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When you arrive at a shoot in Texas you never truly know what to expect. It not uncommon for us to shoot a downtown Fort Worth condo, run off to a Keller suburban home with a wonderful pool in the back yard, then spend the afternoon in a rural community like Stephenville documenting a ranch. That’s why the DJI Mavic 2 Pro drone is always with me. I view my drone as another one of the 5 types of cameras in my kit. Surprisingly, I use it every day.
Drone images and video are key element in delivering comprehensive quality line of services to Real Estate Professionals.
Luckily, we are in Texas! Texas is one of the first states to allow drones for Real Estate. It took me a while to learn to fly it. I haven’t crashed it into a roof or had an arborist climb a tree and knock it down in years. In 7 years of flying, we have purchased 9 drones, and the first 6 were purchased within the first 3 years. Offering drone services are not inexpensive and you must invest in learning new skills and education.
In a suburban location I use a low altitude residential drone flight to capture the front of the home and the pool in one shot. Drone shots are a must for homes with a bit of acreage, farm, ranch and lake properties. They are also important in city areas like condos, where proximity to shops and parks are important. A drone is especially handy for home exteriors that tower over the street on a hill, it prevents that awkward scary house tilted up look. The drone can make the beautiful straight on money shot of the home without distortion.
While real estate drones are typically used for bird’s-eye stills or hard-to-capture home exterior shots, you can also use drones to shoot video. Nothing tickles me more than the drama a drone adds to the opening of a video. I love skimming the pool and making a quick rise to show the rear of the home the launching to the community area view when ending a video. Drone is just awesome for video.
In our business model we treat drone as another add-on with the cost based on altitude and flight time. A low altitude residential drone where we are capturing the home and its features like a pool, is a low-cost standard add-on adding a few minutes to the time on location. It’s one of my favorite ways to capture community amenities like buildings, pool and play grounds. Lakefront and ranch take a bit more time and we fly up to 400 ft and we price it accordingly.
Just like all photography drone images require the same care and attention in processing to achieve professional results. We photoshop out humans, pets and cars to protect the privacy of the community and neighbors. To make a drone image more informative we’ll place a locator pin on the roof of the subject home and draw lines that approximating the property boundaries.
Here is the regulatory local, State and Federal laws side of flying an unmanned aircraft you should consider when working with your pilot.
Federal regulations prohibit drone pilots from flying over humans, near an airport, or 400 feet above ground level. Your pilot must maintain a visual line of sight with the craft, and fly only during daylight hours, and not operate the craft from a moving vehicle.
Wind speed is critical to the ability to safely fly. Most small crafts cannot launch when the wind exceeds 12 miles per hour, if it's raining, snowing or if the terrain is not acceptable for flight.
Even if you have requested a drone flight your pilot may not be able to fly the drone due to nearby airports, FAA Temporary Flight Restrictions, prohibited areas, tree coverage, or power lines.
Another thing to consider is Home Owner Association Regulations that prohibit drone photography of the community and cranky neighbors with guns; again, were in Texas ya'all. These are issues that only the client commissioning the work and the property owner can address. While rare, it happens.
Drone photography and video should be a part of your product offering as it adds another dimension to the product and services you offer clients. It’s a powerful marketing and branding tool that can set you apart. However, take the necessary steps to find the right pilot that offers experience and professional processing. Work with them researching the location and weather before you schedule the flight.