Unlocking the QR Code

Real Estate Agent

Unlocking the QR Code I spent some time yesterday researching the QR code - and I am proud to say that I am finally on Team QR code!

For those of you who don't know - QR (Quick Response) codes are 2 dimensional barcodes - they were invented by Denso-Wave (a Toyota subsidiary) back in 1994 as a way of tracking car parts. And then programmers realized that phones were able to read these codes as well. The rest is history..

They look like that image over to your right.

There's a new trend in Real Estate with REALTORS incorporating these codes into their marketing. A code displayed on a For Sale sign can send a user to the REALTOR'S featured listing page in a matter of seconds.

Iphone/Android phones can read these codes as well as Blackberries running Blackberry Messenger5 and newer (you can access them using the "Scan A Group Barcode" option in the BBM menu). Some phones come with a QR code reader already installed - other phones that don't have it just need an app that can be downloaded for free on Itunes or Android Market. (Just search QR scanner) Basically, you point the camera at the QR code - and POOF! You're launched into an exciting 2 second journey to...?? :) Usually it's a website, mobile page or a page displaying contact information.

How do you get customized QR codes? They're free and SUPER easy! I have some directions at the bottom of this post.. just so I'm not boring everyone. :) Just scroll down and you'll see them. Send me an email if you get stuck! :)

Where are they being used? Japan is the #1 fan of QR codes (makes sense.. they're always miles ahead in technology..) In Japan, every cell phone comes with a reader installed already. Apparantly QR codes are on anything from business cards to lettuce. I even found this:

http://www.japantrends.com/qr-code-graves-give-a-memorial-window/  - I think I'm still on the fence with this one. lol

It seems to be gaining popularity in Europe too..Volvo recently launched an ad campaign. So did an Italian dairy farmer... I wonder if he painted QR codes on his cows? :) 





While it's been a little slow taking off in North America, the technology is starting to gain some momentum. We're starting to see it a lot. Back in June of this year, HSBC advertised during Wimbledon with print ads featuring a code which directed the users to a mobile page. Calvin Klein (known for controversial billboards) launched a campaign in New York city and Los Angeles that featured a QR code which transported the user to a mobile video - of sexy people in sexy jeans! True Calvin Klein styles.  So yes, I believe QR codes will continue to pop up all over the marketplace. And why wouldn't it? It's easy. It's instant! Quick Response, right?

The only downfall for me was the design... They are U.G.L.Y. It broke my heart to think of these invasive black and white boxes preying on the pureness and simplicity of what my lovely branded Realtor For Sale signs.. I just couldn't see it working.. until... 'gasp' I found out that they could be CUSTOMIZED! (cue harp)

That's right folks.. apparantly, these darling little codes(notice the attitude change?) have a 30% error allowance in them, which means they can't be COMPLETELY changed but there can be a little creative aspects to them.. which is all I needed to know! Here are a few samples that I whipped up - from what I have read, some phones read QRcodes better than others. They work great on my IPhone, but I'd be curious to see what the result is with other phones. Let me know if they work for you!






So to summarize, I can see this taking off and not going anywhere for a while - unless they can figure out a better way to transmit links to cell phones easier than that (without frying our brains in the process..)It's easy, quick, and you get instant results. And in a world where "Everything is amazing, and nobody's happy", I think we have a winner, folks! (That link is to a hilarious CK Louis skit. Prepare to smile!)


How to get QR Codes:


MyRealPage.com websites have offered this feature since 2009 - offering QR code generation that creates a unique code for each listing! They rock and I love them!  Realtyninja.com just today made their exciting announcement that they too offer this innovative feature. Love that!! As far as the other Real Estate website providers go, I'm not sure.. but they should! If you know of any other ones that do, please let me know! I'm curious to see how many companies are providing Realtors this service.

If you want to create a QR code out - follow these instructions. There are many QR code generators out there. I tend to prefer Quickmark.com.tw (Thanks to Colin Perry at www.TordiaImages.com for the tip)- It's a little complicated to find so here's the first part of the journey - http://quickmark.com.tw/En/diy/?qmLink - after you're on the page, look on the left - click on QRCode DIY and choose what kind of information you'd like to display (website, contact info). Enter the info and you'll see the image on the right. Press generate QRcode. Then go down to the bottom of the image where it says Barcode download: PNG, JPEG, etc.  Choose what format you'd like to download. What is great about this site, is they give you the option to download SVG - This is a vector based graphic that you can blow up BIG! It may not mean much to you, but your graphic designer/print show will LOVE you! So will your clients! :)


Thanks for reading, everyone! I hope this post was helpful in clearing up some QR code questions -

So... are YOU on Team QR Code?? :)


Over and out,

Emily Read - Real Estate Extraordinaire

www.RealEstateExtraordinaire.com - Helping REALTORS sell Real Estate - Simple as that.



Posted by


Emily Read
Director of Marketing and Technology

Keller Williams Salt Lake City








Comments (67)

Toronto, ON

Hi Emily - So many ways to make the QR bar code so much more visually appealing and informative.

Jan 18, 2011 11:04 PM
Michael Setunsky
Woodbridge, VA
Your Commercial Real Estate Link to Northern VA

Emily, I started using QR Codes a little while ago. I think they are starting to catch on here in the U.S. Thanks for the links.

Jan 18, 2011 11:17 PM
Carrie Trotter
National Property Inspections - Dayton, OH
Home Inspector

Excellent info Emily, Thank you! I was still trying to figure out what 'QR' stood for. Now I am well informed thanks to your blog!

Jan 18, 2011 11:36 PM
Eileen Hsu
Douglas Elliman Real Estate - Manhattan, NY

Your explanation was very thorough and useful.  I was just introduced to this new form of linking and have implemented it in some of our marketing materials.

