Drones: A New Frontier in Real Estate Photography

May 12, 2022
8:00 am

Technology for marketing homes keeps advancing. First home listings went online with photographs. Next came video tours and 3D videos. Now drone camera footage of listings is reaching the next generation of buyers. Using drone photography can get your sales flying high. Here’s what you need to know.

It’s not just about the house

If your seller’s home is in a picturesque setting, with mature trees, natural beauty and convenient nearby amenities, drone photography can help potential buyers take it all in. 

Is the home on acreage with expansive vistas? Does the backyard have a relaxing setting with a pool, umbrella-shaded outdoor furniture and an outdoor kitchen? Is the neighborhood attractive, with pools and tennis courts an easy walk away? Drone photography can highlight these features, enticing potential buyers.

Drone photography can even be used for tours within the home. Mini drones can capture the grandeur of a sweeping staircase, vaulted ceilings or a fireplace with stonework from floor to cathedral ceiling.

Not a DIY project

Generally, drone photography is a task best left to professionals. Professional drone photographers must meet demanding requirements. They must obey FAA flight rules; obtain licensing, certification and liability insurance; and invest in a quality drone (or two), photography equipment, editing software and training. Becoming a drone photographer requires a substantial commitment of time and money that would distract from your real estate practice. Better to find a good drone photographer who specializes in real estate.

Hiring a service

As when hiring any other service, getting referrals from trusted sources is a must. Network among your colleagues to get referrals for a good drone photography service. Visit the businesses’ websites to see samples of their work. Choose the one you like best and ask about the following:

  • Does the operator have the FAA drone pilot license required for commercial use? The drone itself also must be registered with the FAA. Once you confirm these requirements are met, make sure your contract with the drone photographer specifies that all federal, state and local regulations will be followed.
  • Is the pilot certified to fly over people and at night?
  • Does the operator have liability insurance covering accidents with the drone? Make sure your contract with the photographer indemnifies you of any accidents or other legal issues that could arise. 
  • Does the operator specialize in real estate photography? How long has the operator been doing real estate photography?
  • If indoor video is to be shot, will the pilot place guards on the drone’s propellers? Move any hanging cords, such as those from ceiling fans, out of the way before indoor photography. Open all doors and make sure the home’s rooms are brightly lit.

Before using a drone video, get written copyright use permission for its use.

Younger buyers

Millennials and Gen Z buyers will increasingly expect drone footage to be part of the marketing package. One recent study found that more than 80 percent of buyers said they’d prefer to work with agents who use drone photography. Meeting that demand will help your sales soar.