Buying a drone could be an excellent investment for a real estate agent depending on their specific market and their own capabilities. Basing it on experience, Buffalo Homes founder Matthew Digati says that drones are excellent for showing neighborhoods, large plots of land, or getting interesting perspectives of the property. He claims that if you mostly work in densely populated areas, however, many drone shots will simply show how close the neighbors are or how little space the property might actually have.
Another thing to consider is that you will need to obtain your Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Part 107 License in order to operate a drone for commercial use. You will need to study and learn quite a bit about air traffic patterns, then pass a test in order to be able to fly for Real Estate purposes. You will then need to reapply for the license every 2 years. If this seems like too much work, you might be better suited just to hire a local photographer that offers drone services.
These, according to Digati, are just some of the considerations for real estate agents when it comes to buying and/or using a drone. For us to further understand the subject, as well as dissect its pros and cons, we have talked to a couple more experts in the field about whether this gadget is worth investing in. Here are their thoughts:
Reasons Why Realtors Should Buy and Use a Drone
In Bill Samuel’s opinion, if you are an active full-time agent then you should be using drone photos for specific listings. He advises that when you are working on the listing and touring the property with the seller you should be making a list of selling features of the home.
After you review the list you will notice that specific features would best be illustrated online with drone photos. For example, if the subject property has a large lot size or is within walking distance to great schools using drone photos would be a great way to highlight these selling features.
Samuel, a residential real estate developer and founder of Blue Ladder Development, adds that since there is no doubt that using drone photos will be a necessity, at some point you have to make the decision to buy a drone or hire a professional to do the photos. If you think drone photos are something you will be using regularly in your listings, then it probably makes the most sense to purchase your own.
Thoughts on Why Real Estate Agents Should NOT Buy a Drone
The use of drones in real estate has increased drastically in the past few years. This claim comes from Vishal Gupta, a real estate agent and the owner of We Buy Houses In The Triangle, pointing out how these airborne crafts provide an unrivaled ability to take aerial photos of properties and neighborhoods. In hindsight, these photos can increase the marketability of the target home greatly.
Buying and operating a drone that can provide the necessary high-quality photos is a debate that many have. However, in order to use the photos commercially, the operator must obtain a license from the FAA, or risk being fined thousands of dollars per photo if caught without a license.
Although using your own drone can potentially save you money, it is likely the best option for an agent to not go through the process of being able to use their own drone. The amount of time, energy, and money required are likely best used in other aspects of their business. Time is the largest component, as you would need to take pictures and edit them to get the most appealing photos.
In addition, being able to take great artistic photos is a skill, and one many people think they have, but really do not. Instead, using your time to prospect for more business, or advertising the upcoming listing would lead to better results for your clients and business in general. Is it better to save $300-$400 or get a new client and earn $6,000 in the same period of time?
To Sum It Up
Jules Borbely, a Strategic Real Estate Advisor for Real Estate Bees and a Certified Board Representative, wraps it up and puts these things in perspective. He believes it makes sense for some real estate professionals to invest in drones, but they need to examine a few factors.
First of all, drones are not allowed everywhere. So, if you work in New York City, for example, your drone usage will be very limited and on those rare occasions when you do want to use it, it is easier to just hire someone who does this for a living.
An agent must also consider the cost of buying a drone, maintaining it, the technical skills that are required to operate it, and editing the video. It takes a significant amount of time to learn and master these new skills.
Depending on their business and the stage of their career, it might not be the best use of time. They could just hire a professional who does better quality work while they can spend that time meeting with clients instead.
Although Borbely likes and supports the idea of agents being able to do everything, sometimes it is better to just focus on real estate transactions instead and outsource everything else. On the other hand, if you are a newer agent, just starting out, a drone could be a perfect way to differentiate yourself and get more business.