What is it about Ohmyhome’s hybrid PropTech model and innovations that have propelled its unprecedented and meteoric success?
With technology being the driving force behind disruptive innovation in many industries, new terms have been coined to describe such innovations such as MedTech, HRTech, EduTech, and FinTech. PropTech is no different. This melding of technology with the property industry has seen technology alter the way property is bought and sold.
New ways of buying, selling, and renting will become more mainstream as they gain market traction; with new technologies continuing to be developed to accelerate home transactions. This means that buyers and sellers will be able to make informed choices on who they would like to transact with. Enabled by new technologies which shorten and simplify the process, home buyers and sellers who are increasingly informed and property-literate will find it much easier to perform do-it-yourself (DIY) transactions. One such firm that is shaping the future of property transactions by paving the way for seamless and tech-enabled solutions is Ohmyhome.
Ohmyhome’s listing platform quickly facilitates DIY transactions and is completely free to use. Its fixed-rate agent services claim it to be the most efficient in the market. With technology, Ohmyhome is able to smartly and dynamically market the attractiveness of homes by enhancing their digital strength to reach new prospective buyers and utilising a suite of innovative features to create a more holistic and seamless purchasing process for home seekers. One example is the machine learning technology integrated into Ohmyhome’s portal to help sellers accelerate home sales. With this integration, they are able to shorten the time taken to sell a home by automatically categorising listing photos according to room-type and systematically accessing and displaying the best images to home buyers. Furthermore, this enhances the DIY experience through smart image classification and detection of fake images for home seekers. This move towards automation and enhanced algorithm technology is aimed at ensuring Ohmyhome provides optimised services to DIY buyers and sellers.
The PropTech firm broke new ground in 2018 by entering the private market and marketing new developer launches. Unveiling new innovations to their application (app), including ShoutOut and its Mortgage Advisory Services, Ohmyhome has transacted more than 2,000 homes (as of September 2018) with a combined value of more than S$850 million, granted customers savings totalling S$20 million in commission, and had amassed a cumulative total transaction value surpassing S$1 billion as of end November 2018.
Ms Rhonda Wong, CEO and
co-founder of Ohmyhome,
expects PropTech companies
to continue adopting
data and machine learning
which lead to vast improvements
in service standards.
Its strength lies in their end-to-end model which handles all the steps in a resale transaction—agent services/DIY, conveyancing, and mortgage advisory and loan. The advantage of being a hybrid model that combines DIY marketplace with fixed-rate agent services is being able to handle transactions simply, faster, and more affordably.
Simplifying the Process
“Each listing on our platform by homeowners is unique,” says chief executive officer (CEO) and co-founder of Ohmyhome Ms Rhonda Wong who runs the business with her sister, Ms Race Wong. “Instead of using an advertising model, we focus on the housing transaction journey. We do this by providing the online platform and a full range of services to help our users complete their housing transaction journey—be it agent services, mortgage consultancy, or home staging. We want to be there for our users to guide them each step of the way, which makes Ohmyhome a one-stop shop for all housing transaction related matters.”
The fastest time taken to sell a DIY listing on Ohmyhome is one day. On average, an Ohmyhome agent can successfully transact up to 80 property transactions a year, which is more than 60 times more efficient than the average agent, who closes 1.2 cases a year. Ohmyhome is able to offer quality services at affordable prices (even free-of-charge), yet manage to sell a property quickly through the use of advanced technology capabilities to quickly find matches and a team dedicated to providing exceptional service to customers. This enables them to offer a free-to-use DIY listing platform and fixed-rate agent services.
If a flat is transacted for S$450,000, the standard agent commission for the seller is two per cent plus goods and services tax (GST) which amounts to S$9,630; whilst the standard commission for a buyer at one per cent plus GST amounts to S$4,815. Engaging Ohmyhome would result in a nett agent fee of S$3,888 (excluding GST) for both sellers and buyers. If the seller found the buyer on his/her own, or if a buyer found a unit he/she would like to purchase and would like help with documentation, Ohmyhome’s first-in-the-market documentation service for Housing and Development Board (HDB) units is priced at S$1,688 nett. “Typically, agents would charge the full one-to-two per cent commission fee,” says Ms Wong. “On average, our consumers save over 70 per cent in commissions when transacting with Ohmyhome fixed rate agents, while our platform is completely free to use.”
However, not all its success is attributed to the firm’s hybrid PropTech model; people play an integral part too. “More than just a policy, customer care starts from the way we lead our company, its corporate culture, and our team who carry out the vision,” says Ms Wong. “All of us spend most of our waking hours at work. I emphasise a strong home-and family-like culture which starts from the hiring process and extends into the way we reward our team. We only hire when everyone in the hiring team says yes. Our culture is a part of the evaluation matrix and a key performance index (KPI) that Ohmyhome agents are evaluated on. Agents’ performances are measured by a combination of the number of cases closed, customers’ satisfaction, and agents’ willingness to help other team members. Being a team player is as important as one’s individual performance. All team members are encouraged to help fellow team members and I make it a point to lunch with all newcomers to get to know them better.”
Growth and Expansion Plans
The S$4 million raised in a Series A funding round led by Golden Equator Capital will enable Ohmyhome to enter the private housing resale market in Singapore and to enter Malaysia by mid-2019—allowing them to develop better technological features to help consumers transact their properties simply, quickly, and affordably. But to do so means having to navigate further informational, hiring, and research challenges.
“PropTech companies will continue to adopt data and machine learning to provide property market insights to home buyers and sellers, as well as institutional property investors. This will continue to grow and home buyers/sellers can expect to see vast improvements in service standards,” says Ms Wong.
Copyright © 2019 Singapore Institute of Management