Purchasing property is top-of-mind for most Singaporeans to tick off their “adulting” list. But dealing with property agents can sometimes be stressful, especially when the agent is chasing for sales. Enters Ohmyhome, a portal for property buyers and sellers to facilitate seamless housing solutions. The brainchild of sisters, 38 year old Race Wong (Chief Product Officer) and 35 year old Rhonda Wong (Chief Executive Officer), Ohmyhome aims to revolutionise the housing transaction experience, making it simple, fast and affordable. Column Editor, Angela, finds out more in this interview with the duo.
SGLS: You are sisters as well as business partners. How do you strike a balance in your relationship? How is the scope of work divided between the two of you?
Rhonda: Disagreements at work are bound to happen.. While Race and I are always required to have an opinion, we are both objective and respect one another. Our problem solving philosophy is also similar, we always find the root of the problem or the end-goal of the potential solution and question that. For example, if the discussion is about automation features to prioritise, we would drill in to user-benefit as they are whom we care about.
Race: We are very clear about our area of work. The person responsible for the matter has the ‘final say’ on the issue. For example, if it is about our real estate agents, I would respect Rhonda’s decision. Conversely, anything regarding our products is ultimately my decision. It is important to not let our ego get the better of ourselves. At Ohmyhome, clients, products and our team are above any individual.
SGLS: What is the rationale behind the name of your business? Which stage of funding are you at now and what are your plans for the business?
Race: Ohmyhome simply means, Oh… my home – A home to be proud of, a home where your heart is. I have moved more than 30 times in my life and totally empathise with the pain, challenges and excitement that come with moving homes. Therefore, we started Ohmyhome to revolutionise the entire housing transaction experience.
Rhonda: We raised S$4 million in Series A funding in 2018. Right now, the priority is to grow our business in our current markets: Singapore, Malaysia and the Philippines. In addition, we have also launched our home renovation division, which comes complete with a dedicated team of in-house interior designers. Hence, fundraising is always in the works, especially when we are growing at this speed.
SGLS: How many homes have you transacted so far and what is the mix?
Rhonda: We have transacted over 7,000 homes and rendered a total of over 8,000 services in Singapore, Malaysia and the Philippines, which represents a combined value of over S$2 billion. In Singapore, we mainly cover Housing Development Board (HDB) flats and Condominiums.
SGLS: What were some of the challenges you both faced when you first started Ohmyhome and how did you overcome them?
Race: When we first started Ohmyhome in 2016, we were the first in the market to launch the hybrid Do-It-Yourself and fixed-rate agent model.
Being new to the game, there were plenty of sceptics. However, we focused on doing our best, fine-tuning user experience on our digital platform as well as our agent services. Once people saw the advantage of using our platform, transaction rates began to pick up. Within five months, Ohmyhome emerged as Singapore’s #1 HDB App.
The most powerful marketing tool is word-of-mouth. The people who love our services began to spread the word and referred our portal to their friends and family.
Today, Ohmyhome has a robust ecosystem offering a total of 10 property services including – DIY (free), Super Agent Services, Conveyancing, Mortgage Advisory, Home-Staging, Renovation, Painting, Movers, Handyman services and even Feng Shui.
SGLS: What are your top tips for first time property investors and / or owners?
Rhonda: Property purchase shouldn’t be based on feelings and budget, it should be based on facts around its returns, rental yield and upcoming development around the property that will support its capital appreciation potential. It is therefore important to work with a consultancy that is happy to listen to your needs and make the best recommendations.
Bonus Question: Who inspires you in life and in business? Why?
Rhonda: My sister and Co-founder, Race, is my inspiration. I love her resilience and tenacious nature
Race: I draw inspiration from many sources. I believe in surrounding myself with people who are hard working, smart and kind.