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Massachusetts Real Estate Things to Know

Things to Know About Massachusetts Real Estate

Massachusetts is a great place to live. The state is full of history, has an exceptional education system, and its healthcare system frequently ranks high in national rankings. This makes it an ideal place to sell real estate, as just being in the state alone offers buyers great benefits. However, there are important things to know about Massachusetts real estate if you’re looking to make a living selling houses.

You Need a License

To sell real estate in Massachusetts, you need to become a licensed real estate agent in the state. Doing so is thankfully fairly easy; complete a 40-hour licensing course and pass the real estate exam. Upon passing, your license will be printed out on-site and you’ll be able to start your new career.

However, you need to remember that these licenses need to be renewed every two years on your birthday. This requires completing 12 hours of continuing education classes. It’s critical that you keep your license up to date, as you can’t sell real estate in Massachusetts without an active license.

Disclosures in Massachusetts

Massachusetts follows the legal doctrine of caveat emptor – buyer beware. This means that unlike some other states, real estate agents in Massachusetts don’t have to disclose everything about a property you’re selling unless directly asked. This even includes “psychologically impacted” properties. Yet you will still be legally obligated to disclose two key aspects of the property unprompted:

Lead Paint

Lead-based paint has been banned from use in residential homes since 1978 due to the link between it and numerous health issues. But as Massachusetts has a lot of older and historic houses, there is always a chance that there is still some in a house. If it is, you must be upfront about it to potential buyers.

Septic Systems

In suburban areas, about one-third of Massachusetts homes have a septic system. These generally last up to 25 years, but they can be expensive to replace. That’s why Title 5 of the Massachusetts Environmental Code requires a septic system be inspected within two years of the sale. Sellers must also inform a buyer in writing if the property uses a septic system.

Tax Stamp

Massachusetts has a lot of taxes, and this includes taxes on home sales. In particular, there is a real estate sales tax called a Tax Stamp. In most of the state, this tax is $4.56 per $1000 of the sale. This means that if a house is sold for $500k, the state would be paid $2,280. There are some counties that are more expensive. For example, Barnstable County charges $6.12 per $1000 and Dukes and Nantucket counties add a 2% land bank fee which is used to support public land.

This tax won’t affect a real estate agent’s commission, which typically falls between 4% and 6% of the closing sale. However, it is an important expense for a client to budget for.

Selling Massachusetts real estate is lucrative, but it’s important to know what makes it different from other states’. So when you begin your career as a real estate agent, make sure to research Massachusetts thoroughly. These things to know about Massachusetts real estate cannot be overlooked.

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