Real Estate Drones

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Real Estate Drones

drone
Typical drone, or UAS, UAV

The definition of drone is: make a continuous low humming sound.  Also known as UAV: unmanned aerial vehicles, or UAS, unmanned aerial systems, or RPAS: remotely piloted aerial systems.  Drones are also called flying robots. Real estate drones are used for a specific purpose.

The popularity of real estate drones has grown exponentially over the last 5-6 years. Drones are often used recreationally, and they also have commercial uses.  Drones are also utilized in military applications.

Drones are used in situations where it is too risky, difficult, or cost prohibitive to use flights utilizing pilots. Drones either have a preprogrammed flight path, or are controlled from the ground by pilots.

They return critical information to people quickly, which can make an enormous difference in situations that require fast responses.

Drones can be as large as a commercial passenger jet, or as small as a football.  Drones cannot be operated by a civilian beyond the line of sight, and above 400 feet for any commercial reason unless permission has been granted by the FAA, Federal Aviation Administration.

In order to become a commercial drone operator, you need to file a petition to section 333 of the FAA Modernization and Reform Act of 2012.  It takes approximately 120 days for this process to complete.

Once you get an exemption number from section 333, you have to register the drone with the FAA, Federal Aviation Administration, and obtain a Civil Certificate of Waiver or Authorization for each blanket airspace you intend to operate in.  Once you receive this certification, you can apply for full airspace.

The last step is to obtain your FAA Airman certificate for recreational, private, or sport pilot. In order to operate a sUAS, an individual must obtain a remote pilot certificate with a sUAS rating from the FAA.

On June 21, 2016, the ‘Small Unmanned Aircraft Rule’ was issued by the FAA, Federal Aviation Administration, and went into effect on August 29, 2016.

This ruling permits the operation of sUAS for commercial purposes, as long as the operator has complied with the other requirements. The complete text of this rule can be found on the FAA website.

In order to receive a remote pilot certificate with a sUAS rating you will need to meet eligibility requirements as follows:

  • Be 16 years old or older

    commercial-drone-operator
    Commercial drone operators must meet certain requirements.
  • Be able to read, write, and understand the English language
  • Be in mental and physical condition that allows for safe operation of the sUAS
  • Pass an initial aeronautical knowledge test

An initial remote pilot certificate with sUAS rating will cost approximately $150 US Dollars.  A remote pilot certificate holder is required to pass a test every 24 months.

The three goals that the FAA has as paramount for drone regulation is privacy, safety, and national security. Liability is also an issue that must be addressed. The noise that some drones can make is also a cause for concern, and could also potentially be regulated.

Drones can fly in difficult, unsafe environments, and for long periods of time. Drones have many uses, such as military, insurance, weather related monitoring, telecommunications, security, police work, fire fighting, and many other applications.

The FAA started accepting applications for commercial drone operations in May, 2014.  Of the first 1000 applicants, over one third were for purposes of real estate. The Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International, is a trade group that monitors the drone industry.

One specific commercial area that drones are very popular is in the field of real estate.  The photographic capabilities of drones are a perfect fit for the picture dependent  real estate industry.   Drone photography has seen a steady growth in real estate, and this trend is likely to continue.

The use of drones in real estate marketing saw a significant increase in 2016. According to industry stats, homes/properties with aerial images in their listings sold 68% faster than homes with just standard images.

Many real estate professionals jumped on this trend, using photos and videos taken with drones to catch buyers’ attention, and gain a competitive edge.

aerial-view-from-drone
Drones can create stunning aerial photos, and videos.

Drone technology allows for stunning aerial images for all types of real estate like high rises, country estates, single family homes in the suburbs, and beach front escapes.

Conventional photography of buildings, and structures is often very difficult, unsafe and/or inadequate due to their location, height, size, or condition.

Drone technology will enable the real estate photographer to take photos quickly, safely, and at low cost, that would otherwise be dangerous, expensive, or too difficult to capture.

