Would you like to know how to sell a house by owner?

Selling a house by owner, known as For Sale By Owner (FSBO), can be rewarding, offering you control over the process and potentially saving on Realtor fees. However, selling a house without a real estate agent in Massachusetts demands thorough preparation, market knowledge, and negotiation skills.

Based on years of experience as a top-producing Massachusetts Realtor, I will walk you through every step. We will discuss everything from preparing your home for sale to finalizing the deal. I will equip you with strategies to navigate challenges efficiently.

Remember that selling a home by owner in Massachusetts won’t be easy. Many FSBOs fail and end up listing with an agent. However, the advice will put you in the best position to achieve your goals.

When selling by owner be prepared to put in significant time and effort. Getting a timely pending sale and maximizing your price will take more than a FSBO sign in your front yard.

You’ll need an effective strategy from start to finish.

Most for sale by owners don’t list with real estate agents in hopes of saving a commission. This is understandable as it’s a significant amount of money.

Let’s look at everything you need to know in this step-by-step guide.

How to Sell a House By Owner

How to Sell a House By Owner

Preparing Your Massachusetts Home For Sale

One of the first steps in selling by the owner is preparing for the market. Whether it is a buyer’s or seller’s market, you want your home to look outstanding.

Decluttering and Cleaning

Start by decluttering each room, removing personal items, and deep cleaning. A clutter-free, clean home is more inviting, prominent, and welcoming.

Look at some of the many benefits you will receive.

  1. Enhances Appeal: A clutter-free home appears more spacious and inviting, immediately attracting potential buyers.
  2. Highlights Features: Cleaning showcases the home’s best attributes, like hardwood floors and natural light, without distractions.
  3. Faster Sale: Buyers can envision their life in a clean, organized space, leading to quicker sale decisions.
  4. Increases Value: A well-maintained home can command a higher price, as it suggests less maintenance for the new owner.
  5. Reduces Stress: Sellers find the process less stressful when their home is tidy and ready for showings at any time.
  6. Improves Photos: Professional photos look better without clutter, attracting more online viewers and potential visits.
  7. Minimizes Buyer Concerns: A clean home gives the impression of a well-cared-for property, reducing worries about hidden issues.
  8. Encourages Offers: Buyers are more likely to make an offer on a home that feels welcoming and move-in ready.

Decluttering and cleaning are essential steps in preparing a home for sale, significantly impacting buyer perception and the sale outcome.

Making Repairs and Updates

Address necessary repairs, such as fixing leaky faucets or patching wall holes. Consider updates that increase value, like painting in neutral colors or upgrading fixtures.

It is essential to make repairs based on return on investment and the increase in saleability. Knowing what not to fix when selling is vital because you don’t want to waste your money.

Usually, a real estate agent would be providing this advice for free. You can still have a local Realtor assess your property and offer suggestions. Otherwise, research on the internet the best places to spend.


The staging process involves arranging furniture and decor to showcase your home’s best features. It helps buyers envision living in the space. Renting furniture or hiring a professional stager can be beneficial.

Staging your Massachusetts home brings everything together in a cohesive fashion. It is the finishing touches on a property ready to hit the market.


Over the years, I have offered every one of my clients advice on how to stage their home. It is part of an excellent listing agent’s responsibilities. The effort put in almost always results in a higher sale price.

Checklist and Tips on Home Sale Preparation

  • Declutter and clean every room.
  • Complete all necessary repairs.
  • Paint with neutral colors.
  • Stage the home for showings.
  • Focus on high-impact areas like the kitchen and bathrooms.
  • Use storage units to hide unnecessary items during showings.
  • Ensure ample lighting in every room to create a warm, inviting atmosphere.

Pricing Your Massachusetts House Correctly

There is no more significant mistake that for-sale-by-owners make than overpricing. I see it all the time. If you don’t nail down the right price, you will fail at selling your property.

This is essential advice for a first-time home seller who has no experience to rely on.

Understanding The Real Estate Market

Conduct a comparative market analysis (CMA) to gauge the value of your home based on similar properties in your area. This research will inform your pricing strategy, ensuring it aligns with current market conditions.

You must carefully consider what other homes like yours are selling for. You’ll need to take the emotions out of the pricing decisions. Is your home better than a similar home that sold down the street?

