UAV’s Changing the Way We Think About Real Estate

The online age has fundamentally transformed the way we do business, buy goods and seek services, and an era of disruption has arisen as eCommerce expands beyond online to existing sectors.

The field of real estate is set to undergo some significant changes in years ahead as a result. In fact, it’s already well underway! Let’s look now at what’s changed and what changes are ahead surrounding Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAV) drones.

UAVs and Real Estate

Long gone are the days of real estate listings being only done via the newspaper classifieds. Today 360 degree panoramas and video tours are the standard offerings from many realtors. These mediums have given potential home buyers and investors the opportunity to have a ‘virtual tour’ of the home, and the opportunity to see in detail all its features and finery.

Great as the advent of this tech was, until now the outside of a property and its surrounds received far more limited attention. This is what makes the greater use of UAV tech so exciting. UAV can provide you a previously unforeseen view of that apartment you’re considering buying in Bermondsey, London, just the same as it can give you a sweeping view of the acreage you’re pondering in Snohomish County in Seattle. Even for smaller and more routine property listings, a UAV offers the chance to see the listing in a new way. 

An example of the type of aerial shot that can be obtained using a drone. Picture: supplied.

An example of the type of aerial shot that can be obtained using a drone. Picture: supplied.

Sounds Good but Do I Need a License to Fly a UAV?

Though the growth of UAV technology has allowed for innovation, it has also come with challenges. This is especially so as though the current owner of a property may have no issue with the realtor flying their drone around it to get an aerial perspective and the accompanying footage, neighbours or other locals may protest their privacy is being breached. After all, fences and gates are little use as barriers when drones now take to the sky.

Beyond concerns of privacy alone, UAVs also have given rise to security challenges surrounding military bases and airports, as well as the potential for hobbyists to interfere (internationally or accidentally) with the work of emergency services like police and paramedics. While everyone can agree some regulation needs to be in place, finding widespread consensus as to the fair and reasonable use of UAV is no easy task.

The Federal Aviation Authority [FAA] in the U.S. is currently reviewing a task force report in anticipation of making a more widespread recommendation for nationwide laws on UAVs.  At the same time, it’s unclear if it will be the final word,  as various efforts at the state level in the U.S. have seen a the debate rage back and forth. While curbing intrusive uses of UAVs is surely necessary, it’s also certain they do have immense potential to drive business and commercial growth.

Accordingly, many governments have enacted new laws for UAVs that place some tight restrictions, but nonetheless have made the process relatively straightforward for a realtor seeking to take to the skies and get some footage to complement a prestige listing. Therefore, while this is a debate to keep an eye on, for a local real estate agency’s purpose, its highly unlikely any change now or into the future.


The Future of Drones in Real Estate

Using a UAV to get some outstanding pictures or film of your property listing is easy once you know how to fly.

Using a UAV to get some outstanding pictures or film of your property listing is easy once you know how to fly.


Looking ahead,  the prospect of passenger drones on the horizon such as the Ehang 184 AAV affirms there remains much evolution to occur in the world of UAVs.
The flow on effects for real estate could be immense, as while drones today give fantastic footage, a passenger drone could offer a potential buyer the chance for a fly over so they see it with their own eyes. There’s a ton of hurdles that remain before something like a passenger drone gets up in air, but many industries will await it keenly.

In the meantime, for realtors seeking to gain a UAV advantage, there’s many on the market that are user friendly. There’s many models out there featuring quality cameras, starting at around $300USD for a Parrot Bebop drone. There is also the DJI Phantom 3 Standard model, the professional model, and the 3D Robotics 3DR Solo for a little more change. All up, UAVs can be a really affordable but impactful investment piece for any realtor looking to make their listing stand out.  

True, there’s more to the proces than just getting the drone up in air – such as ensuring you film in suitable lighting conditions beforehand and use good editing software (whether paid or free to acquire) to put the film together – but once you’ve the hang of operating a UAV these challenges that follow can be pretty easy to navigate, and the potential for a UAV to really boost your agency’s business is substantial.


Ed Kennedy is a journalist, ghostwriter, and web developer from Melbourne, Australia. Contact Ed via on Skype or LinkedIn.

#Real Estate and Finance

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