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IMPORTANT NOTICE: The FAA came out with a new streamlined set of Pilot and Operating Rules for flying drones commercially, called “The NEW Small UAS Rule (Part 107).
The rule goes into effect on August 29th, 2016.
I’m in big favor of these changes because they streamlined the process and put into place some very sensible rules about how to use drones commercially when taking Photos and Videos.
What does this mean for real estate agents? Continue reading this guide to learn everything you need to know before using and investing into drones for your business.
Drones 101 for Real Estate Agents
Let’s talk terminology.
We all call them drones but they are in fact really called UAV‘s, or Unmanned Aerial Vehicles.
If you do decide to use drones you’ll become familiar with the term UAV because that’s what the FAA calls them.
We know drones can do awesome stuff so let’s begin with an awesome virtual tour video using drone footage.
There are a lot of real estate agents and video production companies across the United States which are putting together some really cool videos and virtual tours using them.
Here’s another cool video using a drone from Real Estate Sales Force. These guys are very cool and serious about using Drones for their real estate business. CLICK HERE to check them out.
Drones are just another form of technology. In this case a drone can mount a high definition camera on it’s base so that it can capture stunning aerial video and photos for your listings.
But like all other technologies, it can only work if you know how to use it correctly.
When used correctly, an agent can position themselves as a true expert in “listings marketing” by using aerial photos and video AS PART OF an overall Listings Marketing Plan.
Notice that I capitalized the words “AS PART OF” a Listings Marketing Plan.
Drone videos and photos alone are not going to make impact most agents desire, which is, more listings.
Rather, a real estate agent needs a complete listings marketing system, which includes the following:
- Professional real estate photography.
- Professional real estate video/virtual tours.
- Professional single property webpages (both branded and non branded).
- A system for managing buyer/agent feedback.
- A plan for managing the listing over the first 30 days on the market.
- A system in place for keeping the sellers in constant communication with buyer feedback and all marketing efforts.
- A plan in place for all other marketing activities for marketing the listing (which begins on day one).
Providing aerial photos and video footage is simply one piece of your overall listings marketing plan. But because it’s so visual and cool, it really makes a big impact with your sellers.
Drones, Real Estate Agents, and the FAA
Every real estate agent should be aware that there are legalities, rules, and certifications for complying with if a drone, or UAV, is to be used in a “COMMERCIAL” application.
In real estate, we are using drones in a commercial application because the photos and videos taken with a drone are used for marketing a property.
This a commercial application.
Therefore, you should become familiar with the FAA, the Federal Aviation Administration. They have taken a very direct stance on regulating how drones (UAV’s) are used.
The FAA breaks it down like this. If you “Fly for Fun” there are some very simple and practical rules for how, when, and where you can operate your drone.
If you “Fly for Work”, then the following requirements listed next are needed. You also go directly to the FAA website on the page regarding drones to get this info CLICK HERE to access.
The FAA Guidelines for using drones (UAV’s) in a commercial application
- Pilot Requirements: You must have a Remote Pilot Airman Certificate and pass a TSA vetting test.
- Drone/Aircraft Requirements: The drone must weigh less than 55lbs. And you must undergo a pre-flight check before flying. (if the drone weighs more than 55lbs then it must be registered with the FAA)
- Location: Must operate within Class G airspace.
- Operating Rules: You must keep the drone within your line of sight. Must fly at or under 400ft. Must fly at or under 100 mph. Must NOT fly over people unless you have a waiver. Must not fly from a moving vehicle.
- Legal/Regulatory Stuff: Title 14 of the Code of Federal Regulation (14 CFR) Part 107.
The FAA created a page on it’s website called “Getting Started”. This page gives you all the info you need to get everything legal with them so that you can start flying your drone legally in a commercial application.
These new rules are a huge relief from the very cumbersome rules the FAA had prior. They were so bad that for my own business, Agent Redefined Media a real estate video and photo production company, I DID NOT to use any aerial footage from drones until these new regulations and rules were released in July of 2016.
Now with the new streamlined rules I plan on using drones and adding aerial footage into our virtual tours and photo packages for real estate agents, YAY.
Once you get into full compliance with the FAA rules you’re ready to fly and start using your drone for your virtual tours and aerial real estate photography shots.
What if you want drone footage and shots, but don’t want to buy one or learn how to use it?
There are a lot of companies and individuals who are offering video and aerial photogarphy services throughout the country. It’s a booming business right now. If you look you should be able to find someone locally who can produce your aerial shots for you.
You will just want to make sure they are in compliance with all the FAA rules and check their portfolio of work.
If they don’t have a portfolio to share, then ask the drone operator to do one for FREE so that you can check out the quality of his/her work.
The market for drones is flooded with plenty manufacturers to choose from. If you’re going to take the plunge and purchase one then you should at least check out DJI first. They make some of the most reliable drones you can buy and they are competitively priced. When I purchase my next drone (the DJI Inspire with the X5 Zenmuse camera) it will another DJI.
Go to their website www.DJI.com
VIDEO: Here is a cool video I found from the Cornerstone Real Estate Group using a DJI Inspire 1.
The Right Way to Make a Virtual Tour for your Listings
Just shooting a video with a drone doesn’t make your virtual tour awesome instantaneously. You still have to create a great virtual tour and that will include both the exterior and the interior.
Your aerial footage for most listings should only consist of the opening and closing/ending scenes of your virtual tour. The body, or whole, of your virtual tour video will be the actual interior of the home.
A good virtual tour should take be a progression through the property starting on the front exterior and then working into the living/family rooms, then to the kitchen area, on to the bedrooms/bathrooms, and finishing off the interior with bonus rooms, sun rooms, and/or finished basements. The ending scenes should show off the back yard and then the final scene wraps up the tour at the beginning where is all began, the front.
In this virtual tour that I created you’ll see a progression take place with the introduction including the agent and the front exterior. Then the video progresses inside covering the first floor to the second floor and wrapping up in the backyard.
The first scenes of the exterior shot using a drone can provide some very dramatic views which will surely peak the viewers interest. If the property is located on a large piece of land with lots of great exterior features then your opening scene will have more aerial shots of it to show off.
The ending scenes of a virtual tour will show off the back yard and the special features it contains.
When creating a virtual tour keep one rule in mind: Do with video what the professional photography cannot do.
To use video correctly you want to show the property in ways that the pictures simply cannot. This means you can take sweeping 90 to 180 degree video shots. If you have a room with vaulted ceilings or a very large backyard, video can be used to show off these spaces in a three dimensional way.
Ultimately, you want to create a video that buyers and homeowners will enjoy and can appreciate.
If done correctly it will open up more doors, more opportunity, and more leads for your business. Nothing shows off your marketing skills to clients better than Professional Photography and Virtual Tours of your listings. This is exactly why using visuals can be a powerful weapon in your marketing war chest.
Where to Start Next?
Using virtual tours for your listings will require an investment in marketing dollars on your part. The first step is to ask yourself one single question…..
What is the end goal, or objective, for using the virtual tours in your business?
You should have a clear goal in mind first. The only way to make virtual tours work in your business is if you know how to use them as a marketing tool which will create a better value proposition and experience for your homeowners and buyers.
If done correctly it’s a pure game changer for your business which set you apart from the rest the competition.
If you have questions on where to begin leave them below in the comment section.
See you on the next article, podcast, video, or live event….