Important Seller Information
IMPORTANT – Real Estate Sale Information
If you are represented by an attorney in the sale of your property you must contact that attorney first for counsel before relying on any information listed here. The information below is intended as a REFERENCE ONLY and NOT AS LEGAL COUNSEL OR ADVICE.
Final Utility Adjustments – If your property has the following services provided by municipal or town departments, you will need to arrange for final readings, adjustments or payments as necessary prior to closing. You should contact the appropriate town department and inform them that you are selling the property. Ask them to explain the procedures to follow for the sale.
Other Service Adjustments – If your property has any of the following services you will need to contact the service provider and inform them that you are selling the property. Ask the service provider to explain the procedures to follow for the sale.
- Propane Gas – Call for a final reading and obtain a cash value for the contents of the tank. You should be reimbursed for the value of the gas by the Buyer at closing. Be sure to get a printed invoice or receipt.
- Heating Oil – Call for a final reading and obtain a cash value for the contents of the tank. You should be reimbursed for the value of the oil by the Buyer at closing. Be sure to get a printed invoice or receipt.
- Water Heater – If you have a rented gas or electric water heater you should contact the vendor for more information regarding the sale, and to transfer ownership.
- Solar Panels – If you have solar panels on your property you will need to make arrangements prior to closing to transfer the power purchase agreement, applicable to the buyer, or to remove the panels.
Fire Department Inspection Certificate – At closing you are required to provide to the Buyer a certificate that indicates that the smoke and carbon monoxide detectors on the property have been inspected and are in working order. Contact your local fire department administrative office and inform them that you are selling the property and require an inspection. The original inspection certificate will be required at closing. Be sure to request the inspection at least 14 days before closing.
Real Estate Taxes – Outstanding tax payments will be adjusted and paid at the time of closing, it is important to know when your taxes were last paid, the amount of the payment and the total annual tax. If you current mortgage lender collects escrows for the tax payment we will need to know when the taxes were last paid by the lender.
Condominium – If your property is a condominium or a part of a homeowners’ association, neighborhood or lake association, you are required to prove that all of your condominium or common expense fees have been paid in full. The form of proof is a certificate that you must obtain from the condominium association, board of trustees or management company. The certificate is commonly referred to as a “6 (d) Certificate.” The original will be required at closing.
Mortgage Payoffs – If you have one or more mortgages on the property you will need to provide account information for each account to our office. This includes private mortgages, second mortgages, and home equity lines of credit (even if you believe the equity line has a zero balance).
If you are represented by an attorney in the sale of your property you must contact that attorney first for counsel before providing any information requested here. This information is intended as a reference only and not as legal counsel.
Other liens – If you are aware of or suspect that you or your property are subject to other liens, it is important that you inform us right away. Other liens may include unpaid municipal real estate tax liens, Federal or State income or payroll tax liens, child support, alimony, civil judgments, and mechanic or contractor liens. These liens, if any, will need to be addressed prior to closing.
Betterments – If you are aware of or suspect that the property is subject to a municipal betterment arrangements, will need to be made prior to closing to pay the betterment in full, or according to the terms of the purchase and sale contract.
Mortgage Inspection Plan – If the Buyer is obtaining a conventional mortgage loan to purchase the property, the property will be inspected by a land surveyor prior to closing. This survey is done to ensure that no structures on the property encroach or go over the presumed property lines or municipal setbacks. If you suspect that a structure on your property or on a neighboring property may cross over a boundary line you should inform us right away. Additionally, if you have constructed any additions or out buildings, or decks during your ownership, you should ensure that they do not violate municipal zoning laws. This does not apply to condominiums.
Title 5 – You will need to ensure that the subsurface sewerage disposal system, or septic system complies with Massachusetts laws. We can discuss these requirements with you in detail. You will most likely need to have the system professionally inspected and obtain a report that states the system is in compliance.
Flood Insurance – If the property is in a federally designated flood zone and you have flood insurance, or if you suspect that the property may be in a flood zone, please contact our office to discuss the details prior to closing. It is likely that the Buyer’s mortgage lender will check to see if the property is in a flood zone, if so they will require the Buyer to obtain flood insurance. This may significantly delay the closing if not addressed in advance.
Inspection – If the Buyer conducted a home inspection and that inspection revealed defects or issues that you agreed to address or repair prior to closing, you will need to ensure that you have complied with the agreement. If necessary, you may need to provide a receipt or proof of completion.
