How to FSBO Massachusetts – Real Estate for Sale by Owner

How to FSBO Massachusetts GUIDE

The ultimate How to FSBO guide - It's Just Not that Hard to Sell FSBO. Here's Exactly How to Sell Your Own Home Without A Realtor.


If you sell your own Massachusetts home without the assistance of a real estate professional, you're known in the real estate industry as a For Sale by Owner or "FSBO".​

FSBO in 2024

While there’s a loud and clear voice, namely coming from the National Association of Realtors (an advocacy group for real estate professionals compensated on a commission basis), telling you that you cannot sell your home without a Realtor, come on, let’s face it, it’s 2024 and listing and selling your own home is easier and more straightforward than ever.

FSBOs are vested

No one knows a home better than its owner, and no one is more vested in the sale of a home than its owner. A homeowner’s primary residence is oftentimes their single largest asset, and on the sale of a $400,000 home, listing and selling without a Realtor can save a homeowner almost $12,000 in real estate agent commissions and fees.

FSBOs take bold action

Selling your home for sale by owner is not for everyone. But if you’re comfortable performing some of the duties a licensed real estate listing broker would do on your behalf when listing with a traditional real estate brokerage, it’s worth exploring how to do Massachusetts for sale by owner.

How to Sell For Sale by Owner (FSBO)

Take a disciplined approach to ensure you get top dollar when you sell your own home without a Realtor and close on time.

Learn how to FSBO
The Ultimate How to FSBO Guide
Step 1

Prepare to FSBO

Consider this, it can be difficult for a property owner to look at their home objectively, with the same discerning eye that a buyer looking to pay the lowest possible price for a home is going to have.  However, taking an unbiased approach will get a Massachusetts FSBO pointed in the right direction.

Home Inspection Before You Sell

Consider obtaining a professional home inspection before you sell. A home inspection during the FSBO prep period exposes potential issues with a home that can be corrected immediately, rather than later on. A buyer is going to do their own home inspection after an offer to purchase has been accepted, so why not uncover and remedy issues now versus giving a buyer negotiating power later on in the transaction, or worse yet, creating a scenario where the buyer walks away from the sale entirely by invoking the inspection contingency that was agreed upon in the offer to purchase.

Determine FSBO Home List Price

eep in mind that pricing a home is like making a first impression, you only get one chance to make it right. Real estate professionals spend a fair amount of time deriving an optimum list price, for good reason, it can make the difference between sitting on the market and quickly entertaining multiple FSBO offers to purchase.

Hot Tip for Selling Your Home FSBO: Analyze list prices of comparable homes available for sale in your market, look at comparable homes that have sold in your area in the past six (6) months (this is the key, this is what buyers are saying “yes” to in the market), and objectively compare and contrast your property’s features against the comparables to establish a competitive list price. To get started, use our How to Price FSBO Guide.

FSBO Real Estate For Sale Sign

If your homeowner’s association (HOA) allows for the placement of real estate signs when selling or renting, by all means, take advantage of that free advertising. Pay particular attention to regulations for real estate signs – the Massachusetts MLS for instance has a regulation that does not allow for sale signs that carry the words “for sale by owner”. Order your yard sign early, give yourself ample lead time to have a sign made and shipped to your home so that on the day you list your property for sale in the MLS, you can put the for sale sign in your yard – this subtle timing piece of advice is why this tip is in the “Prepare to FSBO” rather than the “Market & Promote Your FSBO” section!

MA FSBO Real Estate Forms

Get to know the various forms and pieces of paperwork that you will need to use during your FSBO transaction. Know and leverage the same Massachusetts real estate forms that Realtors use!

Know Before You List

According to studies, the most difficult tasks for FSBO sellers are:

  1. Determine the right FSBO asking price
  2. Understanding and performing real estate paperwork
  3. Attracting potential buyers
  4. Preparing/fixing up a home for sale
  5. Helping buyers obtain financing
  6. Selling within the planned length of time
  7. Having enough time to devote to all aspects of the sale
Step 2

Market & Promote Your FSBO

A For Sale by Owner seller needs to think about the things that a listing broker would do for them if they were paying a traditional real estate brokerage a full commission to list their home for sale. It’s these tasks that should drive the marketing and promotion of a FSBO listing.

Flat Fee MLS Service

Focus on listing your home with a flat fee MLS listing service in Massachusetts. These services need to be backed by a licensed real estate professional, who can get a property into the MLS for a one-time flat fee, and give a home the exposure it needs comprehensively online (which is where nearly 100% of buyers start their search today).

Hot Tip for Selling Your Home FSBO: With the Internet-enabled MLS, once a property is placed in the official local MLS system, the listing and all of its information and photos will be syndicated to thousands of websites, including, Zillow, Trulia, Redfin, and many others! Learn more about how flat fee MLS entry only listings work.

Determine Buyer's Agent Commission

One of the most frequently asked questions from FSBOs is how much commission do Buyer’s Agents get paid?  Entry Only New England conducted first-of-its-kind research to reveal precisely how much – the full Buyer’s Agent real estate commission report is available for free to clients who list FSBO on the MLS without a Realtor using Entry Only New England’s flat fee MLS realty service.

