Seeing people walk around while staring at their smart phones is nothing new. But thanks to the latest craze in the high tech world, Pokemon Go, these technically entranced people may find themselves walking right into your yard!
Pokémon Go, a new app that was just released a few weeks ago, has stolen the collective consciousness of the nation. Thousands of people have become consumed by the virtual world of Pokémon Go as they hunt distractedly in the real world, on the hunt for Pokémon creatures.
And I do mean distractedly.
Two men in their early 20s fell an estimated 50 to 90 feet down a cliff in Encinitas, California last week, while playing the game. They survived, but not without injuries.
Another man crashed his car into a tree in upstate New York while searching for characters, and two teens were mugged in Redding as they walked down a path lost in a world of make believe.
Law enforcement agencies across Northern California have issued warnings on Facebook and Twitter to prevent similar events in the area.
They warn “Pokémon Go” players to play it stay safe while exploring and searching for Pokémon, which includes not driving while playing and being aware of their surroundings.
Whether you’ve acquainted yourselves with it or not, this game has skyrocketed into popularity. And some people are saying it can even help you sell real estate!
How? When the game was first released, some residents complained that strangers were showing up at their homes, and even coming into their backyards. Somehow Pokemon was hiding in their home, unbeknownst to them, and it drew crowds.
While this could be quite an unwelcome visit, what if you were trying to sell your home? Real estate agents have since taken note and are trying to bring Pokemon to their listings.
On July 18th, the Google Play store showed more than one million downloads of the game. Cnet says Pokémon Go became the number one free app on the Apple iTunes store in just four days.
It’s an innocent looking app for iPhone or Android that blends virtual reality with the one beneath your feet. The goal is to capture the colorful cartoon characters or Pokémon and train them to fight other Pokémon. The unique aspect of the game is that you have to get up from your computer and walk around to play. A game that gets you “moving” could be a good thing.
So who’s obsessed with this game and why might it be something real estate “professionals” are interested in?
Darren Dunn at the Business 2 Community website says he’s a retired Pokémon Master and that he’s checked in with Twitter for some demographics on the players.
Based on Pokémon GO mentions, he says that more than 50% of the players are between 25 and 34 years old. Many of those Millennials grew up with the original Pokémon… and some of that demographic may be looking to buy a home in the near future.
Other demographics show that 25% of the players are 35 to 44 years old. The next largest group is the 18 to 24 year olds with 13% of the playing power. Older folks are getting into the game but in much smaller numbers.
So the argument goes, if millennials are playing the game, and they are hoping to buy a house in the near future, you might be able to entice them to your next open house with Pokémon GO.
The Net Income Real Estate site suggests that you turn on the Pokémon Go app and check out the playing field near your property. And then incorporate what you find into your listing.
You might find that you have a few Poke Stops nearby, which would be a very good thing! Poke Stops are filled with surprises for players. You can find things like pokeballs, which you need to capture Pokémon, and Pokémon eggs, which will hatch into new Pokémon. Pokémon Gyms are also good to have in the neighborhood. That’s where your Pokémon can go for training.
The website offers an example of an open house ad in New York that incorporates information about Pokémon Go. The agent noticed that a Pikachu character hangs out in the neighborhood, so he added to his listing, quote “I’m fairly certain there’s a PIKACHU at this open house, don’t miss it.”
And of course, the goal of any open house is to get as many people through the door as possible. Many realtors are jumping at this new opportunity.
Zillow compiled a few listings that mention the Pokémon Go game. In one listing, a home is described as just seven minutes from three Poke Stops. In another, the home is said to be right down the block from a Pokémon Go Gym. And another included a “disclosure”, that this home had ZERO Pokémon Go features.
So what do you do if you have NO Pokémon Go features to boast about? Well, Nintendo intends to solve that problem. According to The Real Deal, if you don’t have a Poke Stop or a Gym nearby, which you need to play the game, Nintendo is planning to let businesses register as a Poke Stop.
It’s not clear how much it will cost to register. But that’s something that would get your property into the game mode.
I would imagine that any registration would be temporary because the new homeowners may not want their private home listed as a public Poke Stop. We’ll have to see how that option shakes out.
As The Real Deal reports, even if the game fizzles, the technology will likely evolve into a cutting edge tool for the real estate industry. Architects and designers already use virtual reality to blend images of homes with potential upgrades. There’s also technology that saves you money for a plane ticket and lets you “walk” through a home from some distant location.
If you haven’t already, you might want to download the app to see what everyone is talking about – and to find out why you have strangers in your yard.