Frequently asked questions
How does Aalto compare to traditional real estate?
Aalto is the only self-service real estate platform that is built for sellers and buyers first. We've built Aalto to remove all the friction of traditional real estate, saving you time, stress and money.
You can see more about how Aalto's self-service platform differs from traditional real estate right here.
What is Aalto?
Aalto is the modern way to buy and sell real estate. We're on a mission to make buying and selling real estate less daunting by shifting the balance of power away from industry insiders and toward consumers. Aalto’s platform simplifies the entire real estate process by connecting homeowners directly with potential buyers. Buyers can access exclusive Bay Area homes without having to call an agent and sellers are able to explore their home sale with no commitment and for a fair fee, saving up to 80% on their sale versus traditional.
Aalto set out to make buying and selling less daunting by addressing the following:
- More access: We believe everyone should have access to every home for sale. There are more homes for sale than what consumers can see themselves. We give sellers a new option to sell and surface those homes direct to consumers.
- More transparency: We believe you should have access to all the information about homes for sale, but you can't because the process is so complex and lacks transparency.
- Lower fees: We believe selling your home should cost less but it doesn’t because the entire industry for the last 100 years is built on high fees.
- Less pressure: We believe you should not feel rushed into the largest transaction of your life but today the selling process is only built for immediate sales.
Together this results in a modern real estate platform where you are in control and can make informed decisions at each step of your transaction. Across the entire platform, local, licensed Aalto advisors are just one call away to help you with any questions you may have. You can browse Aalto homes right here.
Where does Aalto currently operate?
Aalto is live in the following Bay Area counties: Alameda, Contra Costa, Marin, San Francisco, San Mateo, and Santa Clara.
Want to be notified when we arrive in your area? Please share your information here.
Who is on my Aalto team?
As a seller: On Aalto, homeowners partner directly with their licensed advisor. Our experienced teams ensure that you receive expert advice at each stage of the process, from pricing and inspections to tours, negotiations, and the completion of your sale.
As a buyer: Buyers can work directly with Aalto for buy-side assistance and representation or bring their 3rd party agent into the process.
Is Aalto a For Sale by Owner website?
No. On Aalto, homeowners share their home with the help of a local, licensed Aalto advisor. Their advisor will help with every step of the transaction, from offer negotiation, to paperwork, to closing. Get started here.
Does Aalto have real estate agents?
Aalto has advisors, not agents. Our advisor team works alongside homeowners and buyers through every step of the process. Advisors have a wealth of local experience and knowledge to address any needs you may have.
Aalto is a licensed broker in the state of California (DRE 02062727) and Aalto advisors are all licensed salespersons.
Please note: Buyers have a choice to work with an Aalto advisor or 3rd party representation. In those 3rd party instances, Aalto advisors partner with these agents.
Does Aalto manage the contracts and paperwork for a transaction?
Absolutely! Our experienced advisors manage all contracts, disclosures, and paperwork to ensure a smooth, stress-free transaction for sellers and buyers.
Do I have to commit to selling with Aalto?
Aalto makes it easy and low-risk to explore your options. There's no commitment to share your home and to begin building your list of interested buyers. Should you decide to open to tours, we ask that you sign a listing agreement committing to pay our industry-low 1% if your home sells.
Who will I work with?
You work with a local, licensed Regional Advisor. Your Advisor is available for any question you might have and also handles the hard stuff like vetting buyers, managing tours, handling negotiations, and more.
Can I work with my own agent on Aalto?
Aalto's self-service-real-estate platform is built primarily for consumers, not agents. As a result, only unrepresented sellers can share their homes on Aalto. That said, Aalto buyers sometimes have an agent helping them if they are not represented by Aalto.
Does Aalto work with changing timelines?
Yes! Aalto has no "days on market" or listing history, so your home is always fresh in the eyes of buyers. We can also showcase your ideal moving timeline so buyers can understand how it might fit into theirs.
Do buyers on Aalto have agents?
Buyers can use Aalto with or without an agent. In the Bay Area, some buyers have an agent who is typically paid 2.5% of the final sale price by the seller, but the amount is up to the seller.