Drone photography/videos can illuminate many aspects of a property for sale, such as: property surveys and maps, what the walk to school for the kids will be, the homes location as it relates to shopping, hotels, highways, parks, public transportation, and other amenities.

Not to mention, the surrounding neighborhood, construction in the area, and aerial pictures and views of the property itself.

But drones aren’t just great for enhancing real estate listings

Drones are also highly valuable to real estate appraisers. Appraisals of property, especially those properties where topography, forestation, and power lines are a consideration, allow for more professional, and thorough reports to lenders, which provide assurances that the property they are lending on, is as described.

Home inspectors will also benefit from the use of drones in the process of their home inspections. Drones provide a level of safety for inspecting areas that would otherwise pose physical risk such as roofs, chimneys, gutters, siding, antennas, satellites, electrical, plumbing, and anything else that may be high up, or in an unstable area.

They can then provide their customers with high-quality photos of any damage that might have been missed during a traditional inspection.

Inspectors can even stream video on a tablet or smartphone to show customers the condition of their roof and other hard-to-reach areas of their home.

Drones can also reach more remote areas that may be difficult to get to even with a 4 wheel drive vehicle, or an all terrain vehicle.  They are also much more cost effective than leasing a plane or helicopter, as well as much more versatile.

Some tough terrain makes it near impossible to find utility lines, pipelines, and make one aware of possible dangers like wildlife, rock or mud slides,  or potential avalanche in the high country.

Drones can also be programmed to monitor small to large properties against trespassers, hunters, squatters, etc.  without having to leave the comfort of home or an office.

Real estate drones can be equipped with cameras, computers, audio, and video. For real estate agents, drones can provide a view or tour of their listings that a conventional camera or video can’t.

Drone-controlled-by-tablet Real estate drones
Drones can be equipped with many devices.

Drones are particularly effective for properties by a lake or a beach, and also for properties that sit on a large lot or acreage. Drones can also provide a special client experience on the inside of homes.

Some of the negatives or drawbacks with real estate drones are:

  • Cost: although costs are decreasing as drones popularity increases, the price of a good quality drone can be prohibitive for some people.  There may also be costs incurred to store your drone,  and for occasional repairs, and maintenance.
  • Training, and licensing:  to obtain necessary training, and licensing, can be time consuming, inconvenient, and has added costs.
  • Liability: to operate a commercial drone, there are potential risks, and insurance coverage will be needed to protect against accidents, and potential lawsuits.

Real estate drones provide an opportunity for agents and investors to provide a higher value of service to their clients, and offer a more enjoyable shopping experience.

Other real estate professionals such as appraisers, and inspectors will enjoy the benefits of real estate drones in the operation of their jobs due to drone’s versatility, and safety provisions.

Commercial drones can range in price from around $100 USD for a small training type drone, to tens of thousands of dollars, depending on many factors, like size, what it’s made of, and on board technology.

Real estate drones are really multi purpose drones. So, whatever reason you want or need a drone for, or even if you want a toy drone for your kids, there are now many different drones on the market for you to choose.

 

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4 thoughts on “Real Estate Drones”

  1. I sold real estate in Colorado years ago and I can see how effective they would be utilized in that market. I wish I had one when I was selling. It would have increased my profits and cut hdown on time just waiting for inspections.
    Great article.and I’m sure you will havemany takers on this one.

    1. Hi Deborah, thank you for your comments. Yes, drones are a valuable tool for real estate agents, especially in areas like Colorado with it’s unmatched beauty.

  2. I am seriously considering buying a drone for video work, and possibly real estate video and photography work, and just to fly as a hobby. It seems the longer I wait, the cheaper they get, especially the ones made by DJI. There are so many rules and regulations that it’s hard to keep up with on top of running a freelance business so I appreciate you breaking it down.

    1. Hi Valerie, thank you for your comments. Yes, there are a lot of rules and regulations, but from a safety, and privacy standpoint, it is understandable. Good luck, Tom

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