Long ago, in the winter of 2013, Amazon sold the possibility of commercialized drone fulfillment to the masses in the form of Amazon Prime Air. Although general consensus may agree that the official Youtube video that showcased the fulfillment process is a great example of modern day vaporware, Amazon was able to let the desired ripple effect influence other industries who find drone technology a little less cost prohibitive. Currently across the US, we are seeing more and more instances of brokerages and real estate agents who are able to incorporate drone tech into data collection and effective marketing campaigns.
In Peoria, Illinois, realty agent Mark Monge uses a DJI Phantom II drone to photograph and record his properties in the area. The craft, which can be flown by using a remote control and smartphone app set up, has the ability to capture and beam high-def video and RAW image files over Wi-Fi connection as well as give real time in-flight telemetry.
“Every time I’ve gotten out of the car to fire this gizmo up it has turned heads and sparked a lot of curiosity,” said Monge.
In Northern Santa Fe, New Mexico, Realtor Brian Tercero uses his drone to provide clients with the essence of a property’s surroundings, a huge and oft overlooked aspect of a property’s description. He finds that offering these fly-by videos as a premium service satiates the hunger of his most inquisitive clients. Buyers who may be planning to relocate or who live abroad benefit greatly from the use of a drone’s video capture.
“Flying over (the property) adds a whole other dimension,” Tercero said. “It’s powerful. And it was instrumental in getting the buyer to bite.”
Drones for the Future of Real Estate
What seems to be the next wave in real estate tech, however, doesn’t come without some caveats. Drones for commercial use require authorization from the Federal Aviation Administration, but the agency right now doesn’t have a clear cut set of regulations instated at this time. The FAA ‘s motion to fine a drone pilot from Virginia $10,000 for “reckless endangerment” was recently struck down by a judge for the National Transportation Safety Board, stating that the FAA’s reach does not extend to UAV’s (unmanned aerial vehicles).
However, the FAA and Congress plan to have drone regulations set in place as early as September of 2015. Until then, most Realtors utilizing drones are technically operating within a grey area that has some privacy advocates up in arms. Many people from organizations such as the ACLU feel that privacy is compromised when private entities use drones to profit. Large swaths of land can be recorded and movement of unsuspecting individuals can be tracked without consent. With privacy being a hot button topic in the news, it will be interesting to see where different government agencies will draw the lines in the sand when it comes to commercial data collection.
In the interim, real estate agents, and folks from all industry for that matter, are literally taking control of the possibilities that unmanned flight can afford them.