Successful real estate agents understand that marketing is the key to moving properties in the Lynchburg real estate market. The bigger the property, the more involved the marketing plan needs to be. On the flip side, today’s savvy buyers are turning more and more to new technologies to scope out properties of interest before committing the time and effort to view the property in person.
In the past, real estate agents were limited to terrestrial photography to showcase a property, or if aerial photos were desired, renting a fixed wing aircraft or helicopter at a cost of hundreds of dollars per hour to capture those overhead views. Today’s technology in the form of unmanned aircraft vehicles, or “drones” as they are more commonly referred to, allow the agent to show an entire property with amazing high resolution photos and/or high definition video for a very affordable cost.
As more and more agents turn to this technology, it is worth noting some important facts regarding the commercial use of drones. Since August of 2016 anyone who uses drones for commercial purposes, or in other words for the furtherance of a business, must be certified by the Federal Aviation Administration under Part 107 (fact sheet). To be eligible for this certification the applicant must be:
-at least 16 years of age;
-able to read, speak, write, and understand the English language (exceptions may be made for a medical condition such as a hearing impairment); and
-in a physical and mental condition that allows for the safe operation of the drone
Additionally, the applicant must take and pass an aeronautical knowledge test demonstrating proficiency in items such as classes of airspace, weather, Part 107 rules and regulations, and other basic aviation related details.
Some of the most important regulations that must be adhered to when operating a drone commercially in Lynchburg are the following:
-the drone must be registered with the FAA;
-no flights can occur 30 minutes before sunrise or 30 minutes after sunset (unless the Remote Pilot in Command holds a daylight waiver);
-no flights can occur more than 400’ above ground level;
-no flights can occur where the drone is beyond line of sight of the pilot or visual observer;
-no flights can occur over people; and
-no flights can occur in airspace controlled by Air Traffic Control without a Certificate of Waiver or Certificate of Authorization
Additional considerations such as purchasing liability insurance, knowing which is the best drone to buy, knowing how to operate the camera on the drone to capture the best images, and of course most importantly knowing how to safely operate the drone all need to be factored in when deciding to use a drone for Lynchburg real estate marketing.
If this all sounds too daunting to you as a Lynchburg real estate agent desiring to use this amazing new technology, there is good news. There are many qualified, reputable companies available that specialize in aerial photography and aerial videography and who are licensed, insured, and highly trained in operating drones. A simple Google search should locate at least one if not more local commercial drone services providers that would be happy to assist you. Be sure that the company has their Part 107 certification, is insured with a general liability policy, and has the necessary authorizations and/or waivers to operate in controlled airspace in the Lynchburg real estate market. Also, be sure that any company you talk to has a portfolio available for you to view, either on a website or on a social media site such as Facebook, YouTube, or Instagram.
There are also individuals and companies who are available for hire as Part 107 certified drone pilots. This is a particularly attractive option for agents who own a drone but do not have the time or inclination to pursue acquiring their Part 107 certification. This option also has the added benefit of saving money over time for the agent who makes aerial photography or aerial videography a permanent marketing tool as the rate should be less for an operator not flying their own equipment.
With the advance in drone technology coupled with buyers desiring to see “the big picture”, Lynchburg real estate agents who wish to be successful and cutting edge in a hugely competitive industry have no choice but to embrace drones and what they offer in terms of marketing real estate listings. Drones truly can “take your business to new heights”!
Ben Clark is the Owner/Operator of 323 Unmanned Flight Services located in Lynchburg, VA. With over 25 years of flying unmanned aircraft vehicles, Ben and his team know what it takes to help your business reach new heights utilizing drones. Ben is also available for hire as a FAA Part 107 certified drone pilot for individuals who already own their own drone.
Find out more about 323 UFS by visiting their website at 323ufs.com or by calling 434-515-2369.