If not, don’t price it as such. A real estate agent will gladly provide an analysis of value for you for free. They will hope to get your business if you fail.

Spending the money on a professional appraisal is another avenue you can take.

Setting a Competitive Price

Price your home competitively to attract potential buyers. Setting a high price may deter interest, while too low could undervalue your property. Aim for a balance that reflects your home’s worth and market demand.

These are the problems overpricing creates when you sell by owner.

  1. Limits Buyer Interest: High prices deter potential buyers from considering your property.
  2. Increases Time on Market: Overpriced homes tend to sit longer, leading to a stale listing.
  3. Encourages Low Offers: Buyers might perceive overpriced Massachusetts homes as negotiable, leading to lower offers.
  4. Complicates Appraisals: Homes priced above market value may not appraise at the asking price, jeopardizing financing for potential buyers.
  5. Strengthens Competition: An overpriced home makes other, more competitively priced homes look more appealing.
  6. May Require Price Reductions: Sellers often have to lower the price later, which can signal desperation.
  7. Affects Online Searches: Buyers searching within specific price ranges may miss your property if it’s too high.
  8. Reduces Profit: Overpricing can lead to selling at a lower price than if priced correctly.

Avoid Online Home Value Estimators

Never hand your hat on an online home estimate. These algorithms are notoriously inaccurate. Pricing your home based on a Zillow estimate is a recipe for disaster.

Massachusetts Zillow estimates are wrong a significant percentage of the time.

Maximum Real Estate Exposure says that Zillow and Redfin have inaccurate home values.

Adjust The Price if Necessary

Be prepared to adjust your price based on feedback and market changes. If your home isn’t attracting offers, a price adjustment may be necessary to reignite interest.

From being in the business as long as I have, when you need to reduce your price, you’re no longer in a position of strength. This is why pricing right from the start is so crucial.


Thirty-eight years of selling homes in Massachusetts have shown that my clients who listen to pricing advice always come out on top. They sell their homes quickly and for top dollar.

Checklist and Tips For Pricing Accurately

  • Conduct a comparative market analysis.
  • Set a competitive initial price.
  • Monitor feedback and be ready to adjust.
  • Use online tools or consult a professional to accurately assess your home’s market value.
  • Consider the psychological impact of pricing (e.g., $299,900 vs. $300,000) to attract more buyers.
  • Stay informed about local market trends that could influence your pricing strategy.

Marketing Your Massachusetts Home as a FSBO

You cannot neglect marketing when selling without a real estate agent in Massachusetts. It will be one of the essential aspects of selling FSBO.

Listing in The Multiple Listing Service is a Must

Perhaps the number one thing you must do to increase your chances of selling quickly is to get your home into the MLS.

By listing in MLS, you will open your home to thousands of Massachusetts home buyers who otherwise would not know it exists. You can get your property listed in the Multiple Listing Service inexpensively with a list-only company.

These companies add your home to MLS for a few hundred dollars! It will be well worth the investment. If you choose, you can offer a buyer’s agent a fee for bringing a buyer.

While you may not save a full commission, you might sell your home quicker and for more money.

High-quality photos and Virtual Tours

Invest in professional photography to showcase your home’s best features. Consider adding a virtual tour to allow potential buyers to explore the property online.

Professional photography is crucial when selling a home in Massachusetts for several reasons:

  1. First Impressions Matter: High-quality photos grab attention and make a solid first impression on potential buyers browsing online listings.
  2. Highlights Best Features: A professional photographer can showcase a home’s best features, from natural light to unique architectural details.
  3. Increases Online Visibility: Listings with professional photos receive more views and shares, extending reach to more potential buyers.
  4. Speed Up the Selling Process: Attractive photos can lead to more showings and, potentially, a quicker sale.
  5. Enhances Marketing Materials: Professional photos improve all marketing materials, from brochures to online ads, presenting a cohesive and appealing image.
  6. Supports Higher Asking Prices: Homes with professional photography can often command higher prices, as they are perceived as more desirable.
  7. Reduces Time on Market: Quality photography can reduce the time a home spends on the market by attracting serious buyers faster.
  8. Shows Professionalism: Using professional photos demonstrates to buyers that you are serious and professional about selling your home.

Investing in professional photography is a wise decision that can significantly impact your home’s appeal and perceived value in the market.

