Drones Importance and Usage in Real Estate


Drones Importance


By Lt Cdr John Livingstone, Founder, CEO, Product Architect, Johnnette Technologies Pvt Ltd

          Real estate agents generally get their aerial photos from airplanes and helicopters, which can be a seriously imposing expense. Drones, on the other hand, may drastically reduce the cost of elevated photography. Real estate agents are looking for experts who have in-depth knowledge of the camera and equipment as well as skills in editing. Drones promise to become even more part of people’s lives as various industries find uses for them.

          Real estate is just one seeking to capitalize on the convenience and benefits of this technology. These unmanned aircrafts promise to change the game when it comes to commercial and even residential real estate in the next few years. According to the NAR’s recent member survey, nearly 20 percent of realtors not already using drones. One likely influence in this development is the fact that the profile of today’s realtor is trending younger, bringing more tech-savvy members to the industry. While more than half of realtors (56%) say that they are not using drones currently, 18% say they plan to use them soon, which will swing the balance to put those using drones for photographing their listings into the new majority.

Need to consider few things before flying a drone:

  • Who is capable and qualified to fly the drone?
  • What are the registration and other legal prerequisites?
  • Where and how can a UAS/drone be flown?
  • What are the  risks and liabilities if something should go wrong?

DGCA has released a regulation recently below are rules to be followed while flying your drone

  • Fly at or below 400 feet and stay away from surrounding obstacles
  • Keep your UAS within sight
  • Never fly near other aircraft, especially near airports
  • Never fly over groups of people
  • Never fly over stadiums or sports events
  • Never fly near emergency response efforts such as fires
  • Never fly under the influence of drugs or alcohol
  • Understand airspace restrictions and requirements

          In the year 2015, real estate was mostly a year of high-end marketing experiments using drones, in 2016, it seems that every level of the market is beginning to experiment with drone-based photography. Real estate marketing is one of the most difficult things to do in business today. Online is playing a major role in this regard. The competition is heavy in online than in offline because online listings generate most of the leads. Almost every property buyer today begins their online search. This is where new marketing strategy come in place by deploying a drone. Through drone we can take high quality photo graphs and videos which pays huge difference. Today, the latest marketing weapon in real estate is the use of dramatic camera drone photography & video tours in online listings. Some agents claim that drones are the most important new technology to enter real estate marketing since the internet.

          Using flying cameras, real estate photographers are producing dramatic, sweeping shots of landscapes, ocean and mountain vistas and seamless fly-a rounds of gorgeous home exteriors. They are also taking shots of homes never before imagined. Camera drones and their ground-based cousins, some were used to tour the inside home, creating flowing, whole-house motion tours in ultra HD that can rival a Hollywood movie.

6 Benefits of real estate agents and brokers

6 Benefits of real estate agents and brokers using drones to market real estate in real world

  • Create more dramatic, compelling images. Well-designed drone camera shots not only look incredibly professional, they can generate a sense of awe and interest that you simply can’t get from ground-based photography.
  • Create more interesting virtual tours. A camera drone can literally fly into a home through the front door, and travel throughout every room, creating a far more natural virtual tour than station-based photography can. Combined with a professional voice-over sound track, virtual tours can become beautiful visual stories, rich with information and history.
  • Highlight more property features. Landscaping, pools, walking paths and back yards are important to many buyers. So are nearby parks and schools. Aerial photos & video bring these advantages to life.
  • Generate new business. Using drone videos and photos to market your properties shows prospective sellers that you take advantage of every opportunity to make their property look awesome – and to stand out.
  • Out-market the competition. It’s a well-known fact that listings that look better and provide more information, sell better.
  • Save money. Compared to shooting aerial photos from a helicopter or a fixed wing aircraft, drone videography is far cheaper – and easier to arrange. Drones in Luxury Home Marketing. The visual advantages of camera drones have most impacted the way that expensive luxury homes are presented on the MLS and on agent’s websites. Drone photography has upped the real estate marketing game in a big way. Whether it’s to highlight the waterfront view, a gorgeous garden, or a really cool swimming pool, aerial drone photography captures the beauty and the utility of a home far better than ground-based photography or video can. Luxury property markets across America, Canada and Europe are incorporating drone photography into their marketing, very quickly. In USA, "Drone Photography exist that specialize in producing dramatic aerial videos and movie-studio quality property walkthroughs, using a combination of camera drones and hand-held gimbals.

Drones In Commercial Real Estate

          Drones are used to market commercial real estate, too. In cities across America, Europe and Asia, drones are used to plan and photograph high rises and other residential multi-unit projects, either to help them sell or for inspection and surveying. Commercial photographers are quickly embracing drones. The first real estate agent to legally fly a drone for real estate photography was in Tucson, Arizona in 2015. Since then, the use of camera drones to market real estate has taken off in the United States. Out of the first 1,000 FAA exemptions given to commercial drone operators, more than 350 were for real estate marketing. The commercial photography industry is clearly embracing drones to meet the fast-growing demand for high-quality aerial video and photography.

          Drone technology offers a tremendous opportunity for the business of real estate and the broader economy. That’s why NAR (national Association of Realtors continues to support the integration of drones into the National Airspace and a regulatory landscape that allows for the responsible commercial use of drones.

