The A to Zs of Selling Your House For Cash in Massachusetts

How to Sell My House for Cash in MA: The Ultimate, No-BS Guide

By Unrivaled Homebuyers

What This Guide Will Do For You

Dear Seller,

So, you’re thinking of selling your Massachusetts property to a cash homebuyer. You’ve looked online, or maybe gotten some letters, and you’ve found a bunch of companies all saying they’ll buy your house fast for cash. Maybe you’ve even filled out a couple of spammy-looking forms (guilty).

Is it really all that simple? Are these companies legit, and do they mean what they say? Can you really sell your house in Massachusetts in mere days with no strings attached, cash and all?

Unrivaled is all about bringing transparency to an industry that often sorely lacks it. So today, we’re bringing you the full, no-BS, insider scoop.

You won’t find this kind of info anywhere else, so read and use this guide to make an informed decision.

Best Wishes,

The Unrivaled Team

Part 1: What Does It Mean to Sell Your Massachusetts House for “Cash”?

When some folks in Massachusetts think about selling their house for cash, they imagine a Brink’s armored truck driving up to their house on closing day with moneybags full of cash. Believe it or not, we’ve actually had some sellers request this. “Well you guys did say ‘cash’ “.

Alright, look, we’re not the Mafia, so you won’t be getting hard cash (although we can help you schedule a cash withdrawal from the bank ahead of closing day if that’s really what you’re after). But, we will make you a fair “cash” offer. So what on earth is cash then?

In home-buyer lingo, “cash” is shorthand for no contingencies (conditions of sale), especially no financing contingency. Most traditional buyers on the market, like young couples just starting their careers, don’t have enough money saved up to buy a house outright. So, they borrow most of the purchase money from a bank. Therefore, when they offer to buy your house, that offer is conditioned on the bank’s approval, which requires a survey, an appraisal, and a rigorous, multi-layered review of the buyer’s income and finances. That makes the process inherently uncertain because nobody can know for sure whether the buyer will get approved or not. Imagine wasting a month, thinking your house is about to sell, only to find out at the last minute the buyer lost his job and had his financing revoked.

When we buy houses for cash, then, we take that stress and uncertainty out of the equation for you. Because we use our own money, or private partner money, you don’t have to worry about a cash buyer like Homevisor not being able to afford your house. That said, you should always, always, always, verify that a cash buyer who claims to have the cash does in fact have it. More on that later.

“Cash” also symbolizes an overall ease of transaction. When you sell your house to a cash homebuyer in Massachusetts, there are no commissions or real estate agent fees. No inspections. No repairs needed. No pressure to move out by a certain date. Plus, some cash buyers like Unrivaled offer a full suite of services: moving and relocation help, negotiating the purchase of a new home, and the hundreds of other unique, individualized accommodations we’ve provided sellers over the years.

Part 2: What Does It Mean to Sell Your Massachusetts House “Fast”?

A Dodge Hellcat can clock speeds north of 200 miles per hour. Pretty fast, right?

By the same token, a V2 rocket travels over 3000 miles per hour. Suddenly, that Hellcat doesn’t look so fast anymore.

So “fast” is pretty relative. How fast is fast? When all of these companies claim they’ll buy your house in Massachusetts “fast”, have you stopped to think what they really mean? Sure, most of them say something like “cash in your hands in as little as 7 days”, but in our experience, not all of them have the means to actually deliver on that promise. Many of the “we buy ugly houses” types will drag their feet and extend closing for one reason or another, so you really end up waiting as long as you would in a regular market sale.

Here’s a quick example. In Hyde Park, we once ran across a “landlord-by-accident”, who’d recently inherited a fixer-upper multifamily house with non-paying tenants. The young man was a lawyer who worked 70+ hours a week and had no time for this nonsense, so he wanted to sell his Boston property fast. So, a couple of folks who called themselves “investors” had found him before us and told him they’d buy his property for cash, no conditions, and fast — within just two weeks.

As it turns out, that was a complete lie. They weren’t using cash — they had a lender, and when they asked that lender to finance a property with non-paying tenants in the middle of the COVID eviction moratorium, his answer was probably “heck no!”. Long story short, it took nearly half a year of pain and suffering for them to get the tenants out and close on this house.

