Our inspiration for this project came from our strong interest in real estate finance. After searching for rental investment opportunities and other ways to profit off real estate, we realized that there was no centralized source that generated the financial information we were looking for. For this reason, we decided to create a website to meet this need and provide ourselves and other users with an accessible platform for taking a deep dive into the world of real estate.
What it does
Our project is a comprehensive web-based real estate tool that offers a suite of analysis tools and calculators that cover various aspects of real estate and its costs. Specifically, our website contains calculators for mortgage payments, potential income from rental properties, and the initial investment required to purchase a property. The website also contains an interactive tool that generates a custom amortization schedule accompanied with visual figures. All things considered, this project not only provides an excellent introduction point for real estate financials but also contains enough functionality to provide value for people more well-versed in real estate.
How we built it
We started with some research about a useful hack geared towards the major themes outlined by Hack Western. We ended up with the idea to create a universally Canadian real-estate website. In order to create the web app we created a Django project. We decided to use this python-web framework because it allowed for quick development and application scalability. Python was our preferred language because of its powerful data analytics capabilities that would be perfect for real estate market calculations.
Challenges we ran into
Throughout the project, there were multiple challenges we faced. One of the first ones occurred when trying to create an image recognition software using OpenCV for the user to log in to our site. However, there were some problems with using the integrated webcams within the laptops and we could not figure it out. It is important to note though that the program was able to recognize faces from jpeg's. Additionally, collecting all the data needed for property taxes which change across the country was difficult since it required a lot of time and effort to research. Furthermore, debugging took a large chunk of the time which we did not initially account for.
Accomplishments that we're proud of
First and foremost, we are proud that we finished our project and created a functional and useful product within the tight timeline. As well, for most of us, this was our first time creating our own website. In fact, one of our members only starting learning Python a couple months ago and was able to contribute much to the project. All in all, it was very rewarding for us to work as a team to create a solution to a problem that we identified.
What we learned
Throughout the project, we learned a lot about Python coding as well as what it takes to create and host our own website. We also learned how to work well as a team in order to accomplish tasks successfully and on time. This has been an outstanding learning experience for all of us, and we hope to participate in more hackathons in the future.
What's next for RealEstate+
As RealEstate+ continues to be developed, we would want to grow the library of tools to include deeper dives into publically available data. Next, we would want to continue developing our underlying code and calculations to more accurately return values based on real data. Lastly, we would want to expand the functionality of RealEstate+ to include commercial properties, and all the implications they come with.