There is no additional fee to use Aalto as a buyer. If a buyer chooses to have Aalto represent them in their home purchase, we offer up to 1.5% of the closing price as cash back at their close of escrow.
Why would I pay a buyer's agent 2.5%?
The best way to ensure that agents promote your home to all of their buyers is to offer 2.5% buy-side commission. We know, it doesn't feel great, but that's the reality. With that said, you can offer any buy-side commission you like.
What is "Your Buyers"?
After sharing your home on Aalto, you'll see a growing list of buyers interested in your home, along with their qualification details. Each of these buyers either watched your home, asked a question, or requested a tour. You can click into a buyer to better understand their situation, message them, and even invite individual buyers to tours.
How do tours work?
Buyers begin "lining up" for a chance to tour your home as soon as you share it. Then, when you're ready, we'll vet each buyer's qualifications on your behalf. When it's time to have tours, an Aalto team member will manage them. Note that you'll need to sign a listing agreement before we can offer tours.
Does Aalto have someone present at tours?
Yes, your Advisor or someone from the Aalto team will be present at all tours.
Does Aalto hold open houses?
Because open houses can feel invasive and tend to attract lookie-loos, we recommend only scheduled tours with serious qualified buyers.
How quickly can my home be ready to tour?
As soon as you're ready! We're happy to adapt to whatever timeline works best for you.
How do I add my home to the Aalto marketplace?
Adding your home to Aalto is free and easy, with no contract required. To get started, click here to begin building your Home Profile. Once you’ve completed a few questions you’ll be able to explore the market for your home sale and contact buyers.
Ready to accept tours and get offers? Our experienced advisors are here to walk you through pricing, home prep and the paperwork required to add a fully active home to the marketplace. You can access your advisor by putting your home on Aalto here.
How much does Aalto cost for sellers?
Aalto’s performance-based fee is 1% of the home's purchase price.
You determine the buy-side commission you will offer (typically 2.5%) to an outside buyer's agent or broker which makes the total fee 3.5%.
If Aalto represents the buyer purchasing your home, you’ll only pay a total 2% fee.
Additionally, Aalto rebates .05% of that to the buyer as an incentive.
What services are included in Aalto’s 1% transaction fee?
Our 1% fee is paid only at closing. The 1% fee includes...
- Access to the Aalto marketplace and active, qualified buyers.
- A dedicated advisor, available to answer any questions you might have while selling your home.
- Complimentary photography as well as virtual decluttering and virtual staging.
- Offer negotiation and transaction management.
Please note: There may be additional costs for inspections + closing costs.
How is the transaction fee so low?
Aalto's technology streamlines the real estate experience, allowing consumers to interact directly. We pass these savings back to Aalto users.
What steps will I need to take to prep my home for sale?
Our advisors will prepare a custom strategic plan that outlines our recommendations based on your individual goals, preferences and timeline. For more info, please reach out to your advisor.
Can I list my home without an agent?
You do not need a 3rd party agent to put your home on Aalto. You can make a Home Profile on your own, at any time, with no cost.
However, in order to schedule tours, you will need to sign an agreement with Aalto which can be canceled at any time.
Get started here.
How can I find out how much my home is worth? Will Aalto help me with pricing my home?
Yes! Once you add your home to Aalto, you will be able to access the Aalto Insights dashboard and request a Price Check from our team of experts. The Aalto team will help with pricing, comps, and more. Additional help can be requested from your advisor at any time. Get started here.
What is virtual staging?
Virtual staging uses cutting-edge digital tools to remove and add furniture to a photograph of your home. Virtual home staging can also be used to declutter photographs, allowing you to showcase your home without cleaning or moving out.
Virtual staging is free for any Aalto Home Profile - just ask your advisor.
Will Aalto be present at all tours?
If desired, an Aalto representative can be present at all tours. In order to easily facilitate tours, Aalto may suggest that you allow licensed agents to show the home without an Aalto representative present. Details can be discussed directly with your advisor to fit your schedule and needs.
