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Selling a House ‘As Is’ in Massachusetts

At HomeLight, our vision is a world where every real estate transaction is simple, certain, and satisfying. Therefore, we promote strict editorial integrity in each of our posts.

Looking to sell a house “as is” in Massachusetts? Whether you’ve got a fixer-upper or recently inherited a relative’s home, sometimes the goal is to skip repairs, get a fair offer, and move on.

Josh Muncey, a real estate agent with over $500 million in career sales and 16 years of experience selling in greater Boston, Massachusetts, says, “it’s hard to find a market in the Boston area that’s not feeling red hot lately.”

This includes houses that may require a bit of TLC.

“If a house is a little rough around the edges, whether it’s in a perceived more valuable location or in a location where there might be some better deals, there’s a market for a house in either one,” says Muncey.

Sell 'As Is' With a Cash Offer

HomeLight’s Simple Sale platform will provide a full cash offer for homes in almost any condition. Skip repairs and close in as few as 10 days.

However, selling a house “as is” usually means accepting a lower offer and it doesn’t always prevent buyers from trying to negotiate savings. Let’s take a closer look at how to sell a house “as is” in Massachusetts, your options for getting an offer, and what to expect from the process.

Fast facts about selling a house ‘as is’ in Massachusetts

Median sales price in Massachusetts $549,450
Average days on market for Massachusetts 13 days
Disclosures Sellers are not legally required to complete a property disclosure form. Sellers are required to disclose if there is lead paint used on the property and if the property has a septic system in place of a public sewer. It is recommended that sellers fill out material facts about the property through the Massachusetts Association of Realtors Seller’s Statement of Property Condition form.
MLS has field to mark a listing “as is”? No.
Is a real estate attorney required? Yes. Real estate attorneys are considered essential for closing in the state of Massachusetts.
Real estate transfer taxes? Tax Description: $2.00 plus 14% surtax (total = $2.28).

Tax rate: .46%

What is ‘as is’ condition in real estate?

“As is” is a type of home sale where it’s understood that no improvements will be made to the property. When selling a house “as is,” the seller is choosing not to entertain requests from buyers to complete repairs or provide a credit for fixes.

An as-is sale may also indicate that the functionality and longevity of certain components of the home, such as a stove on its last legs or an older roof, is not guaranteed.

When selling a house “as is,” the general condition of the property should already be accounted for in the purchase price of the home to the best of the seller’s knowledge.

Which types of homes are sold ‘as is’?

Homes sold “as is” often need some work or may be cosmetically outdated. It’s not a label you’re likely to put on a listing in pristine, move-in-ready condition.

“As is” sales often attract investors searching for their next flip or buyers seeking a bargain, perhaps on a home in a great location with lots of potential.

“Common reasons we see an ‘as is’ sale is if it’s more along the lines of an estate sale where there’s been somebody who lived in the home for a long time, passed away, and the family is selling the home through an executor and through probate court,” shares Muncey.

When deciding to sell a home “as is”, you’ll also want to consider your local market conditions and trends.

“We see less ‘as is’ home listings in the city, and a little bit more the further you get outside the city,” explains Muncey.

What problems do you have to disclose in Massachusetts?

Only 2 disclosures are legally required in Massachusetts

As stated in the chart above, the only required disclosures by law in Massachusetts are the septic tank disclosure (stating if there is a septic tank used on the property), and the lead paint disclosure (if the house was built before 1978 and lead paint exists on the property.)

As a “caveat emptor” (buyer beware) state, Massachusetts places much of the burden on homebuyers when it comes to knowing what problems a home may have. Buyers need to ask direct questions and pay close attention to the results of a home inspection so that they can determine the condition of the property and its features.

For the legal obligation to disclose the existence of lead paint, sellers of homes built before 1978 must complete the Massachusetts “Property Transfer Notification Certification.”

Regarding the presence of a septic system, sellers must not only disclose if the property has a septic system but also show that the system has been inspected within two years prior to the sale and provide a copy of the inspection report (Title V Certificate) to the buyers and the governing board of health.