          Firstly, you need to have a DGCA UAV operator’s certificate to fly a camera drone for real estate marketing – even if funds aren’t changing hands. Many agents today are flying their own shoots with easy-to-fly camera drones made by DJI, 3D Robotics and Yuneec. Getting high-quality drone shots will cost more than a land-based photographer, and shooting aerial footage takes more time than ground-based photo or video shoots. It’s not an order-of-magnitude change, but you’ll need to be flexible with your photographer’s time, especially if she/he is new to drones. Take long, steady shots.

          A high-quality 3-axis gimbal like the integrated set used on the Phantom 4, above, cradles the drone’s camera in a gyroscopically-balanced mount that holds the camera steady while the drone moves around. It also uses electrical motors to orient the camera while in flight. 3-axis gimbals enable super-steady, flowing shots and insulate the camera from most vibrations. They are the secret to getting those gorgeous, flowing videos. Do NOT fly your video shoot using a camera drone that isn’t equipped with a 3-axis gimbal, or you won’t like the result. The best camera drones for real estate (see our three picks, above) tightly integrate their gimbals with their flight control and camera control systems, so you can control more aspects of your shots like zoom, pan and tilt.

camera drones are Quadcopter

Fly with the wind, not against it

          This is important. Most camera drones are Quadcopter, and quads do not fly well in winds greater than 20-25 knots. It’s not just fighting the wind, the higher the wind speed the greater the turbulence, which generates less predictable movement and vibrations. Also, wind gusts happen more frequently the higher you fly. It is better to choose a windless day for your shot. If it’s windy and you have to shoot, then stick to flying below the tree line. This is where the flight control software that comes with your drone really matters. The best integrated camera drones like the 3DRobotics Solo and Inspire 2.0 are equipped with integrated flight planning + camera control software that let you map-out each camera position in 3D, over time. You can also plan camera angles, tilt and zoom on some models.

Drone Statistics in Real Estate

          Real estate has become the number one industry in North America that uses drones for marketing purposes. And the numbers projecting the growth of the drone industry are staggering, 10 million drones were sold worldwide last year, that number is expected to nearly triple by 2021. Drone industry value was estimated at $3.3 billion in 2015; by 2025, it’s expected to be $90 billion. NAR reports that the interest in using drones for marketing is already pervasive: 44% of members either use drones for marketing (14%), report that someone in their office uses drones for marketing (12%), or plan on using drones for marketing (18%). CREA is also monitoring the development of drone use in real estate.

          In 2016, to increase accessibility FAA guidelines for drones in the U.S. that were favorable to real estate, and now 770,000 drones are registered with the FAA. In Canada, rules are currently stricter than the U.S., but the popularity of power of aerial footage has not slowed down the desire to use them in listing videos.

          Due to heavy competition and advances in technology that makes it easier to operate or hire a drone pilot have driven down costs. There are online services to hire pilots throughout North America. And more professional photographers are offering drone footage as part of their listing photo services.

          Drone footage is still novel enough that you can “wow” sellers when you show them a neighborhood aerial footage during a listing presentation. It has nearly the same impact as a 3D-video tour, like Matter port. For agents in many markets, offering drone marketing can still be a competitive differentiator. Not every property can benefit from drone marketing, but those that can, do. Video is a very powerful tool for marketing. Drone video footage can provide dramatic views of the entire property, increase video traffic and video sharing, provide spatial perspective, property’s setting, show the proximity to key local amenities (water – playgrounds – parks – schools) and nearby services (stores – hospitals), let the viewer see the entire neighborhood from a whole new perspective, and create an emotional connection.

          In India DGCA has proposed a rule for commercial drones could travel no farther than 400 feet in altitude and 100 km per hour and be operated only during daylight. Operators would be required to pass a test for aeronautical knowledge and be given a permit. All flights must be remain in the sightline of the operator.

Drone technology

Drone technology would allow agents to take aerial photographs of the property as well as nearby amenities. Agents could show interested buyers where a home is located in proximity to the beach or other natural settings. Right now, the only method of obtaining these images is by helicopter, which is more expensive and not as close up. Commercial properties would also benefit from this technology, as would any large tracts of land. Agents selling large estates would be able to provide an overview of the property, offering valuable information to buyers. Many real estate agents say they would primarily use drones for luxury properties, which is an obvious choice for the equipment. However, another option is to use them inside a home. Drones can provide a smoother tour of the house than what is seen with a traditional camera. The main component for how much impact drone imaging would have on a property is more about location than price tag. Any property located along the water would definitely benefit from aerial photos because a ground view doesn’t always capture the entire essence. A home by the lake or beach is sure to impress buyers, once they see the aerial images.

          Builders will also appreciate what drones can do for them. They can provide images of the views outside of homes even before they are built. This helps buyers have a better feel for the neighborhood when they’re considering buying in a current development. Though use of drones in Northern Virginia real estate isn’t allowed yet, the FAA and NAR are moving closer to that day. Some operators have received permission for special use, but the process is slow. Many other countries have been utilizing this technology in real estate for some time, and the US is expected to follow suit. However, there are some concerns about using this technology. Cost has been one inhibiting factor, but pricing is coming down for the equipment, making it more affordable. Another issue is taking quality photos. More photographers will be developing this skill, so they can expand their business.