How long will it take to sell my home?
Each home and neighborhood is different. To see sales and market information for your neighborhood, please create your home profile here. Your advisor will be able to help you understand the potential speed of your sale on Aalto.
Will my home get enough exposure?
We know that no two sellers are the same, which is why Aalto gives you complete control over the distribution of your home. This way you can tailor your experience to your terms and timeline.
Aalto also has no days on market or price history, so you can leave your home on the marketplace for as long as you like. And with new buyers joining daily, you can watch your demand build over time.
What are the typical steps in the selling process on Aalto?
There are 4 main steps to selling your home on Aalto.
1. Complete your Home Profile: Answer a few questions about your home, connect with your advisor, and build your profile.
2. See insights about your sale: Get a sense of market demand for your home from Aalto's Insights dashboard and community of buyers.
3. Schedule tours and get offers. Work with your advisor to schedule tours, showcase your home to buyers, and gather offers.
4. Close. Congrats, your home is under contract! Aalto will support you throughout the process to ensure a smooth closing experience.
What does Aalto handle?
Aalto markets your home to buyers and provides modern tools for you to oversee the entire process. Your Regional Advisor will be there to help price the home, vet buyers and their agents, prepare and manage tours, and facilitate closing.
How do buyers find Aalto?
Aalto's exclusive catalog of homes is a big draw for buyers, and word is spreading fast. Many learn about Aalto via word-of-mouth, other from their agents, and still others see ads or mailers.
How can I get more interested buyers?
The best way to get more interested buyers is to share more about your home! Adding photos, answering buyer questions, and setting a realistic price range will lead to more buyers engaging with your home. Some sellers will also share a link to their home on Aalto on sites like Facebook or Nextdoor to drive more interest from within their network.
How should I prep my home for tours?
It depends on your home, but in general:
1) If needed, Aalto will virtually furnish the photos of your home for free to excite buyers
2) your Advisor will offer simple-but-impactful decluttering recommendations
3) Aalto sends professional cleaners before the first buyers arrive.
How does Aalto's 1.5% cash back work for buyers?
If Aalto represents you as a buyer, we offer up to 1.5% cash back at the close of escrow as an incentive for closing costs, credit towards the purchase price, or to buy down the interest rate.
If you have any questions, feel free to reach out to firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
Does Aalto work with buyers?
Yes. Please contact us if you are looking for someone to help you with your home search. Our licensed team would be happy to help you with your buying process. If Aalto represents you as a buyer, we offer up to 1.5% cash back at the close of escrow as an incentive for closing costs, credit towards the purchase price, or to buy down the interest rate. If you have any questions, feel free to reach out to email@example.com for more information.
How much does Aalto cost for buyers?
There is no additional fee to use Aalto as a buyer. If you choose to have Aalto represent you as a buyer in your home purchase, we offer up to 1.5% of the closing price as cash back at your close of escrow.
Learn more and get started here.
I need to buy and sell at the same time. Can Aalto help me with both transaction?
Yes. Just complete your Home Profile and you will be connected with an advisor. Your advisor can partner with you on your home sale and purchase.
I already have an agent. Can my agent help me buy a home on Aalto?
Yes, your agent can represent you in the purchase of a home on Aalto.
What’s the best way to find out more about a home?
The fastest way to learn more about a home is to either message the seller on the Home Profile or contact the associated advisor.
The name and contact information of the Advisor can also be found on the Home Profile.
Do I have to have an agent to tour a home?
No, you do not need an agent to tour a home. To schedule a tour please find the home you’re interested in and submit a tour request, or give us a call at 415.980.8814.
How does buying a home on Aalto work?
Anyone can make a bid on a home on Aalto. To submit a bid, please select "bid" on any home profile on Aalto. You can see all Aalto homes here.
Can I tour an Aalto home virtually?
Yes, you can tour homes virtually and in person.
To schedule a virtual tour please navigate to the listing page and click ‘Tour’.
From there, follow the prompts to schedule your preferred tour type, virtual or in-person.