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Sellers FAQ       Buyers FAQ

How can you charge so little and still provide great service?

Home Buyer Advantage

The role of the real estate agent has changed dramatically over the last decade for Home Buyers. In the past, agents spent countless hours searching the MLS for properties for their buyers, scheduling showings, and many other tasks that have been improved though technology. For the most part, our clients can do the research themselves here on our website which has every MLS listing available. Our role has shifted to being an advocate for home buyers where we lend our experience to your transaction and focus on negotiating the best price and guiding you through a very challenging and confusing process.

Home Seller Advantage

In many ways, the same is true for clients that list with us. Our sellers come to us with deep knowledge of the real estate market and a pretty good opinion of what their home is worth. We help a lot with pricing by giving you the backstory on recent listings and sales in your neighborhood. Pricing is critical in marketing your home. If you set the list price of the property too high, buyers will avoid it. If you set the list price too low, you are undermining the value of your asset.

One of the hardest things about selling a home a decade ago was marketing. Listing brokers had to have graphic designers building advertising, placing ads in the newspapers, and other old world marketing practices. Today, all of that is automated. Our firm can have your listing posted to Zillow,, Trulia,, and hundreds of other websites the same day that you list with us. Moreover, we can make sure that your listing is visible on all of the other local broker and agent websites.

The internet has become the number one source of information for all real estate. The good news for you is that the internet has made it possible for Savings Realty to lower the price you pay in commission while sill offering you a full-service experience with full-service results. Our focus in on customer service. Please contact us for an interview before you buy or sell.

We are local!

Our broker is Santino Cattaneo, lifetime resident of San Louis Obispo County. His grandfather, Charlie Cattaneo started San Luis Garbage Company. He lives in Arroyo Grande. His wife is a school teacher and his three children attend Lucia Mar schools.

Search Here For Your Next Home


Because we offer such an amazing value, we get a lot of customers. So, instead of spending most of our time looking for new customers like most Real Estate agents, we can spend all of our time selling homes and helping our buyers to find the right home. It’s more efficient and rewarding for us and it’s a lot better for you.

Please call our office right away at 805-489-0221

Sellers FAQ

Will agents with buyers boycott my listing because I am saving so much money?

No. Agents want to find a home that meets their buyers needs as quickly as possible, as long as they get paid a competitive commission for bringing the buyer. It is extremely rare that an agent would refuse to show a home that pays them a competitive commission and meets their buyers needs. There may be a very small number of agents that violate the Code of Ethics and Federal law prohibiting a boycott, but it would be extremely rare. The MLS listing does not tell them how much you are paying to sell your home, only what you are offering to pay the agent who brings the buyer, so the agent won’t know how much you are saving!

It is common for an agent who hopes to list your home themselves to say that agents won’t show your home to their buyers. While making this statement violates Federal Law and the Realtor Code of Ethics, realize that this is an attempt to mislead you because the agent doesn’t have a good reason why you should pay their higher price.

In addition, the local, State, and National Associations actively police agents who make these comments. Email us for a link to a recent article written by a Realtor Association Attorney that states:

“Two or more firms should never agree to refuse to deal with or cooperate on less favorable terms with another competitor (usually a discount broker) or attempt to drive such competitor out of business. Boycotts such as these are illegal. Nothing can be done to intimidate “discounters” so that they will abandon their alternative marketing strategies. You should never indicate that other brokers would not do business with the discount firm.”

What about commissions? What exactly do I have to pay you to sell my home?

Almost 90% of all transactions involve agents. 70% to 90% of the transactions involve a “Buyer’s Agent”; therefore, it’s of little importance who lists your property. To encourage any agent to bring you a buyer, you should offer no less than a 2% commission to the buyer’s agent. The seller customarily pays the commission even if the agent represents the buyer and not the seller. When you list your property with Savings Realty, there is a 1.5 % listing commission, plus a 2-2.5% commission offered to the buyers agent.  The commission that you agree to pay in the listing agreement is paid to the agent who produces a contract on which you close, and is the amount of the commission offered in the MLS. Savings Realty will reduce the listing fee side even further with more expensive homes. See table below for example of potential sellers savings using our selling commission matrix.

Sales Price Commission Your $Cash$ Savings *
$1,500,000 1.0%+2.0% $45,000
$1,000,000 1.5%+2.0% $25,000
$900,000 1.5%+2.0% $22,500
$700,000 1.5%+2.0% $17,500
$600,000 1.5%+2.0% $15,000

Table based on 6% commission. For homes under $600,000, minimum of $5,000 or 1.5%  paid to listing agent, whichever is greater.

If the buyer comes to directly to Savings Realty and wants to make a purchase offer, how much will I  pay to sell my home then?

You will pay the same agreed upon commission amount offered to both the buyers agent and listing agent because it is very likely that the buyer will receive a rebate.

What are closing costs?

Closing costs are an accumulation of charges paid to different entities associated with the buying and selling of real estate. For sellers, they are usually about 1% – 2% of the total sales price of a property(not including real estate commissions). Some of the closing costs you might encounter are: escrow fee, documentation fee, homeowners’ association fees, pest/rot inspection, and title insurance premium. With the Savings Realty Buyer Rebate program, we will rebate part of our commission back to the buyer to assist with closing costs.

So Saving Realty can help contribute towards part of the closing costs for me, which equates to less money I need to bring to the closing table?

Yes, that is exactly what we do! We make it more affordable for you to buy a home through us!

What is the difference between “pre-qualified” and “pre-approved”?

