Based in Hoddesden in Hertfordshire B3Living’s shared ownership arm, B3atHome, sells new build houses and apartments across Hertfordshire and beyond.
B3atHome’s original property site included online advertising capabilities but stopped short of the customer portal functionality that was needed to simplify the process for the sales team. With a small and dedicated sales team and plans to offer an increasing number of properties to the market B3atHome was ready to increase the functionality of the site to support the online process.
The existing website of B3atHome had been used effectively to advertise properties; however the application process was managed offline using a variety of Excel spreadsheets and similar systems. As volumes of properties and applicants increased this method was no longer suitable and a new approach was required to simplify and centralise the process for the sales team. Emerald was commissioned to develop an extended version of our property portal to support an online application process that would meet the needs of applicants, the B3atHome sales team and associated professionals involved in the sales/purchase process.
The discovery element of the project saw the two teams work together to detail the life cycle of a property sale/purchase – from initial advert to completion and hand over of the keys on moving in day. This element considered applicants for properties and B3atHome's sales teams to ensure that the process worked for both parties. Key milestones in the process were identified along with critical pathways for seller and purchaser. A review of similar providers and best in sector private developers generated lots of ideas and examples from which a full specification was created.
The planning element of the project identified the account creation process, the validation and security requirements and the internal and external communication mechanisms that were required. Storyboards and low level wireframes outlined the process for all parties and extensive user testing allowed the team to arrive at a defined specification against which the project was developed.
The development element of the project used the existing Umbraco CMS and extended its capability through bespoke development.
The project saw the development of the following elements:
- Improved property listing pages
- Account creation process for applicants
- Configurable eligibility process for B3 staff allowing them to display eligibility filtering questions against individual schemes
- Registration process allowing applicants to record and manage their interest in one or more properties
- Comprehensive application form for single and joint applicants
- Document portal allowing the tracked and audited upload/download of key documents from the applicant to B3atHome, and from B3atHome to the applicant
- Administration portal allowing the B3atHome sales team to manage the sales process from initial expression of interest through the application process to successful purchase of a property. All stages of the application process including the contribution of 3rd party professionals are included, with visibility to the applicant at all appropriate stages through the display of progress updates and documents.
- Exportable file format plus integration to back office systems