Why 2017 is the Year That Drones Will Take Off in Real Estate

The Federal Aviation Administration finalized its first set of operational rules for small unmanned commercial aircraft in mid-2016, and the FAA claims that this could create over 100,000 jobs in the next decade. There’s no reason to suspect that real estate agents and investors won’t benefit from this scenario, with the potential for a revolution in the real estate industry.

For properties surrounded by a lot of open space, drones can offer aerial images and videos of a property which are second to none. It’s true that these images aren’t always the most flattering for properties in densely populated areas though – if there are houses that are close together, aerial images can highlight this problem and drive away potential buyers. In addition to this, there are several other limitations such as the drone pilot having to be able to maintain visual contact and not being allowed to fly over cities or within five miles of a major airport. But assuming that a property is conducive to aerial photography, drones offer a cost-effective solution that can cost less than $100. Previously, there was only the expensive option of using helicopters, and this was only practical for large, expensive properties and those with natural features like a beach. There’s also the advantage of being able to use an infrared camera for detecting heat leaks, which is important for checking energy efficiency for a particular building. A drone can also allow realtors and buyers to inspect things like power lines and commercial buildings.

Drone penetration is growing in the real estate industry as former Flip This House host Than Merrill notes, and a survey a few months before the FAA’s regulations were released cited nearly 20 percent of realtors not already using drones saying that they planned to use them in the future. Of those in the real estate industry who were currently using drones at the time of the survey, about half were hiring professionals, while the rest had someone in their office using them. The number of realtors using drones is only expected to grow, and 2017 is the year that they will really take off in the industry.

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