The word conjures up thoughts of the future. When you see one hovering in place seemingly autonomously, you realize we live in the future. Drone photography and video is being used more and more to showcase properties in ways that were once prohibitively expensive.
Drones have changed everything when it comes to many industries, and real estate is no different. Once upon a time, in order to get aerial shots of an area, a helicopter or small plane would have to be chartered. That’s no longer the case.
Before we get too far ahead of ourselves, there are a lot of details to consider that may not immediately come to mind when you’re considering drone photography or video for your real estate listing.
It’s great that technology has allowed this new industry to flourish, but as with anything new, there are some caveats.
Because the barriers to entry are fairly low, hundreds of people have rushed into this industry offering their services for hire. Basically anyone with several hundred dollars can walk into an electronics store and walk out with a drone capable of capturing pictures. That, however, isn’t the whole story. There are several other points to consider before you hire someone to shoot real estate photos or video for you.
But first, should you hire someone? What about doing it yourself?
Ask yourself some questions before making this decision. Are you willing to make the investment for good equipment capable of producing the kind of result you want? The less expensive UAV equipment may not be capable of producing the results you expect. For our purposes these are flying cameras, so having a camera capable of producing clean results in changing conditions is crucial. Speaking of changing conditions and lighting, having someone well versed in the photographic arts is essential to getting the best possible quality out of your footage. This isn’t (or shouldn’t be) a point and shoot operation.
Also, the federal government has some words for you before you decide to fly commercially.
Because drones are fairly easy to come by, some new laws have been put into place to protect the public from wayward pilots. Known as the Part 107 rules. These require (among other things) people interested in flying for any commercial purpose to be a licensed pilot for UAS operation. The FAA has made it clear that flying for real estate activity is included in that definition.
Ok, so you’d rather hire a pro? Good call! (in our most humble opinion)
What should you look for in a drone pilot?
Ask them if they’re licensed by the FAA.
They will have an actual license they can show you. If they’re not, just don’t risk it. Find someone who is.
Ask them about flight restrictions in the area you plan to fly.
This can be easily verified by the pilot, and is important so you can gain permission if necessary. It’s also helpful to know to be on the lookout for low flying aircraft in the area.
What about insurance?
These things DO crash. Who is on the hook when that happens? Something to cover before an accident occures.
Ask your proposed pilot how long they have been flying and what kind of jobs they normally shoot.
Someone who normally does land surveys may not be able to shoot and edit a captivating property tour video. Ask for a portfolio.
We get asked once in a while if we fly our drone indoors. The short answer is no. Any professional real estate video company worth their salt has stabilized video equipment capable of producing FAR better results indoors than most drones. It’s usually a safety hazard and just not worth it.
Drones are with us to stay,
However, this new age of photography doesn’t come without responsibilities. New rules and regulations are constantly being proposed and it’s important to stay on top of the way things are changing. That’s why it’s great to have a pro on your side.
Backlight Marketing is licensed by the FAA for commercial drone operation. We’d love to hear from you and see how we can help you make captivating real estate photography and videos.
Let’s take your brand to the next level!
Check out some of our drone photographs in the gallery here. You can also check out our Youtube channel for lots of great drone photography and video for real estate. Youtube
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Edit: This article about Real Estate photography, video and other marketing content was originally written in 2018. I have gone over it and added new information to make it relevant for 2019. I’ll keep it updated as marketing trends, technology and new laws develop. Stay tuned. Finally if you like this article the biggest compliment you can pay us is to share it with a friend!
This article has gotten quite long so here’s a helpful index to skip to the section quickly!
It’s no secret that Backlight Marketing offers a ton of different real estate marketing services (at least we hope it’s not a secret.) From residential and commercial real estate photography to professionally shot, edited and scored video all the way to breathtaking aerial shots from our drone, new technology has changed the way properties are shown to prospective buyers, but it has also changed the expectation that a seller has about how their home is marketed. The things that were cutting edge two years ago are now commonplace and in may cases expected. If that wasn’t enough, this year offers you near limitless potential to build longevity into your business by building your brand into something intrinsically valuable.
What does that mean?
It means by incorporating us into your marketing plan we can help you do more business by leveraging the value of your listings.
So, what does it look like to market your listings this year? Let’s walk through this.
Real Estate Photography
Whether it’s residential or commercial, professional real estate photography has become of staple of marketing listings. This is a secret top producing agents have known for years. The days of subsisting on vertical cell phone pics are largely (completely) over. More and more, sellers are demanding a professional presentation for their listing and this starts with a professional photography package. With interstate buyers becoming a more commonplace occurrence, it’s ever more important that they see a property presented to them in the best light possible. One more point: don’t just hire anybody. Not all photographer’s are created equal. Do yourself a favor and hire a professional real estate photographer. Even if your favorite wedding photographer is amazing at shooting weddings, do a little research and hire a company who has a body of work specializing in real estate photos.
Video for Real Estate
You know how watching a movie or a really good tv show can draw you in and make you FEEL something? That is the goal. Professionally shot, edited and scored video is essential to creating a product that draws viewers in and makes your listing stand out from the rest. Video has become a commonplace tool for marketing properties, but well done video is still the exception. Many buyers are migrating from out of state, and video is the best way for them to get inside a property remotely. Look at previous work as an indication of what they will be able to produce for you.
