Homeownership for many people conjures thoughts of comfort and financial security, but that optimism can evaporate if people aren't prepared for unexpected costs. That is, the actual cost of buying a house isn't limited to a mortgage— upkeep demands dollars and time. Social and environmental costs often become afterthoughts, locked in by financial constraints.
And with COVID-19, people saw not only a spike in the upfront cost of buying a house, but also an increase in maintenance and repair costs of more than $3,000 annually, on top of the mortgage. Of the 60% of pandemic-era home buyers who feel some form of buyer's remorse, 39% regret how much maintenance their home requires.
To help people think through expenses that they don’t think about when they buy a home they fall in love with or even when already own a home as well as think through what it costs holistically with the snap of a photo, we created True Cost.
What it does
By snapping a picture, True Cost provides the unspoken social, financial, and environmental cost of features people find in a house for when they're looking to purchase a home or for when they already have a home.
How we built it
We built the project with Kotlin for the mobile app, GCP Vision API to analyze images, and Firebase for storing images.
Challenges we ran into
Setting up our environment in IntelliJ for live sharing code and coding together was a quarter of the uphill challenge, and then learning Kotlin for the first time was a steep learning curve. This is also one of the first few times we were working with mobile.
Accomplishments that we're proud of
One of our major wins was learning how to use GCP's vision API to detect objects and leverage that to output relevant info for our app.
What we learned
We also learned a whole lot about Kotlin, mobile design and development!
What's next for True Cost
Currently all our results are stored in a dictionary. To replace this, we plan to create a web scraper to look for all data dynamically
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