Aalto is revolutionizing the real estate process through their implementation of modern tech interfaces and interactions. Through Aalto's cutting-edge online marketplace, both buyers and sellers can converse directly in stress-free and cost-effective connections, empowering both to accomplish their goals on their own terms and timeline.
This transparent and flexible approach has already elevated Aalto to generating over 700 homes on their site, having over 18% of the Bay Area's real estate market. Such a uniquely personalized methodology was the mission for founder and CEO Nick Narodny, who truly wanted to assist buyers and sellers to collaborate during the pandemic when it was difficult to meet in person.
As a native to San Francisco, Nick's devotion to benefitting his local community stems from his deep love for the area, his fascination with tech utilization, and from his impeccable talent in real estate.
We had a chance to speak with him on his background, his inspiration for Aalto, and where he predicts the Bay Area's housing trends will go and how Aalto effortlessly fits into this future.
Hello Nick! Thank you so much for speaking with us. I would definitely love to know more about you and how you got to where you are today.
I grew up in San Anselmo, CA. For as long as I can remember, I’ve been fascinated by real estate, as my parents are both agents. Once I became interested in technology, I started to create products and services for the real estate industry. My earliest real estate endeavor was in 1998 when I was just a gleepy kid from White Hill Middle School. I would go to real estate offices across Marin pitching my web design and development services at Thursday real estate office meetings, hoping to close deals.
After starting and selling a company in New York, I moved back to the Bay Area with my family five years ago and was baffled to see how little had changed in residential real estate. This time, I’m working in the sector from a totally different angle - with a new direct marketplace built for consumers called Aalto.
That's so inspiring to hear. And so then what motivated you to start Aalto?
Five years ago I started my own search for a home and I couldn't find any! There were only two 3 bed / 2 baths in the flats of central Marin. I then found out about two off-market homes and had a hypothesis that there were a lot of owners whose needs were not being met by the Multiple Listing Service but still had to list on places like Zillow, etc.
Turns out we were right - some weeks we have more homes launch on Aalto than on Zillow because it is so much simpler. Aalto fits the way people actually want to sell their home versus the traditional, legacy model.
What is something everyone must also know about Aalto?
The one thing people should know is Aalto is the only place you can explore your home sale without commitment. In about five minutes you can create a home profile and get connected directly to qualified buyers looking in your market at your price point. This is all without cost, commitment, or risk.
Well that truly fits into our market here! What is it about the San Francisco market and being situated here in the Bay Area specifically do you enjoy?
The SF market is a great place to start because it is very complicated. Almost every home is unique and the savviness of all parties is through the roof. There is a high trust bar that we have to meet to be successful which is why we love starting here.
We truly feel that our Bay Area homeowners and buyers are helping us create something that will help people across the country.
Do you have any advice, or perhaps secret tips, for those for looking for a house here?
I would say I’m a little biased, but check out Aalto first. The homes are 100% exclusive to Aalto and it's the only real estate marketplace you can speak directly to the owner. Don’t be shy, message the owner directly and set up a tour. There are over 800 homes on Aalto in the Bay and some real gems on the marketplace.
Lastly, I have to know, what are any trends you might predict?
I’m not an economist but the market is clearly shifting. Generally, most of the Bay Area shifts less than the nation as a whole (because there is so little supply with lots of demand to own here) but it will certainly shift. Will this be a flattening or a decline? I don’t know. But what I do know is we are seeing sellers that aren’t in a rush flocking to Aalto to explore their sale.
On Aalto, they’re about to explore with no days on the market or historical price tracking - a real advantage in these uncertain times.
Fantastic, thank you again Nick!
For more information on Aalto, visit their approachable and easy to navigate website.
This interview has been edited and condensed.
Photography by: Maria Ziegler/Unsplash