Two months ago we published an article that sang the praises of drones in real estate calling them the next “must have” tool when trying to sell a home. Unfortunately, two months is an eternity in the tech sector and the song has changed: if you work in real estate, and you want to remain competitive, a drone -even an inexpensive one- is a necessity.
When buying a house in the dark ages before the internet, you had only a picture in the newspaper and a few words from a faceless agent you spoke to once on your corded phone. If you were moving far away, that was a pretty big leap of faith.
Then came the internet and finding pictures and information about a new home were just a few clicks away. Could you imagine looking for a house today without a computer?
Well, the natural evolution of that progression has arrived. Drones allow you to take a first person walking tour of a home, both indoors and outdoors, so you can visit a property and get a feel for the place without having to schlep the family across the state.
“We’re visual people. The more you enable an understanding of what the house experience is like, the more time both the listing agent and the seller will save, because they’ll only be showing the listing to people who are truly interested,” Andrew Strauch, VP of product innovation and marketing at Metropolitan Regional Information Systems Inc, told the Baltimore Sun in a recent interview.
The increasing accessibility and decreasing cost of drones means anyone can buy ’em and fly ’em.
Some real estate agents, like Michael Light of Keller Williams Coral Gables in Miami, uses two DJI Phantom 2 Visions to personally shoot footage of luxury estates.
Drone manufacturer Parrot recently revealed its new Bebop drone which is small enough to fly indoors and has a very intuitive controls system…making it an efficient and safe tool for both luxury properties and apartments alike. Parrot CEO Henri Seydoux has said many times he believes the Bebop will prove to be an excellent tool for the real estate and construction industries.
If a seller doesn’t want to take the time to learn to pilot a drone, private aerial photography companies are popping up all over the country. They can come to your house, shoot video, and sell you a high quality demo-reel of your property.
“Photographers that shoot homes professionally and provide virtual tours for realtors are jumping on this technology because they see it as a way to set themselves apart,” Light told Dronelife.
Plus, there is nothing illegal about having a ‘friend’ over to ‘play’ with his drone and then later buying a video from him.
On the other hand, using a drone to shoot what is essentially a commercial for business purposes is much more in the legal grey-area.
Flying a drone for commercial purposes isn’t (strictly speaking) legal and the National Association of Realtors has taken the stance of advising their members not to use drones to advertise properties until the FAA publishes its regulations.
But the floodgates are open.
“The days of selling real estate with flyers, newspaper ads and postcards are over. Don’t get me wrong, they still may help,” Light said, “but drones are the future.”
In just a few short years, taking a virtual tour (perhaps even live-streamed or aided by virtual reality) of each property will be a commonplace practice in the process of buying a home. With so many ways for drones to find their way into the real estate business, there is no way this won’t become a reality.
For some evidence, check out Mr. Light’s latest video:
Alan is serial entrepreneur, active angel investor, and a drone enthusiast. He co-founded DRONELIFE.com to address the emerging commercial market for drones and drone technology. Prior to DRONELIFE.com, Alan co-founded Where.com, ThinkingScreen Media, and Nurse.com. Recently, Alan has co-founded Crowditz.com, a leader in Equity Crowdfunding Data, Analytics, and Insights. Alan can be reached at alan(at)dronelife.com