Learn about what makes each of our communities unique. Get access to homebuyer resources. Read about dangers in the home and more.
Disclaimer: We hope that as consumers, you are able to use the information on our website to enhance your real estate knowledge. Please note that while our intent is to always provide the most updated and reliable information, we are not responsible for the veracity of the content on any of the third-party links below. Please exercise your best judgment and consult a REALTOR® or a real estate professional if you need further clarification. If you require legal services or advice, contact a licensed attorney.
Click the links below to visit the town’s webpage and learn more information about their community.
DANGERS IN THE HOME
Homes and apartments built before 1978 may have paint that contains lead (called lead-based paint).
Sellers must disclose known information on lead-based paint and lead-based paint hazards before selling a house. This disclosure is made through the Property Transfer Lead Paint Notification form. Buyers receive a 10-day opportunity (or mutually agreed upon period) to conduct a risk assessment or inspection for the presence of lead-based paint but may also waive that opportunity.
Landlords must disclose known information on lead-based paint and lead-based paint hazards before leases take effect. This disclosure is made through the Tenant Lead Law Notification form.
Purchasers of a home built before 1978 in which a child under six will live or continue to live must have it either de-leaded or brought under interim control within 90 days of taking title.
You can search a database of past lead inspection reports by address here.
More information about finding and removing lead here.
Radon is a naturally occurring radioactive gas that originates in the ground and can move into any air space, such as basements, crawl spaces, or other openings, where it can accumulate. As a result, radon concentrations tend to be greater in the lower levels of a home. Radon cannot be detected by human senses because it is colorless, odorless, and tasteless. The only way to know if your home has elevated radon levels is to do a radon test.
When radon undergoes radioactive breakdown, the radioactive dust can damage lung tissue and therefore increase the risk of developing lung cancer. In general, the risk increases as the level of radon and the length of exposure increases.
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) suggests that if a radon test results in a reading greater than 4 pCi/l, remedial measures should be taken to lower the average annual exposure to radon. High levels of radon are reduced through a mitigation system installed into the home.
A Citizen’s Guide to Radon from the EPA can be found here.
Foreclosures, also known as bank-owned or Real-Estate-Owned (REO) properties, are properties that have gone through the legal process of foreclosure. Typically, the bank or lender who held the mortgage note will have repossessed the property. There are several different ways a bank or lender will sell a foreclosure, including but not limited to through an online portal, through an agent, or as an auction. Purchasing bank-owned properties can be a difficult process so you should make sure that you are working with a REALTOR® who can properly guide you.
A short sale is the sale of a property where the purchase price is less than the amount owed (through mortgages, taxes, etc.) and the seller cannot make up that difference in cash. The seller is “short” of the amount needed to make up the difference. In order to sell a property in this fashion the party owed, typically a bank or lender, has to approve the sale.
TAX ASSESSMENTS & ABATEMENT
Real estate property taxes are determined by the following equation:
- Residential Tax Rate x (Assessed Value of Property / 1000)
For example, if a community’s Residential Tax Rate is $15 and the Assessed Value of Property is $500,000, then the calculation would be:
- 15 x (500,000 / 1000) = 15 x 500 = $7,500
Property Assessment Data can be found online through your city/town’s Assessor’s Office.
Taxpayers have the right to file for an abatement if they believe their property has not been fairly assessed. Information regarding applications and deadlines to file for an abatement are available at your local Assessor’s Office. Applications for abatement are due on or before the due date for payment of the first actual bill. The Assessor’s Office has three months to take action on your abatement application. If you are not satisfied with the action taken by the local Assessor’s Office regarding your request for abatement and/or exemption, you have the right to appeal to the State Appellate Tax Board. If you have any questions or would like to request an application of appeal, you may also call the Appellate Tax Board.
Residents 65-years and older are eligible to a refundable credit on their income taxes for property taxes paid on residential property owned or rented in MA. Click here for more information on eligibility and how to apply.
Both VA and FHA financing require approval of condo developments. You can find a searchable database for each type of financing below.
Title 5 requires owners of private sewer systems to have an inspection prior to a home being sold or expanded. This “Title 5” inspection also includes a soil evaluation test, which must be performed by a DEP-approved soil evaluator. If a private sewer system fails inspection, it must be repaired within 2 years.
Private sewer systems are regulated both by local boards of health as the primary regulatory authorities and by the state Department of Environmental Protection (DEP), which has been governing these systems under Title 5 of the state environmental code since 1995.
DECLARATION OF HOMESTEAD
In the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, a property owner can file with the Registry of Deeds a “Declaration of Homestead” which protects up to $500,000 of a household’s principle residence against attachment, levy on execution, or sale to satisfy debt (except for certain cases that are specifically excluded by the statute). This increases the protection of $125,000 that each property owner receives automatically.