Wondering the process to sell your Massachusetts home? Or are you buying a home in Massachusetts? This will help you understand the steps involved, typical timelines, and what to expect.

First, please know that Massachusetts is an attorney state. That means closings are done by attorneys, not title companies. Attorneys run title searches and provide title policies here in Massachusetts. Second, this outline will provide the steps to sell or buy a home in Massachusetts going the the traditional retail route of hiring an agent or broker. Nothing in real estate is set in stone. everything is negotiable. There is no one size fits all when it comes to real estate. This guide below will be a mere outline of what the majority of home sales processes look like.

Steps to the home sales process in Massachusetts

Interview agents and/or brokers. Checkout our agent vs broker vs realtor article to understand the key differences. You will hire an agent who will list the property on the market. The property will be shown to prospective buyers. A buyer will submit an offer. The seller and buyer will negotiate the offer terms and price through their agents.

In the majority of retail transactions of properties that are on the open market there will be two main contingencies. A home inspection will be completed, usually within a week, of the accepted offer. Assuming there are no issues and the buyer is ready to proceed with the home purchase the next step would be to sign a Purchase and Sales Agreement. That agreement is usually drafted and negotiated between the sellers attorney and buyers attorney. Once the purchase and sales agreement is signed it is sent to the buyers lender who orders and appraisal. The appraisal is typically within a week of the purchase of sales signing (can be prior to purchase and sales or even weeks afterwards. Depends on the specific terms and timeframes of the deal). Following the appraisal the buyer will be waiting for their lender to provide them with a “clear to close”. The closing attorney will prepare the closing documents and schedule the closing. The week prior to closing the seller will obtain a final water reading from their municipalities water department. The seller will also have to provide a smoke detector certificate from the fire department. House will have t be completely emptied and in broom swept condition the day before closing for the final walkthrough.