Sunday, December 16 2018

VietNamNews

App helps people find homes

Update: December, 01/2018 - 09:00
The Ohana app helps students and young people in Việt Nam find accommodation in big cities. VNS Photo
Viet Nam News

There is a special app that helps people find places in which to live.

It is for people who do not want to own the places but rather wish to pay the owners to be able to live in a place.

Cathy Thảo Trần started the app after having lived all over the world. She struggled to find a place when she came home.

People who use the app include students and visitors to Việt Nam from other countries.

By Thu Ngân

 

HCM CITY – “If you have never lost your deposit while renting a house, you have not grown up yet.”

When a young woman entrepreneur said this in jest on Shark Tank, the reality TV show for start-ups, audiences laughed but recognised she was telling it as it was: it is risky and not easy to rent a house in Việt Nam.

For a long time the demand for rented houses and condos in cities has kept increasing, mostly from students who leave their hometown and move to cities for study.

Renting a house in cities has never been easy for students and other renters because of the high risk of losing one’s deposit or getting ripped off in the form of high rents.

Such problems could now become a thing of the past thanks to modern technologies as young entrepreneurs apply big data and use social media to create phone applications for house leasing services.

The young lady on Shark Tank is one such. Cathy Thảo Trần was able to raise VNĐ3.5 billion investment from the event. At the age of 27, she is the CEO and founder of a company that has an app called Ohana connecting hosts and renters.

“Home does not have to be a fixed geographic concept, it can be an emotional or spiritual state shared with great companions you meet along your life journeys,” she said.

Having lived abroad for 10 years and in various places like the US, Australia, Hà Nội, and HCM City, she came to realise the importance of one’s living space.

The idea of setting up such a service also came after she struggled to find a house when she came back to Việt Nam.

She put together a team and went on to build Ohana, a sharing app for students to find appropriate accommodation as well as housemates.

She explained: “Ohana leverages AI-powered technologies and the sharing economy model to solve the housing crisis in urban areas around Việt Nam by uniting renters to share housing resources.

“We look to serve the market for students’ housing first and foremost as we believe this is the most underserved segment in Việt Nam’s real estate market.”

After the Shark Tank programme, “the application is attracting up to 8,000 visitors per day. The number of rooms and the types of rooms in the application are also becoming more diverse.

“In the past we only had dormitories and rooms in the low-priced segment, but now we have all sorts of things. Some foreigners looking for a room also contacted us. This has potential; a new door has opened up for us.”

Ohana is not the only app to offer this kind of service.

Type the words “house renting app” in Google, and see how many results come up.

The most famous of them are Hello Rent, Doong, Landber, Timtro.vn, and batdongsan.com.vn.

A spokesperson for Landber, an application developed by Reway Group, told Việt Nam News they had launched it in 2016 with the main target of connecting renters and landlords and buyers and sellers around the country.

He said it mainly targets students and young people besides young families.

Since just April last year 80,000 users have downloaded the app on App Store and Google Play, indicating the market’s enormous potential.

“The house renting market in Việt Nam is huge and will not shrink in future. Social development will increase demand for renting houses in big cities.”

To meet the huge demand, the company has kept adding new functions to its app and website like finding real estate products on the map and users’ locations.

A student from the Financial Institute said she, like other students, feels very nervous every time a new school year starts.

“There are a dozen things to worry about: where to live, what kind of price it will be, how to avoid cheating.”

But the worries have been receding since a friend told her about some apps: all she has to do is fill up the necessary information, and the apps will quickly find for her the best options.

She said in the last two years finding accommodation has not been the hassle it used to be.

A young official living in HCM City, Như Thuỷ, has years of experience in renting houses.

She is from the Mekong Delta and has to find a new house at least once a year.

Thuỷ told Việt Nam News that she used to look for a house through friends or websites. However, since knowing about the apps, she prefers to use them, saying they are very “convenient”.

“There are clear pictures in the apps. They also connect directly to the landlord so that we can avoid brokers. I just put in my requirements, and information about housing that is suitable for me will appear.”

Obviously, the market has great potential and more and more young people are devoting their time and effort to develop more applications related to house renting.

It will be the users who will benefit most from this and the task of renting houses will become easier. VNS


 

 

GLOSSARY

“If you have never lost your deposit while renting a house, you have not grown up yet.”

A deposit, in this case, is an amount of money you pay to the owner of a house as a back-up before renting a house. It is later returned to you by the owner minus the cost of any damage you may have caused.

Renting a house means paying the owner to be allowed to live in it.

When a young woman entrepreneur said this in jest on Shark Tank, the reality TV show for start-ups, audiences laughed but recognised she was telling it as it was: it is risky and not easy to rent a house in Việt Nam.

An entrepreneur is a person who turns ideas into businesses.

To say something in jest means to say it as a joke.

For a long time the demand for rented houses and condos in cities has kept increasing, mostly from students who leave their hometown and move to cities for study.

The demand for rented houses is the extent to which people want to rent houses.

Condos are condominiums, which are complexes made up of many houses.

Such problems could now become a thing of the past thanks to modern technologies as young entrepreneurs apply big data and use social media to create phone applications for house leasing services.

Leasing means renting.

 “Home does not have to be a fixed geographic concept, it can be an emotional or spiritual state shared with great companions you meet along your life journeys,” she said.

A concept is an idea. A fixed geographic concept means an idea that is linked to a certain place.

Emotional means to do with the feelings of the heart.

She explained: “Ohana leverages AI-powered technologies and the sharing economy model to solve the housing crisis in urban areas around Việt Nam by uniting renters to share housing resources.

Uniting renters means bringing them together.

“We look to serve the market for students’ housing first and foremost as we believe this is the most underserved segment in Việt Nam’s real estate market.”

Foremost means “of importance”.

The number of rooms and the types of rooms in the application are also becoming more diverse.

If the rooms are becoming more diverse, they are, more and more, coming from different people and are of different types.

“This has potential; a new door has opened up for us.”

Potential means possibility for bigger things.

A student from the Financial Institute said she, like other students, feels very nervous every time a new school year starts.

Nervous means scared.

But the worries have been receding since a friend told her about some apps: all she has to do is fill up the necessary information, and the apps will quickly find for her the best options.

Receding means going backwards.

Options are choices.

Thuỷ told Việt Nam News that she used to look for a house through friends or websites. However, since knowing about the apps, she prefers to use them, saying they are very “convenient”.

Convenient means fitting in and not causing problems.

“They also connect directly to the landlord so that we can avoid brokers.”

Brokers are people who do deals for other people.

Obviously, the market has great potential and more and more young people are devoting their time and effort to develop more applications related to house renting.

Devoting their time and effort to develop more applications related to house renting means spending their time and effort on that.

It will be the users who will benefit most from this and the task of renting houses will become easier.

If you benefit from something, it makes things work the way you want them to, making you stronger as a result.

 

WORKSHEET

Find words that mean the following in the Word Search:

  1. The number of years Cathy Thảo Trần lived abroad.
  2. A country in which she lived that is an “island continent” below Asia.
  3. A search engine on the Internet.
  4. People who are busy studying.
  5. Payments made to landlords for accommodation.

 

 

 

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© Duncan Guy/Learn the News/ Viet Nam News 2018

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

1. Ten; 2. Australia; 3. Google; 4. Students; 5. Rents.

 

 

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