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Can Pokémon Go Help Sell Real Estate?

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Unless you've been living under a rock for the last few weeks, you've no doubt heard about the new digital gaming phenomenon, Pokémon Go. It's the mobile app game that is famously turning millions of people into wandering souls searching for Pokestops, gyms, and other battle points. With over 15 million downloads and an Android market share of at least 10% (Since its July 6th release - less than two weeks!), the game is a hit and is giving consumers a peek into the potential of “augmented reality” (AR) market. 

While gamers are having fun chasing down objects and fighting opponents, marketers are salivating at the potential opportunities –– and the real estate industry seems to be ready to jump in with both feet.  CNBC’s Diana Olick writes that some real estate agents already include Pokémon Go details (proximity to game landmarks, for instance) in their listings and open house announcements. The rental/roommate market is also taking advantage, with solicitors advertising on Craigslist about “awesome Pokémon spawn area!” and “Pokestops within range.”

The desire to use AR-based apps and products to help sell real estate is not a new idea, but it hasn’t yet moved beyond concepts and prototypes. While experts are still skeptical about its long-term implications and utility, the ability to use trendy and perhaps fleeting AR-based games to gain an edge in a home listing is certainly attractive for many home sellers and their agents. So how do you ride the Pokémon Go wave and add some value to your listing?  In this case, location and demographics will likely be a big factor.  Digital-friendly and hip metro areas like Seattle and San Francisco are obvious ones, but college towns like Austin (TX), East Lansing (MI), and Lincoln (NE) might also be open to such trendy concepts.  Additionally, since Pokémon Go’s users are more likely to be younger and not likely ready to buy a $5 million luxury home, keep that in mind.  Until the game proves it has staying power or AR becomes a more common real estate tool, it impacts lending, and real estate is likely to be confined to limited markets.  But it might be worth a call to your real estate agent if your home is on the market. 

Want to read more? Check out How Pokemon Go Could Help You Sell Your House for more on this trend.