The problem with looking for a property to buy or rent in Malta is that you simply don’t know where to start from. 🤷

There’s a real estate agent on every corner, and the big estate agencies constantly show you their logo everywhere you look. There’s the classifieds section and MaltaPark. There’s property magazines and leaflets you get in your postbox.

But that’s not what you want

You just want to get a list of properties that match your criteria, so, for example, apartments for sale in Lija, Attard and Balzan for under €200,000. Which agent listed the property isn’t really important to you.

In fact, what is important when you’re looking for a property?

We thought for about five minutes and came up with our list:

  • Price 💸
  • Type 🎯
  • Location 🗺️

Then we thought a little longer and realised that what we wanted was a great-looking, easy to use website with an Artificial Intelligence engine that scans the internet and gathers information about all the property listings in Malta into a single website. 🤖🔍

Seemed simple enough, so Max went away and started building data sets and a concept for what we wanted to create.

We couldn’t just assume that our big idea is going to be a hit and that’s that, so first off, Max built a functioning mockup and loaded it with some dummy data. Most of the functionality was baked in already, but all the data was just a placeholder.

We then sent this ‘closed-alpha’ version of Gallarija.mt to around 100 people from different walks of life and different levels of tech knowledge. We didn’t want feedback only from fellow geeks and developers; we needed thoughts from everyone – people in real estate, people who are actively looking for a property, everyone.

And of course, we didn’t get it right first time. Our early-alpha testers told us of dozens of features that they would like to see or felt were unclear in our interface.

We took a few weeks to deliver on these promises and updated Gallarija 2.0

At that point we thought this is as done as it’s gonna get before launching it, so we prepared for launch, and meanwhile started telling friends, family, and people we trust about the project, and asking them to try it out.

The results were surprising to us too. We told fewer than 200 people total about the website, and most of them visited it once, probably to be polite.

What was surprising though was that a great many of them came back. Some of them again and again. People stayed on the site for longer than we expected them to, and viewed far more pages per visit than we had ever dreamed they would. And this is with an albeit very small sample, but really without actively pushing the website out in front of everyone.

That’s now. 🏘️

Today we are launching Gallarija.mt for all

We’re extremely happy with the project and what we’ve learned so far, and we hope that all kinds of homebuyers will find it instrumental in their search for a property.

We charge zero listing fees, zero commissions, zero referral fees, and there are no ads on the site.

Our goal isn’t to make money off people buying a new home; it’s to make Malta property searches simple, easy, and transparent for everyone. We want to help people making that difficult step by giving them an accurate picture of what’s on the property market, not just what one agent has to offer.

Take a look at the website and by all means, let us know what you think. If you love it, great! Use it, and please, share it too! 😍

Thank you.

Author Mark Debono

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