Aalto, a Bay Area-based digital homebuying platform, has launched in Los Angeles. The online resource, which strays away from the traditional broker approach, has a variety of consumer economic incentives – including allowing buyers to keep the majority of agent commissions.
“It’s never been harder to become a homeowner, especially in Los Angeles,” Nick Narodny, founder and chief executive of Aalto, said. “Aalto sees a massive opportunity to help countless buyers across the metropolitan area go through the process faster and put more savings back in their hands.”
The fully integrated web-based platform is meant to streamline the homebuying process, from start to finish, targeting self-reliant buyers.
“We have been on a mission to give power to the consumer,” Narodny said, adding that Aalto takes 1% as a commission and gives buyers up to 1.5% back as a rebate.
“One thing we say at Aalto is, ‘we can’t fix home prices, but we can fix fees which can impact on prices,’” Narodny said.
Since the company’s inception in 2018, Aalto has saved users nearly $3 million in fees, with $28,000 being the average amount saved per transaction and some saving over $75,000 just from buying with Aalto.
Apart from savings, the company also taunts its unique characteristics, including direct access to agent-level data and a 24/7 chat feature online which allows users to seek advice on demand. And, once buyers put in an offer on a home, they are matched with non-commissioned agents online to walk them through the process.
By digitizing the process and letting buyers take control, the company has been able to reduce operational costs and take out some of the friction associated with the homebuying experience.
“We find that if you insert a salesperson into the middle, those decisions can be swayed,” Narodny said. “We try and empower you to make your own decision and give you all the data that you need to do so and also let you keep more cost so that you can afford more home.”
The launch in Los Angeles marks the company’s second market launch for Aalto, following the San Francisco Bay Area, with all the same features carrying over.
“We actually think Los Angeles will be potentially a better market than the San Francisco market for a number of reasons,” Narodny said. “We find that people in Los Angeles are just more open to trying unique kinds of real estate opportunities.”
The company’s local operations will be led by Kate Geremia, who recently joined Aalto and formerly led West Coast operations at Bird. Since the launch, the company has already received multiple offers for homes in the county, including in neighborhoods like Bel Air, Pacoima, Reseda, Lancaster and Woodland Hills.
“We have seen that in today’s environment, where you have affordability at an all-time high, any edge you can give consumers is welcome,” Narodny said. “By prioritizing their unique needs, we’re increasing their buying power so they can get ahead of the market conditions that are leaving too many buyers on the sidelines.”
As Aalto attracts more prospective Los Angeles homebuyers, the company is looking to expand across all of California, and eventually into new states.