What Are They?
Essentially, a drone is a remote-controlled model air craft – like a small helicopter. You can either buy or rent one with a camera already attached, or you can attach one yourself. The camera is typically small and lightweight, and is capable of recording high-quality video – like a Go Pro. They can fly high in the air, hover in one place, and maneuver through small places – such as hallways and door entrances.
Why Would You Want One?
Well, there are several reasons.
First off, a drone-video will give you an edge when marketing your listing. Just as professional photography adds value to your listing, so too does professional video, and drones now offer this ability at a much more affordable price than was previously available.
Drones provide aerial photography, which in the past has only been achieved through the use of a helicopter and professional equipment, operators, editors, etc. According to Will Cadwell in 3 Reasons Real Estate Agents Should Invest In Drones, not only is using a helicopter significantly more expensive, but a drone is able to achieve a much higher level of manoeuvrability. While able to record bird’s-eye view of a property, a drone is also able to move in closer to capture more detailed footage of a house, without having to sacrifice quality of video.
Even if you have a professional photographer, it can be hard to capture all the selling features of a property. Location has a major impact on a listing's market value, and as Paul Hagey from Inman News writes, that listing can actually triple in value when it's in a desirable location. Unlike still photography, drones are able to effectively showcase a listing's entire property, maximizing its marketing potential and increase its overall desirability to online home shoppers.
If you can add value to your listing, then it's worth considering - especially if it gives you an edge on competition. Many are predicting that drones will soon set a new standard in real estate marketing, such as Will Caldwell from Inman News, who believes that they already have.
Why Are Drones Becoming So Popular?
That boils down to one thing - price. Drones have suddenly become much more affordable, and therefore a viable technology for small businesses. This price drop is mainly due to general advances in the technology, as drones become simpler and smaller, while high-quality video recorders have become smaller and more affordable as well.
Things to Consider:
- Buy or rent? From doing a simple Google search, the price of purchasing a drone ranges from $200 to well over $10,000. As for renting, the price range is anywhere from $150 to $5,000.
- In addition to price, you need to consider how much use you'll get from a drone. Luxury listings, vacation spots and unique houses are obviously well-suited for the use of drones. But if you specialize in rehabs, low-cost housing and urban condos, then perhaps a drone wouldn't be the best investment for your business.
- Also, like any new technology you adopt, there will be a bit of a learning curve. Apparently drones are not the easiest machines to operate, and many people report them being difficult to control. However, this would range from person to person depending on your fine motor skills. So it may take some practice and getting used to.
- When renting, keep in mind whether or not it comes with an operator. Ask for a testimonial and/or previous footage that they've shot.
- Perhaps the most important consideration to make, however, is the issue of legality. Currently, the Federal Aviation Administration prohibits the use of aerial drones for commercial purposes in the United States. But this hasn't stopped a large portion of innovative businesses from doing so, and there hasn't been much enforcement from the FAA. Congress has set a deadline of 2015 for the FAA to begin regulation of commercial drones.
In Canada, you'll need to obtain a permit from the government in order to operate a drone for commercial usage. The Macnabs, two brothers based in Vancouver, have done just that:
So, are drones here to stay in Real Estate? Only time will tell.
Innovation demands a certain degree of risk. But fortune favours the bold, and those who wait until a new technology has been widely adopted fail to get ahead of the curve.
For some, drones may offer the chance to do so.
Desireé Evanshen is the Communications Manager at RESAAS. She likes to run marathons in exotic places (such as Berlin), as well as watch her two dogs - Kenny and Butters - rummage through her co-workers leftovers. Check out her RESAAS profile ›
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