It’s important to note that while these are the only two legally-required disclosures, sellers must truthfully and openly answer all disclosure questions submitted by prospective homebuyers. The buyer may request answers in writing, especially after a home inspection. You can be held legally responsible if you are dishonest or hide the truth by avoiding or deflecting a question.

A full condition statement is not required but often recommended

In short, selling a house “as is” in Massachusetts doesn’t mean sweeping known problems about the house under the rug.

While you’re not legally obligated to do so, many experienced Massachusetts real estate agents recommend you fill out the Seller’s Statement of Property Condition before listing your home or requesting an offer so that you know you’re being fully open and honest with all potential buyers.

According to the document, “The seller authorizes the brokers or salespersons to provide the following information [listed in form] to prospective buyers. This information is based upon the seller’s knowledge, but is not intended as a guarantee of the condition of the property or the continued satisfactory operation of any system.”

The form will walk you through documenting what you know about the properties:

Systems and utilities

  • Underground fuel tank
  • Heating system
  • Water system
  • Sewage system
  • Air conditioning
  • Appliances
  • Plumbing
  • Drinking water source
  • Electrical system

Structural improvements

  • Foundation
  • Basement
  • Roof
  • Chimney/fireplace
  • Floors
  • Walls
  • Windows
  • Insulation

The seller’s property condition statement also inquires about any known existence of asbestos, lead paint, radon or pests.

You’ll then be prompted to fill out title and zoning information about the house and will be asked to provide additional information if the property is a condominium or rental unit.

No matter what method you choose to sell your home, as a seller and an agent, it’s in your best interest to disclose any known material defects about the house, even those not required by law.

It’s worth noting there are many buyers out there looking for a renovation project. So, we think about that market prep strategically. There are many cases where we don’t have to go the whole distance and can do just enough clean up where people can get the flavor of the house.
  • Josh Muncey
    Josh Muncey Real Estate Agent
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    Josh Muncey
    Josh Muncey Real Estate Agent at Compass
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    • Years of Experience 16
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Review your options to sell ‘as is’ in Massachusetts

The main options to sell a house “as is” include:

List ‘as is’ with the help of a real estate agent

A great real estate agent will provide assistance throughout the process of listing and selling a home “as is.” An agent gives simple presentation tips to improve marketing, helps to set an appropriate price that reflects the home’s condition, and works to find a buyer willing and eager to buy your home in its current state.

“It’s worth noting there are many buyers out there looking for a renovation project,” says Muncey. “So, we think about that market prep strategically. There are many cases where we don’t have to go the whole distance and can do just enough clean up where people can get the flavor of the house.”

Muncey mentions how this can be as simple as advising against putting in a new toilet because the new owners are likely going to come in and renovate the bathroom anyway. Muncey also suggests sellers considering an as-is home sale try to keep an open mind if they get feedback from their real estate agent about ways to improve a home’s overall presentation.

“A good broker is going to tell you what is in your interest for getting the most money and for the most productive sale,” says Muncey.

Sell directly to a cash buyer

Someone needing to sell their home “as is” can also work directly with a property investor or house buying company rather than list, where it may be difficult to get an offer from a limited buyer pool.

“We buy houses” operations buy “as is” at a discounted rate and generally seek out homes in need of significant repairs. These companies can help sellers cash out quickly and many will cover a seller’s closing costs.

Steps to list ‘as is’ with the help of a real estate agent

Find an agent willing to list the home ‘as is’

Your choice of real estate agent always matters, but especially when selling a property “as is.” It’s important to find the right match. This is why when it comes to an agent, “having somebody that knows the local market can be very beneficial,” says Muncey, advising sellers to stick with a local real estate agent rather than one who works a few towns over.

“You want your agent to know the local market. Whether a house is ‘as is’ or not, real estate is local, and there are so many nuances to different markets.”

Muncey says agents from other areas will have less experience and information about how to properly position a home price-wise, and other important details like the best day of the week to bring a house to market.

Furthermore, you’re looking for an agent who doesn’t shy away from listings that need a little TLC and maybe has a strong network of investor connections.

