As CEO, chairman and co-founder of VHT Studios, Brian leads the nation’s largest real estate photography and image management company.
Any real estate professional knows that “curb appeal” and “location, location, location” have long been twin pillars of selling a property. Today’s technologies, combined with the expectations of a new generation of buyers, are raising the bar on how to present a listing in the best possible light.
If a home already has curb appeal and prime location, savvy real estate professionals are not just focusing on a home’s interior — they’re also raising their eyes to the sky. Whether it’s an expansive waterfront home, a grand mountaintop estate or a single-family home near a quaint downtown, dronography is the listing agent’s new essential tool for marketing any property consumers would want to rent (apartments), lease (vacation homes) or buy (residential or commercial properties).
The sky is the limit since the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) ushered in a new drone era in 2016, allowing for relaxed regulations on commercial aerial drone use. Now, there’s little barrier to entry for real estate professionals raising the bar on listing videos or photography.
Drones, or remote-controlled unmanned aircraft vehicles, offer a highly cost-effective way to elevate your marketing efforts. Aerial video and photography capture stunning, bird’s-eye views of a property and also convey a lifestyle.
For real estate professionals going the extra mile to appeal to sophisticated tastes, drones help buyers visualize their lives in that community. They can imagine stepping out from their backyard to their canoe launch or the ease in stopping in the clubhouse, trekking to the beach or commuting to work or the nearby train station.
These unique perspectives drive the emotional connection that moves and motivates buyers to act. As clients increasingly ask about using drones for their listings, real estate pros should be ready with these drone dos and don’ts.
1. Get acquainted with the roof and gutters. Most of us pay no attention to them until problems occur. Sellers should know beforehand that the roof is in great shape and the gutters are free of leaves and debris. Buyers will be deterred if your drone video reveals missing shingles or saplings growing in the gutter.
2. Clear the clutter. Just as you’d declutter a home’s interior, clear the exterior of kids’ toys, bicycles, hoses or trash bins. The rule about clutter applies whether inside or out: A property appears more spacious when it’s clutter-free.
3. Avoid outdoor maintenance work on the day of the drone appointment. Get the landscaping and the pool cleaning done ahead of time and be sure all equipment is out of sight. And be sure your drone appointment doesn’t coincide with trash pick-up day.
4. Alert the neighbors in advance. Drones have an unmistakable hum, and they are not that common in most neighborhoods. Sellers should avoid unwanted surprises by telling the neighbors the day and time the dronographer is due to arrive. The entire video shoot should take less than 30 minutes, so emphasize to clients and their neighbors that it’s a short process.
5. Notify parents of young children, too. If the neighborhood kids regularly play outside, Mom and Dad may choose to keep them inside or take them out for a ride; many parents will object to their children’s images appearing in the drone video posted on a website.
6. Cloudy days are fine days for capturing aerial images and video, since a cloudy sky eliminates the harsh shadows projected on a landscape. Still, many sellers want sunshine in their drone videos and photography. Any customer-focused photography company should have the flexibility to happily reschedule the drone appointment when requested.
With these best practices in mind, you can elevate each and every property listing with dronography.