House buyers in Edinburgh are being given an innovative new tool to help them search for their new home.
Under a new initiative being trialled by the city’s leading property solicitor Warners, house hunters will be able to use their mobile phones to “scan” codes containing information about properties for sale in the Capital.
The scheme, which is believed to be the first of its kind in Scotland, will see special “quick response” (QR) codes included on some of the firm’s property schedules. Would-be buyers can scan the barcode-like codes using mobile apps on their smart phones in order to access additional on-line information about the properties they are interested in.
If the trial proves successful, Warners intends to roll-out the technology across all of its property schedules throughout Edinburgh and the Lothians in the future.
Estate agency partner Scott Brown explained: “The property market is continually changing and people are now demanding new and better methods of searching for their new home. House buyers want to have information at their fingertips, 24 hours a day, so the challenge is finding new ways to meet this demand.
“We already provide full details about all of our property listings through our website, but many people want to have access to this information when they are on the move. This innovative code scanning technology will therefore be another important service that people can use to search for their new home.
“It’s a simple concept but one that we hope will prove popular with buyers and sellers in Edinburgh. All you have to do is scan the code onto your phone and then you are immediately directed through to the individual listing page for that property – which you can then email to your partner or friends.
“This kind of marketing is already becoming established in the United States and the Far East, so it is only a matter of time before it starts to be an important way of searching for a new home in the UK.
“We wanted to be at the forefront of offering the technology in Edinburgh and, if it is popular and we receive good feedback from our clients, then we’ll look at putting the codes on more of our properties.”
By searching for a QR reader then downloading a free application such as Scanlife or Beetagg, interested parties can scan the promotional code on a Warners schedule or receive a link to that property’s listing page on the Warners website – where they can access additional photos, the Home Report and information about the property.
The innovative codes featured on the Warners schedules were developed by Edinburgh-based Route One Marketing – whose founders Matthew Eastwood and Alan Nash are using the technology to market one of their own flats in Edinburgh’s Old Town.
Matthew said: “QR scanning with mobile phones is already very popular in the US and Japan and it’s now starting to emerge in Europe. Route One Marketing is already using QR codes for restaurants, and major retailers, so the property sector is the next big area to showcase the benefits of the technology.
“With so many people using smart phones these days, business is becoming more and more mobile. You need to provide people with information that they can immediately access through their phone and send to their friends – and that is exactly what the QR codes do.
“As the code is printed on the schedule, then anyone walking past a Warners property shop can scan it with their phone and immediately see the details, floor plans, Home Report and price of that property – without having to take a note of it and look it up online later.
“Warners clearly sees the benefits of the technology and I’m delighted that they are trialling it with my own flat in Greyfriars Place.”
Previous new media advances introduced by Warners include a text-based service that uses GPS to give buyers details of the 10 nearest properties for sale in their area. The firm also includes detailed floor plans and a Google Street View link to every property listed on its website, and markets selected properties through its official twitter page.
Warners, which has four property shops in Edinburgh, has been the Capital’s leading property solicitor in terms of property sales and listings for the past 11 years – property market 2011