Every property transfer in Massachusetts requires a lead paint form to be signed if the home was built before 1978, which is over 90% of homes in the Greater Boston area. The lead paint disclosure form is standard and required for all properties built before 1978 in MA because all properties built before 1978 in MA possibly contained lead paint. If lead is found in the paint, a licensed de-lead contractor can be hired to remove the lead paint and the property can be de-lead certified to increase value. You can receive a tax credit for deleading as well. Having done de-leading myself and received several delead certificates for homes I was renovating, I am happy to recommend certified lead inspectors and contractors.
Here's more info about the tax credit in MA:
What Is Lead Paint? Should I Be Concerned?
About lead paint, these questions were asked by almost every first-time buyer in MA, because the lead paint form is required for almost every transaction except new construction. If you have been house hunting for a while, you may have noticed, over 95% of MA properties don’t have a de-leaded certificate.
No buyer advised by an agent ever did a lead inspection before closing because it’s not really productive from a transaction standpoint. If the lead test is positive, the inspector is required by law to put it on state record, which is permanent and directly hurts the home value, so no seller will ever allow that or want to do it themselves without talking with the inspector and deleading immediately. And it doesn’t make sense for a buyer to permanently damage the value of the home they are buying. That’s the reason why no buyer ever did a lead inspection prior to closing.
I once had a positive test on one of the properties I was renovating and the inspector just told me he won’t file the report right away. Once I scraped off the part of dried paint (a very small area outside the building) that had lead, the inspector gave me the de-lead certificate. I was able to get a de-leaded certificate for all the properties I renovated. The properties renovated after 1978 were all tested negative without me doing any deleading, except for the building where I manually scraped off a small area of dried paint outside. The lead inspector mentioned that paint done after 1978 or if the house was renovated after 1978 it’s less likely to have lead paint.
This is the MA database for looking up the lead inspection record.
As you can see, some homes never had a lead test before. It doesn’t 100% mean it doesn’t have lead, but an inspector will probably tell you it has a lower likelihood the home was renovated after 1978. You can always have lead inspection done after you buy it to feel more comfortable and to increase your home value. A lot of people never do the official lead inspection. I recommend you do it after closing and before you have children if you want to be thorough and increase your home value. Even if your home has no lead paint, having the lead-free certificate is a bonus selling point, because so few homes have that.