your closing costs, and what you can expect in the form of a check or bank transfer. In Massachusetts, you’ll likely receive your payment the same day as closing.
For sale by owner paperwork in Massachusetts
Here’s a list of the Massachusetts paperwork you’ll need to sell your home without a realtor.
Not finding what you’re looking for? Check out our comprehensive list of paperwork for selling your house without a realtor.
Best alternative: work with a discount broker
For many people, trying to sell without an agent isn’t worth the hassle. If you think you’ll need some help along the way, a discount broker is a good alternative.
Discount brokers are full-service real estate agents who are willing to work for a reduced commission rate. Sellers can save thousands while still receiving assistance from an expert local agent.
For discount broker services, try Real Estate Witch. We pre-negotiate with top agents to offer you low commission rates without compromising on service quality.
Frequently asked questions
Can I sell a house without a realtor in Massachusetts?
Yes, but this might not be the best option for you. If you need to sell quickly, aren't familiar with the local real estate market, or don't have the time to market your property, working with an agent could be the right choice.
Do I need a lawyer to sell my house in Massachusetts?
No, sellers aren't required to work with a real estate attorney in Massachusetts. However, an attorney can help you avoid legal complications, understand all the documents required to sell your home, and review your closing documents to ensure a clean title transfer.
Selling a home in Massachusetts can be complicated and confusing. If you need some extra guidance, these resources can further demystify the Massachusetts home seller experience:
Average Real Estate Commission in Massachusetts: What’s Fair in 2022?: Realtors earn commission when they help a client buy or sell a home. Learn how much Massachusetts agents expect to earn and what you can do to reduce commission rates.
Cost to Sell a House in Massachusetts: Seller Closing Costs and More: Selling your home without a realtor can save you money on commission, but you’ll be on the hook for several other costs. Find out what you’ll need to budget for here!
How to Sell a House By Owner: Paperwork You Need: If you decide to sell without a realtor, check out all the forms you’ll need for a smooth transaction.