Of Course People Are Using Pokémon Go to Help Sell Their Homes

It was bound to happen. Pokémon Go, the wildly popular augmented reality game launched less than a month ago, has already been used by bars and restaurants to attract additional business, so why not use it to sell real estate? It turns out folks looking to rent or sell houses and apartments are featuring the game in their real estate ads.

Numerous listings have been popping up across North America on everything from Craigslist posts seeking roommates, to house listings by owners and real estate agents looking for a competitive edge. The listings prominently feature the property’s proximity to Pokémon Gyms and Pokéstops, two critical elements for successfully playing the game.

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Doug Hawks of Redmond, Washington, is one of those homeowners who saw the game’s potential to attract buyers who also are avid Pokémon Go enthusiasts. He listed his house for sale about two weeks ago on Zillow’s Make Me Move, a portal for homeowners who want to sell their property themselves.

Hawks included in the listing that there is a Pokémon Gym less than a five-minute walk from the house, and there are three Pokéstops within a seven-minute walk.

“It was everywhere in the news, on social media, and I was familiar with the game it was based upon, Ingress, and I knew it had the same infrastructure, so I checked out the game and it turns out we have all this stuff around us,” Hawks, 42, said. “So I thought this will probably be interesting to people who play Pokemon.”

While Hawks has had some interest in the house, no one has yet mentioned the Pokémon Go information in his listing, he said. And if the house doesn’t sell in the next couple of weeks, he plans to list it with a Realtor. Will he keep the Pokémon Go information?

“I intend it to be part of our standard listing,” he said.

Realtor Mandy Panozzo-Clay recently told Inman, a news site for the real estate industry, that she used Pokémon Go as a way to attract potential buyers to an open house.

“It was super basic. It was in our town’s ‘hip’ page with a link and photo of the house I was having an open house at and it said ‘looking for Pokémon? We have plenty here at…,’” Panozzo-Clay said. “Got a lot of response and some clicks to my website. I will do some more for my open houses next week.”

Of course, not all associated with selling real estate are so gung-ho. Some agents told the site there were limitations regarding the tactic.

“I think Pokémon Go has the potential to spark innovation along the same framework as the game, by targeting real estate consumers as a way to spur interaction, facilitate live real estate events like open houses and neighborhood tours, etc.,” Inman Ambassador Stacie Perrault Staub was reported as telling Inman.

“Do I think Realtors should start trying to buy ads on Pokémon Go? No. But might it start conversations with app creators in our space? I’d bet on yes.”

Tips for Selling Your House

If you’re looking to sell your house, there are many things to consider before putting it on the market. Have you found the right Realtor to properly price your property? Is the condition of your home at its best? And while you might not think about your credit when you put your home on the market, selling your home can have an effect on your credit.

Whether you’re looking to buy, sell or both, it’s a good idea to check your credit scores regularly. You can do so using Credit.com’s free credit report summary, which provides two free credit scores, plus a credit report card that tells you how you’re doing in the five key areas that traditionally determine your credit scores.

Main Image: Steve Debenport; Inset Image: Screenshot via Zillow

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How Pokémon Go Can Cost You (Even Though It’s Free)

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Even if you don’t play games, you’ve at least heard of Pokémon Go by now or know someone who’s playing it.

There’s been a flood of news on Pokémon-related robberies, injuries and even over-walked dogs all on the heels of the game’s wildly successful launch. In fact, more than 15 million people have downloaded the gaming app since it became available in the U.S. earlier this month, according to research firm SensorTower, an app analytics company.

While the app itself is free, there are several ways the game can end up costing users, and not just in time spent playing it. Here are four ways Pokémon Go, or PoGo for short, can negatively impact your bottom line, plus some tips for ways to ensure it doesn’t.

1. Data Usage

This game is a data hog, there are no two ways about it. But there are things you can do to make sure you don’t start paying your cellular provider extra for data overages.

According to the Pokémon Go Database, the app can average from 2MB to 8MB or more of data usage per hour of play, depending on what kind of gameplay you’re taking part in (battling, capturing, walking).

