If you aren’t using video and drones in real estate yet, you should start. While video should be used to market any business, the real estate industry has so much to gain because of its visual product.

  • Agents using video on their websites increase conversation rates.
  • Droning will set you apart from other agents in showcasing properties.
  • Before you hire someone to take pictures or video with a drone, determine whether he or she meets the necessary requirements.

If you aren’t using video and drones in real estate yet, you should start. While video should be used to market any business, the real estate industry has so much to gain because of its visual product.

Renee Stoll with Big Red Media, an expert on this topic, is a former TV reporter, writer, producer and videographer. Now, she works in the real estate industry and is combining all of her skills to modernize the way agents market themselves, their expertise and their business.

In real estate, pictures are a must. But you know what’s even better? Video. Not only is video more engaging, but it’s more popular.

Now, it’s time to take it to the next level by using drone photography, with some guidance from Stoll.

Using a drone in real estate

There are so many benefits to droning in real estate.

1. It gives you the opportunity to show off a home and its surroundings from a bird’s-eye view.

2. You can set yourself apart when you post to real estate websites and social media.

3. Using still pictures from drone videos look amazing in mass flyer emails and pictures in MLS listings.

Why you should be droning

If you’re going to showcase the beauty of something, you should really showcase it through droning. Need more convincing?

1. For homes priced above $400,000, it’s becoming standard to have drone images and/or videos that show the extra mile an agent is willing to go for quality.

2. Content with relevant images and videos, whether it be your website or an email blast, get 94 percent more views.

3. Having a video on the landing page of your real estate website can get you an 86 percent customer conversion rate. 

4. When you want to show a large estate (especially waterfront) that sits on a gorgeous piece of land, shooting a picture or video on the ground will never give you the same “wow” factor — no matter how great the photographer is.

Requirements and certification

If you hire someone, make sure they have their Section 333 Exemption. You can look up their business or name at regulations.gov and see their exemption, but in case the website is not updated, a drone operator should have a letter issuing exemption.

Anyone can drone for recreational purposes; however, Stoll suggests using an experienced drone operator who understands air space.

For real estate videos, you typically don’t have to go higher than 100 feet to get great drone shots. The maximum allowed by the FAA is 400 feet.

The person flying a drone must be at least 16 years old and have a remote pilot certificate with a small UAS rating, or be directly supervised by someone with such a certificate.

To qualify for a remote pilot certificate, an individual must either pass an initial aeronautical knowledge test at an FAA-approved knowledge testing center or have an existing non-student Part 61 pilot certificate.

If qualifying under the latter provision, a pilot must have completed a flight review in the previous 24 months and must take a UAS online training course provided by the FAA. The TSA will conduct a security background check of all remote pilot applications prior to issuance of a certificate.

4 questions to ask a drone operator

1. What height levels do you take pictures?

Most drone pictures are taken at two different heights — a mid-level (30 to 50 feet) and then a higher level (50 to 100 feet). For video, you likely want the operator to shoot lifting from the ground up to get that “wow” factor.

2. What format will I get the video in?

WAV files are great, but they are very large files and will be hard to load and edit on your own. MP4 files are smaller and easier to load if you don’t have a fast computer.

3. Will you edit my video and add music or a voiceover?

4. What time of day will you take pictures or video?

Sometimes, an operator may need to do this in two separate shoots. If the large waterfront backyard is the selling point, you may want the drone operator to shoot when the sun is directly on that side of the house.

Mid-day, the sun may cause shadows.

Final droning tips

Talk to whomever you hire and make sure he or she knows exactly what your expectations are — and that you know exactly what he or she is capable of. Also, make a list of things that are important to capture and go over, so you get your points across.

Christina Nicholson is a former TV reporter and anchor who now owns and operates a public relations firm, Media Maven. She also recently launched Master your PR –t an online course that teaches small business owners how to handle public relations on their own. Christina also has a local lifestyle and family blog, Mascara Maven. She lives in South Florida with her husband and two young children.

Email Christina Nicholson

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