If a buyer is “pre-qualified” it has been determined, with a loan officer, what price the buyer can afford based on the down payment, debts and the amount the mortgage company will approve for the mortgage. Being “pre-qualified” is only a determination of probable credit. If “pre-approved”, credit, employment and funds have been approved by the lender.

What property details are usually included by Listing Services?

Usually, properties listed will include the following details:

  • Location
  • Photograph
  • Price
  • Utilities
  • Amenities
  • Annual property tax
  • Current financing (when assumable)
  • Listing company

Am I required to use a key lockbox?

It is completely optional but highly recommended for any MLS listing. Any MLS listing in the MLS, no matter what company listed it, will see fewer showings without a lockbox. Agents are reluctant to show homes without lockbox access because they know that no lockbox makes it much more difficult to persuade the buyer to buy the home.

What is the advantage of using a key lockbox?

The key lockbox enables the environment most likely to result in an offer; the buyer and their agent walking through the property undistracted and unhurried. The buyers don’t feel like they are imposing upon the seller’s time. They can freely talk about what they like and dislike with their spouse/friend and agent. The agent can respond to that feedback without fear of offending the seller or starting an argument. The buyer is comfortable, doesn’t feel like someone is waiting to get their house back, and can freely imagine living in the home. They haven’t been distracted by meeting a stranger, wondering if they should make small talk with the seller, or been bowled over with a sales pitch from a stranger(the seller). The agent can focus on selling the home.

Can agents show my home any time they want if I use a key lockbox?

It is entirely up to you.  If you would like all appointments scheduled through our office, we are happy to accommodate that.

How do agents gain access to the key lockbox?

Each agent has their own secure password protected electronic key to gain safe access to the key inside the lockbox. These industry procedures for using a key lockbox have been in place for 30+ years. These procedures are time-tested and are the reason that problems with key lockboxes are virtually unheard of.

What if I will be home during the showing anyway because I have children, pets, etc?

The home is more likely to sell if you are not there. If the buyer sees you, even as you are leaving, they instinctively hurry through the home. There is nothing you can do or say to keep them from this behavior. Take the children and/or pets for a walk, to the mall, or a park. This may seem inconvenient, but it maximizes the opportunity to get an offer. If you insist upon being there, realize that this is less than ideal. This is not advice specifically for our customers, it applies to anyone selling their home through the MLS. We suggest you have a lockbox so that if a showing happens to be requested when you won’t be at home, you don’t need to be there.

Should I pay for a home inspection upfront?

Absolutely. This is how nearly all transactions are done in larger markets iike San Francisco and Los Angeles, and we believe you should do it to. Why? It reduces the potential for a buyer to try an renegotiate the price with you after entering escrow. When the buyer has access to all inspections and disclosures upfront, they know the price they are offering is the price you the seller expect to get.

What should a home inspection include?

Every inspection should include, but not be limited to, an evaluation of the following:

  • Foundations
  • Roof
  • Heating and air conditioning systems
  • Ventilation
  • Common areas (for condominiums)
  • Septic tanks, wells or sewer lines*
  • Insulation
  • Plumbing and electrical systems
  • Ceiling, walls and floors
  • Doors
  • Hazardous materials concerns*

Can the buyer order a new home inspection after entering escrow?

Absolutely they can. They can order as many inspections as they need to feel comfortable purchasing your property.

Buyer  FAQ

How does the rebate work?

When a real estate agent represents someone purchasing a home, the agent is paid a commission from the seller; usually 2.0 to 3% in the central coast area. At Savings Realty, when we show the buyer 1-3 homes, the agent will keep 50% of the commission actually paid and rebate the remaining commission to the buyer, which is  usually about 1- 1.25%  of the sales price. When showing 4-6 homes, the agent rebates 25% of the commission to the buyer. Savings Realty agents receive a minimum commission of $5,000. See table for more details.

Why do you offer cash rebates? Is there a catch?

At Savings Realty, we do not have large overhead or  franchise fees that “traditional” agents usually have to pay. The benefits of being a broker plus our innovative use of technology allows for large savings that are passed on to clients. There are no hidden fees and no gimmicks.  You get to decide how you want to use your rebate.

Does Santino work by himself or does he have a team?

Santino is the Principal Broker and founder of Savings Realty. Santino will be your broker, and he works with a small group of highly-rated Realtors and is actively looking to expand his team. This team model ensures that someone is available at all times so every deal closes smoothly. The  team is available for clients to call anytime if they have any questions or concerns with their transactions.

Will you provide me with the same level of service as a traditional agent?

Yes. All of our agents are full-service, licensed Realtors.

Are rebates legal?

Not only are rebates legal, they are actually supported by the United States Department of Justice. The Department of Justice has an entire website promoting this cost savings approach for home buyers and sellers.

Visit the USDoJ website here.

Why don’t more agents offer rebates?

Agents are often employed by brokerages, where they have to share their commission, pay desk fees, marketing fees, and other miscellaneous fees that often make it infeasible to give a rebate.

How do I get my rebate?

You can receive your rebate one of two ways. One way is to receive the credit at settlement directly on the HUD-1 settlement statement. This reduces the amount of money you will need to bring to the table.

If you want the rebate after settlement, you will receive a check for the rebate within 10 days after closing with lender approval. The rebate commission is not considered income, but please check with you accountant as this statement should not be construed as tax and legal advice.

Click here to download the Buyer Rebate and make sure to call our office right away.

Sellers FAQ       Buyers FAQ