Estimated reading time: 15 minutes
Real estate marketing is the process of marketing property listings to potential buyers. This could be commercial or residential properties. With all the buzz going around about drones, every industry wants to adopt them. So what role can drones play in real estate marketing?
Drones are more than photography tools. They uniquely showcase real estate property by capturing several angles and saving time since you don’t have to visit the site. Drones are also more reliable than the usual cameras and satellite imagery since they provide data in real-time.
Do you want to know how you can begin using drones for real estate marketing? Let’s jump right in.
Table of contents:
- What Are the Benefits of Drones In Real Estate?
- How Drones Can Be Used for Real Estate Advertising?
- Why Should You Invest in Drones for Real Estate Marketing?
- Can Real Estate Agents Use Drones?
- What Are the Best Drones for Real Estate?
- Final Thoughts:
What Are the Benefits of Drones In Real Estate?
Drone technology may be one of the best things that have ever happened to real estate marketing.
Even in 2017, the real estate sector was the leading sector in the adoption of drone technology.
Below are some of the main reasons more realtors will keep adopting drone technology.
Real estate businesses thrive on images. You have to show the clients the pictures of the property from different angles.
Drones have the edge over conventional photography methods since they can capture videos, still images, overlaps, and even 360 degrees coverage.
This feature makes them ideal for all types of real estate, from showing apartments, to large acreages of construction projects.
The 360 degrees panorama enables the drone to take several images from one location but at different angles.
These images can be joined, making it easy for a potential client to view the whole property from a smaller screen.
Let’s not forget that drones still achieve a high resolution even when the images are taken from several feet above the ground.
The accuracy of drone photography, coupled with some textual description, makes it easy for a real estate marketer to tell their story. Every business needs a story to resonate with the customers.
When clients are looking for a real estate property, they are mostly concerned with the walkability score. This refers to proximity to stores, schools, parks, and other social amenities.
A high walkability score means most errands can be completed on foot. There’s no better way to show this proximity than with an aerial photograph taken from a drone.
Google maps have been in use for some time since they show the property’s layout from an aerial view. However, these maps are not always up to date.
Some are months old, and a lot can change in a month. Drones capture images in real-time, making it easy to track a rapidly changing area.
Drones are safer since you can gather information from inaccessible areas remotely. They also save time and money spent on logistics when visiting the sites.
How Drones Can Be Used for Real Estate Advertising?
Let’s review how drones are useful in real estate advertising;
Depicting the Scale:
The main reason a client needs to visit the land in person is to see the property’s size and if it’s suitable for their needs. The brain automatically references a similar object to give you a sense of the scale.
But you can’t achieve this with a conventional photograph. On the other hand, an aerial photograph considers the building, the roof, the compound, and other aspects.
The client will effectively gauge the size of the property without having to visit the property.
Proximity to Other Social Amenities:
Besides confirming if the property is what they need, clients will also need to observe the neighborhood.
They need to check the nature of the roads, the types of houses in the area, and how close it is to stores, schools, and other facilities.
You can fly the drone around the property to give the client a feeling of the neighborhood they’re walking into.
Showing the Roof:
The roof is one of the most overlooked parts of the house in real estate marketing. This is because it was not easy to show the roof and how it complements the property with ground photographs.
A drone can show this contrast by taking shots from different angles. Most real estate agents can’t provide this data. So you can leverage this in your marketing strategy.
Not everyone has the time to drive to the property, especially when you have several of them to showcase. Whether you’re showing the roof, or showing the neighborhood, you can use the drone to give the clients a tour of the various properties to choose from.
The only other option is using helicopters, which are not flexible, and they’re quite expensive. Whether you’re hiring one or purchasing one, a drone is affordable and an excellent way to take your real estate marketing to another level.
Besides imagery and tours, drones are also effective in inspections. You can attach thermal sensors, which can help sense excessive heat emissions from the buildings.
The other sensors can help find damaged buildings or flooded sections of the building. Since drones are faster, you can do several routine checks within a short time and conduct maintenance often.
A well-maintained building will eventually attract more buyers and even higher rates.
Why Should You Invest in Drones for Real Estate Marketing?
Drones are expensive and require some technical skills to operate. If you can’t fly a drone, it will even cost you more to hire a drone pilot. But should you through all that trouble and incur these extra costs?
Well, let’s look at some statistics.
Studies show that you’ll be more successful if you leverage this technology. This study shows that 83% of homeowners would prefer to list their property with agents who use drones.
