All about the New Massachusetts Short Term Rental Law

The new Massachusetts short term rentals law applies to property rentals of less than 31 days. It includes an occupancy tax, statewide registry, insurance requirements, and inspections. Any property rented out for less than 14 days in one year is exempt.

Here are 2 great resources for information about the new law:



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    Live in the home you own in Boston? Reduce your property taxes, file for the Residential Exemption

    If you own and live in your Boston property as a primary residence, you may qualify for the residential exemption. The residential exemption reduces your tax bill by excluding a portion of your residential property’s value from taxation. This year, the residential exemption saves qualified Boston homeowners up to $2,538.47 on their tax bill.

    Your exemption amount is applied to your third-quarter tax bill that is issued in late December. If you didn’t get the credit on your bill and think you should have, you can apply for a residential exemption.

    For Fiscal Year 2018, you have until April 2, 2018, to file an application.

    You need to have owned and lived in your home as your primary residence on January 1 before the current fiscal year. For example, to be eligible for Fiscal Year 2018 (July 1, 2017 to June 30, 2018), you need to have owned and occupied your property as your primary residence on January 1, 2017.


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      Refer Madness 2016 Winner Announced

      The Surrealtors are happy to announce that Colette Sanborn is the winner of the 2016 Surrealtors Refer Madness Sweepstakes! We are awarding Colette a trip for 2 to Maui, Jamaica, Amsterdam... or the destination of her choice (maximum value $2,500.00), for referring her cousin, the delightful Joanna Sanborn.

       YOU Could Be Our Next Refer Madness Winner

      Here's how it works. Many of you have told us over the years how much you appreciate the experience of buying or selling real estate with us. One way we know that you felt well taken care of is that you've trusted us to help your friends, neighbors and family to buy and sell their homes. Our businesses have been built on your referrals. We want you to know that we truly appreciate it.

      From now until our next Refer Madness drawing on July 21, 2018, every time we close on a property with a buyer or seller you have referred to us, we will enter your name into our drawing for a trip for 2 to the destination of your choice (maximum value $2,500.00). So, tell your friends, your relatives, your boss, your colleagues, your babysitter, your therapist, the guy (or gal) at the gas station, your school principal... anyone you know who is thinking of buying or selling a home, to call us. We promise to take really good care of them. And when they close on their property, we'll enter you into our next Refer Madness drawing.




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        Try out the Surrealtors new mobile app

        Want to search for homes wherever you are? Download our powerful new mobile app.

        You can see homes for sale right where you are, or search by location. Sort by price, filter by number of bedrooms and more, let your friends know about it by social media or email. And of course, contact Trisha directly so she can help you take the next step. 


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          For Those of Us of a Certain Age

          I have worked with many people through big life changes--buying a first home, selling that one and buying the next, sometimes numerous big moves.

          Lately I've been getting a lot of calls to talk about the next phases of life. And I've been thinking about it myself.

          • How will I live my later years? Where do I want to end up? How many more times will I move?
          • Can I stay in this house for the rest of my life? Will I need to be on one floor? Will I need to downsize?
          • How much is my house worth now? How much money will I have going into the future? How much money will I need?
          • Will I be doing it alone? Where is my community now and where will it be in 10, 20, 30 years? Will I have housemates in my later years the way I did when I was younger?
          • How do I plan to retire someplace warmer, even part time?
          • How are other people going about this?

          I'm planning to get some people together to dream up our next stages.  We can brainstorm, share stories, ideas, and plans, maybe find like-minded people. I could invite some tax, financial and legal professionals.

          Is this something that interests you? Are there other topics you would like covered?

          Call or email me if you want to be part of this conversation.

          Best wishes,



            1. Foster on

              Oh Jessica, This is a beautiful turtibe to Ricky I know how proud he must be of you and the woman you have become.Thank you for doing such a beautiful job sharing these precious memories.Luv you BIG!!!

              Short Sale in 2014? No "Debt Forgiveness" Tax Worries

              In  general, tax law identifies the difference between what a borrower owes and what a borrower actually pays to the bank in a foreclosure or short sale as taxable income. This can be a nightmare for already cash-strapped sellers. There is good news, though.

              As a result of recently passed legislation, sellers won't pay tax on any mortgage debt forgiven or cancelled by a lender in a short sale, foreclosure or loan modification in 2014.





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                Boston Area FHFA Conforming Loans Limits Rise, New 3% Down 1st Time Buyers Program

                The Greater Boston Association of Realtors reports good news for home buyers in 2015.

                For mortgages acquired by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, the conforming loan limit for a single-family home will remain at $417,000 next year for the majority of the country. In some markets, however, jumbo loan limits will rise, reflecting that these areas have seen home values rise by some of the largest amounts in the past year, says the Federal Housing Financing Agency (FHFA). Limits in the Boston metro area, including the counties of Essex, Middlesex, Norfolk, Plymouth, and Suffolk, will jump from $470,350 to $517,500.

                In related news, in an effort to open up lending to more low-income and first time home buyers, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac have announced their intentions to start backing mortgages with down payments of as little as 3% of a home's price. But borrowers will still need to meet strict criteria first.

                The new loans will only be issued to those who buy private mortgage insurance, have a credit score of at least 620 and offer complete documentation of their income, assets and job status. And, to further mitigate risk, the agencies will require borrowers to receive home ownership counseling.

                Both programs are for fixed-rate loans given to first time homebuyers and those seeking to refinance. Fannie will start backing the loans as soon as December 13, while Freddie will start offering them March 23, 2015.

                The move should expand access to credit for first-time homebuyers, typically younger buyers who have not have had enough time to save a big lump sum.

                Fannie and Freddie already back mortgages with as low as 5% down. And the Federal Housing Administration insures 3.5% loans.




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                  New mortgage rules take effect January 2014

                  -from the Washington Post

                  Checklist for potential home buyers

                  If you are considering buying a home next year, there are a few things you might want to consider now that the government has issued new mortgage-lending rules.

                  The rules, introduced by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau on Thursday, essentially protect borrowers from many of the abusive lending practices that were rampant before the housing crisis, such as high upfront fees and interest-only payments.

                  Some elements of the rules are still under discussion, but here is a basic outline of what to expect when the rules take effect Jan. 10, 2014:

                  Paying up: Banks and other lenders now have to make sure you have the ability to repay your mortgage before signing the papers. That seems like a common-sense approach to lending, but until now there has not been a law on the books. Read more at the Washington Post.

                  Read more at National Mortgage Professional Magazine.


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