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Property photography by drones – the latest in high tech real estate marketing

Gone are the days real estate agents would rely on stand-alone images of a property to show off its best assets. Tech savvy agents are turning to military created technology to make listings come alive in a competitive market, and cater to buyers’ growing appetite for more than just raw specifications.

Owner occupiers want to learn about the neighbourhood their potential home sits within as much as they want to know about the property itself. Aerial motion photography can illustrate in seconds important factors like proximity to amenities, schools, major transport, and the general feel of an area.

Video can sell lifestyle in a way that static images can’t and can be an important tool for buyers working hard to find the best lifestyle for their budget.

For example, premium properties that boast large blocks or million dollar views can also be appreciated in more dimensions using drones to capture the full picture. And the rise of video popularity online means a property in the spotlight is likely to reach an even wider audience through YouTube and social media.

So what is a drone?

Drones are the nickname for unmanned aerial vehicles (also called UAVs). They are becoming a more frequent sight over city buildings, suburban backyards and in regional areas.

In Australia anybody can buy and use a drone for leisure purposes, but you need a licence to use it for commercial purposes (or you’ll need to hire a licensed operator). The Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA) reports a record number of applications for licences in the last 12 months and there are a number of drone specialist companies in Australia working with real estate agents and vendors to give a birds’ eye view of the property market.

Courting controversy

Drones made the news in Australia this week, when a woman from Mt Martha, Victoria, was captured by a drone while she sunbathed partially clothed in her backyard. To her horror, the woman found herself writ large on a local real estate billboard, in an aerial shot of the property. The image is also online.

Some feel that at the least, aerial photography operators should be required to let householders nearby know when they will be recording, so people can make informed choices about whether they mind being on camera. Google street view vans have been recording around Australia for years without a similar onus to notify locals, but you could argue that the rules are different when it comes to air-borne surveillance.

With the amount of drones gearing up for flight, you can bet there will be more debate about these issues.

Some pros & cons of using drones for real estate photography:


  • Shows off a property within its surrounds in a detailed context
  • More engaging for buyers and viewers (more likely to sell the property)
  • Cost effective for property marketers and vendors
  • Allows property marketers to be more creative


  • May anger or frighten local residents or neighbours
  • Limited usefulness for ‘ordinary’ properties
  • Security risk if exposing property vulnerabilities to potential intruders
  • May capture images of people at home they don’t grant permission to capture or use
(Sourced from realestate.com.au blog on 26/11/2014) 
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