According to Ohmyhome founders, sisters Race and Rhonda Wong, the decision to expand into the Philippines started simply: with love.
Back in 2016 when the proptech startup team in Singapore only had less than ten people, two members were Filipino. Race and Rhonda, who loved and valued their growing team, knew that a Filipino teammate was newly wed and had a wife in Manila whom he missed very much. Before long, Race and Rhonda made a promise to their 2 Filipino teammates that Ohmyhome will set up an office in Manila to bring them closer to their family.
Today, both teammates are in the Ohmyhome’s Philippine office (and are both proud dads, too). With more Filipinos joining them, Rhonda says that “offering Ohmyhome’s services to the country of our beloved teammates is a dream-come-true because it is they who see the numerous gaps in the local property market’s existing solutions.”
The company itself was born out of Rhonda and Race’s dream to enhance people’s lives. “We chose the housing industry because home is close to the heart,” Rhonda Wong, Ohmyhome Chief Executive Officer, discloses. “It is the place where we shelter our loved ones and build memories together.”
Having experienced the strain of moving from one home to another while growing up, Race and Rhonda seek to guide people in making property-related decisions and transactions. “We know how stressful housing transactions can be—the complicated process and unreliable services that individuals associate with it, Ohmyhome Chief Product Officer Race Wong points out. “Buying or selling a house is a very big commitment; we want to help people do it right.”
And now, Ohmyhome wants to help Filipinos do it right. For Rhonda Wong, the expansion is a timely move for both Ohmyhome and the Philippine real estate industry.
“The Philippines is a growing market,” she explains. “In the last three years, Manila has seen an increase in condominium property prices of 11.9% each year on average. The number of transactions has also been steadily growing—reaching a record high of 54,000 condominium units sold in Metro Manila in 2018, surpassing 2017’s 53,000 units.
Still, property transactions in the Philippines are marked by drawbacks such as a lack of transparency, untrustworthy agents, slow feedback, and decentralized services. “With the country’s huge population, the only way to provide transparent and reliable services to Filipinos is through our advanced technology combined with our offline services,” Rhonda says.
Race describes how the unique hybrid model of Ohmyhome can revolutionize the way Filipinos pursue housing transactions. “Our DIY platform will enable Filipinos to buy, sell, and rent by themselves, free-of-charge, saving them time and money in the process. Meanwhile, for those who prefer an agent, our professional agents can personally assist clients in their transactions from start to finish. This process will occur seamlessly while our technology works hard behind-the-scenes, enabling our agents to fully focus on our customers.”
Ohmyhome also features a unique algorithm that efficiently matches buyers and sellers based on the buyer’s search criteria and the seller’s property details.
According to Race, the Ohmyhome team started in the Philippines back in 2017, serving Singapore and Malaysia markets. Since then, the team has carefully studied the Philippine real estate industry to modify the platform based on tech and data team research.
“We designed the Ohmyhome application and website for Filipinos and made modifications to make sure that the technology is suitable and relevant to the Philippine context. We wanted the platform to be truly built by the Filipino, for the Filipinos.”
With over 5,000 property transactions in its Singapore and Malaysia markets and a customer satisfaction rate of 99%, Ohmyhome expects to replicate the feat as it advances its technological capabilities in the Philippine real estate industry.
The transformation will come in phases. “Today, Ohmyhome is an agent for change and innovation, but our methods and speed of transactions will be the norm in the future,” Rhonda and Race Wong said.