ListingDoor is a product for the US real estate market. It implements the business idea of Lappin Properties, a successful Houston company which has created a system that allows people to sell their homes without a broker.
The owner of ListingDoor.com, Mark Lappin, was a successful entrepreneur and a specialist in the real estate area. His wife Sissy Lappin was the author of a topical book “Simple And Sold”. They knew everything about selling homes. One day they got an idea to put all their knowledge into a new web service that would help people to sell their houses without hiring an agent.
While looking for a software company, Mark came across our successful project Agentfolio.com dedicated to a similar topic. He was impressed with the quality and success of this featured application and decided to hire the team which developed the product – the Anadea team. Certainly, we were happy to use our experience to bring a new high-end real estate project to the market.
The core features of ListingDoor.com are three services. A user can create a brochure, a sale sign and a web listing for marketing purposes. Brochures and sale signs can also be printed or ordered in a printing house online. Users are able to use all three services or choose any of them.
Since the application is targeted at a wide circle of users, it incorporates a handy way to enter information about a house. After the data is entered, it populates all three services. The application involves all possible ways to facilitate entering information and changing it on the fly at any stage of the marketing cycle.
The project is developed in the iterative manner according to patterns of Agile software development approach. During the development, all engineers followed test-driven development methods.
The application went through 4 beta releases. Every release was tested by early adopters. After the 4 beta versions, a public release was launched.
At the same time, the code structure sticks to the traditional Model-View-Controller architecture. HTML pages are generated through HAML-templates because HAML (HTML abstraction markup language) is the most convenient and readable way to represent markups. Instead of plain CSS, a more powerful SASS extension is used.
The workflow of the application evolved as the project grew. The first beta release covered the core of the project while all further ones introduced new prominent functions and services. All releases were part of the agile process which helped to bring the project to the valuable product level.
Many engineers took part in the development of ListingDoor.com. Every engineer did an essential part applying his abilities to make the product breathe.
Andrey Konchin made a priceless input integrating InfusionSoft in the flow. InfusionSoft is a fully featured accounting backend for small businesses. It was used to process payments and orders. His other contribution was the delayed jobs mechanism which allowed for running images processing and other time-consuming tasks in an invisible mode.
Valery Korenkov polished a rich set of features. He integrated a variety of third-party solutions including the latest Google Maps property plotting technologies. The application has many insightful reports and with an integrated a real-time API listing feeds to national syndication services including Zillow, Trulia, Yahoo Homes!, AOL Homes plus most all of the 500+ local MLS’s across the US.
- ListingDoor is a live product hosted on two Linux-based servers: a staging server and a production server. The servers have equal configurations. The staging server is used for testing and demo purposes while the production server contains the correct data and is open for public.
- ListingDoor has the traditional MVC architecture with RESTful API. The code is covered with automatic tests – both specs (RSpec/FactoryGirl) and integration tests. Capybara, Poltergeist and PhantomJS are used to test out all use cases of the main flow.
- The application is medium sized. The gemset consists of common gems as well as rare ones. A special gem is used to incorporate InfusionSoft into the core of the application. Faye and a PrivatePub gem is includ ed to arrange internal messaging when background processes are being run.
Features & third-party services
The public release of ListingDoor is tooled up with the following features:
- public web listings.
- background asynchronous images processing via a delayed jobs system.
- uploading images of huge size to the Amazon S3 service without slowing down the website.
- an ability to generate PDFs of brochures and sale signs in the CMYK color model, suitable for printing in a printing house.
- an accounting / payment system incorporated in the workflow.
- three recurring payment plans.
- a mortgage calculator.
- IntelReport which contains information about prices of the houses in the neighborhood, social media integration (Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest).
- ability to order a social media promotion and advertising on Facebook. These services are performed by the experienced ListingDoor support team.
- get feedback from his readers.
- a content management system attached to the public pages.
The product incorporates a few remarkable third-party services and converts them into special
- InfusionSoft – marketing and sales cloud platform that streamlines
- ListingDoor’s customer lifecycle, customer relationship management, marketing automation, lead capture, and e-commerce activities.
- ListingDoor syndicates listings to all national listing services including local MLS service.
- ListingDoor’s IntelReport allows homeowners to accurately price their home utilizing the same local comparable sales data that appraisers and agents use.
- Google Maps service is used to show the IntelReport on a map and also helps to show autocomplete suggestions when a user enters an address.
- SimpleAndSold products – a user can purchase SimpleAndSold products – a topical book, a workbook and a DVD set – that guide through the home selling process.
The solution is based on a proven framework, because huge databases which are common to custom real estate projects should be ready for scaling up.
After 4 beta releases which were tested by early adopters, the ListingDoor.com was opened to public. It started gaining real home owners who wanted to sell their homes and get promotion. At the same time, Mark Lappin gathered many great ideas about how to evolve the portal. From our side, we would be happy to implement any crazy idea that will make the product more unique.