Here’s how drones are changing the real estate business – Orange County Register

Banking low over the trees, the small quadcopter slows and begins a gradual climb. Rising above the roof, it hovers in place for a moment before flying over a fountain in the courtyard and sweeping along the edge of a swimming pool.

Welcome to the modern world of real estate.

Drone photography and videos and sophisticated software programs are seeing increased use among Realtors looking to up their game with eye-catching visuals that will help sell homes.

“Drones can be used on all kinds of properties,” said Bob Gonsalves, president and CEO of the U.S. Association of Unmanned Aerial Videographers, a membership association focused on the needs of commercial UAV operators.

“It allows real estate agents to show off properties in a very unique way that you couldn’t have done several years ago,” he said.

Actually, it could have been done it back then.

“You would have hired a pilot to fly a helicopter, and that would have probably cost $2,000 for a couple of hours,” Gonsalves said. “What has changed over the years is the affordability of drones. Now you can buy a DJI Mavic Pro Quadcopter with high resolution from Best Buy for about $1,000.”

About half of his association’s 6,000 members use their drones for real estate purposes, Gonsalves said. It’s no wonder because Multiple Listing Service statistics show that homes with aerial images sell 68 percent faster than houses that are marketed using standard photos.

Industry research firm RIS Media additionally notes that 73 percent of homeowners say that they’re more likely to list with a real estate agent who uses video to market their home.

Chad Z. King, who owns a Los Angeles-based aerial photography business called A Bird’s Eye, got in on the ground floor, so to speak. In fact, King figures he was among the first to utilize drones to showcase homes.

“I started doing aerial photography with a miniature remote-controlled helicopter in 2009,” he said. “We mounted a Nikon D7000 camera on it. Back then that was the best that Nikon offered. We didn’t have a downlink, so we just sort of winged it. We’d land it and take a look at the footage and say, ‘OK, we need to get further out,’ or ‘we need to angle it down a little more.’ We did it that way for about three years.”

The company has since refined its aerial productions, which now serve both the real estate world and the movie industry. These days, King’s drone videos are used to showcase high-profile homes like…

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