QR Codes for Real Estate – Hype or Here to Stay?

Invented in Japan in 1994, QR codes are short for “quick response” and can be read by camera-ready smart phones with an app. Much like with a bar code, which have been used for decades, it is easier to scan something than it is to type something.

The sudden hype around this type of technology today is due to the explosions of smart phones.  Scanning QR codes from a phone is easier for users than typing, which personally I still find finicky on an iPhone, for example.

So, What Kinds of Uses Do They Have Already?

QR Code for Union Street Media Team

Union Street Media Team

I’m sure you have started to see these codes on websites, newspapers and print ads, but people have even started to use them on business cards, yard signs and, yes, wrapping paper! So the social aspect of these codes has started to come alive.

A fun way to use them is to record a video Christmas message, upload to YouTube, generate a QR code for that link and print to wrapping paper. When a friend or family receives your gift, they can scan the gift and see your video, without having to crowd around the computer to Skype, or retrieve a link from an email.

For example, here’s a QR code I generated for our team. I took the url of the page and slugged it into the QR Generator.

How Can I Integrate QR Codes into My Marketing?

First, take the time to consider what works for you before spending money on a form of advertising that wasn’t working for you previously, just to be able to put a QR code on it. If you advertise locally and do see some return on investment, then a QR code resulting in a listing landing page, virtual tour or a carefully considered buyers, sellers or Agents page can pay dividends.

Lets say you have a listing and on your website you have the ability to add your own information, such as more pictures, video, links and more information about the listing’s neighborhood. Adding a QR code of that listing page on your website onto your yard sign is going to send people where you want them to go instead of looking up the listing address and ending up on Realtor dot com or an MLS site. Furthermore, you rely less heavily on your website showing up high in search results organically. The physical reach you achieve with yard signs, brochures, flyers and postcards is leveraged by helping visitors find you more quickly.

Here is some recent data that I came across courtesy of Pew Research Center & Morgan Stanley Research:

  • Local Search volume is growing exponentially at 50% every year;
  • 80% of searchers research online before purchasing in a 10-20 mile radius;
  • As of right now, half the connections to the Net are from smart phones;
  • #1 access method for local info is the mobile browser;
  • Mobile users will be greater than desktop users in 5 years.

Calling all Realtors:

  1. Have you heard of a QR code before this reading this post?
  2. How would you use them?
  3. Do your current buyers and sellers use them at all?

I welcome your feedback!

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6 thoughts on “QR Codes for Real Estate – Hype or Here to Stay?

  1. I have a number of clients who have created sign riders with QR codes leading to a walk through video tour. They also put them on their brochures/ flyers as well as “just listed” and “Just sold” cards.

    A buyer can now drive to a house and sit on the street in front of the house and take a narrated walk through of the home and neighborhood – right from their car!

    It’s new technology, but coming on fast. Best Buy has them on EVERY price tag in the store, leading you to that item on BestBuy.com There’s a huge Calvin Klein billboard in Times Square with a QR code on it… I’ve seen them in car mags, Michaels advertisements, and several other places. I have one on my car!

    The BEST reason for my clients to use them is as a listing tool. Even if a seller doesn’t own a computer… even if they’ve never seen the internet…. if you demonstrate that a potential buyer can drive up to your sign, take a picture of it and then get a narrated walk through of your home ON THE SPOT…. and SHOW them exactly how it workds at the listing presentation – the WOW factor is pretty amazing – even if you don’t ‘get it’.

    For free? Why not? People are always looking for outside the box marketing ideas!

  2. Thanks for taking the time to leave a comment Fred!

    Being able to see inside a house from inside a car via a virtual tour or video tour is huge.


  3. It’s interesting since I wrote this that a few more posts have appeared weighing up the pros and cons. The cons seems to all be about confusion as to what they are, whether they scan properly and privacy such as an agent getting contact info from the scanner.

    I suppose the proof is in the pudding and it is so hard to predict why some technologies succeed or fail. It’s often a matter of timing and what the alternatives are. For instance the mini-disc was born in the wrong era as mp3s came into fruition or Myspace seemed to had the social network locked up until Facebook quietly appeared and saw a much larger demographic.

    There is a crucial gestation period where I think brands or technologies succeed or fail; they have to adapt and serve the users instead of just existing because the technology allowed it to.

    Check back in a year to see what became of it all.

  4. I’ve just discovered QR Codes. I have found free generators on the web, but can I depend on those to create QR Codes for our individual web pages or do I need to acquire software to generate codes? I would like to include codes on mailers for new listings that would send people directly to the property page instead of to our main page. Can you give me some guidance?

  5. Hi Tony,

    You can generate codes using the free tools just fine. I use http://qrcode.kaywa.com/ Certainly try to direct visitors to unique landing pages such as listing pages or any page of content that provides exclusive information, offer etc. Also pay close attention to to your ad schedule and calls/leads in from the website, to get a sense of how they perform.

    If you want to properly measure the success of them in Analytics, you will need to campaign tag your urls using a url building tool. After that, you then create the QR code with the tagged url. This will provide Google Analytics with more information about the source of the visitor, so in this case a QR code from a print ad or mailing.

    For more info on how to do this, contact your account manager.


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