There are costs to selling a home that many homeowners may not be aware of. The following is a brief summary of the expenses a homeowner could expect when selling a home in Massachusetts.
Be sure to engage the professional legal services of a qualified Real Estate Attorney! The expense of hiring an attorney is nominal when compared to dealing with the cost of potential problems that could come up without proper representation. Depending on the scope of involvement, legal fees can vary from approximately $350-$1500 or sometimes more if the home is being sold as part of an estate settlement.
As a Realtor, I am prohibited from giving legal advice. Your attorney will handle many things for you from the time an offer is accepted through to closing including: draft, review and negotiation of the Purchase & Sale (P&S) contract; review of the final P&S with you so that you have a thorough understanding of all elements and changes; a line by line review of the HUD settlement statement with you prior to closing so that you are clear on all items contained in this balance sheet; and attendance at the closing either with you or for you as your power of attorney.
A good attorney will provide you with the SERVICE you deserve to meet all of your needs, answer your questions, and address any concerns you have as we navigate together through the complex process of a home sale.
Massachusetts Tax Stamps
Although not called a “sales tax”, Massachusetts Tax Stamps are the fee charged for the transfer of your property to a new owner. In most areas, the tax stamp is $4.56 per thousand dollars of the sale price of your home. So, for example, if you sell your home for $500,000 — you will pay $2280 (4.56×500) to the State of Massachusetts. In Barnstable County the tax rate is $5.70 per thousand and in Dukes and Nantucket counties they charge an additional 2% of the sale price which is then paid to the local land bank commission.
Outside of the Real Estate commission (which will vary but likely fall between 5 and 6 percent of the sale price), the Massachusetts transfer stamp is the largest fee the seller should be prepared to pay as part of the transaction closing costs.
Title V is the group of regulations involving septic systems for those properties not serviced by public sewer. Massachusetts state law requires that a Title V inspection take place and a certificate of satisfactory condition be issued upon the transfer of Real Estate. The cost of the Title V inspection and certification is the seller’s responsibility.
You can expect to pay $600-$1000 for this service depending on how easily accessible the septic tank and distribution box are. As part of this fee, the septic system should be pumped at the time of (not before) the Title V inspection. Remember that a Title V septic inspection is good for two years, but can be extended to a third year if you pump the system in all three years.
Smoke Detector and Carbon Monoxide Detector Certificate
State Law requires that you have the smoke and carbon monoxide detectors in your home inspected by the local Fire Department prior to closing. The charge for inspecting the smoke and carbon monoxide detectors is generally around $25-$100. There are new regulations in place regarding Massachusetts smoke & carbon detector laws, and so you may need to purchase additional fixtures to bring your home up to current code standards. Depending on your needs, you may incur an additional expense of $25-$150.
It is the seller’s responsibility to have a new deed prepared which will later be recorded at the Registry of Deeds after closing. The preparation of a new deed typically costs $100-$150 and will be taken care of by your attorney.
You should expect to see a few, small miscellaneous costs added to your HUD settlement statement at the closing. These fees could include overnight mailing, courier services, wiring expenses, charges for processing mortgage discharges and recording fees for recording various documents at the Registry of Deeds. The total cost of miscellaneous expenses should not amount to more than $300.
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