Your agent should also be willing to go the extra mile on marketing. Considering 80% of Americans say they would prefer to buy a move-in ready home, an “as is” sale likely has a reduced buyer pool from the start.

Lastly, “don’t ever hire a real estate agent because of the price that they’re telling you,” advises Muncey. “Hire them because of the process they do and their marketing plan because that’s what’s going to get you the most money.”

Consider a pre-listing inspection

A pre-listing home inspection is the same as a standard home inspection except that the seller pays for it before listing their home on the market. It may sound like a counterintuitive step for an as-is sale, but getting the inspection results upfront can illuminate any issues that could impact the value of the home and inform an accurate pricing strategy. If a buyer requests further deductions to the price based on their own inspection, you may be able to point to how the estimated cost of certain repairs was already baked into the list price.

If a seller offers a home inspection report that’s already been completed, some buyers may not feel the need to conduct their own home inspection. That being said, a pre-listing inspection isn’t a necessity.

“What I am told from legal representation, the in-house attorney for the Massachusetts Association of Realtors, is just about everything that comes up at a home inspection then has to become a disclosure,” says Muncey.

But on the other hand, Muncey explains that if something does come up in a later inspection that you as the homeowner weren’t aware of, that can present an issue.

“I see that there can be benefits in certain scenarios where having a home inspection report in advance can be helpful. You’re less likely to be caught with surprises,” says Muncey.

Price to reflect ‘as is’ condition

The median sale price for homes in Massachusetts hit $549,450 in March 2022, a 13.3% increase over the year prior.

Muncey says that the difference in sale prices between selling a home “as is” versus a traditional home sale can be significant.

“As we review the numbers with a seller, it’s not common that a seller will want to leave 50, 60, 70 thousand dollars on the table,” says Muncey, speaking to how “as is” properties in the area are competing against traditional homes that are “immaculate.”

“Most of the properties in greater Boston have been decluttered, painted, and organized with beautiful marketing before they hit the market.”

When it comes to factors that can impact the value of an “as is” home in a hot spot like Boston, a lot of it comes down to having a smart marketing plan and a sales strategy backed by an agent who knows the area and knows the market, explains Muncey.

“When you come on the market, depending on how you present and where you position your pricing, the other properties are either going to help sell you… or you’re going to help sell those other properties.”

You can start with a free estimate from HomeLight’s Home Value Estimator (HVE).

Our HVE combs public data including tax records and assessments and pulls recent sales records for other properties in your neighborhood. Using a short questionnaire, we also factor in specifics about your home such as the property type and described condition. Input your address, and we’ll provide you with a preliminary home value estimate in under two minutes.

What's Your Massachusetts Home Worth?

Enter your address and get a preliminary estimate of home value in under two minutes.

Do ever-so-light preparations

When it comes to sprucing up your as-is home, Muncey suggests focusing on the small details that have the best return on investment (ROI). Things like cleaning, freshening up the home’s interior paint, re-caulking edges along bathrooms that have grown moldy or dark over the years, and decluttering.

“It could be as simple as telling somebody, ‘I would recommend reducing fifty percent of the stuff in your closet so it will appear that you have more closet space,’” suggests Muncey.

Even for as-is home listings in Massachusetts, the following recommendations can be valuable when presenting your home to prospective buyers:

  • Clearing your kitchen’s counters to show off available counter space.
  • Staging each room to showcase its potential.
  • Cleaning high traffic areas; vacuuming the carpets, wiping down counters, floors, and windows.
  • Decluttering closets.
  • Packing away extra knick-knacks to make the house appear open and tidy.
  • Rearranging furniture to create a more spacious layout.
  • Mowing the lawn and trimming the hedges to boost curb appeal.
  • Staging the backyard with lawn furniture, a grill, etc. to demonstrate outdoor living space.

Although there are people out there who are looking for fixer-uppers, Muncey shares how a little basic clean-up and decluttering can really help buyers see a home’s true potential.

“If a house is overwhelming for a buyer to walk through, then that’s going to negatively impact the sale – no matter where the home is.”

