The drone revolution in real estate: 5 likely areas that will be affected

The drone revolution in real estate: 5 likely areas that will be affected

Drone marketing has taken the real estate industry by storm. The market for real estate drones is set to grow by 12 times, from $100 million in 2020 to $1.2 billion by 2030. These unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) offer the real estate industry tons of benefits: from their environmentally-friendly build to their low cost of operation. 

Here are some of the areas of real estate that drones are likely to revolutionize:

5 areas of real estate that benefit from drone marketing

Below, we address the different areas of real estate and how they vary from one another. Each of these has a unique contribution to the real estate industry, and drones have played a key role in changing how they operate:

1. Commercial real estate: 

Commercial real estate includes properties that will be used exclusively as workplaces for business-related reasons rather than to serve as a living space like residential real estate. Oftentimes, this form of property is leased to tenants that will undertake ‘income-generating’ activities. Commercial real estate is a broad category, including everything from a huge shopping center to a single storefront. It includes spaces like grocery stores, hospitals, restaurants, hotels, theatres, gas stations, offices, and more. 

When compared to residential real estate, commercial real estate benefits from longer lease contracts with its respective tenants. A 2021 market outlook study found that the length of commercial leases correlated with the size of the property leased. Being able to market these larger properties well, therefore, is key. Since commercial properties can be quite large, ground photography will be unlikely to capture them in their entirety. These larger listings are best captured by aerial photography.

Drones are one of the best tools for aerial photography today. Not only does drone photography do justice to capturing the backdrop a property is surrounded by but it takes just an hour or so to shoot larger properties. Drones give commercial property holders an easy way to capture stunning visuals at an affordable cost, making them a popular choice for marketers. One of the other perks of drone photography is how environmentally friendly their use is. Being battery-powered, there is no fuel consumption to account for as well as no hazardous gaseous waste emitted. 

2. Residential real estate: 

Residential real estate constitutes the properties that are used for living purposes. Common residential real estate examples include simple-family homes, townhouses, multifamily residences, duplexes, condos, cooperatives, and more. The key difference between residential and commercial real estate is that the former is designed specifically for non-business purposes. Drones have made a lasting impact on how realtors market residential properties in 2022. 

For one, drones today offer features like three-dimensional mapping which can help real estate marketers create 3D maps of their properties for buyers to view remotely. 3D remote tours grew incredibly popular during the pandemic as they make accessing properties much more convenient than in-person showings. You can always go back to monitor specific details you might have forgotten during the first round of viewing the property, without having to make time to actually commute to the property. 

Alternatively, drone tours are also possible, where you view a video file of footage taken by a drone flying from room to room of a house. These are easier to use than 3D tours since there are no buttons to repeatedly press to move across the virtual space. There is also no external software to install to view drone tour videos. You can access them at any time from your preferred device. By facilitating the growth of remote tours, drones have left an impact on and will continue to shape how showings operate in the residential real estate industry.

3. Industrial real estate:

Industrial real estate, often considered a subsect of commercial real estate, includes places involved in the production, distribution, manufacturing, research, development, and storage of goods and services. Think warehouses, factories, plants, and manufacturing units. With industrial sites, there are three categories of grades attached to them: A, B, and C. 

Each grade denotes how well-preserved the site is, with A being the cream of the crop, and C indicating that the building has severe maintenance issues. This is where drones come in. Drones can be used only to market industrial sites since they can take creative aerial photography of these locations, but they can also be used in industrial safety inspections. Instead of a safety manager having to walk through these sites — which may have frail infrastructure, hazardous chemicals, gas leaks, and other issues — drones can be flown across the sites to inspect their status to look for potential hazards. 

Similar to commercial sites, industrial sites are also expansive in nature, making drone photography an exceptionally easy way to capture their space in the context of their surroundings. As mentioned above, drones not only capture the site, but also the area around it. Drone photography is often used to highlight the location-related aspects of industrial sites, which can add to their selling point for potential clients. 

4. Land for development

‘Land,’ in this context, refers to any kind of vacant or underdeveloped property and includes farms, ranches, orchards, timberland, and others. Once they acquire land, developers combine land with other properties (formally known as ‘assembly’). Following this, developers re-zone the land so they can increase its density and valuation in the real estate market. Although this might seem like a niche in real estate, drones have the potential to make a tremendous impact. 

Other than revolutionizing agriculture, drones have also played a pivotal role in conducting surveys of the land. The speed at which one can gather information about their land using drones is unparalleled. These surveys of farmland or undeveloped land can help in making important decisions about planning construction sites, upkeeping infrastructure, delineating property boundaries, and more. Drones also help create thermal and multispectral maps, 3D models, 2D and 3D maps. They can help in seeing through trees, groundcover, and other obstacles. 

For developers specifically, the VR feature of drone technology can help in providing your clients with a complete showroom-esque experience, giving them the opportunity to choose from different finishes and amenities. Before your clients break ground, they get to see a visual representation of how they would want the space to be used. This can shorten the sale cycle, and sellout periods, while simultaneously reducing holding costs. 

5. Special purpose

Special purpose real estate includes property that is used by the public for highly specific purposes like parks, schools, libraries, cold storage places, swimming pools, amusement parks, cemeteries, places of worship, governmental buildings, and more. Another caveat of these kinds of properties is that they cannot be converted for other uses without a large capital investment. Similar to other sectors of real estate, drone technology is a cost-effective way to capture the property and its location with great detail. 

With estate agents working like managers of sorts, having the right quality footage can work wonders for the sale of these properties. For large public properties like governmental buildings, schools, or parks, drones provide a 360-degree panoramic shot to capture the whole space in its essence. Taking tours of such places can be done remotely or using a 3D tour feature that drones offer. This sector of real estate will likely see changes in its operation as a result of drone technology. 

Take your real estate marketing to the next level with Up Sonder

Drone technology is reshaping the real estate industry as we know it. What used to be traditional aerial photography has turned into an innovative landscape for 3D rendering, drone photography, AI, and other technology. Stay ahead of the curve with Up Sonder’s state-of-the-art drone services. We have hundreds of FAA-certified pilots who can help you capture your listing’s stunning visuals and take your real estate marketing to the next level.

With a diverse portfolio and a sizable client base across more than 900 U.S cities, we have experience working with an expansive range of commercial projects. Whether you are looking for stunning drone footage for your listing, or someone to handle your project’s marketing from start to finish, Up Sonder is here to help. Book a flight with Up Sonder today to access the best of drone photography.