Drones and Real Estate

There is no debate that technology has made a critical impact on the real estate industry. It’s an impact that steadily continues to change and advance the way normal business is done in real estate, bringing both efficiencies and cost-effective changes.

One needs to look no further than the technology sector to get a glimpse of the real estate industry’s latest selling and marketing tool: drones.

Advanced technology is making aerial drones more practical in commercial settings, bringing an exciting new array of applications for the marketing and selling of a property. Used mostly in the high-end property market, drones can shoot photos which previously required a helicopter, plane or crane to get, all of which come at a much higher cost. Better yet, drones enable cameras to take pictures of an entire estate, large expanses of land, and a neighborhood or large commercial property. This paints a picture of an entire property and its surrounding area for prospective buyers.

Drones are especially adept at producing video, a critical marketing tool in the high-end market. Aerial video can show angles of a property never previously available. With a few short snippets of material, any talented video editor can produce professional-level video to offer buyers a completely new perspective. These videos are also a distinct advantage for Real Estate specialists in these markets, as they can turn around and leverage video – marketing video, online video channels, and promotional video – to demonstrate their ability to effectively market and sell high-end property.

Drones – and video – bring the wow factor needed in the upper echelon price ranges. While the price tag might position purchasing a drone out of reach for most agents (think thousands), hiring a third party to do the job might only set you back a couple of hundred dollars.

Even with all the excitement, optimism and opportunity, there are still several real and difficult regulatory issues to be ironed out when it comes to the use of drones in real estate. The Federal Aviation Administration is currently appealing a court ruling that eliminated its restrictions on commercial uses of unmanned aerial vehicles, and is in the process of developing legislation to address concerns. A timeline was created to have a working policy by 2015.

Those very legitimate concerns are regarding public safety and liability issues. Those operating commercial drones seemingly need to be trained and certified. There is also the concern that public safety systems need to be put in place in the event of accidents. The privacy issues relate to the unauthorized use of video and photos for commercial purposes.

For now, the FAA approves drone use in the commercial arena on a case-by-case basis. But the technology for the use of drones is here now, and here to stay, and soon it will be commonplace on all levels of real estate.

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