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Drone videos taking flight in home-marketing strategy

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CONTRIBUTED PHOTO
Tim Croy of CS Film Productions maneuvers his DJI Phantom 3 drone over a property in Emmaus.
CONTRIBUTED PHOTO Tim Croy of CS Film Productions maneuvers his DJI Phantom 3 drone over a property in Emmaus.

When marketing homes and properties, it’s true, pictures are worth thousands of words.

Virtually no one would buy a home sight-unseen. Print ads routinely include photos. Real estate websites generally include a video tour of the home and, in the last few years, that video increasingly includes images taken by a drone, or unmanned aircraft system.

The growth of online video has opened a new door for photographers and videographers, such as Tim Croy, founder of CS Film Productions in Allentown.

In business for five years, Croy has focused mostly on wedding videography and began using his DJI Phantom 3 Advanced drone to showcase wedding venues, golf courses, farms and barns, resorts and other commercial properties.

He recently brought the company into the world of real estate and plans to increase his use of this technology to market homes and properties in 2018.

DIFFERENT PERSPECTIVE

“Drone video creates a visual story showing off scenery that hasn’t been possible before,” Croy said. It captures a unique perspective of the property itself and surrounding area and tells the viewer, ‘This is where you want to be.’ ”

Croy said studies show four times as many consumers prefer to watch a video about a product than to read about it and, by 2019, videos should represent 80 percent of all online content.

“For the right home and property, drone video can add significant value to an agent’s marketing efforts,” said Croy, who melds hand-held and drone video to tell a more complete story for his clients. “The facts are that use of drone video in real estate pays back quickly. It’s a good return on their investment.”

TELLING A STORY

“The marketing of homes and properties is really all about telling their story,” said Paula Meilinger, a Realtor with BHHS Fox and Roach Realtors in Macungie.

“When it makes sense because of the landscape or unique features of the property, a drone may be the perfect tool to help convey that story,” she said. “Drone images provide aerial shots and enhance additional acreage … and can help show details and the property as a whole.”

She stressed that drone operators and agents have to be respectful of privacy issues and must adhere to local and federal regulations. The Federal Aviation Administration regulates the use of drones for recreational and commercial uses, requiring operators to register their drone, be certified and follow its regulations.

FOLLOWING THE RULES

Members of the Reading-Berks Association of Realtors are referred to the website of the National Association of Realtors, where they can find the latest rules and government regulations about the use of drones, according to Kathy Stoica, director of communications for the local organization.

That website encourages NAR members to explore the options presented by drone video use, saying: “Technological advances have made it efficient and cost effective to take pictures and videos from drones. … Real estate professionals working with residential, commercial and land parcels can all benefit from the images. Many commercial properties or large parcels of land do not lend themselves well to traditional photography.”

It also noted that other applications of unmanned aircraft systems in real estate include insurance inspections, appraisals, building management and heat-loss imaging.”

“Our association offers our members a host of educational classes, a newsletter and social media, including topics on how to better market a property, to help them stay up-to-date on emerging technologies,” Stoica added.

MEETING BUYERS’ NEEDS

A 2017 report by Fox News reiterated the importance of video to marketing real estate properties.

“Today’s savvy buyers do their research online before they even pick up the phone to call an agent,” the report stated. “The interiors may have looked beautiful, but other selling points, like landscaping, outdoor features or vast acreage, have historically been harder to capture.”

Croy said video delivers a stronger, more emotional connection to potential buyers.

“Consumers are demanding a more fluid interaction when making purchasing decisions,” said Croy, who was FAA certified last year. “And drones have a unique way of capturing the moment and allowing you to see the surroundings in ways you couldn’t before.”

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