Drones in real estate: What to consider for hiring a pilot

Drones you see them everywhere, you kind of know what they are but what are these new toys buzzing around? There is various companies such as amazon, UPS, FedEx and others are testing drones for delivery and you might have caught one being tested near you. Various agents such as Realtors, Property Surveyors, and others are using drones to take aerial photo’s as well as videos to see areas the human eye will miss, to get better shots than being on the ground as well as getting a better understanding of the area. The military has been using drones even before drone was a word, they call them UAV’s or other names you might have heard, Predator, Reaper, or Gray Eagle. The revolution of drones is coming if we’re ready or not. With the potential to become a billion-dollar industry, according to the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), the topic is not something to take lightly.

Considering the economic impact of the drone industry in the coming years and the FAA offering certified pilots a chance to fly commercially, I honestly don’t believe the world will see a stop to this craze for drones. They are everywhere, from the simple cheap toy-like versions to thousands of dollar professional drones. Yeah, I have seen a couple worth more than a brand new Ford F150. As it stands though, if you want to “hire” a drone operator, you need to make sure they are FAA Certified with their Part 107 license. If you hire a drone operator without this, first it is an illegal offense, 2nd the fines can be in excess of $200,000 and who has that kind of cash to waste on something as simple as being professional? Drone pilots are required to be insured, this is simply due to property damage or human injury if something may go wrong so hiring the correct pilot can be a little expensive but it’s worth the hassle of not having to pay a fine for not hiring the right pilot that could cause more harm than good, right?
The benefits drones provide in real estate and other areas are becoming more clear. Drones are essentially a camera tripod in the sky allowing real estate agents to capture virtually any shot they want from any angle and elevation. Combine that with a drone flying through the inside of the house or commercial building, creating a whole new viewing experience for potential buyers and sellers. There is also something else I am working with, that is 360 technology attached to a drone. Yes, Imagine flying through any location you have in mind, being a timeshare on the Hawaiian islands or simply a beautiful ranch property with a view of all of your acres, then adding a 360 view to enhance the sale or rentals experience before they even experience it live. With this new technology, there are several important things to know before you hire your next drone pilot.

  1. Drone pilots are not created equal

Just because you are able to find someone who has a drone with a GoPro or similar removable camera mounted to it does not mean that he or she is particularly good at flying the drone. The last thing you need is a drone crashing into the neighbor’s house or a neighbors car, even the kids because this inexperienced pilot would rather show off their toy then show off your house. Make sure you ask for a testimonial, see previous examples of their work, and ask if they carry general liability insurance. The risk is too high to hire a pilot without these qualifications.

  1. Video editing is everything

Even if the person you hire is a professional drone pilot, it does not mean that person is particularly good at editing video. I am part of this class, I have been flying Radio Controlled vehicles for almost 30 years, I can do things other pilots can’t but making the perfect Video without a lot of time wasted is not my forte. To create a drone experience that wows, it is vital to ensure professional edits the video. Video editing is an art just like everything else, and it will be clear if the pilot isn’t good with editing if it just looks random or if you have quick transitions to the next clip, etc. With the proliferation of real estate drone videos showing up on the web, the bar for professional video editing will set the bars higher nearly every week.

  1. Flying indoors

Flying a drone around is cool, we all agree even if people tell you otherwise. Fly the same drone through the middle of the house or building, now we’re talking. You don’t see it much do you? It’s because that is an art in itself. This is the most innovative virtual tour you can provide. A drone floating through different rooms of the house and straight out the door or window, possibly back through another window or over the roof then over the neighborhood is an experience worth talking about. This will be above all else when it comes to showing off your properties for sale compared to your neighbors who simply hires the photographer. Take the consideration into account when you want that next step in selling or renting your property for your customers.


I hope you enjoyed and I look forward to helping you with your next adventure as your professional drone pilot.