I provide all my clients with professional photography when selling their homes. It makes a world of difference!

Writing a Compelling Listing Description

While photography is crucial for sale by owner homes in Massachusetts, so is your property description.

Your listing should highlight your home’s unique features and benefits. Use descriptive language to paint a picture for potential buyers, emphasizing any upgrades or desirable attributes.

  1. Captures Attention: A well-written description grabs potential buyers’ interest, encouraging them to learn more.
  2. Highlights Unique Features: It showcases the home’s best attributes and unique qualities, setting it apart from other listings.
  3. Creates an Emotional Connection: Good descriptions help buyers envision living in the space. They can foster an emotional connection to your home.
  4. Increases Engagement: Engaging content motivates buyers to schedule showings. They will directly impact the number of visits.
  5. Improves Online Visibility: Keywords in the description can improve search engine optimization, making the listing more accessible.
  6. Supports Higher Offers: Detailed descriptions can justify the asking price. Carefully crafted descriptions can lead to higher offers from buyers who value the features highlighted.
  7. Complements Photos: A compelling narrative alongside professional photos provides a complete picture, enhancing the overall appeal.
  8. Saves Time: Clear, informative descriptions can answer common questions upfront, saving sellers and interested buyers time.

Compelling listing descriptions are a powerful tool in selling, significantly influencing a buyer’s decision to pursue a property.

Utilizing Online Platforms and Social Media

The last part of the FSBO marketing puzzle is utilizing social media to broadcast your homes for sale.

You should list your home on popular real estate websites and use social media to reach a wider audience. Sharing your listing in local groups and forums can also help generate interest.

I would recommend using Facebook and Linkedin. Focus on finding groups that allow you to display your property for sale.

Checklist and Tips For Real Estate Marketing

  • Invest in professional photos and a virtual tour.
  • Craft a detailed and appealing listing description.
  • List your home on major real estate platforms and use social media.
  • Stage your home before taking photos to ensure it looks its best.
  • Highlight any recent upgrades or unique features in your listing.
  • Regularly update your listing to keep it fresh and engaging.

Handling Showings on Your Home

Selling By Owner in Massachusetts

Showings Are Crucial When Selling by Owner in Massachusetts.

Now that you have put in the hard work, it is time to be rewarded for your labor. However, you must ensure showing your house is easy and accessible.

Knowing how to sell a house by owner includes being ultra-flexible.

I have found that another issue with FSBOs in Massachusetts is missing out on showings due to being inflexible.

Scheduling Showings

Create a flexible yet structured schedule for showings to accommodate potential buyers while minimizing disruption to your daily life. Consider using an online scheduling tool to manage appointments efficiently.

I cannot stress this enough – missed showings are a missed opportunity. You must maximize the amount of people viewing your home. Make it a breeze when you show your property.

If you can’t be there when a potential buyer wants to see it, ask a friend or neighbor for help.

Preparing The Home For Visitors

Before each showing, ensure the home is clean, well-lit, and inviting. Open curtains to let in natural light, and consider lighting a scented candle or baking cookies to create a welcoming aroma.

Make sure everything is tidy and looks exceptional.

Collecting Feedback

After showings, seek feedback from visitors to understand their impressions and any concerns. This information can be invaluable for making adjustments to improve future showings or to your home itself.

Getting a phone number and email for anyone you let tour your home will make sense. Be prepared to answer questions from potential buyers.

Checklist and Tips For Home Showings

  • Create a showing schedule that balances availability with your personal life.
  • Prepare your home for each viewing, focusing on cleanliness and ambiance.
  • Collect and review feedback to make necessary adjustments.
  • Ensure your home is always ” show-ready ” during the listing period.
  • Use feedback constructively, even if it involves making further improvements.
  • Consider leaving the home during showings to make potential buyers more comfortable.

Navigating Offers on Your Home

The fun part of real estate sales is receiving an offer. Let’s look at what you should consider.

Evaluating Offers

Carefully review each offer, considering the price and the buyer’s terms. I would recommend paying particular attention to contingencies and the requested closing date.

It would help to prioritize offers that best meet your goals and timeframe. If you are unfamiliar with any terms, consult a local Massachusetts real estate attorney.

Counteroffer Strategies

Don’t be afraid to make counteroffers to negotiate better terms. Be clear about your requirements and flexible on negotiable points to reach a mutually beneficial agreement.

