Update (5/26/2015): DRONELIFE recently launched a new service, JobForDrones.com which connects realtors with drone service providers.
Can you imagine searching for a new home today without being able to see images of every room in the home online?
Of course not.
In the not too distant future, it is likely you will also expect a production quality aerial video of a prospective new home… and the surrounding neighborhood.
The Real Estate industry knows this and is hustling to figure out how drones can provide the answer. The popularity of drones is becoming a growing trend in the real estate industry as drones become affordable and easier to use.
My prediction is that aerial photography will become another line item under the photos and virtual tour column when marketing a listing. Consumers will begin to demand it, as there is no question more people will enjoy watching it. Considering the investment in this service is relatively small, it is almost a sure thing that Realtors will see a positive return on investment.
Will Caldwell is the CEO of Rivolix, a real estate tech company and a contributing writer for InmanNews .
So what if your real estate practice is a bit behind the newest wave? Don’t worry, you still have time! Here’s some things to think about as you consider your first steps into the world of drones:
Rent or Buy, how does that apply?
Well, the first thing a firm should ask when considering buying a real estate drone is, ‘do we have the time to learn how to effectively fly, record, and produce the aerial content?’ This isn’t a trivial detail; there will be considerable effort and challenge expended on both the drone itself and content production.
But if you believe that the demand for aerial content associated with a home sale is here to stay, it may make sense to make the investment now. If it’s not the right time, “renting” is a great alternative. By renting, we mean pay someone else to produce the content.
DRONELIFE’s DroneServiceFinder application allows you to find service providers in your area who can use their own drones to produce a production quality video for your property. Generally prices are in the $500 to $1500 range, but vary based on proximity and production requirements. This might be a logical pathway to an eventual drone purchase.
If you decide you would rather invest in yourself and buy a drone for your real estate business, what’s your first step?
It might be to purchase Craig Issod’s book “Getting Started with Hobby Quadcopters and Drones,” a great starter for your drone adventures. DRONELIFE’s DroneConfigurator allows you to narrow down your choices based on price, capabilities, application, and other criteria. To help jumpstart the process a bit, we have selected four beginner models for your real estate business’ first drone.
Two important criteria to remember for your first real estate drone: A reasonable Price and a Built-in Camera.
It’s your first drone, don’t overspend. As your skills increase and your requirements expand, you can upgrade and buy a more feature-rich drone. At the same time, you don’t want to buy a toy! You want it to meet the requirements of the project: Allow for the collection of good quality videos and still images of the property.
There are many drones which accommodate an add-on camera whether it’s your GO-PRO or a high end Cannon but for initial ease-of-use, we suggest that you purchase a drone with a built-in camera as it’s one less technology issue to wrestle with.
So here are some recommendations for real estate drones for beginners:
DJI’s Phantom FC-40
The Phantom FC-40 is the lowest cost of entry into the iconic DJI family of drones that comes with its own camera. It’s great way to get started with a DJI Phantom without running the risk of breaking a $1,000 machine during your first flight (as some DRONELIFE editors have been known to do). The built-in camera streams live 720p video to your Android or iOS device.
BLADE’s 350 QX2 AP
The Blade 350 QX AP Combo captures exceptional video aerial footage with great stability. It is fairly comparable to the Phantom FC-40 in terms performance and image capture specs, with the added benefits of position hold and a safe mode that prevents the drone from crashing into the pilot. [cms id=”219″]
Parrot’s AR Drone 2
Driven by its relatively small price tag and ease-of-operation, Parrot’s AR 2.0 is a popular starting point. The AR 2.0 has two built-in cameras and is controlled with your iOS or Android smart device. A recently added (optional) feature “Director’s Mode” allows for better stabilization and enhanced pre and post production features.
Hubsan’s H107D FPV X4 Mini
If you really want to make a minimal investment, the H107D FPV X4 is the answer. Its palm-sized stature means the H107D has a shorter flight time and is more susceptible to wind, but this also means it is much safer to fly indoors and buying replacement parts is much cheaper than the three models above.
Whichever model you choose to pursue, we recommend that you spend some time on the web watching videos taken by each of the drones before making your final decision.
And one more thing … it’s probably time to introduce the FAA and their recent initiatives in curbing commercial use of drones.
The Federal Aviation Administration doesn’t want you to use a drone for your real estate business, but the most they can legally do is politely ask you to stop.
And even then, unless you are operating in a highly populated area like New York City, you will probably never hear a peep from the FAA.
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