Photograph to show potential

Your home listing warrants professional photography no matter what type of condition the property is in. A professional photographer will take steps to shoot each room from the best angle; ensure optimal interior and natural lighting, and edit for the ideal brightness and exposure.

A high-quality camera with a wide-angle lens is also essential to showcasing entire rooms rather than half or three-quarters of what’s there. For these reasons and more, professionally photographed homes can sell up to three weeks faster and bring in up to $11,000 more than their houses marketed without professional photos.

Your real estate agent will almost always arrange for professional photos as part of the listing process.

Highlight the surrounding area

A home’s location will be important to buyers seeking out a home with potential. Mention in your as-is listing if your home is close to any of the following:

  • The ocean or a lake
  • Highly rated schools
  • Access to outdoor activities
  • Shortened commute time to new employment
  • Public transportation

Include ‘as is’ in the listing

Unless you explicitly mention that your house is being sold “as is,” buyers will have no idea of your intentions with the listing. Other common descriptors mentioned in as-is listings in Massachusetts include priced to sell, or Muncey explains how some may list “as is” in the property description or under disclosures.

To balance the focus on as-is condition, work with your agent to craft a property description that highlights the best features of the home. Although, if the house is in fair condition overall and the market is hot enough, your real estate agent may suggest forgoing the “as is” title altogether.

“In my opinion, it’s not advisable to market your property “as is,” because whether it needs a little work or a lot of work this presents the home in such a way that makes buyers assume there’s a lot of a work,” says Muncey, explaining how this can be a red flag for some buyers.

Understand buyers may still negotiate

Listing “as is” provides no guarantee that buyers won’t try to negotiate savings on their purchase, even on an asking price you felt was already reduced to reflect the home’s condition. One of the best defenses you can have is an agent who takes a hard stance to prevent a deal from going south for the seller.

Be aware of minimum property standards for certain loans

When you place your home on the market, it’s hard to predict if your top offer will come from a cash buyer or a buyer pre-qualified for a home loan.

But if you do end up working with a financed buyer, be aware that different mortgage types (such as conventional loans or government-backed FHA, USDA, or VA loans) have different minimum property standards. These are standards related to the overall condition of a property which will play a role in the willingness and/or ability of a lender to finance a buyer’s loan.

Before properties can be financed, their value and condition are typically examined by a state-licensed, independent appraiser contracted by the buyer’s mortgage company.

If you’re unsure whether your home will meet appraisal requirements, you can start by taking a look at the FHA minimum property standards. If your house complies with FHA, then it complies with most other lenders’ requirements.

Prioritize a cash offer if you receive one

On occasion, conventional lenders may even finance a fixer-upper property sold “as is,” and it’s not impossible to finance a fixer-upper with an FHA loan. However, if you’re selling a house “as is” — especially one that needs heftier repairs — you may want to consider accepting a cash offer if you receive one. Cash eliminates the lender-ordered appraisal as well as the time it takes to close on the buyer’s loan, creating a faster and clearer path to settlement.

An all-cash offer can speed up the sale process, provide you cash in hand, and the sale is less likely to fall through due to any financing hang-ups. All in all, a cash offer can provide a level of certainty.

Pros of listing a home ‘as is’

  • Save time and money on prepwork
  • Possibility of reducing negotiations from the inspection
  • Solution for out-of-state owners and inherited homes

 Cons of listing a home ‘as is’

  • Limited buyer pool
  • Expect lower offers
  • Negotiations and repairs aren’t always off the table

Steps to sell directly to a cash buyer

Now that we’ve covered the general process of listing a home “as is,” let’s discuss the alternative of working with an investor. While the process varies from business to business, the steps to selling your home to a house buying company typically go something like this:

  1. Decision: A homeowner decides a traditional listing isn’t for them. Perhaps their house needs a lot of work or they do not want to host any showings or open houses. They’re concerned about finding a buyer willing to purchase their home “as is” in its current state.
  2. Contact: A seller contacts a company that buys homes in their area and provides some basic information about their home.
  3. Preliminary offer: At this stage, some house-buying companies will provide a preliminary offer that is subject to change after a house assessment.
  4. Assessment: The company schedules a walkthrough of the property to evaluate its condition, usually within 24 to 48 hours.
  5. Firm offer: The company makes a firm offer (usually within 24 hours, sometimes on-site after the walkthrough) which you can accept or decline. Most of these companies will not negotiate on price, so the offer is a take-it-or-leave-it scenario.
  6. Closing: If you accept the offer, you and the company will each sign the contract, and closing will begin. Some companies offer a large deposit or moving cost assistance, and a few may even pay for the home upfront.
  7. Payment: The seller receives payment quickly, typically within seven days to a few weeks. This can vary by company, and sellers who work with a house-buying company often enjoy flexibility in selecting a move-out date that works for them.

If you aren’t sure where to get a cash offer, consider Simple Sale, a solution from HomeLight. With Simple Sale, you tell us a bit about your home, such as whether it’s a single-family home or condo and how much work it needs. From there we’ll provide you with a no-obligation, all-cash offer to buy your home in as few as 48 hours.

Skip repairs

No need to call the roof inspector or drain your savings to replace the HVAC. HomeLight will provide an offer for homes in almost any condition.

Sell when it’s convenient

Want to get out right away? Or need a little more time to pack? Either way, we’re flexible. Pick a move date that works for your schedule within 30 days of closing.

Close with certainty

Cash buyers don’t need a lender’s involvement to purchase a home, meaning they can move nimbly and quickly compared to someone who needs financing. With Simple Sale, you can close in as little as 10 days, compared to the 30-60 days it typically takes to close with a financed buyer.

Curious to know more about the Simple Sale experience? Hear it first hand from one of our valued clients in the video below.

Additional ‘we buy houses’ companies in Massachusetts

Below we’ve compiled a list of some of the leading companies that purchase homes “as is” for cash in Massachusetts and information about each.

New England Home Buyers

webuyhouseshere.com
(978) 228-1068

Since 2019, New England Home Buyers, a five-star rated business on Google has been helping homeowners in Massachusetts, New Hampshire, and Maine sell their homes in any condition for cash. Their website offers an easy three-step approach to selling your as-is home. To keep things honest, New England Home Buyers provide their formula (and an example) for how they calculate their offer: Offer = After-repair value – Cost of Repairs – Selling Costs.

Locations: This company has a local office in Haverhill, Massachusetts, and buys homes for cash in Massachusetts, New Hampshire, and Maine.

Fees: Sellers pay no closing costs. New England Home Buyers covers them.

Reviews: New England Home Buyers has been BBB accredited since July 2020 and holds an A rating. Customer reviews for New England Home Buyers speak to their patience, their no-pressure approach to business, and their fair prices. Clients express their appreciation for their clear communication and honesty, each step of the way. 

Mass Property Buyers

masspropertybuyers.com
(413) 445-0088

Since 2007, Mass Property Buyers have been buying properties in any condition. They’ve assisted homeowners in selling unwanted properties they’ve inherited, vacant properties, or those looking to sell a property fast and for cash. To help weigh the pros and cons of selling a house to a professional homebuyer, Mass Property Buyers offers a free guide available for download.

Mass Property Buyers boasts expedited service, claiming, “from offer to close and cash in your hand in as little as 7 days.”

Locations: This company has local offices in Longmeadow, Massachusetts, and Suffield, Connecticut, and buys houses in Massachusetts and Connecticut.

Fees: Sellers pay no closing costs. Mass Property Buyers covers them.

Reviews: Mass Property Buyers has been BBB accredited since October 2018 and holds an A+ rating. Customer reviews for Mass Property Buyers speak to their simple and stress-free methods of selling a home and their courteous and professional manner. Clients express their approval for the business’s ability to “clearly explain everything,” and how the process of working with Mass Property Buyers from offer to closing was simply wonderful.

We Buy Ugly Houses – HomeVestors (Boston)

webuyuglyhouses.com/boston
(866) 604-4504

In 1989 the company was originally founded as HomeVestors of America. In 1996 the We Buy Ugly Houses franchise model was created and has since become one of the largest professional homebuying franchises in the nation. The company has purchased over 100,000+ homes across America and promotes buying all kinds of houses, including “the good, the bad, and the ugly!”