It also shows that drones are a must-have if you’re dealing with vast pieces of land.
According to this article, using better images can help a realtor sell more homes. Buyers spend more than 60% of their time looking at photographs when deciding which home to buy.
Also, 73% of homeowners would rather list their homes with agents using videos. Not many realtors create videos, so this is another chance to revamp your marketing by combining aerial videos in your marketing campaigns.
So yes, you should invest in drones. Despite being more expensive, drone technology has a significant ROI compared to traditional real estate marketing strategies.
Can Real Estate Agents Use Drones?
Yes, you can use a drone. But it’s not that easy. You will need to obtain a UAS operator certificate from the FAA (Federal Aviation Administration).
It’s also known as the Part 107 Commercial Drone License. Some years back, you had to have a drone pilot license, but the FAA eased these rules in 2016 to allow more drone operators into the market.
To obtain this remote pilot certificate, you need to pay $150 and take a written test. They also have a course that includes how to fly drones and some aviation regulation concepts.
There are lots of regulations on drones flying. For instance, there are areas where you shouldn’t fly your drones, such as airports and military bases.
In some cases, people living close to your property listing may sue you due to privacy invasion.
If you decide to fly the drone, you also need to consider insuring it. Drones are quite expensive, and they crash very often.
Insurance can help recover damages on the drone and the injuries it may have caused. More regulations are still underway to regulate the use of drones in public areas, so you should always be on the lookout for updates.
What Do You Need to Do Before You Hire a Drone Pilot?
Even though you can fly the drone yourself, it would be best to hire an experienced drone pilot.
This saves you time, and you end up getting higher quality images. Below are some of the things you have to do before hiring the pilot.
Make Sure They Are Licensed:
Drones being used for commercial purposes, such as real estate marketing, must adhere to the FAA regulations. So make sure the pilot has the Part 107 Commercial Drone license. Hiring an unlicensed drone pilot is also illegal.
Drones can easily crash due to cyber-attacks or connection failures. They may damage houses, cars, or even injure other people.
The drone pilot should have insurance that covers most of these occurrences. The good thing is that this insurance is relatively easy to acquire. So an uninsured pilot is not serious with his business.
Hiring a drone pilot is like hiring any other employee. You need to be aware of what they’re capable of before bringing them onboard.
A professional drone pilot should have an online portfolio where they showcase their work. This also helps determine if their pricing matches their capabilities.
Avoid no-fly zones:
A certified pilot should, most importantly, understand where to fly or not fly the drone. According to the FAA regulations, if your drone pilot flies the drone in a restricted area, you will both be answerable.
Data on no-fly zones are readily available from the FAA. There are cases where the drone pilot may be allowed to fly in these zones, but they will need to be certified to be eligible for that exemption.
What Types of Drone Do You Need for Real Estate?
Below are some features that make drones suitable for real estate;
- Camera – Images and videos are the main reason you need the drone. So you should be prepared to spend more for a high-resolution camera. It also needs to have an option to install an advanced camera when necessary.
- Payload capacity – A payload is the weight of accessories a drone can handle. Besides a camera, you may need to install accessories such as gimbals for effective imaging and video recording. The drone should be able to handle these accessories.
- Flight modes – Pre-programmed flight modes can come in handy when you need to take real estate images at different angles. It would also help if the drone can automatically fly back home in case of any issues.
- Battery Life – The drone’s flight and camera operation rely on the battery. So the batteries should last long enough to get the necessary shots before having to recharge. You can also purchase several batteries if you need to take several photos.
How Much Does a Real Estate Drone Shoot Cost?
The costs can range from $150 and $1000. Below are the factors that determine the costs.
- The property listing –
Larger properties will incur more costs due to the coverage required. Luxurious properties also have special pricing. Drone photographers may have different pricings for custom shots.
- Setup costs –
A good professional drone may cost between $800and $1500. The Remote Pilot License costs $150. You may also need to purchase a camera and other auxiliary accessories.
- Other expenses –
The drone needs to be insured at an extra cost. Additional costs include video editing, premium software, translation, transcription, and marketing. All these services can significantly increase the cost of the shoot.
- Expertise –
More experienced photographers may charge more. So you need to consider the expertise and how much you’re willing to pay the drone photographer.
