Drone Imaging: Is It Right for Your Listing?

By February 12, 2021 Blog No Comments
drone imaging

At HouseLens, we obviously believe in the selling power of drone imaging.

At the same time, we don’t believe in wasting money on marketing that doesn’t work for your listing. And the reality is that drone imaging is not right for every property. In some cases, a ground-level shoot is all you need, and it’s best to save your drone money for other marketing purposes (Facebook ad campaign, anyone?).

How do you know which situation is which? Here’s a handy guide.

Say Yes to Drone Imaging If…

You’re listing a waterfront property. From a practical standpoint, a drone is the only affordable way to produce video of the water-side approach to the property. From an emotional standpoint, nothing beats the drama of a fly-in over a sparkling lake or seaside breakers. Drone will also help you show where the home is situated in relation to the water, which is an important factor in the buying decision.

The “house” is actually a farm or estate. For buyers of farms or estates, the main residence is only half of the equation. The size of the parcel, its topography, and the location of agricultural or luxury features (barns, ponds, pool, guest house, etc.) are also crucial to the buying decision. Drone imaging is the only affordable way to provide the property data these prospective buyers need.

The home is part of a multifamily or planned community. As with farms and estates, buyers considering a home in a multifamily or planned community aren’t just thinking about the house. They’re also drawn to the community itself, particularly the amenities. So providing context is a marketing essential. Drone imaging is the perfect way to show all the amenities at a glance, as well as where each home is situated in relation to pools, dog parks, clubhouses, and more.

You’re selling empty land. Whether you’re selling significant acreage or an empty lot in the middle of a city, drone imaging is useful for marketing land. It provides a quick, comprehensive look at the property and (in the case of urban land) context for the location. In fact, where empty land is concerned, drone imaging will often provide all the imaging you need.

Skip the Drone Imaging If…

The property has condition issues. Drone imaging provides a clear view of features – such as the house roof or far corners of land – that can otherwise be hard to inspect. If these features are not in excellent condition, making them available via drone imaging can work against you. The exception is a property where condition is irrelevant – for instance, if you are selling to investors who are going to tear down the existing structure and build something new in its place.

The home is located in an urban or suburban neighborhood. Drone imaging is not always the best choice for properties in close-packed neighborhoods. You will end up capturing nearby homes as well, which can lead to confusion about which property is for sale. If neighboring properties have any condition issues, buyers will see them and, by extension, may form a negative impression of your listing. Flying a drone in tight quarters can also raise privacy and safety concerns – you don’t want to become the next headline because the drone landed on a neighbor’s car (or, worse, pet or child).

The property is in a no-fly zone. Most communities have no-fly zones, usually near ports, airports, military bases, and government buildings. Some cities also prohibit drone use within their downtown cores. If your listing is in one of these areas, your drone pilot may be able to obtain an FAA exemption to fly at a reduced altitude. Otherwise, you’ll have to pass on the drone imaging. In these situations, elevated photography can be an affordable – and legal -alternative.

One final note: keep in mind that drone use is highly regulated by the FAA, which is a federal agency. The penalties for violating FAA drone regulations are steep, up to $10,000 per occurrence. If you’re a repeat offender, the FAA can even force you to close your business.

So how do you make sure you don’t run afoul of the law? If you’re flying the drone yourself, visit the FAA’s online drone information center and ensure that you comply with all the requirements. If you’re hiring a drone provider, make sure they have an FAA certification, have registered their equipment, and carry appropriate insurance.

Check all these boxes, and you’ll be ready to level up your marketing with drone imaging!

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