Learn more about “We Buy Ugly Houses” early beginnings and current operations in this detailed look at the company.

Locations: We Buy Ugly Houses is a franchise and has more than 1,100 local offices located in 45 states across the country that buy homes for cash throughout the U.S. You can enter your zip code on this webpage to find contact information for a local office near you. There are local offices in Boston and throughout Massachusetts.

Fees: Sellers pay no closing costs. We Buy Ugly Houses covers them.

Reviews: We Buy Ugly Houses Boston has been BBB accredited since July 2016 and holds an A+ rating. Customer reviews for We Buy Ugly Houses speak to their overall service with multiple 5-star reviews and a 94% customer satisfaction rating. Customers of We Buy Ugly Houses have shared that the Boston branch is “friendly and professional,” the selling process is “easy and painless,” and the entire process “never felt rushed or pressured in any way.”

Pros of selling ‘as is’ to an investor

  • Save money on home preparations.
  • Sell fast — receive an offer in as little as a few days, and close as quickly as one to two weeks later.
  • Skip repairs. Most house-buying companies purchase properties in “as is” condition, even those that need major repairs.
  • No staging. No repeated showings. No open houses.
  • Arrange for a flexible move-out date.

Cons of selling ‘as is’ to an investor

  • Offers are likely to be much lower. Investors typically pay 70% of what they estimate to be the home’s after-repair value.
  • Sellers will have room to negotiate. Most cash buyer offers are going to be “take it or leave it.”
  • Although many home-buying companies are legitimate, some are not. It’s always a good idea to be vigilant about possible scams.

How much will you make from an as-is home sale?

There is no simple equation for calculating how much you’ll net from an “as is” sale. If you list on the market with an agent, you’ll need to account for the cost of agent commissions (around 5.8% on average) and other closing costs such as title fees and taxes, but are likely to field higher offers from buyers and see more competition for the home.

Different types of investors and house-buying companies also offer varying amounts for homes, largely dependent on their exit strategy. While fix ‘n’ flip investors usually pay around 70% of the home’s after-repair value, buy-and-hold investors who plan to rent out your property may be able to pay more. In addition, investors are often willing to cover a seller’s closing costs which can add up to around 1%-3% of the sale price. HomeLight’s net proceeds calculator can be helpful for running through some possible selling scenarios and estimating your take-home pay.

For Boston sellers who are hoping to aim for a higher profit (but forgo the prep work themselves), Muncey’s team provides a special service option for sellers called “compass concierge.” Muncey explains with this service all of the costs for any home improvement that somebody needs to do are paid out of the proceeds of the sale, with no interest.

“The difference in the sale price can be so significant sometimes. If the seller doesn’t want to do the prep for whatever reason, another option is they decide to move out first, and then we do the prep for them,” says Muncey.

This can be an especially useful tool for sellers who are moving out of one property into another and are currently juggling multiple expenses and don’t want to pay out of pocket for minor repairs to the house. And from Muncey’s experience, a little prep work on a house has the potential to largely impact net proceeds.

“For most people, their nest egg is in their home, and there’s a very big opportunity here. It can easily be between $50 to $100,000 that they would otherwise leave on the table,” explains Muncey.

Ready to sell your house in Massachusetts?

While every home sale is different, you should now be familiar with the general process of selling a house “as is” in Massachusetts. Now, you can begin to weigh which method will work best for you.

When interviewing agents, trust and being on the same page about your home sale are two winning keys to a happy home sale.

“A good agent is going to tell you the good, the bad, the ugly, and be transparent,” says Muncey. “That’s how you have trust and an important relationship when you’re selling perhaps your most valuable asset.”

Whether you choose to list “as is” with a real estate agent or work with a direct home buyer, a home doesn’t have to be in perfect condition to sell — so long as you provide disclosures as necessary, set the right price, and know what to expect going in. Whenever you’re ready to take the next step, HomeLight would be happy to assist with your real estate needs. Connect with a top agent near you or get started with a cash offer from Simple Sale.

Header Image Source: (Michael Baccin / Unsplash)