Travellers book their travel accommodation via Airbnb, Booking or Hostel World without the need to have a physical visit to the place. They make their decisions based on provided photo and information as well as ranking and reviews from previous customers. There are times that the place turns out not to be very good, however it poses no major problem for short-term duration of stay.
Meanwhile people search for long-term accommodation (6 months and above) find themselves in a very different situation. Only when they’re able to see the house with their eyes, walking around the neighbourhood and talking directly to the landlord do they have enough confidence to consider it a valid choice. In Vietnam, house searching is even a tougher experience compared to anywhere else in the world, as most of the real estate sites have outdated information and there exists a handful of real estate agents pumping overpriced products or showing you properties different from what you see online. On average, a person would need to check out 10 real estate sites to know that only 1-2 works, shortlist 20 properties to know that only 3-4 available, go with 5 agents to know that only 2-3 provide good options, and visit 15 houses to know that only half of them worthy of money.
In July 2015, Hoozing was founded with a single bold purpose, to revolutionise how housing works by building a community of renters in which people have sheer trust and confidence to make the right housing choice, without the need to waste time on wrong information, useless visits and the risks of having confusion/ scams in between. The concept is accepted quickly by the market and recently, we even got a customer who searched for a house on our platform and paid the deposit one month before her arrival in Vietnam, without the need to physically visit it.
Therefore last week we decided to pay a visit to her apartment to support the contract signing process as well as get to understand better how it was possible for her to make that firm decision.
How did you know about Hoozing?
I wanted to move in right away after I arrived in Vietnam, that’s why I started my house search quite early when I was in the U.S. As you might expect I googled and had gone through so many sites before coming across Hoozing. My first impression is that the website looks so professional, all the properties are listed with detailed information, photos are taken from many angles and even available to view in 360 degree.
Was the chat with the current tenant useful for you?
It was. Alisher answered me in details every question about the house, motorbike renting, nearby supermarket and also shared with me his experiences staying in Vietnam. Upon transportation, he recommended me to use Grab Bike — a motorbike taxi service booking app for easy travelling within the city.
Weren’t you afraid when transferring the deposit without a physical visit to the house?
Not really. I don’t think people will put a lot of efforts in building such a good website just to cheat me for a few hundred dollars. Besides, I read several articles about your company and it seemed to be a startup with good reputation.
What do you like most about Hoozing platform?
The 360° photo. I think it would save a lot of time for people as the apartment looks exactly what was shown on the website. And being able to talk to the current tenant gives me the confidence to make quicker decision, such a genius concept.
Lu Li decided to take over the apartment when Alisher – the current tenant – moved out in July 2016. While Li’s experiences were satisfying as she’ve got to know many insider tips, Alisher on the other hand earned money before going back to his country. This concept “community of renters” was introduced into the market by Hoozing since March 2016 and has gained an increasing popularity in Saigon expat community.