How the Self-Service Real Estate Platform is Modernizing Homebuying and Selling

Nick Narodny
Feb 3, 2023

What is self-service real estate (SSRE)?

Every major purchase can be made online except for the most important one—buying your home.

The system consumers use to buy and sell homes was created in 1913 to standardize real estate commissions and over the past 100 years that system has barely changed. It's time for real estate to enter the 21st century.

Sure, you can see homes for sale online. But you quickly realize that the real estate industry has made it impossible to move forward without hiring very expensive help. On Zillow, Redfin, and Trulia, clicking “request tour” sells you as a lead to an agent.

Aalto, the first self-service real estate platform, is built to change all of this. 

We’re on a mission to make buying and selling less daunting with our self-service real estate (SSRE) platform, which addresses the following:

  • More access: See every home for sale both on and off market including for sale by owner, coming soons, expired listings, and more
  • More transparency: Access transparent information on any home, typically reserved only for agents, and communicate directly with the homeowners through our in-app messaging
  • The most cash back: We give the biggest commission rebate anywhere with up to 1.5% of the home value refunded back to you at closing
  • Less pressure: Control your transaction without the pressure to follow an agent’s traditional process, get help from our experts on-demand - only when you want it

More access 

Our self-service platform uncovers ~30% more homes than Zillow alone. 

If you aren’t using Aalto, then you’re not seeing all of the homes for sale in the Bay Area. 

Average Bay Area buyer search results*
Average Bay Area buyer search results*

Our SSRE platform is built to source exclusive listings and bring sellers from the sidelines so you have more options in your home search. 

These additional homes include:

  • Direct-from-seller listings
  • Coming soon listings
  • Failed sellers (expired listings)
  • For sale by owner
  • Homes up for auction/foreclosure

More transparency

Aalto is the first self-service real estate platform, where you are in control and can make informed decisions at each step of your transaction.

Traditional real estate brokerages and online portals hand you off to an agent to access any information or details on a home. Only Aalto empowers you with the expert insights and guidance to buy with confidence. 

For any home, you get a Deep Dive analysis from our team of experts with all of the ‘agent only’ information available for the listing, including: 

  • Buyer demand
  • Interest & offers
  • Disclosures & explanations of disclosures
  • Pricing feedback and intel 
  • Inspections and summaries of inspection reports
  • Title and escrow information 

More affordable

The SSRE process is tech-forward and puts cash back in your pocket. 

Aalto’s software-first approach empowers buyers to make a stronger offer with the money they save from commission. Buyers on Aalto can get up to 1.5% cash back on any home with our rebate offering for commission fees. 

That’s an average of ~$28k on a typical Bay Area home, paid back to you. 

The self-service real estate platform created by Aalto allows for efficient and streamlined transactions. These innovations enable us to lower fees for the consumer, making homeownership more accessible and affordable.

Unlike the SSRE platform model, traditional real estate brokerages run on people, and people are expensive, which results in high commission fees charged to the consumer. In the Bay Area, agents have to charge 5% - 6% or more in commission fees to keep up with the expenses of the traditional real estate process. 

The real estate industry has not evolved in 80+ years and many components of the original transaction, which was created in the early 1900s, are still in use today. While home listings have moved online in more recent years, the remainder of the traditional transaction is stuck in the past.

Even the more modern real estate portals make their money in a traditional way, usually by handing you off to an agent and selling you as a lead. This results in a lot of unwanted phone calls, pressure, and expensive commitments with agents that might not have a consumer’s best interest at heart. 

SSRE is the streamlined and affordable buying and selling revolution that this industry needs. It shifts the power balance in residential real estate away from the industry insiders and toward consumers. This results in a more fair, balanced market of buyers and sellers and makes owning a home a little less daunting and a lot more affordable. 

Less pressure 

Traditional real estate is unnecessarily complicated and makes you entirely reliant on the agent for access to homes, detailed information, and answers.

This reliance results in a lot of stress and headaches for consumers, especially for the first time homebuyers and sellers who aren’t sure what to expect from the transaction. 

Agents are also typically commission-based, so in order to make any money they need to make a sale, which means your best interest is not always at the forefront of the process.

The graph below depicts the typical steps of the traditional homebuying process: 

This 8+ step process is not only expensive and archaic, but also very daunting.

The self-service real estate approach, on the other hand, is software-centric and gets you the same results as the traditional process, all while saving you money with the biggest commission refund anywhere. 

Below is the simple 4 step SSRE process:

The innovative self-service real estate process puts cash back in your pocket and provides you with a stress free, tech-first approach to your home journey. 

“Aalto’s self-service real estate platform helped us make offers with eyes wide open, and thanks to the $29k we saved with their rebate, we were able to offer more on the home we loved and beat out the other buyers’ offers.”

- R.B. Bought in Dublin with Aalto

The app to replace your agent

At Aalto, our mission is to democratize real estate. We believe that the future of the industry is tech-first, efficient, and affordable. That’s why we pioneered the self-service real estate platform. It’s time for real estate to enter the 21st century and we are the first company that enables you to buy with an app, not an agent. 

Self-service real estate is the future of real estate, available today, only on Aalto. Get started at

Shop exclusive Bay Area homes by county: Alameda County, Contra Costa County, Marin County, San Francisco County, San Mateo County, Santa Clara County.

Aalto is a real estate broker licensed by the State of California, License #02062727 and abides by Equal Housing Opportunity laws. This article has been prepared solely for information purposes only. The information herein is based on information generally available to the public and/or from sources believed to be reliable. No representation or warranty can be given with respect to the accuracy of the information. Aalto disclaims any and all liability relating to this article.

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