I’m sure I’m like most people who remember the first time they flew in an airplane. Watching the earth slip away and being fascinated with an entirely new perspective of the world. To this day, I still love the view from a thousand feet above the ground. Despite flying thousands of times, the unique perspective never gets old.
So when I first started seeing high definition video taken from drones or UAVs I was immediately drawn to the technology and the possibilities that it offered. Instead of a view from a thousand feet above the ground and moving a hundred miles an hour, UAVs provide views from one hundred feet or even ten feet and have the capability to hover and maneuver in places that were once impossible to access using conventional fixed wing aircraft or rotary aircraft.
The uses for UAVs are numerous but the industry that I see huge potential is in real estate marketing. Every Realtor knows the benefit of professional pictures. Pictures of a property that are taken from the correct vantage point, by a professional who uses the proper lighting and lenses, attract the attention of potential buyers. It is proven that they look at the listing longer and are more likely to make arrangement to see the property in person.
Much like buyers being drawn by professional pictures, they are also drawn to high definition video of a property. And there is no better high definition video of a property that offers a more unique perspective than that taken by a UAV. Don’t get me wrong. High definition video isn’t going to sell a house. But what it will do is make a compelling case for the property to be toured in person. And ultimately that is exactly why a Realtor posts pictures and video in the MLS in the first place. The goal is to get buyers to jump in their car and go visit. If a high definition video taken by a UAS will do that for a Realtor then by all means, I believe they should consider using the technology.
What kind of properties are candidates for using drone technology? The most obvious answer is large properties with extensive exterior features such as pools, porches, decks, and hardscaping. A drone fitted with a high definition camera is the perfect tool to showcase features such as this. A UAS is small and maneuverable enough to capture stunning video from around the home. The video can be taken at a vantage point that is unique enough that viewers will want to see more and more of the property.
Another type of property that lends itself to UAV video is farm property, waterfront property or a property that can not be easily depicted through still photography. Consider benefit having the ability to fly over an entire 30 acres property in a matter of minutes… and capture it all on High Definition video. This is a huge benefit to any potential buyer who would otherwise have to drive or walk the property to gain an appreciation for what it offers. What about a lake front property or a home with views of the ocean. There is nothing more spectacular than video taken from a UAS as it skims over the water towards a vacation home situated at the water’s edge…… and then reversing course to show the view from a second level porch or deck.
Who Can Fly Drones and what are the requirements?
As of this writing, anyone can fly a drone as a hobby as long as they comply with all FAA rules and regulations and they receive a formal registration from the FAA.
Flying a drone for commercial purposes however is another story. The FAA prohibits commercial drone flight unless the operator receives a FAA 333 exemption. How difficult is it to receive a FAA 333 exemption? The government definitely doesn’t make it easy. The most difficult requirement is that the operator of the UAS must be a licensed pilot. I hold an Airline Transport Pilot rating with over 10,000 hours of flight time as well as a few carrier landings for good measure. My son Jacob, is also fully qualified to fly drones. He has both his commercial certificate as well as being an Instrument rated pilot.