How Drones are Changing Aerial Photography in Real Estate


The evolution of aerial drone photography and video is helping agents sell properties quicker. According to MLS statistics, homes with aerial images sold 68 percent faster than homes with standard images. ­­ Drones are making this possible by:

  • Making aerial photography accessible to nearly any marketing budget.
  • Capturing features that standard photography can’t.
  • Selling a lifestyle to the potential buyer.

Real estate agents are able to sell properties more effectively by utilizing drone photography and video. What used to be a specialty marketing package is now the standard in effectively marketed real estate listings.

Drone Photography is Accessible at all Price Points

Aerial photography used to be taken by a photographer from a hired plane or helicopter. This required a plane charter, an elaborate set-up, and very expensive technology. When drones with high-quality 4­­K cameras became available, many professionals were under the impression they would immediately revolutionize the aerial photography industry; however, when the FAA only issued a vague and liability-ridden, confusing set of guidelines, many agents and marketing agencies stayed away from drone photography.

In 2015, the FAA issued official drone regulations. Drones for commercial use must be under 55 pounds and operated by a licensed “remote pilot airman.” The licensing costs under $200 and can be completed online. Under these new, clear, and inexpensive regulations, the FAA is issuing more than 500 drone licenses per month. 50 percent of these permits cite photography as the primary use. Now, professional aerial photography can cost as little as $250 per shoot and is no longer reserved only for multi-million dollar properties with elaborate marketing packages.

With a newly affordable price tag, drone aerial photography is now part of real estate agent marketing packages at all price points. Drones have brought what was once reserved for high price tag properties to listings of all price points.

Drone Photography Captures Everything in the First Shot

Drone photography allows real estate agents to showcase the entire property, and all its exterior selling features, in a single shot that receives that coveted 20 seconds of focus. What used to take several photos, which research shows most buyers won’t bother scrolling through, drones can capture in a single shot.

Researchers at the Institute for Behavioral and Experimental Real Estate tracked the eye movements of buyers browsing real estate online. They found that 95 percent of viewers spent the most time focused on that first exterior photo. After focusing on the main photo for 20 seconds, their eyes “tended to flit all over the screen.” Now that over 90 percent of buyers are starting their search online, and will only be presented with that first photo, choosing that first photo is even more important.

Drone photography can capture:

  • Outdoor Entertainment Zones
  • Expansive Land
  • Pools + Landscaping
  • Water Features
  • Proximity to Local Amenities

If any of these features are the main selling points of the property you are marketing, real estate agents should be sure to feature them in the first shot. Listing agents no longer have to risk buyers scrolling right past a home that is perfect for them just because they didn’t see the pool of their dreams in the first shot.

Drone Photography and Video Sells a Lifestyle

Drone photography and video can capture the feeling of a property and the surrounding area. Area descriptions that used to only be found in the remarks section can now be conveniently captured by drone footage and placed in the photos . This is important because as the Institute for Behavioral and Experimental Real Estate found, online buyers spent 60 percent of their time on photos, 20 percent on the property description, and 20 percent on the remarks section. Drones can capture all area descriptions that used to reside at the end of the MLS remarks, and place it front and center in the photos, where buyers spend 60 percent of their time.

Hiring the Right Drone Photographer

Join the real estate agents who sell their listings 68 percent faster by hiring a professional drone photographer for your next listing. Learn from the experts at Hometrack Real Estate Marketing how to prepare your new listing for a drone photography shoot here.