Capture d’écran 2016-08-24 à 17.03.44

Image courtesy of Sky Vantage aerial real estate photography.

Unless you’re blessed with your own helicopter, or you happen to know a giant professional photographer, you might want to think about using a drone for your aerial real estate photography.

What is a drone?

A drone is essentially an unmanned aircraft, or to give them their full name, an unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV). They can be controlled remotely or fly autonomously, and demand is increasing rapidly. Up until recently, they were primarily associated with military activity, however, UAVs are now being used for all kinds of activity, from traffic monitoring to parcel delivery.

In the US, a recent study discovered that 44% of realtors use drones for their real estate photography. A further 18% stated that were intending to start using drones in the future.

UAVs are cheaper than you’d think, with entry-level models, such as the Syma X5-sc1, starting at around $45 (€40). However, if you’re looking to take some high quality images, then perhaps consider the DJI Phantom 3, which comes equipped with a 12 megapixel camera. It’s also a lot easier to fly due to its stabilisation technology.

The pricier models also allow you to take video footage, which can be edited without a great level of expertise. Just like a usual camera, any footage is stored on an SD card, so it’s easily transferable to your property listings.

Why use them?

As you’ll already know, aerial views enable potential buyers to fully appreciate the scale of a property. It helps them to understand the overall plot and learn how the building fits into its local environment.

It may also be useful to take take some images of the surrounding amenities, as maps can be difficult to contextualise.

Check your local laws

There are several national (and regional) laws governing the use of drones, so do check with your appropriate organisation before getting started. In most countries, you’ll need to apply for a permit to operate a UAV for commercial activities. In the US, the FAA sets out various rules which need to be adhered to. These include:


  • Always fly under 400 feet of ground level, or a structure.
  • Keep the drone within sight (of you, or an observer).
  • Only fly during the day.
  • Keep speeds below 100 mph.

And, of course, do check with neighbours before taking images which could include part of their property.

If you’d rather leave it to the experts, there are hundreds of professionals that can take and edit footage for you. Generally, all of these will be cheaper than hiring a helicopter.

Drone photography is here to stay and it certainly increases your real estate marketing potential. Maybe you could be the first in your area to offer it?