The Home Stretch

In order to close on time, you'll need to pay attention to tasks and deadlines in the weeks prior to your closing date. Scroll down to learn more about:

  • Signing the P&S
  • The buyer's mortgage
  • Smoke and CO inspection
  • Final water and oil readings
  • 6d certificate for condo owners
  • The final walkthrough
  • Insurance
  • Closing costs


Signing the Purchase & Sale

As soon as you have a signed offer and the inspection is scheduled, it’s time to hire a real estate attorney to represent you. Your attorney will generate a Purchase and Sale (P&S) document for both parties to sign, which includes any final outcomes from the home inspection. At this time the buyer will put down an additional deposit, generally 5-10% of the purchase price. All deposits are held in an escrow account provided as a service by the listing company.

The costs for legal representation (for both the P&S and closing paperwork) varies anywhere from $800 to $1,200, depending on the scope of work. Some attorneys charge by the hour and some charge a flat rate. We work with a number of great real estate attorneys if you'd like a recommendation.

The Buyer’s Mortgage

Although the buyers are the ones getting a mortgage, their lender needs to conduct an appraisal on your home. The appraiser will be looking at the condition of your house, to make sure that it’s worth the value of the loan. It is important to keep your house looking as good as possible for the appraiser. As with the open house, all lights should be on, window shades open, countertops cleaned, etc.

If you live in a condominium and your buyer is getting a mortgage, they will need the building’s trustee or your management company to fill out a Condo Questionnaire. Many times a management company will charge you a fee (up to $300) for this service. If your association is self-run, someone other than yourself will need to fill this out. Make sure your condo dues have been paid in advance.


Smoke Inspection

The smoke inspection is no joke. When a home is sold in Massachusetts, state law requires that the home be inspected by the local fire department for properly working smoke and Carbon monoxide detectors.

Costs for this inspection usually run to $50-$100 per unit. Once you've passed the inspection, the fire department provides a certificate of compliance, which is given to the attorney before the closing.

You will not be able to close on your property without this certificate.

Different places may vary in the specifics, so it's always helpful to do your research. Check out this link to read the State of MA Smoke Alarm Regulations, or contact your local fire department to learn the rules in your location.


Final Water and Oil Readings

One week prior to closing, the final water and oil meter readings are conducted and paid for. This final statement is provided at the closing.

6d Certificate—Condo Only

If you live in a condo, pay your association dues in advance. We will need to obtain and notarize a 6(d) certificate, which is required for the closing. This certificate confirms that there are no outstanding condo fees or assessments owed by you to the association.


Prior to the closing, the buyer will visit the property for a final walkthrough to determine that the house is vacant and broom swept. They will also check to make sure everything is in good working order, such as the plumbing, heat, and electrical systems. If any issues arise, they will be discussed at the closing and the attorneys will deal with them.


Before you go on, commit this to memory: from the moment you own your home to the moment you sell your home, it must be insured against damages to physical items or people who may step on and into your property. This means that even if you’re no longer living in your home, you need insurance. If contractors are visiting your home and get hurt there, you may be held responsible. So, make absolutely sure that your policy is in order; it must cover injuries to others as well as your belongings, until the moment the closing papers are signed!


Whether you're moving out before the home is on the market, or the day before the closing, it's essential that you plan carefully for your move. Read our Moving Tips here.


Closing Costs

When selling a home, it is always good to know exactly how much you are going to walk away with at the closing. Most homeowners expect that they will receive a check that indicates the sales price of their home less their own mortgage balance. However there are a number of other costs in selling a home that could add up.

  • Many people are unaware of the Massachusetts tax stamps, or property transfer tax. This is a tax on the sale of any home sold in MA. The current tax rate is $4.56 dollars per thousand. For example, if you sold a home for $500,000, your tax would be $4.56 x 500 for a total cost of $2,280.
  • If you have your own septic system, another expense is a Title V (septic) inspection. The typical cost for a Title V inspection runs around $800, depending on the level of difficulty to access the tank. This cost also includes the pumping fee. A septic inspection is good for two years.
  • Other miscellaneous costs include recording fees at the registry, mortgage discharge fees, etc. These costs will typically amount to a few hundred dollars and will be added to your HUD settlement statement (which you will review a few days before the closing).

Your attorney will preside over the mortgage sign-off, and will help with the paperwork for the closing. 

Most sellers never attend the closing. They often opt to sign a Power of Attorney a few days before the closing, and receive a check in the mail once the property is signed over to the new owners and the title is recorded at the Registry of Deeds (which happens on the same day).

Work With Us

With their complementary communication styles, responsiveness, competence, and ability to truly listen, Ellie and Liz enable their clients to feel at ease throughout any real estate transaction. They would welcome the opportunity to be your next real estate advisors.

Let's Connect