If you see a tiny helicopter hovering over a home for sale, don’t be alarmed. It may be the latest example of drones being used for local businesses. Real estate companies are beginning to use Unmanned Aircraft Systems, better known as drones, to give potential home buyers bird’s-eye views of properties with a quick fly-by.
Coconut Creek-based Above It All Video is using drones, or “aerial photography platforms” to shoot video and still photos for real estate marketing. Local realtors have already used the drones for selling luxury properties, and the feedback is good from most of them. “It’s an incredible way to showcase larger properties with nice views - like waterfront and golf course homes,” said a licensed real estate agent. “At this point, it’s unique and it makes people pause and say, 'Wow, I need to check this out.'”
Bret Brown, a realtor in Virginia, recently used a drone to capture the aerial view of a property for sale. Flying over the lot, the drone’s camera shows the large driveway, three-car garage, extensive back yard, and outdoor pool that come with the $3.5 million price tag. “It just shows the landscaping and how the house is situated on the lot. It gives a totally different perspective,” Brown says.
Right now, drones are being used primarily for high-end properties, where acres of land and outdoor amenities such as tennis and basketball courts or a pool can be accentuated to a potential buyer. “You really have to have a spectacular property，” says Marc Infeld of Coldwell Banker. Infeld says he expects the use of drones in the real estate industry to increase as the technology improves and more agents are trained to use it. “It will definitely become more integrated into real estate as drone technology continues to evolve,” Infeld says.
Still, there could be potential legal issues. “I think there are some gray areas as far as copyright laws are concerned,” says Infeld, explaining that people own the rights to all images of their private property. Also, the use of unmanned aerial systems for commercial purposes is banned by the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration — although rarely enforced.