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Real Estate Drone Photography and Virtual Tours: The Complete Guide

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Real Estate Drone Photography and Virtual Tours: The Complete Guide

Learn how to capture a home's unique selling points with real estate drone photography and a virtual



If you aren't using dynamic visual content like video or virtual tours to advertise your home listings, then you are quickly falling behind your fellow real estate agents and brokers. Video is taking over the internet, and with 9 out of 10 buyers starting their home search online, this dynamic visual content is the future of real estate marketing.  


Real estate drone videos and virtual tours are great ways to unlock new marketing avenues for your home listings. This will give potential buyers as close to a real-life feel for a home as possible.   


If you are new to real estate drone video and virtual tours, use this guide to help you get started.  


What You Need to Know  


Drone footage makes it easier for potential buyers to see the exterior of a home and the surrounding area. Virtual tours show the interior of the home and are created using a special camera to scan the entire house. The end result is interactive virtual experience that allows the viewer to move through the space however they want. 


Trying to do the footage yourself can be challenging, time-consuming and very expensive. Skip the DIY method and hire a professional to do the photography for you. Innovative companies like Hommati have made the aerial drone videos and virtual tours easily accessible and very affordable. Leave the creation of this dynamic visual content to the professionals. 


A professional drone photographer will know how to capture the shots that will showcase your home the best. They will also have the required equipment and commercial license from the FAA. Commercial drones are heavily regulated and you must have all of the necessary credentials to operate one legally. 


Who Should Use Drone Video and Virtual Tours? 


Video is perfect for any real estate agent or broker who wants to have that "wow" factor for their listings. This means using it to market unique, luxury, large properties, and those with breathtaking views as well as average homes. Companies like Hommati make this dynamic visual content so affordable that you could use it on many of your listings.  


Virtual Tours give buyers a simple and easy way to understand the layout of the home. They can get a feel for the flow and how the house feels as you move from one room to the next. It’s a walk through without having to actually be in the home. Prospective buyers can virtually tour the home as many times as they want day or night. This makes it incredibly convenient and saves time. Using a virtual tour helps prospective buyers decide which homes they are most interested in so they can schedule an appointment to see those in person. 


Luxury Teams 


If you specialize in listing luxury homes, then you are doing your properties a disservice by not using dynamic visual content. These homes are large and lend themselves to creating impressive drone footage of the outside of the house and surrounding grounds.  


They also tend to have a lot of rooms, which can get overwhelming and confusing when trying to feature them through pictures. Buyers will struggle to mentally connect all of the different rooms featured in the images. A virtual tour shows prospective buyers the layout of a home in an easy to follow way ensuring that they have the feel of the home.  




Brokerages typically have the marketing budget to handle creating more impressive marketing campaigns for their listings so, the cost for the dynamic visual content might not be an issueSome companies that provide dynamic visual content do offer brokerage discounts. Be sure to ask.  


Drone and 3D Tour Photography Costs 


If you hire a professional to do your drone video work for you, you can expect to pay anywhere from $300 to $1,000 for a short five-minute video. The cost will vary depending on where in the country you are located and which company you use. There are companies that offer packages with complete drone video and virtual tours for around $300 making it easy to get the dynamic visual content you need all in one place.  


Now, this might seem like a steep investment, but consider the cost of trying to do it yourself.  


DIY Costs


First, you will need to buy a drone. This can cost anywhere from $1,000 to $10,000. You don't want to go with the cheapest of options; they won't give you the smoothest and high-quality video. You will have to study for and take the FAA test and pass it so that you can obtain your drone pilot’s license. The cost for the test is $150. You will also need insurance which will be expensive. 


It will take you time to learn how to control your drone effectively. Then you will spend time heading out to each property to do your filming. Once you have your footage, though, you aren't done. Now you need to edit the raw footage into a professional looking video.   


How to Hire a Drone Photographer 


You can either search online or locally in person. Either way, there are a few things you'll want to consider when deciding on a drone or virtual tour photographer.  


The first thing you should do is see if your current real estate photographer offers drone photography. Some professional photographers today offer this service.  


When vetting a photographer, ask about their experience with drone photography and real estate marketing. A photographer that has extensive experience with shooting for insurance companies probably won't have the skills you need to showcase your listings. Ask to see samples of their work. Their videos should be available online on other home listings. 


Once you find someone with the right background, look at their past work. Pay attention to how they shoot the home and feature specific elements of the property. Does their work look professional?  


Ask if they have the necessary licensing and insurance. Professional drone operators should have a license through the FAA. They should also have insurance to protect them and you if something goes wrong.  


Finally, look at their previous customer reviews. Check with other local agents who have worked with the photographer. Find out if they are pleasant to work with, meet deadlines, and deliver the quality expected.  


Still Convinced You Should Create Videos Yourself?


If you aren't ready to hire someone and you want to try your hand at drone photography, there are a few things to keep in mind. Follow these tips to help set yourself up for success.  


Pick the Right Property


Not every home is going to lend itself to drone photography. The home needs to look beautiful on the outside. It should have interesting features like extensive property, well-manicured landscaping, or a pool.  


Highlight Local Amenities 


The location will always be a deciding factor when it comes to real estate. So, use your drone footage to highlight local amenities.  


Highlight the home's proximity to nearby destinations, such as a highly prized golf course, schools, the beach, family entertainment, theme parks, restaurants, and parks. 


You could use the footage to draw attention to the peaceful nature of the neighborhood while still being close to a bustling city. Or maybe you can drive home just how far away a country home is from the neighbors.  


Get the Best Image


You need a bit of photography knowledge when taking your video and photos. After all, shooting your drone directly into the sun will leave you with unusable footage.  




First, think about the resolution. Drones shoot in a wide variety, but the most common are 720p, 1080p HD, and 4K Ultra HD. The higher the quality, the more editing options you'll have later on.  


File Type 


Next, you will want to choose the right image format. A safe setting is JPG+RAW. This setting will give you great looking images with small file sizes. They will also have all of the raw uncompressed data, so they are ready for editing. 


Exposure and Color 


Now you need to adjust your color and exposure. These are settings on the camera that help your image look good. Don't try to get fancy with these. The goal is to feature the home in the best light possible while staying true to the home's looks.  


If you are a beginner in photography, these are safe settings to start with:  

  • White balance: auto 

  • Style: Standard  

  • Color: Normal/None or TrueColor  

  • Exposure: auto  

Modern cameras do an excellent job of reading the light level and capturing quality images. So, until you are confident, trust your camera and let it do what it was programmed to do.  


Use Real Estate Drone and Virtual Tour Photography 


If you aren't using real estate drone video or virtual tours in your marketing efforts, then it is time to make some changes. This dynamic visual content is the future of all marketing and currently performs the best at encouraging engagement online.  


Now all you need to do is decide whether you want to hire someone or attempt it yourself. Either way, this guide should help you get started. 


Find an agent to help you sell your home today.