So, here’s what closing fast actually means. It usually takes a couple days for the lawyers to pull what’s called a title report — basically, a search of public records to make sure there are no surprise liens or restrictions on the property. If your house is on septic with no Title V, you may also have to have that checked out depending on how you negotiate it with the buyer. But after those customary matters are done and squared away, a legitimate cash buyer should be ready to close any time. Therefore, selling your house fast in Massachusetts means having the ability to sell in a matter of days.

But — and this is a huge but — not every Massachusetts homeowner wants to sell fast. We in the real estate industry keep saying “fast fast fast”, and it’s a huge turn-off to some sellers who need to take their time. Perhaps before selling, they need to find new housing, finish a probate, find a new job, get their elderly relative into assisted living, or deal with whatever other situations come up in life. That’s why we’re NOT fans of the “sell your house fast” lingo. At Unrivaled, we tell people they can sell their Massachusetts property on their timeline — as fast or as slow as they need.

Part 3: The Pros and Cons of Selling Your Property Quickly For Cash in Massachusetts

Okay, here’s the fact of the matter. We love it when we can help a seller unload their property via a smooth and hassle-free cash transaction. But, that sort of deal isn’t right for everybody. There is, in fact, no one-size-fits-all solution for selling your house.

Anyone who says that all homeowners should list with an agent, or that all homeowners should sell their house fast for cash, is flat out lying and probably trying to sell you something.

Here’s how we like to think about it. In our experience, there are two groups of people: homeowners who definitely shouldn’t sell their house for cash, and everybody else.

So let’s start with the easier-to-define question: when SHOULDN’T you sell your Massachusetts home for cash?

Again, this is a personal decision, but we think there are some clear-cut cases:

  1. You need to squeeze every penny you can out of your Massachusetts home sale, no matter how long it takes or how many hassles it creates. Some people absolutely need to get every single cent out of their house. Perhaps they’re retired, on a fixed income, couldn’t afford or qualify for a rental, and need to downsize by purchasing a smaller home or condo in a cheaper area. Perhaps they can’t do that financially unless they sell their current property for absolute top dollar. In that case, a listing might make a lot of sense.
  2. You haven’t built enough equity in the home, or you’re upside down. Equity is the difference between what you owe on the home and what it’s worth. You can think of equity as the cash from your home you can unlock and put in your pocket, more or less. If you’ve only owned the house for a few years, chances are you don’t have a lot of equity yet, and you’d need to get top dollar to get out from under the house. Lucky for you, though, home prices have grown substantially over the last couple years, especially in the pandemic era. So, you could list your house on the market and still have a decent chance of breaking even or better. However, if you’re “upside down” (owe more than the house is worth), then you may need to do what’s called a “short sale” to sell your house in Massachusetts. Our team at Unrivaled can help you with that process.
  3. The house is completely fixed up and market-ready, you have plenty of time and patience, and you have a pretty high tolerance for hassles. Some people have retail-ready houses and a high tolerance for BS. Paying for photos and staging. Leaving the house for showings. Waiting on the inspection results. Negotiating with the buyer on financing. Putting out fires when a buyer flakes, the bank drags its feet, or an agent messes something up. Some folks just don’t mind being in the thick of it, and that’s perfectly fair.

Now, we’re obviously biased here, but here’s our take:

If you don’t fall into one of those three buckets, selling your Massachusetts house via a convenient cash transaction can provide immense benefits, like:

  • Certainty. Besides death (and taxes, sometimes), nothing in life is truly certain. But, if you’ve got a cash buyer who’s put money down on your house and signed a legally binding contract with no conditions, it’s pretty darn certain. And certainty lets you plan your life with less stress.
  • Flexibility. On the market, most buyers aren’t going to close on your house in 2 weeks no matter how much you want or need them to. On the other opposite end of the spectrum, most buyers aren’t going to wait several months months even if you need that time to find a new house, settle a probate, or get nana into assisted living. The flexibility of a cash buyer like Unrivaled lifts much of that weight of your shoulders.
  • Accommodation. At Unrivaled, we’ve helped homeowners selling their Massachusetts house for cash find new housing. We’ve located rentals for them, or helped them purchase new homes (or in one case a car). We’ve used our awesome legal team to help them clear title issues. We’ve used our relocation service to take care of their packing and moving. Basically, we’re professional problem solvers willing to tackle almost any challenge and accommodate almost any need. You simply will not get that level of helpfulness and service from a traditional buyer.