Real Estate Drone Photography and Video.
The word alone makes you think about technology. It’s new and exciting and more and more in demand with sellers. It offers potential buyers the ability to see the property from the air. Even for properties without acreage it can be a valuable tool to set you apart from the crowd. Aerial photography can show how a home sits on the property and how out-buildings are situated in relation to the home. It can also show what the home’s surroundings are. Good view shots are breathtaking.
Aerial video is like a whole new level of immersive marketing. Whether it’s drone video only, or incorporated into a full video walkthrough, well edited drone video set to music is captivating and something buyers love watching. BE CAREFUL when hiring a drone operator. Ask if they are licensed. And unlicensed drone pilot not only presents an ethical problem, but can also be a big liability for a real estate agent. An agent using an unlicensed drone pilot can be held personally responsible. The FAA requires all commercial operation be via a licensed drone pilot, and they are cracking down on this more and more. The fines can be quite large ($10,000), so simply ask if the pilot you’re thinking of working with has an FAA Part 107 license. If they seem elusive, or, god forbid, they ask “what’s that?” Find another pilot. Pilot’s licenses are all public record, so you should be able to look it up if you so desire.
If you hate social media, I have bad news for you. It’s here to stay. Not only is it here to stay, but it’s ubiquitous. When people say they saw it on the internet these days, they mean they saw it on social. If you’re not creating content for your social media channels, you’re getting left behind. Real estate is an industry based on relationships, and there’s never been an opportunity in the history of business like the one we’ve been given with the current state of social.
So, what do you put on social? That’s the hard part isn’t it? Content. Your listings are a (largely) untapped resource.
This is where instagram can be really powerful. You can now add images as well as video to posts, and stories can be a great way to connect directly to your prospective clients.
Yeah we know, it’s somewhat of a dirty word depending on the circle you’re in. There’s no denying the splash Zillow has made in the real estate industry. Nearly all buyers are using Zillow in their home searching, so it’s important that listings look good on this platform. Zillow has now also changed their algorithm to favor listings with video content. What does that mean? It means your listing will get priority treatment if you have a video walkthrough attached. Zillow has fairly stringent requirements for how video is uploaded. Just like photos, bad vertical cell phone video may do more harm than good. A professional can help you make great real estate videos and get them uploaded to Zillow so your listings get put at the top of the list instead of the bottom.
What about 3D tours?
I wrote this section a year ago, and I’m convinced more than ever it’s true.
When people say 3d tour, they are mainly referring to Matterport. The new kid on the block. Tech companies are falling all over themselves to jump on the AR (Augmented Reality) revolution. AR is like VRs more useful cousin. 3D models have a lot of utility in many circumstances, such as mapping floor plans. Doll house view always get’s a few oohs and ahh the first time someone sees it. However, it’s important to account for a few things when deciding if 3d touring is a better or worse choice than a professionally shot real estate video tour.
For one thing, 3d tours add a layer of complexity into the viewing process. What does that mean? It means 3d tours require user interaction. They require your viewer to click or drag though the tour in order to move about. This can lead to click fatigue. That means they may very well be missing things you want them to see. The harder you make it for viewers to view a tour, the less likely they will be to stick around for it in the first place. 3d tours also require outside hosting, so incorporating it into your overall branding campaign is more difficult.
There is no denying the allure of shiny new toys when it comes to marketing, but every part of your marketing strategy should have a purpose.
Every year the editing side of content creation gets better and better. Sometimes we show up to a shoot and the house is just not photo ready. Rooms that are cluttered can be cleaned up. Dead grass can be greened up to look like it does in the spring. That fireplace sure would look more warm and inviting with a fire in it, right? We can add that.
Twilight shoots are a great way to show off a property and make it stand out from the crowd. We can either shoot it as the sun sets, or we can digitally turn day to night!
And on that note…
Got an amazing new listing but it’s vacant? You can show the prospective buyers what it looks like full of high end furniture without renting any! With 3d modeling, furniture and decorations can be added and the results in a lot of cases are absolutely amazing.
So we’ve walked down though all of this content we’re producing with one objective. To get to the idea of campaigns. Business marketing in 2019 revolves around this concept. The concept that every listing has a marketing campaign, and that all those campaigns add up to your brand. When people hear your name (or your business’s name), will they have a positive reaction? Will they associate it with professionalism? Will they even recognize it?
This is what matters most in 2019 and beyond. Your marketing materials are a large part of how recognizable you are and what reaction people will have to your brand. Once you succeed here, you aren’t just making money, you are creating wealth and adding longevity to your business. Longevity. Standing the test of time.
There are two things we mean when we say real estate marketing. The first is the advertising of listings. Obviously, the idea is to get the most eyes on a property in order to get their feet in the door. There is an ever increasing list of options available to you from photography, to video to drone and more.
The second thing we mean by marketing is how well you are utilizing these products to market YOU. It’s a competitive market our there, and branding is more and more important to set you apart from everyone else. Your brand has value. In 2019, it’s time to leverage those listings in order to take your brand to the next level.
This is obviously not a complete list, and is very much a work in progress. Have something to add? Feel free to comment below, or shoot us a message!