Can drone real estate photography replace in-person property visits?

Can drone real estate photography replace in-person property visits?

One major shift in real estate marketing has been the inclusion of drones in property viewings and photography. With the FAA issuing thousands of drone permits each year, what once was a hobby for a few has now become a commercial utility for one of America’s largest industries.

Today, real estate drone services use these unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) to get the best shots of your property while being affordable and less environmentally taxing than standard aerial photography. But how well do the visuals from drones perform in comparison to in-person showings? Can they become a replacement for seeing a listing in person?

4 reasons drone photography could replace in-person property visits

The short answer: possibly. While in-person visits have merit, drone photography and videos offer a lot of creative freedom to real estate marketers. The degree of ingenuity and the quality that drones offer makes it possible for them to replicate multiple aspects of seeing a property in person. Here are a few reasons that we believe drone photography can replace in-person property visits. 

1. Drones let you view properties remotely 

Drones offer a plethora of benefits to real estate marketers. One of the most notable of these has been virtual tours. After March 2020, the number of real estate listings that saw virtual tours increased dramatically. In light of country-wide lockdowns, the demand for all kinds of virtual tours saw an increase, but here’s why drone tours were the biggest differentiator. Some key factors that real estate marketers and brokers like to highlight are:

  • The topography of the property
  • The surrounding areas
  • Capturing larger commercial properties in one shot
  • Precise renders of the property

Apart from this, drones afford them the opportunity to strategically avoid surrounding areas that may be vacant or may not highlight the property in the best light.

But there are different types of virtual tours to consider, one of which is 3D tours, where images are stitched together after a panoramic camera has captured key details of a plot.

Among the realm of virtual tours, drone tours reign supreme. 3D tours require clicking on dozens of markers on the ground. Turning around may take more effort as you click through individual markers to get the most precise viewing angle. Users might get confused or struggle to perceive the true dimensions of a 3D render as they interact with a slower interface. 

This study found that users can become frustrated while interacting with a 3D virtual tour on their mobile devices, as exploring the plot was too slow and required too much clicking. Alternatively, drone tours keep the user in mind by offering a smoother experience. Touring through properties requires less effort in the form of clicking, dragging, or pinching. All you have to do is click play on a completely edited drone video, after which you will be flown across the property without any clicks. 

2. Drones offer top-notch tours of a property’s exteriors

With commercial properties, location is an essential factor. One of the perks of drone photography is that it accomplishes what traditional aerial photography could but more efficiently. You can get a complete tour of the exterior of your property, just like the interior, which would have been near impossible from an in-person visit. Not only can you see the surrounding neighborhood where the property is located, but drones also capture nearby landmarks like a nearby subway, crowded intersection, freeway, and more. 

Some of the ways that drone photography can be used to capture a property from the outside include:

  • Overhead shot: This vertical photo is a still shot taken from straight above the property. Also called a ‘Nadir’ shot, this visual gives potential buyers a good way to judge a property’s land size, layout, boundaries, and any significant features like a nearby parking lot or rooftop.
  • High-oblique/angled shot: This shot can be captured by positioning roughly 200 to 300 meters away from the property at a 45–60-degree angle. Using the horizon as a reference point, you can get a vantage view of your property’s suburb. This shot frames the property such that any points of interest in the neighboring area are visible. 
  • Low-oblique/pole shot: This picture is captured by angling the drone camera slightly above the treeline. It is commonly taken about 15 to 20 meters above ground level. It can either be shot straight on or at a slightly lower angle. The property should cover about two-thirds of the frame, thereby being the main focus of the image.

With just a few clicks, viewers can get a range of perspectives to view the potential property. Real estate marketers get to highlight the best aspects of their properties. Compared to drone photography, traditional aerial photography can be more laborious and expensive. In a similar vein, ground photography cannot capture the true scale of larger properties like aerial drone photography can. Finally, in-person visits also have their drawbacks. 

For instance, you may not be allowed to access a rooftop of a commercial property you are visiting. In this instance, you can easily obtain a high-quality picture or video of the roof of your property shot from a drone directly above it. 

3. Drone tours offer creative perspectives as efficiently as possible

Another advantage of drone tours is how much time they can save. Touring an office building or factory might take hours at a stretch due to the large scale of these properties, and commuting to these locations can also be taxing. You can save time by requesting a remote drone tour across space. 

In other words, drone photography can be used to improve the viewing experience, letting real estate marketers get a competitive edge. You can get a panoramic shot of a commercial property in its neighborhood, a video gliding through it, and even use the drones to capture locations of your property that could not be visited in person. It’s also worth noting that drones capture high-quality visuals, as a result of their high frame rates and HD or UHD resolution. Your clients will get to see crisp images of properties.

4. Drone tours can be revisited conveniently

In-person visits can be a great way to get a feel for the property, the location it is in, what commuting to it can look like, and more. Repeating these visits, on the other hand, can be inconvenient. If visiting a listing more than once proves a hassle for you, drone tours can do the job instead. Using drone tours, you can virtually revisit a property as many times as you need. As a result of high-quality cameras, you can get the same experience of visiting a property in person from the comfort of your home.

What would have taken hours to accomplish in person can be done in a matter of clicks with a drone video. Another important point to note is that you can watch a virtual tour independent of other people, noise, pollution, or other disturbances that could inhibit your experience in person. No special plugins or software is needed. As long as you have access to the video file, you can get a virtual tour from anywhere at any time. 

Elevate your real estate marketing with Up Sonder 

Over the next few years, drone photography is likely to replace in-person visits. Up Sonder’s state-of-the-art drone services can help you go above and beyond by unlocking a new marketing avenue for your commercial real estate business. With a fleet of FAA-certified drone photographers across the country, we can help you capture your property at its best without the expenses associated with hiring an airplane or helicopter. 

Using our exclusive network and technological perks, a drone can be sent to your commercial listing— no matter how far — while we conveniently take care of your project’s marketing from start to finish. Our diverse client portfolio and a national footprint across more than 1,000 U.S cities speak for themselves. Book a flight with Up Sonder today to unlock all that drone photography has to offer.