However, it is essential to understand the market. When the real estate market favors sellers, you can be more demanding. Conversely, you must be more flexible in a buyer’s market.

Agreeing on Terms

Once you reach an agreement, ensure all terms are documented in the contract. This step is crucial for a smooth transition to closing the sale.

You must ensure that you collect earnest money funds and give them to your attorney. They should be held in an escrow account until closing. Having an earnest money deposit ensures a buyer has skin in the game.

You don’t want them walking in the middle of the sale. It is customary in Massachusetts to collect a five percent deposit.

Checklist and Tips When Receiving Offers

  • Review all aspects of each offer carefully.
  • Be prepared to negotiate terms beyond just the price.
  • Finalize agreed terms in a written contract.
  • Keep communication open and professional during negotiations.
  • Understand your bottom line and areas where you can be flexible.
  • Consult with a legal professional if you’re unsure about contractual terms.
  • Get earnest money from the buyer.

Understanding Legal Requirements

Knowing your legal responsibilities is crucial when not using a real estate agent.

Disclosure Obligations

In Massachusetts, sellers are NOT required to disclose known defects and potential hazards about their property. Massachusetts is a Caveat Emptor state or “let the buyer beware.”

However, it does not mean you can lie or deceive buyers. You must be honest with any questions they ask you. For example, if they ask if your home gets water in the basement, you must be truthful. Otherwise, you can be sued.

If your home was built before 1978, you will need to disclose the presence of lead paint if you know. A lead paint disclosure form must be filled out for older homes. It is a federal law.

Purchase and Sale Contract Essentials

A real estate contract should include terms of the sale, purchase price, and any contingencies (e.g., inspection, financing). It’s crucial to understand these terms thoroughly.

Consider consulting a real estate attorney to ensure the contract protects your interests. A real estate attorney does a lot to protect your interests.

Hiring a Real Estate Attorney

I recommend that all my clients have a Massachusetts real estate attorney. The cost of an attorney is well worth the money for the protection and knowledge they provide.

Having someone navigate the complexities of real estate law ensures a smooth closing process. If you need a recommendation for an excellent lawyer, I would happily provide one.

Finding a real estate attorney can be challenging when you don’t know anyone.

Checklist and Tips For The Legal Process

  • Make all required disclosures about the property.
  • Ensure the sales contract includes all necessary terms.
  • Consider hiring a real estate attorney for guidance.
  • Review your state’s specific disclosure requirements.
  • Be thorough and honest in your disclosures to avoid legal repercussions.
  • An attorney can provide peace of mind and protect against potential legal challenges.

Finalizing Your Sale

The day has finally come! You have successfully sold your Massachusetts home as a for-sale-by-owner.

Closing Procedures

Closing involves finalizing the sale paperwork, transferring the property title, and handling financial transactions. The buyer’s lender or a title company usually oversees this process. The closing ensures all legal and financial obligations are met.

A Massachusetts closing usually occurs at the buyer’s lender attorney’s office. If you have an attorney, they will typically attend on your behalf under power of attorney. You will not need to be present.

Handling the Paperwork

Be prepared with all necessary documentation, including the deed, bill of sale, and any required state forms. Your attorney or a title company can help ensure everything is for the closing day.

Moving Out

Coordinate your move-out date to align with the closing date, allowing time for any final clean-up or repairs agreed upon in the sale terms. Leave any manuals or warranties for appliances or home systems for the new owner.

The buyer will likely do a final walk-through. This last step ensures everything is in the same condition as when they made their initial offer.

Don’t forget to notify everyone you’ll be moving.

Checklist and Tips For Closing

  • Prepare for the closing by gathering all necessary documents.
  • Plan your move-out date and any final home preparations.
  • Ensure financial arrangements are ready for the closing date.
  • Double-check with your attorney or title company a week before closing to confirm all paperwork is ready.
  • Leave the home as you’d wish to find it, respecting the new owners.
  • Keep a file with copies of all closing documents for your records.


Selling a house by owner in Massachusetts is a rewarding, albeit complex, journey. Following my guide, you can prepare your home, set a competitive price, market effectively, negotiate wisely, and navigate legal requirements.

Every sale is unique; use these strategies, examples, checklists, and tips to adapt. Good luck on your FSBO journey!