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Online Marketplace for Canadian Real Estate Agency

Online real estate marketplace connecting realtors, brokers, and property managers with their clients.

Industries
Technologies/Platforms

Engagement model

Time & Materials

About the client

The client is a Canadian real estate agency that has been in business since 2007. The main office is located in Ottawa, Ontario.

Solution

Real Estate marketplace

Client’s Request

The agency had a website with a catalog of rental and for-sale properties. The website was outdated and its capacity was not sufficient to meet all the new demands of the growing business.

The client approached Itexus with a request to increase customer outreach through the website, improve the visitor experience and increase their engagement as well as to create more sales opportunities for agents.

Effort and Duration

10 months

Project Team

PM, Full Stack Developer, DevOps, QA Engineer

Tech stack / Platforms

Target audience

The agency caters to individuals looking to rent or buy a house or an apartment as well as businesses looking for premises.

Project challenges

The most challenging part was adding new functionality into the existing design without breaking the logic of displaying elements so as not to lose the users.

Solution Overview

Ten months after the initial communication with the client, our team delivered a feature-rich and user-friendly marketplace.

Functional modules

Properties catalog

Each property in the catalog has its own page containing all the information about the property and the premises available for sale or rent in it:

  • The agent assigned to the property
  • Description – photos of the building, number of premises for sale or rent, average price per sqft, storey, neighborhood, location on the map, average days on the market, list of amenities (information about the availability of a pool/gym/parking, etc.)
  • A graph showing the prices dynamics (USD per sqft)

In the premise pages, users can book a showing and contact the agent assigned to the property.

User personal account

The user’s personal account is primarily used to manage premises subscriptions. In the account, the user can review their subscriptions, search for a specific one, delete it or edit filter settings. Management of user personal information, such as photo, phone number, name, address, etc., is also available in the account.

Agent personal profile

Each real estate agent on the platform has a personal profile containing the agent’s photo, description, and core competencies. The agent can edit their profile, which is publicly available to all platform visitors.

All agents are tied to specific properties. If the user wants to know more about a property, he has to fill in the feedback form on the building page and the agent assigned to the building will receive a notification and contact the user.

Solution main features

Registration

Registration on the platform is possible via email and social networks. After registration, the user gets access to information that is hidden from non-registered users, such as details about the property – floor plan, price, etc. Registered users can also contact the agent assigned to a particular property and set up custom subscriptions and notifications.

Custom subscription and notifications

Users can receive notifications about properties of interest. To do this, the user must select a property and specify the purpose (rent, sale, or both). Whenever new premises for sale or rent appear in the property of interest or their price changes, the user will receive an email with information about a particular property – a photo, a description, and a link to the property page.

Search filter

To facilitate the search of suitable properties for users, we implemented a search filter. The property catalog contains dropdowns where the user can select characteristics such as price per square foot, storey, number of bedrooms and bathrooms, building age, etc.

Third-party integrations

To supplement their listing of properties for rent or sale with relevant data, our client uses an API. But the issue with the API was that it had been falling after every update. Our engineers fixed the issue to ensure proper data extraction and delivery.

Development process

As mentioned above, we needed to improve user interaction with the site and optimize communication with platform users. We started with a discovery phase where we studied the best practices of online real estate marketplaces and held an ideation session where we generated and discussed ideas. As a result of the discovery phase, we came up with a list of features to implement and an idea of how the platform should look and function to shorten the sales journey and give users the best possible experience.

We created a backup of the working version, deployed the test environment, and created specific fields in the backend that allowed us to create a custom registration process. We also enabled registration with social networks that significantly facilitated and speeded up the sign-up flow.

In the user’s personal account, we displayed a list of premises of interest to the user, with filters for sales & rentals. On the property page, we implemented a subscription widget that shows the user’s subscription status regarding this particular property. The widget shows whether the user is subscribed for sales or rentals or both, or isn’t subscribed at all.

Results

We improved the registration flow, created personal accounts for users and agents, enabled registration with social networks, set up a custom subscription for data on properties of interest, fixed the API to update the property listing in a timely manner, and improved contact forms.

As a result, the number of transactions made through the platform increased by 27%. The custom subscription function we created enabled our client to collect users’ data and make informed marketing, sales, customer service, and product development decisions. Our client’s next step would be the implementation of a CRM system to further enhance customer experience and satisfaction, increase customer retention and boost sales.

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