Seller Expenses and Responsibilities

1. Obtain legal counsel

  • Your attorney will prepare and negotiate the Purchase & Sale Agreement (P&S)
  • Your attorney will advise you on any issues or extensions that arise between the signing of the P&S and the closing
  • Your legal counsel will draft the deed and power of attorney
    • If a power of attorney is granted, the seller does not need to attend the closing
  • Your attorney will review the settlement statement, attend the closing, sign seller’s documents (if under power of attorney), and collect or direct the payment of proceeds

2. Provide your attorney with your current mortgage and equity line information, if any

  • This includes: the bank’s name, address, telephone number, your account number(s), and your social security number
  • The recording fee for discharging the outstanding mortgage is approximately $75/mortgage, and is collected at closing by the lender’s attorney (if not already included as part of your payoff amount)

3. Obtain documents needed for closing:

  • Certificate of Compliance for the smoke and carbon monoxide detectors –given  by the local fire department (this certificate is often valid for 60 days)
  • Final water and sewer reading (if applicable)
  • Title V Certification—this is if you have a private sewer/septic system/cesspool
  • Light lien letter (if municipal electric)
  • Wood stove permit (if applicable)—given by local fire department
  • Oil tank reading and permit (if applicable)

4. Obtain a clear title

  • The title to the property will be searched prior to closing by the buyer’s bank’s attorney
    • If any title issues are discovered, the seller is responsible for clearing them prior to closing

5. Pay the Massachusetts Excise Stamps

  • Payment is collected at closing
  • This is a tax on the seller by the Commonwealth of Massachusetts and it is based upon the sales price of the property
  • The current tax rate is $4.56 per thousand dollars on the sale price
    • i.e. A home selling for $100,000.00 would have an excise tax due from the seller of $456.00

6. Have adjustments made (if applicable) at the closing

  • Adjustments often made include: unpaid taxes, fuel, water/sewer, oil, and rents