To improve the process of sales, purchase, and property renting and to provide full support for its users, the firm City Expert from Serbia raised €700,000 from the international investment fund South Central Ventures. After that, the firm received an additional €800,000 to become the number one online real estate agency in Serbia. Having in mind its strategic goals, the firm combined traditional agency experience and cutting-edge technology. `When we established City Expert, we wanted to help users find apartments quickly and without unwanted surprises. If you asked anyone back in 2015 what it takes to find an apartment for rent in Belgrade, they would tell you plain and simple – it takes a miracle! Shady ads with blurry pictures, unavailable agents with overbooked schedules, and thousands of ads to go through were pretty much the only way you could go apartment hunting. What people despised the most was the misleading ads that promised one thing and turned out to be completely different. We wanted to put an end to that. That’s where we came in, Jović explained.
Over the next couple of years, the firm managed to become the most technologically advanced real estate agency in Serbia and beyond. It implemented online interactive property presentations that shortly became the staple of its business. Online presentations offer virtual tours so users can see what the apartment looks like without getting out of their chairs. `This way, we saved our buyers and tenants precious time`, Jović said.
Users, IT professionals, big firms, and newspapers recognised the firm’s potential. Nowadays, City Expert is becoming the number one online real estate agency in Southeast Europe. It serves customers all over the former Yugoslavia. The firm started with six employees and annual revenue of €32,000 in 2015. In 2019, it had 50 employees in 3 different cities and a yearly income of €645,000. With a gain of 1.2 million euros, there are also big expectations for the following period. Moreover, in 2019, the firm took some steps to pursue its international ambitions, and now it has business operations in Slovenia. Thus, `Step by step, we are spreading our operations and helping more and more people find their home, fast and easy`, Jović said. This case from Serbia shows that the use of ICT can successfully change the business model.