by Loh Chen-yi, Published in The Edge Singapore on 11 Aug 2016
SINGAPORE (Aug 11): Looking to sell or lease your HDB property the DIY way without commissions to an agent? That has been a realistic option since May through Ohmyhome, a transaction platform founded by a team of sisters behind Anthill Realtors.
Race and Rhonda Wong started Anthill in June 2014 to disrupt the market with a buyer-centric rather than agent-oriented business model. They have taken another step towards disruption with Ohmyhome, which elder sister, Race, describes as a platform that connects HDB home-owners to potential buyers or tenants through a cyber-marketplace without the usual agency or middleman charges.
“The idea first came about through friends who approached us for help to transact their HDB units,” says Race. “When you sell your unit, you have to pay a 2% commission. For a lot of households in Singapore, they can hardly save $500 a month and for them to come up with $6,000 to $8,000, is like asking them to use their entire year’s savings to pay cash upfront to an agent.”
As that segment of the market resides in largely HDB flats, the Wongs designed Ohmyhome with free basic features as well as transparent flat-fee options for additional services. For example, all property listings are posted without charges and free help is even available over a hotline or through email.
And when parties to a transaction negotiate on a deal, they are free to go the DIY way without someone in the middle. Only when help with documentation or from an agent is required, will fees be incurred. Even then, these services will only attract flat fees of $1,688 for assistance with documentation or a higher $2,888 for full agency services.
If Ohmyhome takes off as the Wongs hope, the duo will begin to focus on other market segments. “There’s nothing stopping us from expanding to the entire market but right now, we just like to focus on HDB first,” says Rhonda.