By: Matt Murphy, CMO of Chime Technologies
Drone technology is poised to transform the way a wide range of industries operate, whether it’s Amazon’s plan to create “beehives” that serve as hubs for delivery drones or journalists who use drones to get footage of events that may be hard to film, like natural disasters or crime scenes. Real estate is no exception, with some agents claiming that drones are the most important new technology to enter real estate marketing since the internet. That’s a big claim, but a justified one.
Bird’s Eye View
Drones are emerging as the latest marketing weapon for real estate because they enable agents to integrate dramatic camera photography and video tours into online listings. Today’s home buyers do significant amounts of research and searching online, often before they contact an agent. According to the National Association of Realtors, nine in 10 home buyers rely on the internet as one of their primary research sources and around half turn to the web as their first step. When they arrive at online listings, they expect to see detailed visual content.
Buyers don’t want to waste time visiting a property if they don’t like how it looks, which means that a compelling online presence—complete with professional photography and detailed information—is critical. Even an experienced agent with beautiful properties to sell will have a hard time engaging prospects if their online listings do not include high-quality visuals. Furthermore, real estate is a competitive field and agents have to do whatever they can to stand out and deliver the best possible experience to their clients. Drones can help agents accomplish all of these goals.
Drones can essentially be used as flying cameras for photos and videos. Real estate photographers can use the technology to produce sweeping shots of landscapes, oceans, and mountain vistas, as well as seamless fly-arounds of home exteriors. That imagery is attention-grabbing and memorable, showing off homes to their best possible advantage. Consider a home buyer who is browsing listings and sees one with a static photo of a back yard while another home listing has drone video footage that circles the property, showing off the acreage, a 360-degree view of the home, and any other assets, like a garden or pool. Which listing is going to stand out?
That said, a drone will never be able to shoot all the photography and video needed to market a listing. There are certain types of images that a flying camera is not well suited for. For example, carefully-focused, fixed position photography, meaning shots that are designed to avoid an unpleasant feature or to help a room or yard appear larger.
The ability to capture interior drone footage will soon be available as drones become even smaller and more lightweight. Agents will be able to fly drones inside a home and navigate easily around trees and buildings. This amazing footage can then be live-streamed to their website or Facebook, which is another reason why drone technology represents such as game-changer for the real estate industry.
Virtual Open Houses
Open houses are another way drones will transform real estate. Open houses are core part of the process of buying/selling real estate because few customers are willing to make a purchase without first walking through the property themselves. Less than one in five buyers makes an offer without first seeing a house in person, according to a Redfin survey. However, the reality is that open houses can be kind of a pain. They are displacing for the properties’ current owners, who have to leave their homes whenever an open house is scheduled, keep them pristine over time, and put away their valuables. Open houses can raise concerns over security risks as well.
On the buyer side, open houses can also be a nuisance. They have to clear time in their schedules to visit properties, which depending on factors like work and childcare, can be difficult. And if they live out of the area, all that driving can be time-consuming and expensive. This is particularly bothersome if they arrive at a property to discover it’s not at all what they want.
To keep up in today’s real estate market, agents need to stay ahead of the technology curve. Drones can help any real estate professional kick their listings into high gear and offer a more convenient experience for buyers and sellers, while also saving themselves time. It won’t be long before listings with drone footage and virtual open houses are the norm, and this will make the real estate sales cycle more efficient for everyone.