Finding an apartment to lease or buy has been made much easier with the appearance of an app designed for the purpose.
A new app has proven its worth for many people hoping to buy or lease apartments in Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City, especially those who live far from the major cities. Developed by the VietHomes Real Estate Service Joint Stock Company, the app has helped them to easily and quickly find accommodation as it provides a diverse range of information on what is available.
Launched in July, the VietHomes app, the first of its kind in Vietnam, allows Android and iOS users to locate houses or apartments in the two cities with minimum effort. Wherever they may be looking, nearby or far away, users can access information on apartments for lease or purchase, such as the direction it faces, its total size, and the size of each room, and can even see a picture of the apartment block. More detailed information provided includes the management unit, monthly management fees, parking fees, and utility services.
Mr Vu Dinh Trung, CEO of VietHomes Real Estate, said that using apps to find apartments for lease or sale has become common around the world, particularly in the US, Europe and Japan. “As the first to introduce such an app in Vietnam, I hope to present customers with a different of finding an apartment,” he said. “Users have found it to be a fast and easy way to find what they are looking for, especially those who live in the countryside but are looking for an apartment in the city.”
Mr Nguyen Tu Manh, who was looking buy an apartment, said that the best thing about the app is that all houses and apartments are pinpointed on a map. “With just my smart phone I can find out everything I need to know about an apartment without having to go anywhere,” he said. Ms Le Hai Van, who sold her apartment in Hanoi, was very satisfied with the VietHomes app. “I was going to work in the US for the long-term so I wanted to sell my apartment,” she said. “After searching online I found this app, which is similar to apps I know about in the US. I posted information on my apartment and found it to be a very effective way of locating a buyer.”
Set to grow
Several years ago, according to Mr Trung, Google search or internet banners were effective tools for real estate floors to sell houses and apartments. But after being used so often they began to be ineffective.
Agreeing, Mr Bui Quy Trung, Deputy Director of and investor in the Nam Cuong Group, said that information on the property market has become overly chaotic. Buyers can’t purchase an apartment at the original price and sometimes it’s difficult for them to get the information needed to make a decision. “The VietHomes app solves contradictions in prices by comparing properties in the same project,” he said. “It’s a great initiative.” In discussing Nam Cuong’s cooperation with VietHomes, he confirmed that the two sides “want to work together to put information on the projects we are distributing on the app.”
Mr Nguyen Tan Phat, a broker at the Cen Group real estate floor, posted information on the app and received a great deal of interest from potential buyers. “The effectiveness of posting information on the app is much higher than posting on a website,” he said. Brokers now contact VietHomes more often to post information on the housing projects they are distributing.
Despite having many opportunities to cooperate with local companies, VietHomes also has ambitions to work with foreign investors in the real estate field with long-term capital and investments in Vietnam already or an intention to do so. Cooperating with VietHomes should appeal to foreign investors, Mr Trung said, given the country’s 90-million strong population and the huge demand for owning a home. Information on the market is yet to be transparent and professional, and he believes that mobile phones rather than computers will be favoured by Vietnamese people in the future when seeking entertainment options and helping in life’s many tasks, of which buying a home is among the most important.
VietHomes has nearly 1,000 property projects in Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City on the app, initially apartment projects. If use continues at such high levels, the company will expand it to other projects such as villas and houses. The number of users installing the app has now exceeded 8,000 since it was introduced on July 13. According to Mr Trung, VietHomes aims to introduce the app and its utilities to brokers and homeowners. Installing the app is free and posting information on apartments for rent or for sale is also free. “As a new app we can’t charge a fee to user, not even project investors,” he said. “It is the same with Google, Zalo and Facebook. In the future, when the app develops strongly, we will try to monetise it with advertising.”
He is optimistic that the app will create a new platform and become increasingly popular among both buyers and sellers, going well above the existing 8,000 users and reaching into the tens or even hundreds of thousands. “This is a great opportunity for real estate companies to upload information and sell their products,” he said. And the participation of foreign investors in the app will help make information in the real estate field more transparent, helping to protect those who buy or lease houses or apartments. n