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Massachusetts Law About Real Estate

Massachusetts Laws

Court Rules and Procedures

Massachusetts Land Court Rules Also available as an eBook!

Guidelines on Registered Land, Mass. Land Court, February 27, 2009.

Manual of Instructions for the Survey of Lands and Preparation of Plans 2006, Mass. Land Court. "This manual is issued for the information and guidance of land surveyors preparing surveys and plans to be filed in the Land Court. It is intended as a guide to the minimum requirements for what is commonly referred to in this commonwealth as a "Land Court Survey". Compliance with these instructions is mandatory, and no survey or plan will be accepted for filing unless these requirements have been fulfilled to the satisfaction of the Land Court's Survey Division."

Registries of Deeds

Massachusetts Registries of Deeds, Mass. Secretary of State. Provides links to all of the Registries of Deeds, which then provide access to addresses, phone numbers and websites for the individual registries.

Selected Case Law

Brennan v. DeCosta, 24 Mass. App. Ct. 968 (1987) "As a general rule, the title of persons who acquire land bounded by a street or way runs to the center line of the way, G. L. c. 183, ยง 58, and carries with it the right to use the way along its entire length... To that general rule, however, there are limitations."

Greenery Rehabilitation Group, Inc. v. Antaramian, 36 Mass. App. Ct. 73 (1994) Generally, a seller has no duty to disclose problems with the property. "Such nondisclosure does not amount to fraud and is not a conventional tort of any kind." Concealment by a seller in "the simple sense of failure to reveal, with nothing to show any peculiar duty to speak," is not the same as misrepresentation.

Real Estate Bar Association of Massachusetts v. National Real Estate Information Services, 459 Mass. 512 (2011). The "closing or settlement of real property conveyances requires not only the presence but the substantive participation of an attorney on behalf of the mortgage lender, and that certain services connected with real property conveyances constituted the practice of law in Massachusetts." Outlines what constitutes unauthorized practice of law in real estate transactions.

Other Web Sources

The Attorney General's Guide to Manufactured Housing Community Law, Mass. Attorney General. "This guide provides a comprehensive discussion of the legal rights and responsibilities of residents and owners of manufactured housing communities. In particular, it discusses M.G.L. c.140, 32F-32S, often called the Manufactured Housing Act, the Attorney General's manufactured housing regulations, and other relevant housing laws. Understanding the law can help community owners and residents avoid disputes, resolve those that do occur, and, when necessary, take steps to enforce legal rights."

Buying a Home, A. Joseph Ross. Describes the basics of buying a home in Massachusetts.

Buying a Second Home, Nolo, 2009. Includes costs and other issues to consider, including buying with others, or renting it out. Requires Library Card for access.

Complete Guide to Purchasing a Condo, Townhouse or Apartment: What Smart Investors Need to Know Explained Simply, Atlantic Publishing, 2007. Requires Library Card for access.

Discharging Mature Mortgages, Lowell Register of Deeds, Feb. 14, 2008. Explains "how to discharge an old mortgage that's past it's maturity date."

Eminent Domain Brochure, Mass. Highway Department.

Essential Guide for First-Time Homeowners, Nolo, 2008. Everything you need to know after you've bought the house, including finances, improvements, repairs and more. Requires Library Card for access.

Inspect Before You Buy: Insider Secrets You Need to Know About Home Inspection, Atlantic Publishing, 2007. Book covers each room or system to be inspected and what to look for. Requires Library Card for access.

Massachusetts Real Estate Law Blog, News, Commentary and Musings About Massachusetts Real Estate Law

Nolo's Essential Guide to Buying Your First Home, Nolo, 2012. Explains the process from why buy? through getting a mortgage, moving in and more. Requires Library Card for access.

Real Estate and the Deceased Spouse, Lowell Register of Deeds, Feb. 27, 2009. Clearly explains the steps to be taken when one spouse dies and the couple owned their home as tenants by the entirety.

Real Estate Sellers' Required Disclosures, National Association of Realtors. State-by-state listing of disclosure requirements for sellers and brokers.

Selling Your Home, A. Joseph Ross. Describes the basics of how to sell a house or condominium in Massachusetts.

Selling Your House in a Tough Market, Nolo, 2011. Know your market and price it right -- Get it in shape : preinspections and repairs -- Dress your house for success : staging -- Get the best of the best : hiring a real estate professional -- Save on commissions : sell it yourself -- Making it better than the rest : buyer incentives -- Market like a madman -- Adjust your strategy if you need to -- Don't sell yet; rent it out -- Seal the deal : negotiating a successful sale. Requires Library Card for access.

What is the Difference Between Recorded Land and Registered Land?, Barnstable County Registry of Deeds.