Using QR Codes and Augmented Reality in Real Estate

You’ve seen them on store windows, magazine covers, and ketchup bottles.  We even stopped at Tropical Smoothie (everything on the menu is worth ordering) for lunch recently and found a QR (quick response) code sticker on a banana.  When we used an Android Smartphone to scan the sticker we found it contained banana recipes. There’s clearly some thoughtful marketing in play here. If you think the recipes sticker was resourceful, click here for the story behind a QR code used to tell a life story on a tombstone.

Additional Uses for QR Codes

When I saw a QR code on my lunch I knew it was worth writing about on a real estate blog.

Selling your home with a QR code doesn’t require us to be this clever.  Just committed to utilizing the latest technology available to the real estate industry to reach the biggest target audience related to the sale of your home.  To decide if QR codes were worth our time investment, we contacted 3 popular real estate sales websites for recent data on mobile searches.  While speaking to our representatives with Trulia.com, and Realtor.com, we learned during the past 6 months about 30% of all property inquires conducted during weekends were done through company search applications on smartphones.  Kokee Smith, our account manager with Zillow.com commented about one-third of the weekend home searches conducted on Zillow are being executed from smartphones with a Zillow.com search application.  Although there was no conclusive data available specifically for QR codes, the growing use of mobile searches among potential home buyers is obvious.

Let’s look at the search statistics for a past listing we had at 1320 Mountain View Road Stafford, VA. 22554.  As the roadside picture (above) indicates, we used a QR code for this home.  We  felt the statistics would show a significant amount QR code smartphone scans because the listing was on an often used two lane road.  A QR code was a good option for potential buyers instead of stopping the car and securing information from a brochure box.  The results of searches conducted through the assigned QR code during the first 60 days listed for sale was as follows:

Total Mobile Visits: 45  (22.4%)

Total Desktop Visits: 156  (77.6%)

This information was collected through a QR code developed through clikbrix.com.

As you can see the QR code scans are producing positive search percentages by users finding this home through use of the internet. While real mobile use of the QR code for listing information was only at 22.4%.  Although mobile use was less than expected, the QR code used to market this home produced an extra 201 searches.  We think it was worth the effort.  The immediate future will only produce greater public awareness and use of this application as a real estate search tool.

But technology has again changed the way home searches are conducted.  During the 1970′s real estate offices relied on couriers to deliver MLS listings each week for their agents to have access to the inventory of available homes.  This was considered a cutting-edge information system in its time.  QR codes became a recognized real estate search tool in 2009.  But just like search data delivered on computer paper, information delivered to potential home buyers by a two-dimensional matrix barcode will eventually become obsolete.

We are fans of mobile technology to sell homes.  We recognize the value of QR codes for mobile searches of homes by home buyers.  Maryanne is such a fan of QR codes she wore our real estate mobile profile page QR code as a Halloween costume (below photo).  It now hangs on the wall in our office as a poster behind her desk.  Until recently, we believed the arrival of QR codes would end printed brochures when it comes to providing on-site information provided to potential buyers.  But the delivery of real estate information to consumers changes so rapidly through smartphone technology, using QR codes may not last long.

The latest technology now being applied to the real estate industry is known as augmented reality.  It is image recognition software used with site reporting from GPS components in smartphones that will completely change the way consumers search for homes.  MobileRealityApps.com is licensing a mobile search application to real estate brokerages called HomeSpotter.  This allows a home search to be as simple as pointing an iPhone or an iPad at an individual home for sale, and immediately receive listing data.  The user of HomeSpotter can also enter a subdivision, point the iPhone toward a street, and receive listing information for the homes listed for sale, along with all homes for sale within a designated radius.  Click here to see a HomeSpotter demonstration from MobileRealityApps.com.

We both believe in the long-term prospects of QR codes as a useful search tool in the real estate industry.  Until the development of augmented reality, we felt two-dimensional matrix barcodes were the best available method of getting an interior view of a home while standing in the yard.  It appears QR codes in the real estate industry will stay on real estate signs.  But expect to see them feature the profiles of Realtors and real estate companies in the future. Meanwhile, also expect to see licensing for real estate applications of augmented reality increase along with the number of companies providing this technology.

Besides using shameless self-promotion in our blog, these images have been included to illustrate a point. Using any of these QR codes on business cards, business stationary, brochures, direct mail, print advertising, coffee mugs, etc. clearly allows you to maximize the amount of advertising content with very few words or print space.  We urge you to go to www.YouScan.me to get QR codes related to business profiles, personal websites, and forwarding links to existing QR codes.  Utilizing QR codes through YouScan.me allows you to link accounts from Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube, FourSquare, Ebay, Google Places, Vimeo, & Gowalla.  YouScan.me also delivers scan analytics and reports for clicks on your QR code.  Also consider the use of a QR code and Google button from www.Vizibility.com. I use it as part of my signature block with a WiseStamp application on my e-mail account (MoyersTeam@gmail.com).

Think about the information your clients can learn about you in a single scan.  It seems QR codes have a clear future for advertising the services of Realtors, and real estate brokerages.  But thanks to the arrival of augmented reality, we now have applications which allow consumers to conduct a mobile real estate search by simply aiming a smartphone.  This changes the future for home searches, and will certainly cause QR codes to disappear as a home search option before the average consumer discovers they were a useful tool for finding their next home.

Find us at:

www.MaryanneMoyers.com

www.TheMoyersTeam.com

www.NotYourTypicalRealtor.com

www.facebook.com/themoyersteam

About the author: Dwayne Moyers handles all marketing, advertising, and social media for The Moyers Team. We handle all residential real estate services in Fairfax County, Prince William County, Stafford County, Spotsylvania County, Fauquier County, and the Cities of Fredericksburg, Manassas, and Manassas Park.

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1 Comment

Filed under mobile real estate searches

One response to “Using QR Codes and Augmented Reality in Real Estate

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