So, let’s assume you’re digging this whole cash offer thing. Maybe you’d even like to sell your Massachusetts property fast to a cash home-buyer. How do you then find the right home-buying company to sell to? And how do you spot red flags, so you can avoid shady operators, or people like this?

Part 4: Finding the Right Cash Buyer (And Avoiding the Wrong One)

We’d love to toot our own horn here, but this is an informational guide, and we realize not every homeowner is going to work with us. So whomever you end up doing business with, let us equip you with the knowledge and tools to make an informed decision.

Let’s go over how we, as industry insiders, would vet buyers if we were selling our own house (or a loved ones’ house) in Massachusetts fast and for cash.

Proof of funds, proof of funds, proof of funds.

Ask your cash buyer for proof of funds, in writing. If they refuse to provide one or make lame excuses for why they can’t, move on.

And don’t just get a proof of funds. Actually verify it. Call the bank that holds the account. Call the private lender and ask if the funds are ready to go. Do what you have to do to make sure this isn’t a tire-kicker.

Our team has 140+ years of combined real estate experience, and we still make this mistake from time to time when we sell our fixed-up properties. We once had a buyer who falsified a bank statement using Photoshop. So please, make sure that at a bare minimum you’re dealing with someone that can actually close — because I promise you that will disqualify about 50% of the so-called “cash buyers” out there.

Ask for HUDs

Now that you’ve verified funds and know the cash buyer can actually close, you should make sure this isn’t their first rodeo. After all, just because someone can close doesn’t mean they will. You want someone competent, who’s done this before and isn’t just winging it. 

A HUD is a government form that shows each side’s proceeds and/or expenses at closing. If a buyer can produce HUDs from previous deals they’ve done, chances are they’re legit closers who won’t string you along.

Check Testimonials

Google reviews. Facebook reviews. Website reviews. You get the idea.

Another good place to visit is the Better Business Bureau (BBB) website to see if the company has had any consumer complaints lodged against it.

Gauge Their Eagerness To Buy

Would you ever buy a house without having any idea what it looked like? Of course not! Neither would we or any sane person. 

Unless a property is being sold for land value, it’s very rare for a homebuying company to make you an offer sight unseen. At Homevisor, we always base our offer on visual information about the property, such as a walkthrough or at the very least photos. The form on our front page gets the conversation started, but it’s not enough to base an offer on — at least not a very good offer.

Beware of any “Sell Your House Fast for Cash in Massachusetts”-type company eager to make you a blind offer. Chances are they’re trying to get their foot in the door with a nice-sounding number, just so they can beat you down on price later on when they see the house and pick it apart.

Legitimate cash homebuyers won’t be eager to just throw an offer at you. They’ll spend some time doing careful due diligence on the property so they can make a fair offer they’ll actually be able to honor.

Gauge Their Responsiveness

We always tell our clients that unless we’re dead or asleep, they should be able to reach us. Each client always gets our personal cell phones, not some main corporate line with a prerecorded message and elevator music.

If you’re considering a particular homebuying company, call them. Do they answer promptly? Do they connect you with a real person? Are they professional when they answer? 

If they aren’t responsive to you now, how is that going to go when it’s the day before closing and you need something from them ASAP?

Above All, Gauge Their Integrity

This one is crucial and requires you to have your BS meter on full alert. 

At Unrivaled, we believe integrity consists of telling the truth and doing the right thing even when such actions aren’t in your best interest. 

A cash homebuyer with integrity will tell you that selling your house fast in Massachusetts has certain drawbacks. It’s not right for everyone — if you can’t live with taking even a penny less than top dollar, you shouldn’t sell your Massachusetts house for cash. Period. 

Moreover, a cash homebuyer with integrity will deal with you candidly. For example, if they’re tied up on a few projects and need 30 days to close, they should not promise to close in two weeks just to get you to sign the contract, only to extend the closing date later.

Trust your instincts. If you’re not getting honest, straightforward answers to your questions, move on to someone else. 

Final Thoughts

We hope this guide serves as a useful resource to you, the consumer, in your homeselling journey, no matter how you decide to sell.

And if you feel Unrivaled might be deserving of your business, now or at any point in the future, feel free to call us or fill out the form below to get a fair, fast cash offer on your home 🙂

Best of luck in all your endeavors!

-The Unrivaled Team 🙂

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