Map Search: The Future of Real Estate Search

Draw where you want to live. Liiva's new Map Search makes this possible. We spoke to our Product Manager Krystyna Waterhouse about the development of our new feature and the benefits for future homeowners.


Map search

When creating new search features at Liiva, we strive to see the challenge from the user’s perspective. What do they think about when looking for a new home? Which functionalities are important to them? What are their hopes and fears?

This is exactly what Product Manager Krystyna is here for. Originally from the UK, she has experience in data analytics and user research in both large and small companies. She works hard every day to figure out our users’ pain points and investigating possible solutions.

Driven by this principle, together with our product and tech team, Krysia has led the development of Liiva’s latest feature: Map Search. It aims at ensuring that our users are able to search for properties on Liiva, exactly in line with how they think about their dream home; offering them the greatest possible flexibility in the way they search for homes. It is one of the first of its kind in Switzerland.

If you would like to find out how this new tool is beneficial for your property search, read the interview with Krystyna.

How do the new search features differ from the classic property search by postcode?

Krystyna: «We have implemented two new search functions at once: The Radius Search and the Map Search. While the old Standard Search allows you to search for homes by using postcodes, the Radius Search allows you to search in an area near a specific object. You can define what you want to be close to – whether is it your office, the gym, or your children’s school. This gives people a bit more flexibility than simply searching by postcode. Additionally, we introduced the Map Search, which we are really proud of. This feature even goes one step further. Instead of searching for homes in certain postcodes or near a specific object, you draw the exact area you are interested in on a map. This way, it is no longer about a municipality or proximity anymore, but you have complete freedom to choose an individual area to search for a home. Our Map Search then shows you the properties available within your personalised polygon (rectangle).»

Map Search

What particular problem does the Map Search solve?

Krystyna: «The Map Search ensures that every home you find on Liiva is something you might be interested in. Sometimes, you are not interested in living in a town or city in general, but only in this town close to the train station. Or the opposite: maybe you are only interested in living in a green area near the woods. With the traditional search, you would have to click through results that do not meet your requirements. With Map Search, you can draw out the area you are interested in, which really suits your needs better than an arbitrary definition of postcodes.

By customising the search area, we also allow users to set up very personalised search subscriptions. This way, every notification in your inbox has a much higher chance of meeting all your needs. Because nobody likes email spam, right?»

How did you come up with the idea to implement this new search function?

Krystyna: «Buying a home is the biggest transaction in your life – it is a huge decision! And we have realised that postcodes do not always match the way people think about where they want to live. Instead, the search can be a bit more sophisticated than just “I want to live in this town near my office”. Because often it’s more like “I want to live near my office, but also in a nice area close to the lake”. Search for a home is really very specific, and very typically it is driven by geography. We wanted to cover this aspect with Liiva, and I am very happy with the result. It’s one of the first of its kind in Switzerland.»

Why is drawing circles and shapes on a map more emotional than entering postcodes?

Krystyna: «Sometimes, people have very personal reasons for preferring certain areas to others. Maybe you have kids and you do not want to live close to a busy road. Or you might want to live close to a train station. Or you want to live in your parents’ neighbourhood. These are very personal needs that are not reflected in postcodes or in a radius.»

How does the Map Search work?

Krystyna: «Open Liiva and go to Buy and then Property Search, where you open the Map Search. On the map, simply draw the area – or multiple areas – where you want to search for homes. You can draw up to 3 different customised areas on the map. Don’t forget to use the zoom to really personalise your search areas. You can leave out certain areas, corners, or even certain streets you don’t like. You can still apply filters to narrow down your search results, such as the number of rooms or your price range. By clicking on “Save search subscription”, you will receive an email notification every time a new property in your custom polygon hits the market.»

Does the Map Search have any limitations?

Krystyna: «Yes, you can only draw 3 polygons at a time. Each Polygon can only have 15 edges, but if you draw more, our tool will automatically flatten your shape. Actually, the Map Search guides you very well through the necessary steps of the drawing process. One thing we still need to improve is the mobile functionality of the Map Search. At the moment, the tool is designed for desktop devices only. Nevertheless, the Map Search is my favourite tool on Liiva, and I am very proud of that. It is very sophisticated and the way it is implemented is quite cutting-edge. We will keep working on it and try to make the experience with it even better. It is a fairly new feature in Switzerland, so we will take user feedback into account. »

Can you complete the sentences? I would recommend to use…

… Liiva’s Standard Search, if…?

«…you are more worried about the municipality, for example for tax reasons. Or if you are a first-time use at a very early stage of your search process. Then I would recommend using filters to narrow down your area of interest. Or use our mortgage calculator first to find out about the price range you can afford.»

… Liivas Radius Search, if…?

«… you are really tied to proximity to something. For example, if your kid goes to a certain Kita. Parents, this is a very interesting feature for you!»

… Liivas Map Search, if…?

«… you have a clear idea of what you want. Or if you know the area very well and if geography (e.g. living by a lake, having a beautiful view, etc.) is important to you.»


Try out our Map Search now and find your dream home! Search for your new home!