How to present the property in the best light?
City Expert, the first online real estate agency in Serbia, has taken a leadership position in the domestic market in just five years. All the advantages of City Experts' service, 24/7 availability, user-friendly interface, and excellent website search played a significant role. But undoubtedly, the biggest contribution was the unique, most comprehensive multimedia presentation of the property, which allows users to see the apartment as if they were in it.
Those who make it happen are a team of professionals, the City Expert Media team. We took the opportunity to talk about their work and news with Stefan Stojanović, Chief Technology Officer.
Stefan, can you introduce the City Experts' Media team to us?
The Media team consists of 12 people; two more are in the City Expert office in Ljubljana. The first ones to visit the property, popularly called City Experts' ambassadors, are professional photographers who make all the materials needed for the presentation (photos, 360° images of every room, and a video walkthrough of the apartment). One would think the work ends there, but at City Expert, we're just getting started. The Post Production team processes all photos, videos, and information, then edits material together (for example, they connect the apartment's interactive floor plan with a 360° view of each room) before listing the property. In the end, quality control thoroughly checks everything to ensure that the work was done flawlessly. All this happens in record time, a maximum of 24 hours passes from the photographer's visit to the listing of the property on the City Expert site.
How did you get the idea for this type of property presentation?
The market itself inspired us. Our mission is to provide customers with the best experience and the most efficient property selling/buying/renting/leasing. Since the beginning, City Expert has been moving towards the most transparent presentation and standardization of the property presentation. The property's choice should be motivated by the quality of the property, not by the quality of the media material itself; that's why we insist on high quality and honest media materials for every one of them. We have achieved this by optimizing the process and reducing time to market, all through the development of our technologies and investment in better equipment.
What can you tell us about the new service, making 3D models and 3D visualization of newly built apartments, aka future apartments?
The City Expert’s cooperation with real estate investors has led to the expansion of the Media team activities.Our idea was to provide the same level and quality of service we are known for and offer it first to the investors. We started with a production of 3D visualizations of apartments in new construction so that a potential buyer would not have to imagine the future property's appearance.
What is the situation on the new construction market, as far as the apartments' presentation is concerned?
So far, we have mostly come across two cases: Either the investor has no 3D visualization or only a few high-quality images representing the most beautiful rooms from all the apartments and possibly an isometric view. Almost no one has visualizations (renderings) of each room in a typical apartment so that the user can get the feeling that he is looking at a real apartment. The amount of information that the user can get thanks to a well-done 3D visualization of the future property can be crucial when making a purchase decision.
We are trying to standardize the display of our new buildings in the coming period so that each apartment has photographs, video, and a 360° virtual tour.
What are the plans for the future?
'Self-Improvement': Improving the display of media material on the website and already mentioned standardization of new build homes' presentation with the same elements as all of our properties. In addition to these two areas, in the future, we will focus on enriching the City Expert website with content that is not directly related to the property itself but helps users choose, such as 'neighborhood guides' and various tutorials.