Staging Your FSBO

The aim here is to de-clutter and get the home ready for the public to see.

FSBO Photos

With nearly 100% of buyers starting their home search online, a professional photographer should be considered, or at a minimum, a late-model iPhone camera to capture professional FSBO property photos.

FSBO Open Houses

pen houses are one of the fundamental ways that buyers can touch and feel a home in a no-pressure environment. Open houses are typically held on Sunday afternoons, and need to be submitted for advertising purposes to your flat fee MLS realty service the week before the open house is to take place.

Hot Tip for Selling Your Home FSBO: Think about offering food at an open house, perhaps even with the sponsored help of a caterer that will be advertised at the open house so you don’t have to bear the burden of catering costs. Include notes in the MLS open house comments that food will be provided at your open house.

FSBO Real Estate Flyer Templates

Licensed real estate agents and brokers use professionally designed real estate flyers for both private showings and open houses, and you should too!  As a FSBO, you need real estate flyer templates that you can edit with either Word or Mac, and they need to look professional – here’s an opportunity for you to very easily look just as good as a full commission Realtor.

Hot Tip for Selling Your Home FSBO: The FSBO real estate flyers we use look so professional because they are professional! We partner with Snap Flyers (affiliate link) to provide our FSBOs with top notch real estate flyer templates, and now you can too. Order a single flyer or the entire portfolio like we have at Snap Flyers, your listing will thank you!
Step 3

FSBO Real Estate Paperwork & Closing Your FSBO

FSBOs should create a team around them, including a real estate attorney. Knowledge of real estate transaction flow and timelines along with how to negotiate in general will be extremely helpful in both getting a buyer to the closing table and selling for top dollar.

Hire Real Estate Attorney

Oftentimes for a one-time flat fee, a real estate attorney can carry a transaction through to closure on behalf of a FSBO. The other parties in a real estate transaction, including the buyer and the buyer’s lender, will almost certainly be represented by legal counsel in addition to having a licensed real estate professional (i.e. buyer’s agent) on their team, so don’t go it entirely alone. We actually recommend that you engage a real estate attorney before you ever list your property for sale, so they’re with you the whole time and can guide you in a legally sound manner.

Download Forms & Contracts

Written contracts dictate your entire real estate transaction and lay out all the key events that will transpire over the course of the sale. Download state-specific real estate forms & contracts, study and leverage the same forms Massachusetts Realtors use throughout a transaction.

Negotiating FSBO Offers to Purchase

Only accept offers from pre-approved buyers. When offers are received, you can accept, reject, or make a counteroffer (oftentimes called a “counter”) – learn more about when an Offer to Purchase terminates. In Massachusetts, an Offer to Purchase should be accompanied by a lending pre-approval letter and a $1,000 earnest money deposit check.

Home Inspection & Appraisal

Most oftentimes, there will be contingency clauses in an Offer to Purchase and forthcoming Purchase and Sale Agreement that will allow the buyer to conduct (at their own expense) a home inspection. As well, the buyer’s lender will conduct an appraisal of the property. Be prepared for these events to take place and go out of your way to help facilitate them happening smoothly – inspections and appraisals are two areas where real estate deals can easily fall apart.

Smoke, CO, 6D Certificate

You’ll be responsible for producing Smoke & Carbon Monoxide Detector Inspection and 6D Certificates at the closing table. FSBOs are responsible for passing a smoke and carbon monoxide detector inspection conducted by the city. A FSBO must bring the pass certificate to the closing table, something that many FSBOs can easily forget! Ensure that you order the inspection far in advance of your closing, and follow the guidelines associated with the inspection in terms of both equipment and payment, as you don’t want to fail the certification test and then have to reschedule. For FSBOs with a HOA, a 6D certificate will need to be obtained prior to closing and brought to the closing table – a 6D certificate is used to confirm all HOA fees and assessments have been paid through the date of closing, thus protecting the buyer.


Tips for Selling Your Home FSBO

Because FSBOs are taking on the work of a typical listing agent / seller’s agent, there are duties that the FSBO must follow through on that they might not otherwise think about. What are some further Massachusetts for sale by owner tips that are critical to the FSBO home selling success?

Strike Healthy Balance

FSBOs must find a balance between qualifying potential buyers and opening the door to them. Meaning, when selling your own home, your time is valuable, scheduling and coordinating showings takes time, effort, and cost a FSBO money, and that said, a FSBO only wants qualified buyers walking into their home. Striking a happy medium between qualifying buyers (i.e. asking if there is a lending pre-approval letter in place upon scheduling a private showing for example) and driving as much traffic through the property as possible, is challenging yet necessary.


Studying and understanding the Massachusetts real estate forms is important. A FSBO needs to understand the three (3) main points in time that a buyer can get out of an Offer to Purchase with no penalty, and the reasons for it. When a FSBO accepts an Offer, the home is taken off the market, and should a transaction fall through, the FSBO will need to re-enter the market, not from scratch, but it will be a significant set back. A real estate attorney can help with this area, but a FSBO is quarterbacking the deal.

Most-Trusted Entry Only MLS Listing Service in Massachusetts

Entry Only New England makes it easy for FSBOs in Massachusetts to save thousands in real estate commission!

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