If you’ve been viewing homes for sale online, you’ve most likely seen a few homes that were photographed using a drone. Technological advances have made it efficient and cost effective to take pictures and videos from a drone, aka Unmanned Aerial Systems (UAS). Real estate agents working with residential, commercial, and land parcels can now benefit from the images and information obtained from using drones and they’re beginning to be more commonplace in the market. The images taken can also be an incredible tool for potential homeowners moving from a different city, buying a home second home, or trying to streamline the research process before previewing the property in person. 

For residential properties, aerial images and videos are often the only way to showcase the entire context of a property – its surroundings, proximity to neighbors, etc. Traditional photography simply doesn’t capture the scale and size of a home or large parcels of land. My real estate team has used drone photography and video to show not only the home and land itself, but sometimes the entire community surrounding the home. It can certainly give you a different perspective of the property.

Having said that, I think a good thing can be overused. I really don’t need to see nine photos of the roof and every angle of the exterior. It irritates me to see a new home come on the market and the first twenty-one photos are of the exterior. Just because you can shoot it from the sky, doesn’t mean you should. Marketing experts will tell you there should be some allure to draw you into the home and it’s not necessary to show every detail. You simply want to highlight the beautiful features of the home and thereby create a desire among potential homebuyers to see more of it in person. Getting them into the home is the key to getting it sold.

I typically like to use drone photography on large properties that have acreage. It’s a fantastic tool to really showcase what the property looks like without having to drive out there. Here’s two examples of homes we shot using drone photography and video at 13435 N Farley Road and 18765 273 Highway Platte City, Missouri 64079. Both of these videos were heavily shared on social media and attracted a great deal of attention for our sellers properties.

It truly amazes me how quickly drone video and photography has taken over other segments of the real estate industry outside of residential real estate sales. Insurance companies and roofing companies now use drones to inspect damaged roofs, all while standing safely on the ground. The hi-resolution detail of the video and photos allows an inspector to inspect the roof for hail and wind damage without ever stepping foot onto a steep roof.

A few weeks ago, Pyramid Roofing replaced one of my clients roofs do to hail damage and the superintendent texted me drone photos of the roof before, during, and after the full roof replacement. We were due to close the sale of this home in several days and having the photos allowed me to forward them to the buyers agent and the buyers lender to prove the roof had been replaced. I must confess this was pretty cool and it definitely saved me time. 

Mike Raymond, chief pilot at Sky-Cam, gets a significant part of their drone business from large commercial roofing contractors. Companies pay Sky-Cam to inspect their roofs and provide proof of potential damage. Sky-Cam is one of the leading innovators in drone video and photography and they save their clients thousands of dollars per year. In a recent conversation, Mike described a job for a pool coatings manufacturer that ended up netting the company an additional $40,000 in revenue. The pool coatings company bid out a very large commercial pool job based primarily on the architectural blueprint renderings, but after completion realized they’d coated a much larger space than originally planned. Because of the mapping software that Sky-Cam uses, the company had definitive proof of the actual square footage and was able to recoup an additional $40,000 for the job.

With any new technology comes the rush to capitalize on it financially and drones are gaining new ground every year. Movie makers, real-estate agents, criminal-defense lawyers and farmers are among at least 68 groups with a newfound interest. I guess real estate agents are not the only ones using this new technology. It will be interesting to see what new niche businesses are created in the next few years.