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Drones in Real Estate

Using Drones in the Real Estate Business

Since the dawning of the digital age, technology has radically changed the way real estate properties are bought and sold. Home buyers no longer have to wait until the Sunday newspaper listings or until an open house in order to learn details about a particular property.  Today, it is easy to browse real estate listings online any time of the day or night.

Home sellers are also using far more sophisticated tools to market their listings. Forward-thinking real estate agents now employ a wide range of digital marketing strategies in conjunction with the traditional open houses. The latest technology that is being rapidly deployed in the real estate business is drones.

In 2016, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) relaxed its guidelines regarding drone usage in the U.S., making them far easier to use in the real estate industry. Since then, they have begun to take the industry by storm. A growing number of real estate agents are now using drones as part of their marketing strategy, incorporating them in the creation of video footage that is used to provide a virtual tour of the property.

Many in the real estate industry believe that drones are the most important new technology for marketing a home since the internet, and it is easy to see why. Drones can take stunning video footage of a property that was never before imagined. This can give prospective buyers a much greater level of detail regarding the specifics of the property, giving them a better picture of what it would be like to live there.

Advantages of using Drones in the Real Estate Business

There are several reasons why a growing number of real estate agents are now using drones to market their listings:

Better Virtual Tours for Property Listings

The virtual tours that are filmed with a video camera cannot hold a candle to what can be produced from drone video footage. Drones can move effortlessly over areas of the property that would otherwise be very difficult to access. This is especially helpful for more expensive and expansive properties that include a lot of land and outdoor features such as a swimming pool, tennis court, or a waterfront.

Drones can also be used indoors to show details of the home’s interior. In fact, a drone-made video could start walking up to the entrance of the home, go through the front door and into each room of the home, then fly out the back and show the patio and back yard. This can provide a more interactive and realistic presentation than any other form of technology currently available on the market today.

More Affordable than Comparable Alternatives

Competition in the industry and technological advancements have driven down the cost of drones in recent years. In addition, a growing number of photography services are now using drone technology, making it much easier and more affordable for realtors to access. A realtor can generally hire a service to put together a video that incorporates drone footage for around $500 to $2000. This is a fairly significant marketing expense, but most realtors already hire some type of photography service, and using drones is far less expensive and much easier to arrange than obtaining aerial footage from an airplane or helicopter.

The “Wow” Factor

Using drone-made footage produces high-quality HD videos that show breathtaking views that would not be available without this technology. The level of detail it can show prospective buyers (both inside and outside the home) is unequaled, and it can even show nearby amenities, stores, restaurants, hospitals, etc. This can give buyers a perspective they could not get otherwise and help establish a greater emotional connection to the property.

Drone Limitations

With all its features and benefits, drones still have a few limitations, which will require other solutions to address. For example:

  • Drones are not ideal for marketing smaller spaces, such as condominiums and apartments;
  • Drones are not a substitute for carefully focused, fixed-position photos, such as standard street level shots of the home. You may also want to take standard photos if you are trying to make a room or yard look bigger or not show an unpleasant feature of the property;
  • For properties with lots of overgrown trees, it may be more difficult for a drone to show a clear aerial view.

The Future of Drones in the Real Estate Business

Drones are expected to become more mainstream in the real estate industry in the coming years. Real estate agents who adopt this technology early on can position themselves as innovators and firmly establish their services in the local marketplace. Home sellers who contract with a realtor who uses drones can help their home stand out in a competitive market, giving them a better chance of selling their home for top dollar.

Selecting the Right Real Estate Agent - Davis Bingham Hudson & Buckner

The Top 5 Things to Look for in a Real Estate Agent

Buying or selling a home is one of the most important transactions you will ever be involved in. This is a complicated process, and there are many pitfalls you need to watch out for. In Alabama, the law requires that a licensed real estate attorney prepare all the legal documents for a real estate transaction. In addition to retaining the services of a skilled attorney, it is also a good idea for buyers and sellers to work with a real estate agent.

A reputable agent helps sellers analyze the current market and set an appropriate listing price, market the property to prospective buyers, hold open houses, field offers, and negotiate a sales price with the agent for the buyer. An agent can help buyers by sifting through the available properties to find the ones that meet their criteria, presenting a good initial offer on the home they want to buy, negotiating the purchase with the seller’s agent, and working closely with the real estate attorney during the closing process.

There are thousands of real estate agents in Alabama and finding the right one to handle your home sale or purchase can be a challenge. One of the first places to start is to ask around among your family and friends for someone they can refer you to. You can also look online or get names from looking around to see which agents are listing multiple homes in your area. For sellers especially, this can be a good indication that they know your neighborhood and they are trusted by other home sellers.

Even after you receive glowing reviews about agents from someone you know or find agents that have a strong online presence or look to be active in your area, don’t just take the word of others and/or assume that any particular agent will be the right one for your purchase or sale. It is best to interview the agents you are considering before you decide which one to work with.

There are several things to look for in a real estate agent, here are five of the most important:

Responsiveness

Before you even sit down with an agent, you may be able to narrow your search by how they respond to your initial inquiry. You want an agent you can work closely with, someone who will be your advocate in the buying or selling process, and someone who is highly responsive to your needs, questions, and concerns. If an agent takes a long time to get back to you after you call them initially, this could be a sign that they are not going to be as responsive as you would like them to be once you hire them. Like other professionals, agents are busy. But it is reasonable to expect them to get back to you within one business day or sooner after your initial call, text, or email.

Experience

One of the most important questions to ask is, “how long have you been a real estate agent?” Experience is critical in the real estate business, not just because of the in-depth knowledge of the process that is acquired over a period of years, but because real estate is a commission-based business. This means agents only get paid when they deliver results for their clients, and the longer an agent has been in the business, the more likely they are to be successful. It is true, however, that everyone was new at some point. If you are interviewing an agent who is fairly new, it is best if they are part of an overall team that includes other seasoned agents who would also be working on your behalf.

Specialization

It is important to know whether the agent primarily represents buyers or sellers. As mentioned earlier, agents perform different functions depending on which side of the transaction you are on. An agent should specialize primarily in one or the other. That said, they should have some experience and knowledge with both buying and selling. Otherwise, they would have a more limited perspective. For example, it may be difficult for a buyer’s agent to know what a seller’s/listing agent is thinking during negotiations if the agent (or someone on their team) doesn’t also have some experience with home sales.

Area Knowledge

Some agents handle specific areas, while others will travel halfway across Alabama to handle a real estate transaction. In general, it is best to hire an agent that works primarily in the area where you are looking to buy or sell a home. Someone who is on top of your local market will be able to analyze, in detail, comparable listings and comparable properties that have recently sold. They will also be familiar with specific characteristics and nuances in each neighborhood that may impact the value of a property.

Proven Results

At the end of the day, you need an agent who is experienced, responsive, someone you feel comfortable working with, and someone who has a proven track record helping other clients to complete successful transactions. Experience will be a strong indicator, but you should also ask for further details about their process (e.g., how they will help you acquire the right home or how they will effectively market your home for sale) and ask for a list of other clients they have previously worked with who you can call and speak with about their services.