Today’s ever-advancing drone technology has facilitated how many industries do business, and the land real estate industry is no exception. While drone tech in particular is not a new development, its use in land real estate has been steadily on the rise. The real estate industry is currently the second-highest user of drone technology.
Real estate brokers and agents, and especially land real estate professionals, have found drone footage to be particularly useful in providing comprehensive images of large properties. Contractors and developers also find drone tech to be a valuable aid when determining the feasibility of a new project. The aerial images deliver a better perspective of the land and current drone technology can provide everything from still images to video to 360-degree panoramic imagery.
Benefits of Using Drones on Land Parcels
Together, land real estate firms working with drone pilots—who are more numerous and precise as ever before—can better serve land clients.
RLI member Randy Hertz, ALC, remarked on this recently, “We work with multiple commercial drone pilots to take a bird's-eye view of the properties we manage and sell. We recently hired a full-time video editor to manage the shooting, editing and sharing of clips related to properties on the market. We do 360-degree aerial video tours of land listings that help to optimize our business and better serve our clients through tech advancements.”
Real estate investment firms, commercial real estate agents, land-acquisition companies and developers who have already seen firsthand the power and benefit of drone technology have realized that aerial images offer much more insight into a property than ground views and maps with limited details. (RLI has covered this and other aspects of drones in previous blogs here, here and here.)
For example, the images and video provided by drones can help clients and agents better identify issues as well as explore dense areas more in-depth. Having access to these important details is vitally for anyone seeking to build on a particular location. Additionally, drone technology enables land real estate agents to gather and provide this information quicker and in a more reliable manner.
A Stronger Return on Investment
Agents who use drone technology in land real estate can see a significant improvement in listings and closings. What’s more, many prospective clients now choose specifically to work with agencies that use drones. Drone tech can also serve as a highly effective marketing tool, as the images and footage drones provide have come to change the way potential land buyers and developers interact with a property listing.
This has been evidenced by the long list of real estate companies already using drones, a list that has grown exponentially over the past decade. As more and more experts in the industry, along with their clients, realize the growing value of drone technology, drones are likely to become an even more essential tool.
Using Drones Is More Cost-Effective
For land surveying and mapping purposes, using drone technology is not only more efficient but also more cost-effective. This is especially true when attempting to survey an area that may contain unsafe terrain. Working with professional drone pilots saves money on equipment and helps individuals avoid those unsafe areas. And because the data is acquired in a much timelier fashion, it serves to improve the time-management of the early stages of the development process.
Issues to Consider with Drone Technology
There are a few important factors agents, buyers and sellers need to be aware of before utilizing drone technology. First and foremost, drones still can only be legally operated by a commercially licensed drone pilot. Licensing is provided by the FAA and involves taking and passing an exam.
Drone pilots also need to be aware of local restrictions and ordinances which can prohibit drone flights in certain areas. In addition, there are special insurance requirements when drone tech is used for land real estate. This is primarily due to drone crashes, which could result in damage to property or injuries to people. The National Association of REALTORS (NAR) has provided a helpful FAQ to aid agents who are interested in using drones.
Drones and Privacy Concerns
Much of the public is concerned about their privacy, and spotting drones flying overhead can certainly be cause for alarm if an individual isn’t aware of its intended use. Drone pilots are encouraged to alert surrounding neighbors when and why a drone might be in use. Not every piece of land is in the middle of nowhere, and notifying the surrounding public is a wise courtesy.
Thankfully, despite the concerns of privacy, drone technology serves to do much more good than harm. Drones have helped to reseed farms and damaged environmental areas. They aid in law enforcement, the military and border patrol. And they aid firefighters in putting an end to spreading blazes. Of course, they can also be used for nefarious purposes, as evidenced by stories that pop up in the news now and then.
Still A Game-Changer
The use of drone technology in land real estate and related industries, as well as many other purposes, is certainly nothing new. However, as the technology continues to improve, so too does the use of drones for a number of beneficial purposes. New developments will continue to pave the way for their continued use, as evidenced by the fact that drones have already been a major game-changer for the land real estate industry.