Investment Property – If the property you are selling is an investment property that is rented or leased you will need to provide an accounting and adjustment for the tenants rents and security deposit. You should also consider giving the appropriate notice to your tenants and transfer all interests in contracts and agreements that you may have to the Buyer.
Deed – At closing you will be required to deliver a new deed to the property to the Buyers, granting title from you to them.
If you are represented by an attorney in the sale of your property you must contact that attorney first for counsel before relying on any information listed here. The information below is intended as a reference only and not as legal counsel.
Settlement Expenses– At the time of closing you will be required to pay for Massachusetts Excise Tax Stamps ($4.56 per thousand dollars of the sale price). You may also be required to pay state recording fees to discharge mortgages and other liens, and to record other necessary title related documents. These fees will be deducted and paid from the proceeds of the sale and accounted for at closing.
Foreign Investment in Real Estate Property Act – This Federal Law places special requirements for tax reporting and withholding on the parties to a real estate transaction under certain circumstances as set forth in the law. At closing you will be required to complete and sign a certificate indicating whether you are a “foreign person” or a “non-resident alien” pursuant to the Foreign Investment in Real Property Tax Act (FIRPTA). If you are a foreign person, the closing agent must withhold a tax equal to 10% of the purchase price, unless an exemption applies. The Act does not apply to US citizens or resident aliens.
Buyer Financing Commitment – Often, the buyer’s obligation to close is subject to approval for mortgage financing. In this event, the buyer has up to a certain date (defined in the contract) to secure a financing commitment from a lender. In the event they are unable to secure financing, or if they are denied, then the buyer may be entitled to the return of their deposit and termination of the contract. Be sure that you are aware of the buyer’s financing contingency date, and don’t commit yourself to obligations prior to that date.
Extensions – On occasion a buyer to request an extension of the mortgage financing commitment date under the terms of the agreement. You are not obligated to agree to an extension, but if you do not agree, the buyer may be entitled to the return of their deposit and termination of the transaction. It is also not uncommon for the buyer to request an extension of the closing date as well. Depending on the terms of the purchase and sale contract and the circumstances, you may be obligate to grant an extension of the closing date.
Title Examination – Prior to closing, the closing attorney will conduct an examination of the history, or chain of ownership, of the property. The purpose of the examination is to ensure that you are the legitimate owner of the property, that you have authority to sell the property. The report will also disclose all mortgage and liens against the property which must be accounted for and paid and or released at or prior to closing. If the title exam discloses discrepancies, such as undischarged mortgages, you will be required to correct the issue prior to closing.
Clean and Vacant – The buyer will likely conduct a final walk though of the property just before closing. At which time the property should be clean and vacant, and free of any trash, debris and personal belongings unless there is otherwise a specific agreement with the buyer. If you intend to leave anything on the property that is not a fixture, please confirm with the buyer in advance of closing that it is acceptable. Cans of paint, extra flooring tiles, wallpaper, extra roof shingles or siding, tools, parts, cleaning supplies or any other of this sort of personal belonging must be removed from the property prior to closing. Debris, furniture or other personal belongings left on the property, in the yard, basement, attic, shed or garage will likely delay or complicate the closing. If you plan to leave anything behind for the buyer, confirm, in writing, in advance of closing that it is acceptable.
Keys, remotes, access – You should be prepared to deliver keys to the property to the buyer at closing. If there are remote automatic garage door openers for the property, you should arrange to have them at the closing as well. In the event there are no keys or remotes, access to the property will need to be arranged in another manner.
Photo Identification – You will need to provide the closing attorney with proof of identity at closing. Be certain to have an original, valid, current, unexpired, government issued photo identification (preferably a state driver’s license or passport) with you at closing. Copies are not acceptable.
Sale Proceeds – The funds for the proceeds of the sale will not be released to you until the deed and mortgage have been recorded at the appropriate Registry of Deeds. This normally occurs within a few hours of closing. Commonly, the closing attorney will provide you with an attorney’s trust account, business check for the amount due to you. Alternatively, sale proceeds can be made by way of a bank wire transfer. If you would like to use this option, you will need to inform the closing attorney in advance of closing so they can coordinate the details. The closing attorney may charge a convenience fee for processing a wire transfer.
If you are represented by an attorney in the sale of your property you must contact that attorney first for counsel before relying on any information listed above. The information above is intended as a REFERENCE ONLY and NOT AS LEGAL COUNSEL OR ADVICE.