Key Fact:

  • Cut down development time from 8 to 10 weeks to 3 to 5 days

About McMakler

Germany and central Europe’s real estate transactions are commonly represented through zero-standardized or unqualified real estate brokers, using whatever tools they have at hand to try and appraise a piece of real estate, talk to potential buyers, and deal with such transactions in almost a medieval manner with pen and paper, fax machines and more. For most buyers who end up going through that process, as a one-time real estate investment, representing individuals looking to purchase a house, land, or apartment becomes a piece of their lives for the rest of their lives. There is very little known about the process and transaction. There is a broker that opens the door to interested buyers for viewings, and the next thing you know, there’s a hefty invoice, leading to a lot of frustration and a bad reputation about brokers.

McMakler represents the new generation and shift in real estate transactions in Germany. Their goal is to make property transactions a positive experience for interested buyers and sellers, with a more streamlined, transparent, and informative process and assessment (legal, financing, auditing, etc.) with on-hand experts buyers and sellers can trust when making their real estate decisions. McMakler offers the end-to-end experience in providing information and services about the pre-buying/selling, negotiation, and post-buying/selling experience through technology that enables them to do that.

A screenshot of McMakler’s website in 2020

A screenshot of McMakler’s website in 2020

The origins and challenges that led McMakler’s headless CMS journey

Before Storyblok, McMakler was hosted on WordPress in 2020, with a multitude of challenges that came along with it. This covered everything from security vulnerability, a monolithic setup, and not being user-friendly to McMakler’s scalability. To further explain, with their previous site set up on PHP and a likewise large community of WordPress users, this did not suffice with McMakler’s growth. Such elements triggered McMakler to search for an alternative CMS that same year that could provide for their needs to innovate, improve their user’s experience, and gain flexibility in their performance. More specifically, the future technology they could use could enable them to do what they want instead of limiting them to what they want to implement.

Such is an example of their team operating in their previous setup, where no matter how easy it was to maintain, there were very visible guardrails for what you could do and how you could approach your customers. Over time, this became a limiting nuance on the development, business, and marketing sides. The need to grow and scale with new innovations and be unable to because of their previous setup’s guardrails limit them.

Consequently, it was also very frustrating for their developers, who came up with new ideas to revamp and optimize the site, yet could not ‘build’ in the setup they were in and instead had to find workaround solutions to the system. On top of that, developers and marketers alike were frustrated with the amount of time it took to go to market with the previous static processes, constant maintenance, the constraints of easily reusing components, and instead of needing to build a workaround continuously. The collective voice within McMakler, over time, with the build-up of frustrations and issues in the system with the frame and content too tightly bound together, triggered the search for their team to look for an alternative solution that could clear and mitigate the mass of problems over time.

Eventually, the search for a new system allowed McMakler’s main technical decision-makers, towards firstly headless systems and, secondly, Storyblok as their content management system of choice.

Why Storyblok: A solution that fits all

McMakler today uses Storyblok for several of their websites and environments that play host to their services. As part of that, they also have performance-driven elements, such as a large part of their lead generation process that is based on a dynamic form whereas a homeowner, you can enter your data to see how much your property is worth and aid them along with their selling or purchasing experience. On an abstract level, this forms a dynamic-decision tree based on whatever data is entered and how well the system understands that user’s intent; it will then showcase different form elements and come up with different questions to respond to the implied intent that that person has, and thus, answer with the right product offering.

  • What we learned to love about Storyblok is how simple it is to do exactly what you want on top and next to it. It’s effortless to connect, integrate, communicate, and collaborate. With whatever complexity there is, you can easily rebuild and maneuver the system - it is not limiting at all, it’s, in fact, a foundation.

    Picture of Matthias Knoche
    Matthias Knoche
    VP of Product at McMakler
McMakler’s tech architecture

McMakler’s tech architecture

In terms of their setup, their frontend is based on React, whereas all content is based and hosted within Storyblok - helping McMakler to develop and evolve their user experience in a streamlined, organized, and fast way. This is seen through McMakler’s clear distinction between teams, where their development team can devote to proper engineering and development of their site. Similarly, content can be updated and managed by anyone. McMakler’s marketing team, for example, is at the lead of their content management and is constantly testing and adapting their content to fit best the needs of their customers and the market in a quick and independent manner. In all, this has broken down McMakler’s internal processes from one that was static and overloaded, requiring constant meetings of discussion on how to solve problems and the solutions or workarounds to each content change, to simply allowing the marketing team independence and simplicity to completely handle their marketing efforts without the need of a developer, and start A/B testing through McMakler’s custom-build right away.

  • Storyblok scaled exactly to how we imagined our use cases to grow. We were able to cut down development time from a matter of 8 to 10 weeks, to simply just a few days.

    Picture of Matthias Knoche
    Matthias Knoche
    VP of Product at McMakler
McMakler’s website at present

McMakler’s website at present

Processes that previously took 8 to 10 weeks of development and testing now take simply a matter of days. Within McMakler’s Storyblok setup, vertical integrations exist to accommodate the specific needs of someone engaging with their website. What this means is that verticals such as an energy certification for a particular type of housing would then have the data pulled from Storyblok to a catered landing page. Likewise, wherever it makes sense, such elements would be reused for different verticals while existing in a dedicated space. The same holds true for their financing, accounting for a large part of any property purchasing and selling experience, where requested data for that specific vertical would then be pulled to a designated website to host such information.

While this goes beyond simple copy and pasting, it goes hand-in-hand with standardizing McMakler’s content structure and simplifying any advancements on an element level across the board directly for scalability. In a way, based on the vertical websites, McMakler is able to identify the best components and information that resonates with their audience, and within any conversion uplift that they may see, to compile into the best form and UX/UI design within their component library to continuously build upon, reuse, and optimize their components and websites dynamically.

  • One of the things we appreciate the most is the ability to split content work with development work, in that marketers can independently work on their projects within Storyblok, leaving developers the opportunity to create and build new components and developments to optimize our site experience.

    Picture of Matthias Knoche
    Matthias Knoche
    VP of Product at McMakler

Key Takeaways

McMakler has a lot in store going forward, with exciting potential plans in using Storyblok as a manageable database form. With many real estate brokers working across Germany and a plethora of use cases and tools to match, McMakler’s future is set on simplifying and connecting such users to the correct information, tools and recommendations. This means that non-technical colleagues will be able to work with such a database and update it easily whenever needed, while McMakler’s more technical colleagues will be able to work in a more instantaneous manner.

Storyblok is excited to be a part of McMakler’s journey, with our upcoming V2 on the horizon and as we continuously create the best headless experience possible, for both marketers and developers, as a system tailored to fit and adapt to the technological needs of developers, and the flexibility of managing content for marketers. McMakler was able to transform and simplify their internal processes, while pushing for a more secure, performance-driven, and scalable website that their development, marketing, UX/UI teams, and users enjoy.