The Role of Drones in Real Estate Marketing: Part 1

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Using drones, or unmanned aircraft, as a tool in real estate marketing may be the biggest innovation in 2017. While some Realtors® have already hired drone pilots to capture photos and videos, many have not, but the trend will grow significantly in the next year due to changes in FAA regulations.

With that in mind, here’s a guide to the role of drones in real estate marketing. Next week, I’ll be talking about the technology needed and how to find, hire, and use drones in your own marketing.

Why Use a Drone in Real Estate Marketing?

A drone is essentially a flying robot to which you can attach equipment such as a camera. Why would it be an important element of your marketing strategy?

Recently Relaxed Regulation

Drone photography has been a major topic of conversation in real estate for the last two years, but FAA regulations made it almost impossible to operate a drone for commercial purposes.

As of August, 2016, the FAA changed drone operator restrictions, making it much easier to use drones for real estate marketing. This means that drones will be used a lot more in 2017, and it also means that your clients will start to request – or at least ask about – drone photography and videography as part of a marketing strategy.

A Unique Overhead View

Drone photography and video footage adds a unique perspective to real estate marketing materials. You can get a grand view over a home, showing off the size, location, landscape, and even elements like a pool and exquisite backyard deck.

Standard marketing photos struggle to give a real sense of size, relationship, and scope inside and outside a home. Drone photos can change that.

In addition, drone videography allows for a seamless walkthrough experience, as well as majestic video of surrounding natural views and landscaping. In addition, you don’t have to worry about obstructions making a listing seem smaller than it is. An overhead view gives the full picture.

Take a look at this stunning drone video of a property in California to see what I’m talking about.


The Viral Nature of Gorgeous Videos

Want to have your listing go viral? If you didn’t answer “Yes!”, I’m sending someone to check your pulse.

The bottom line is that gorgeous videos are easily shareable and people WANT to show these videos to their friends and family. When someone is house hunting, they look for second opinions – and many times, they just show off a pretty home.

Your drone video allows them to do both. Because a drone can capture a home, the surrounding views, and even the entire neighborhood, you’ll be creating content that can easily go viral.

Capture a New Client With a Drone Demo

When you’re prospecting FSBO’s or expired listings, you need to stand out. Can you imagine their face if you were able to show them a beautiful drone video you did for another listing, and offer to do the same for them?

Chances are, you’ll be the first one they’ve heard offer such a thing, and it’s a great way to win a listing in a very competitive market. Even the most jaded homeowners have to admit that drone videos are really cool.

It Will Help You Sell Land

Selling a lot with a traditional written description and regular photographs is an exercise in futility. Instead, turn to a drone. A drone can give either aerial photographs to help enhance your description, or you can use a drone to shoot a video and provide narration as it flies.

Stop relying on Google maps and create your own photos and footage of the lots you’re selling. The impact will be immense, and you’ll be able to see exactly how a picture is “worth a thousand words”.

Don’t Wait: Use Drones Now

There’s a tremendous value in being an early adopter of drone marketing technology. You want to use it in your marketing while it’s still novel, while you’re still one of the few deploying it.

If you wait until everyone is doing it to jump on the bandwagon, not only will clients be less impressed, but you’ll be less experienced. This means that while others have mastered new techniques and have learned how to save money and time, you’ll be fumbling with the basics. This will make your marketing far less effective.

Stay tuned – next week, I’ll be talking about how to find, hire, and use drone photography and videography in your marketing. You won’t want to miss it!

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Jeff Dowler, CRS
Solutions Real Estate - Carlsbad, CA
The Southern California Relocation Dude

Hi Nadine

I think we will be seeing a lot more drone video in 2017. I have no plans to buy one but have a videographer who I can use for  listings as well as community profiles and articles. I suspect some listings are far better suited to drone photography and video than others.


Dec 09, 2016 05:52 PM #1
Anne Corbin
Long and Foster - Lake Anna - Spotsylvania, VA
Serving Lake Anna & Central Virginia

I have a photographer friend who just invested in a drone to do aerial photography. He took the FAA test and has great liability insurance. If anyone in Central VA is in need, contact Tim Brown Creative. (540) 729-1919

PS He used to be a realtor in Florida!

Dec 09, 2016 07:46 PM #2
Patrick Willard
Rio Rancho, NM

Just bought one. Eventually I'll probably get the part 107 license & use for business but for now it's just for fun.

Dec 10, 2016 07:50 AM #3
Kimo Jarrett
WikiWiki Realty - Huntington Beach, CA
Pro Lifestyle Solutions

For exceptional properties, a drone makes perfect sense and IMO probably more instrumental in commercial real estate than most residential properties, don't you think? 

Dec 10, 2016 08:53 AM #4
John Dotson
Preferred Properties of Highlands, Inc. - Highlands, NC - Highlands, NC
The experience to get you to the other side!

I have a small drone my family bought a couple of years ago, but it is VERY hard to fly.  I have been thinking about investing in a "good" one but can't gather the courage to wreck a $1,000.00+ toy!

Dec 12, 2016 03:10 PM #5
Jerry Lucas
ABC Legal Docs LLC - Colorado Springs, CO
Mobile Notary Colorado Springs, CO Notary Training

I have watched videos of drone crashes on YouTube, hitting people and property. I would be concerned about liability. Even a trained, qualified operator cannot help if the drone goes out of control.

We had an incident here where a drone controlled by a military professional flew outside of the Army base and they had to retrieve it.

Dec 13, 2016 09:56 PM #12
Jan Green
Value Added Service, 602-620-2699 - Scottsdale, AZ
HomeSmart Elite Group, REALTOR®, EcoBroker, GREEN

I'm excited to try a drone on a listing i have coming up, so thanks for the encouragement!  

Dec 18, 2016 08:09 PM #13
Andrew Mooers | 207.532.6573
Northern Maine Real Estate-Aroostook County Broker

Video in any fashion if full motion, with natural sound to reinforce what is seen and to add more information about the property and area is huge. Better be in the marketing. Own two drones.

Jan 01, 2017 09:21 AM #14
Jim Paulson
Progressive Realty (Boise Idaho) - Boise, ID

Like most electronic products, they are getting better and cheaper at the same time.  You can wait till everyone has them (when no one cares) or you can be an early adopter and get clients that want something different from their marketing agent!  Buy it now and the IRS let's you write it off!

Mar 12, 2017 11:20 PM #15
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Nadine Larder

Real Estate Marketing Expert/PrinterBees Founder
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