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What are QR Codes?

December 09 2010

QR code with congrats RET msgWant to stay on the cutting edge of technology?  Here is a cool new technology that has just entered the real estate scene. Imagine the small black and white box to your left could be used to translate your new listing properties details, photos and take homebuyers directly to your website? Meet QR codes. Small and powerful, mobile devices can scan the small code in seconds and get access the information they seek, right from their phones. It is quick and convenient. Techies and Smartphone users are embracing this new technology in droves.

In response to this new technology and the benefits it holds for the real estate industry, here are some interesting things about QR codes.

What is a QR code?

QR codes, short for Quick Response codes, are permeating marketing materials because of their unique ability to translate much more data, including URL links, geo coordinates, and texts than a standard barcode. This technology was originally created by a Japanese company (Toyota) looking to keep track of their inventory. They did not patent this technology, so it has been made available to all.

How do home buyers read the QR code with their mobile device?

Homebuyers with a Smartphone (Android, iPhone, etc.) can open their mobile application marketplace and download a QR code reader application to their mobile device. Once downloaded this reader will appear in the homebuyer's list of applications. All a homebuyer will have to do is click on the QR code reader application and hold the phone out toward the QR code and wait for the scanner to read the code. Once the reader has picked up the information, the screen on their mobile device will immediately show the information and media the QR code points to.

What QR code reader should I download for my Smartphone?

We recommend the following applications based on your mobile phone device:

  • OptiscanOptiscan really good for iPhones
  • BB Messenger 5.0 good for BlackBerry
  • QuickMarkQuickMark also considered a good application for iPhone
  • Kaywa supports a range of mobile devices and reads QR Code and Datamatrix.
  • Barcode scanner for Android
  • QR decoder for Palm

 What information can QR codes provide?

Keep your eyes open this Christmas season to see QR Codes in magazine advertisements, on billboards, web pages or even on someone’s t-shirt. Once it is in your cell phone, it may give you details about that business (allowing users to search for nearby locations), or details about the person wearing the t-shirt, show you a URL which you can click to see a trailer for a movie, or it may give you a coupon which you can use in a local outlet.

What could this technology do for the real estate industry?

Now taking this concept to real estate, professionals will be able to showcase many elements of their marketing materials and listing information in this new way.  Agents and brokers can use a trendy, addicting technology to communicate the following information: a coupon, URL, open house schedules, mobile websites, listing photos, agent contact information, links to a video tour or virtual tour, etc.

Imagine a QR code in front of your listing—With a click, a passersby can see your website on their phone with all the details and with another click, they can call you for a showing.


The real estate industry provides two main options to real estate professionals wishing to pursue this new technology:

1.)  You can create a QR code for free using any of the following resources and self-promote:  Kaywa.comKaywa.com, Zxing ProjectZxing Project, delivrdelivr, QR Stuff QR Stuff or Maestro.

2.)  You can consider hiring a QR company to specially create QR codes and mobile websites/promotions for you and help you market and manage the breadth of content you make available to homebuyers.

To help balance the initial appeal of QR codes for free, it is important to note that the following benefits can be derived by working with a QR marketing company:

  • A QR code company can help not only create custom QR codes, but help you host and market these using platforms optimized specifically for mobile devices. This means the type font is larger, the design is more straightforward and the information is more bite-sized for mobile advantage. The last thing you want is to point your homebuyers to a mobile browser that is not created for mobile use. The load time is much longer and it can be frustrating to always have to increase the font size on each page to try to figure out where the information desired is located. It’s one of my personal pet peeves, and I give up often as not after about 30 seconds.
  • A QR code company can help brand and create supportive marketing materials for you, so the heavy lifting is not stealing you away from your to-do list each day. If you are interested in a For Sale sign with a QR code, flyers, and more.

Currently in the real estate industry there are at least three companies providing QR code technology tailored for the real estate industry. They are: Clikbrix.com, HomeFinder.com, Goomzee and Mobile Consulting Partners.

We will be conducting product demos and interviews with the founders of these four companies as a part of this QR code series.

Stay tuned for next week’s edition on Clikbrix. To get a preview, click here to learn a little more about them.

If you have any questions you would like us the answer as we move through this series, please leave a comment below and we will be sure to address this in the coming articles.

This is part one of a five part series called "Cracking the QR Code." If you would like RE Technology's editor to create a similar series on a different type of technology, please comment below or email us directly, and if we get enough requests for a topic we will produce a similar serie

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