Sawbuck Realty has announced an expansion to Chicago’s metropolitan area, including the city and nearby suburbs.

The area, also known as Chicagoland, is the online real estate broker’s fourth new market this year. It opened a branch in the Los Angeles area in July, when it also rolled out new features on its Web site and announced that it had closed on a $2 million round of financing meant to drive further expansion (see story).

Sawbuck Realty has announced an expansion to Chicago’s metropolitan area, including the city and nearby suburbs.

The area, also known as Chicagoland, is the online real estate broker’s fourth new market this year. It opened a branch in the Los Angeles area in July, when it also rolled out new features on its Web site and announced that it had closed on a $2 million round of financing meant to drive further expansion (see story).

At Sawbuck.com, consumers can search by property type, neighborhood or address to find homes for sale. They’ll also find local market stats and recently sold properties. Sawbuck then connects buyers and sellers with experienced, local real estate agents, and streamlines their transactions.

With the new expansion, the company is eager to show off features not found on other sites, such as the ability to filter out homes they gave poor ratings to on a previous visit.

"No one wants to look at the same properties they didn’t like the first time!" said Sawbuck’s Cynthia Pang in an e-mail. "This will help new listings get more visibility as most searches pull up so many properties that people get frustrated sorting through what they’ve already seen. Homebuyers in non-Sawbuck cities have been asking for this feature for a long time."

A company study conducted throughout November demonstrated that Sawbuck’s buyers got a 0.39 percent lower 30-year fixed mortgage rate compared to the national average rate as reported in Bankrate.com’s weekly survey of lenders.

"On a $400,000 mortgage, that’s a savings of $96 per month, or $34,682 over the life of the loan. In October it was 0.43 percent better," the company said in a statement.

Sawbuck also promises to pay $1,000 if a client finds a better mortgage and closing-cost deal than it offers through its partners.

The company has in-house agents who work with buyers and has launched a partner agent network through which sellers can work with outside listing agents and receive a 20 percent refund from the listing commission at closing.

Sawbuck also serves Baltimore, Los Angeles, the Inland Empire, Dallas and San Diego. The company will expand into the San Francisco Bay Area, Philadelphia, and the Boston/Providence, R.I., area in the next few months.

The company received an Inman News Innovator Award for "Most Innovative Brokerage" in 2008.

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