- Price per video/photograph –
Pricing differs among drone photographers. Some may charge per hour, per minute, or a fixed rate per shoot. If your shoot takes several hours, paying per hour would be overkill. So make sure you know the scope of your project and the best pricing method for it.
- Location –
If you’re in a competitive area, such as cities and luxurious regions, expect to pay higher rates.
- Time of the day –
Natural lighting is enough for producing high-quality photographs and videos. But if you need unique shots at dawn or dusk, expect to pay more since these shots require more skills and logistics arrangements.
Here there is a cool video about shot lists for real estate photography.
NOTE-Various companies offer different packages, so it’s best to request a quote and compare the prices. It can be hourly, daily, or depends on the duration of the shoot.
Software, Apps, and Tools to Make Your Job Easier:
Below are some apps that can help improve your drone operation;
- UAV Forecast –
This app helps a drone pilot to know when and where to fly the drone. It shows the predicted weather conditions, solar activity, and it has access to GPS satellites.
It also has data on the no-fly zones to prevent any violations of the law. It’s also compatible with several devices.
- Matterport –
This app helps you create a 3D virtual tour that you can present to your potential clients. You can take several images and upload them to your site.
The clients won’t have to go to the site since they can view the property from all angles on their tablets.
- Adobe Lightroom –
Photos taken from a drone aren’t always ready to present to clients. They may have reflection issues, lighting issues, or any other problems. This software can help clean up these images to highlight the main features of the property.
What Are the Best Drones for Real Estate?
There are several drones in the market, but only a few are effective in real estate marketing. As we mentioned earlier, you have to check the camera quality, battery life, and payload capacity. In light of these considerations, below are our top picks.
DJI Phantom 4 Pro Plus:
DJI drones are the most preferred for real estate marketing. This Phantom 4 Pro Plus is the best if you’d like to take professional shots, or if you’re looking for a longer runtime.
The 1-inch 20MP sensor ensures it takes high-quality images while the 3-axis gimbal provides flawless footage even at different angles. It may be an older version, but it still manages a 4K resolution at 60 feet per second.
You’ll also benefit from the various flight modes to enhance your aerial photography. The battery lasts for at least 25 minutes, and the operating range can go as far as 7 kilometers.
If you’d like more runtime, you can try the DJI Mavic 2 Pro, which has a 30 minutes runtime, stable operation, and a 4k image and video resolution.
Besides being expensive, it also lacks internal memory, and you have to purchase an external one. It’s also huge and easy to carry around.
The UPAIR Two drone is ideal for those looking for a cheaper drone. It only provides a 1-kilometer operating range, but it’s still effective for smaller listings. The reason we find it fascinating is the three sensors.
It has a 4K sensor, a 3D sensor, and a 16 megapixels sensor for still images. It works just like the DJI drones, so you can bet on its functionality. The battery offers a 24 minutes runtime, which is still okay for a small coverage.
Parrot Anafi 4k:
This is the ideal drone if you’d like to showcase the interior of a house. This is because the camera is positioned at the front part, and it rotates in a vertical axis. The excellent hovering capabilities also make it great for real estate.
It has a 4K sensor that ensures high-quality footage. With 4 kilometers operating range and a 25 minutes runtime, you can cover medium to large properties.
DJI INSPIRE 2- MY CHOICE:
If you’re looking for a premium drone with some advanced features, you’ll love the DJI INSPIRE 2 It’s an upgrade to the Inspire 1, which took the drone industry by storm.
For starters, the Inspire 2 comes with a Flight Autonomy feature, which enables it to avoid obstacles. It can detect obstacles up to 30 meters away.
It also features flight modes such as the Spotlight Pro. This mode allows you to take complex shots while still flying the drone.
In other drones, you may need a camera operator for such shots. Another fantastic feature is the ActiveTrack that tracks moving objects while keeping them in frame.
While other drones offer 4K image quality, DJI Inspire 2 offers 6K. A Zenmuse X5S camera, four batteries, and a 360 degrees gimbal are included in the package. It also uses two batteries to give you 27 minutes runtime before you have to replace the batteries or recharge them.
The only downside may be the cost of setting it up, but the advanced features and image quality make it worth every penny.
Drones provide a more convenient and affordable way to provide real-time images to clients. They are cheaper than helicopters and provide high-quality images when compared to traditional photography.
However, since drones emerged rapidly, the FAA was late in laying out regulations. So whether you’ll be hiring a drone pilot, or doing it yourself make sure you get the license and adhere to the latest FAA rules.