Several years ago, my uncle got my younger brother a small remote control helicopter for Christmas. It was really cool, if certainly easy to crash. It continually surprised me how much that tiny helicopter could take a beating and come back for more.
Now, just about six years later, these remote flying devices have transformed from novelty items into fairly efficient flying machines with tons of hobbyist pilots. In addition to these weekend flyers, there are now a growing number of drone users who are putting them to use in a variety of ways. These unmanned craft are making a particularly big impact in the areas of photography and videography.
When To Fly
When can a drone be most useful to show off a property’s attributes? We asked Brian Trudeau of Trudeau Consulting, a drone photography service, to share his thoughts.
“Properties that benefit the most from drone footage usually tend to be higher-end homes that have large amounts of property, or features that are hard to capture with regular photography (such as waterfront),” Trudeau said. “Aerial footage can also help show off the neighborhood a home is sitting in, which also is difficult to illustrate with words or ground-level photos.”
Selling the inside of your home is all about staging and appearance. You should put the same care into the aerial shots of the exterior. Which angles should we make sure the drone operator gets? Trudeau said real estate agents typically want to start with the approach moving up the street or the driveway before going into the front of the property. After that, it all depends.
Do It Yourself Or Hire It Out?
So do you buy a drone and stick a camera on there or hire someone to do this? That probably depends on how often you plan to use your drone, but if you’re using the footage to sell your house, there are a couple of other things to consider.
Rules And Regulations
You can’t just go and attach your DSLR to the bottom of your drone and take pictures and video. The FAA would classify the pictures as being taken for a commercial purpose because they’re being used in connection with the sale of your property. If you’re looking at doing this yourself, there are a couple of different options you have for getting the permission you need.
You also need to register any drone over half a pound and not fly the drone over 400 feet high. There are other regulations, but these are two of the big ones. Always follow any local laws and ordinances.
Are You A Flying Ace?
Obviously, if you’re taking pictures of houses, you want the camera to be stable. Although the stabilizers in these things have made it easier to stay up in the air, taking footage and pics with precision is a different matter entirely. Getting the right footage may require multiple passes to make sure you have usable footage.
Trudeau also makes a compelling case that unless you’re very comfortable, you may want to leave it to a pro, who’ll have their own equipment and liability insurance. “If the prop[ellers]s catch one branch while flying, the whole thing will drop like a rock and your drone will just be an expensive paperweight,” he said. “And you wouldn’t want to accidentally fly one of these at a person or animal!”