Jan 19, 2011 12:33 AM
Bill Burchard
3B Realty: 951-347-3818, CA - Murrieta, CA
Broker, Realtor, Representing Buyers and Sellers

Hi Emily. I became a QR Codes disciple are few weeks ago when I discovered that I can create a code containing my contact info allowing anyone (potential clients, hopefully!) to instantly insert my contact info into their smart phone. So I added my QR code to my profile side bar, and my signature line at the end of every post.

Jan 19, 2011 12:36 AM
Tony and Suzanne Marriott, Associate Brokers
Serving the Greater Phoenix and Scottsdale Metropolitan Area - Scottsdale, AZ
Haven Express @ Keller Williams Arizona Realty

We started exploring QR codes back in May 2010.  An interesting concept - and once widely adopted will be a usefull marketing tool.

Jan 19, 2011 12:42 AM
Chris Mayr
D3 Interactive Marketing - Orlando, FL

QR Codes are definitely here to stay.  In the marketing world, it is a way to link print to page views.  Online always had it over print in that you could accurately measure web marketing, but print was conceptual as to how many people actually responded from print.   So having a metric makes media people happy and they will begin to really make it a standard.

The thing I love about the QR Code is that we are a microwave society.  Why should I have to write down your web site, go home to my computer, type it in and then look at your page?  I want it now.  Well QR gives it to you now.

Before you go QR crazy though, make sure the page you are taking them too looks good on mobile devices.  Nothing worse than taking them to gibberish.

Jan 19, 2011 01:22 AM
Ryan Hukill - Edmond
ShowMeOKC Real Estate Pros of KW Elite - Edmond, OK
Realtor, Team Lead

The potential within QR codes is exciting. I've got some big plans that I'm about to implement in regard to QR codes and can't wait to see what kind of response they get. While I recognize that a very small percentage of consumers even know what they are yet, the ones who do will be blown away by an agent who incorporates this into their listing strategy. 

Jan 19, 2011 02:31 AM
Aaron Seekford
Arlington Realty, Inc. - Arlington, VA
Ranked Top 1% Nationwide 703-836-6116

I find QR codes to be a little bit annyoing. Maybe I'll overcome this annoyance and start using them one of these days.

Jan 19, 2011 04:38 AM
Leslie Prest
Leslie Prest, Prest Realty, Sales and Rentals in Payson, AZ - Payson, AZ
Owner, Assoc. Broker, Prest Realty, Payson,

I use a Droid, it read all 3, but the first one was much slower to resolve than the other two. The tiny print in the middle doesn't add to the looks, in my opinion, and since it makes it so much slower, why bother?

Jan 19, 2011 04:42 AM
Phil & Celeste Pafford
PaffordHomes.com, Corona CA - Corona, CA
Corona Short Sale Broker

I'm on the team... but the customer's aren't really playing... yet.  ;-)

Jan 19, 2011 05:13 AM
Christine Wade
Christine Wade - Townsend, MT
Operations Strategist / Online Business Manager

Great post...I haven't made the leap yet...but it's on my list...about half way down ;-)  Thanks for all the detailed info!

Real Estate Virtual Assistant

Jan 19, 2011 06:30 AM
John J. Dean, Jr.
Engel & Voelkers Boston - Boston, MA

Well being a tech head I think I should jump on this and see what happens.  They are easy enough to create and who knows if I build it they will come.


Thanks for the tips ..

Jan 26, 2011 01:29 AM
Chris Richter
Wintrust Mortgage - Chicago, IL

Nice overview Emily.

I need help.  Can anyone offer a referral of a digital printer?  I need signs like the one below printed. 

The QR code and the text message are unique to each sign so I'd need x number of signs, but each has a unique, tracked QR code and a different keyword coming in.

Any help is much appreciated.

thisho.me sign rider


Feb 23, 2011 08:19 AM
Monte Pratt
Jack Pratt Signs - Oklahoma City, OK
Expert in sign manufacturing & graphic design.

Hi Chris!  My company, Jack Pratt Signs is a Business Builder with ActiveRain.  We specialize in digital printing and can help you with generating QR Codes for your signs.  Feel free to contact me at 800-299-5551 or e-mail me at monte@jackpratt.com


I look forward to helping and working with you.




Feb 24, 2011 03:57 AM
Phil Leng
Retired - Kirkland, WA
Phil Leng - Retired

Hi Emily,

You have quite a following!

Your post was so helpful.

I am especially pleased with the ability to add some color and some interest to these QR codes.



Apr 11, 2011 06:06 PM
Eric Crane -- Your Full Service, Discount Fee Realtor®
DPR Realty LLC - Gilbert, AZ
Greater Metro Phoenix Arizona

Thanks for all the useful info. on QR Codes -- this is 'one' that I have bookmarked!  Thanks again

Jun 20, 2011 12:07 PM
Dick and Dixie Sells
Sells Real Estate, LLC - Trinity, FL
Realtors, Tampa Bay Florida Homes For Sale

Great useful information on those QR codes.  We just had new signs made and have added a QR code leading to our main site.   I do like that way to add color! How cool is that!

Jun 30, 2011 01:29 AM
Steven Pahl
Keller Williams Tampa Properties - Tampa, FL
Real Estate Consultant Tampa, FL 813-319-6423

Thanks for the tips, Emily.  I am just geting started with QR Codes and you post really helps.

Jul 01, 2011 07:04 AM
Dupi Cogan

great posts.  How do you attach a QR code in the signature line of gmail?  I am having a tough time.  It will not allow the upload of a jpeg ...only a URL.  any ideas?


Aug 27, 2011 06:22 AM