Try Rentabee here!

We wrote a fully functioning prototype of Rentabee, which you can play above. See our Github repo here.

Why Rentabee?

Buying a house is tough, and with American homeownership rates at a decade-long low, the path to homeownership has only become more difficult. Many aspiring homeowners are unequipped with the information necessary to navigate the complex process of buying a home, and as a result, they’re turning away from the American dream of homeownership.

For instance, one critical component of the home-buying process is having a sufficient credit score. However, studies show that Americans are grossly uninformed about this topic. A survey from GOBankingRates found that:

  • Nearly 40% of Americans are unaware of their current credit score.
  • At least one third of respondents said they didn't know what level of credit score they would need to get a mortgage, an auto loan, or a personal loan.
  • Younger respondents had a particular tendency to not know their credit score, with 60% of those ages 18–24 answering "I don't know."

At the same time, mobile apps are an increasingly popular technology, with 69% of all US digital media time coming from mobile apps and more than 204 billion app downloads in 2019 alone. Could we meet people where they are, and develop an educational technology to address the homeownership crisis that leverages a format people are already willing to use?

Enter Rentabee

Rentabee is a fun mobile game that teaches aspiring homeowners about the home-buying process. What does my credit score need to look like, and how do I get it there? Am I prepared to handle emergency expenses? And can I have a life, too?

These are the situations that Rentabee lets aspiring homeowners simulate. Across 52 weeks, players attempt to balance credit, money, and happiness to be able to qualify for a mortgage on their dream home.

An Unpredictable Year. Each turn, you're presented with an important, randomly generated decision. Jump into the action by swiping left or right on each one. Prudent decisions and careful planning can help you reach your goals by the end of the year, but it also helps to have luck on your side!

Fun Challenges. Achieve specific goals set before the start of your year to unlock new content and cards. Your dream home is just a swipe away!

How we built it

We developed Rentabee on the Unity engine and built it to WebGL for the technical demo linked above. The UI/UX took inspiration from the popular swiping mechanic from mobile apps like Tinder, Bumble, and Reigns.

We based different game scenarios and the impact of player decisions on research into the situations most relevant to aspiring homeowners and their real-world impacts on credit, capital, and well-being.

Accomplishments that we're proud of

Our prototype (which you can try out below) is equipped with art, sound design, and a familiar, intuitive user experience! Recognizing that an educational app is only effective if people want to use it, we put deliberate energy into making a prototype that doesn’t just work, but looks good, too. Our hope is to deliver information about the home-buying process in a fun, attractive package that people will actually want to play.

We developed a custom algorithm that selects situations to present to players that balances the stochastic nature of everyday life with delivering a realistic simulation of the path to homeownership. This means that each play of Rentabee is unique, and every player must find their own path to homeownership—just like in real life. :)

What's next for Rentabee

  • Going mobile

Rentabee has been developed from the ground up with mobile in mind. While the current demo has been built to the web for ease of sharing during the hackathon, we designed Rentabee and its UI/UX to mimic a mobile app, and plan to port it to reach as many people as possible. We developed on the Unity engine, which means that cross-platform support has been built into our game from the very beginning.

  • Adding more content

The demo below is a vertical slice of a much larger project. We plan to add more situations that simulate relevant experiences to homeowners so that each run of Rentabee continues to teach homeowners about new situations to anticipate on the path to homeownership.

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