The site said that “if half of a 2GB data plan is allocated to playing Pokémon Go, users can reasonably expect to play four to six hours per day without any issue. If Pokémon Go is played for more than six hours per day, an upgraded data plan may be needed.”

If an upgraded data plan isn’t in your budget or you just don’t want to shell out more money each month, there are some ways to reduce the data you use. Pokémon Go Database has several recommendations, including:

  • Download applications and updates only using Wi-Fi
  • Play only in areas where Wi-Fi is available
  • Set a data limit
  • Limit/remove high data-consuming apps

2. In-Game Purchases

According to a report by Quartz, based on data from SensorTower, U.S. Po-Go players using iOS already are spending about $1.6 million each day on in-app purchases. And Statista reports that worldwide revenue for Po-Go in-app purchases is expected to hit $58.2 billion this year and reach $76.5 billion in 2017.

But is spending real-world dollars to acquire virtual PoGo tools worth it? It could be if you’re offsetting the costs on what you’d spend on other entertainment and even gym fees.

PoGo player Michelle McGuinness, 29, says it is absolutely worth it to make in-app purchases.

“I pay $40 to $60 for games all the time, and I play them for maybe 40 hours,” the Seattle resident said. “I will blow past 40 hours of gameplay in Pokémon Go, and the app was 100% free. Throwing them $5 or $10 or $20, or even more, seems well worth it considering how much enjoyment I’ve gotten out of it. Even if I stop playing in a month, they’ve earned a few dollars from me, and I suspect I’ll be playing for well longer than a month.

“Plus, getting up and walking during work has made me noticeably happier,” she said. “The benefit isn’t just fun or exercise. I’m in a better mood all day. My boyfriend is exercising! He’s an active person, but he never once did cardio voluntarily. Now he’s walking, like, four miles a day.”

If that’s the case for you, it could be worth setting aside a fixed amount in your monthly budget for PoGo in-app purchases to make sure you don’t overspend. By setting a limit, you’ll be able to keep your own nest egg growing while you incubate your virtual ones.

3. External Purchases

Some businesses have been so inundated by PoGo players that they’ve put up signs saying, “Pokémon are for paying customers only.”

Some, however, have intentionally attracted PoGo players to their places of business using the game itself.

For example, one New York pizzeria owner Sean Benedetti reportedly spent $10 on an in-app purchase of a dozen “lure modules,” which attract Pokémon to a particular location for 30-minute intervals.

Benedetti saw his sales jump 75% last weekend because of the move, according to The New York Post.

“We had people come down, sit down and get a couple beers and play the Pokémon game,” Benedetti reportedly told the Post.

That might be great for the business owners, but if you’re spending an extra $5 to $10 on food or drinks you don’t need just to catch some extra Pokémon, those seemingly small expenditures add up to serious money by the end of the month.

Again, it’s a good idea to keep your budget in mind. You can still “catch ‘em all” without going into debt — or going up a pants size.

4. Buying Assistance

Those with entrepreneurial spirits are aiming to take advantage of the PoGo craze, offering their services for everything from rides to PoGo hotspots to even taking on the capture of Pokémon for you.

One such example, Ivy St. Ive, who billed herself as a professional Pokémon Go trainer, offered her services on Craigslist to catch Pokémon for anyone willing to pay $20 an hour. St. Ive, who told Gothamist on Tuesday that the ad had received a lot of attention, including from “creeps asking me out for drinks and coffee,” has since removed the ad.

If you’re already paying people for things like cleaning your home, taking your dogs for a walk (dog walkers may want to take note of the double-dip PoGo could offer), or other services you could do yourself, paying someone to literally play a game for you might not seem too far-fetched. But if you’re living paycheck-to-paycheck, have any outstanding credit card debt, or a pile of student loans to pay off, this likely isn’t your best money option. (You can use Credit.com’s lifetime cost of debt calculator to see how your debt is impacting your finances.)

Instead, you might want to take that money and start an emergency fund so you’ll be prepared when the inevitable emergency strikes. It’s also a good idea to know where your credit stands, as low credit scores can end up costing you money on interest rates and more. You can check your two free credit scores, updated monthly, on Credit.com.

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Image: scarletsails

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