Code Breaker – Using QR Codes in Real Estate

Pictured home: 79 Halaulani Place, Hilo

Back when I needed a new treadmill, we were visiting Costco pretty regularly, so I began looking at theirs seriously. I started taking notes when I noticed the little square QR code on the side of the box. A simple “snap” put all the specs right on my phone. For many, this is old stuff, but for the few uninitiated, QR codes may seem a curious little blip on an ad.

Much like a UPC code, Quick Response Codes encode digitized information. Unlike UPC codes which are commonly read by a commercial UPC scanner, QR codes can be read with any camera phone equipped with an easy-to-install reader. Most commonly found on smartphones, the appropriate application captures the QR image which opens a website, connects to a YouTube video, or displays whatever information the originator desires.

Great for Real Estate

Move over George Jetson! It’s a snazzy tool, to be sure! Some display static data, while others are more robust. Take for instance, the code we put on our house ads. One click and the words in the ad come to life. Opening the QR code on the sign posted outside our listings takes you on a virtual walk inside. Buyers no longer need to sit outside a listing and call agents for additional information.

Remember, the purpose of advertising is to “get the phone to ring.” Because sign calls are some of the strongest calls we receive, the idea that we are giving away so much information runs counter to the core concept of lead generation that agents learn is so critical from the moment we get our license. After all, no call, no appointment.

Too Much Info?

Time was, real estate listing information was closely guarded. As commonplace as it is now, the idea of putting listings online was initially considered completely radical. To put it mildly, not all REALTORS® embraced the idea of making the entire Multiple Listing Service self-service. Public perception was that providing access to listings was our core value. In fact, it was predicted that real estate agents would become obsolete.

Truth is, being the gatekeeper of listing information was never our value proposition. For me, arming the public with MLS information has made my job easier. Buyers are better educated about the inventory, the property, and the process.

Empowering Buyers

Armed with a QR code reader, a buyer calling after taking a virtual tour linked to a QR code is a stronger, more mentally qualified buyer than those slugging along the old-fashioned way. So go ahead, click away, take the tour, “break the code “but by all means, if you have questions or want to take a look inside, there’s still a human anxious for you to call.

About the Author

Denise Nakanishi

Denise Nakanishi is a REALTOR Broker with Hawai'i Life. Denise Nakanishi is one of Hilo's most acclaimed real estate agents. She reached the rank of Major in the US Army and is now known by many as "Major Mom." The nickname fits–not only does Denise bring the discipline and mission-oriented attitude you'd expect, she's also caring and compassionate, always looking out for her clients like they're her own family. Having made the Big Island her home since 1987, Denise combines her extensive knowledge of the area with a sharp focus on customer service and the results speak for themselves. She's the recent recipient of the Best East Hawai`i, Best of Zillow, Chairman's Circle Award, President's Circle, Top Producing Agent since 2001, and Realtor of the Year awards. Denise stays ahead of the curve because she's passionate about education–she served as Education Chair for Hawaii Island REALTORS® for many years. She's one of Big Island's best real estate resources, known for her weekly article in the Hawaii Tribune Herald. Denise leads Team Nakanishi for Hawai`i Life, who is committed to their family, work, and community. In her little time away from work, Denise is a committed runner and Grandy. She also devotes many hours to various Veterans' Organizations, the East Hawaii Cultural Center, and the Hawaii Island REALTORS®. You can email me at or via phone at (808) 936-5100.

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