Using drones to elevate your business

In the face of COVID-19, are you seeking a competitive advantage in the marketplace? Unmanned aerial vehicles, more commonly known as drones, might be the key. 

Although local data is elusive, RISMedia reports that in the United States, listings with drone images sell 68% faster than listings with standard images. Another study found that there are a lot of advantages associated with drones. 

  • A large majority of home sellers prefer agents who use drones
  • There is a correlation between drone use and increased sales volume
  • Drone use is more prevalent among larger and higher priced properties       

Despite the lack of data on drones and real estate in Canada, an online search shows that local REALTORS® are using aerial footage as a marketing tool. If you don’t want to purchase a drone yourself, or have to operate one independently, you can hire a certified drone pilot for your needs.

If you do want to use a drone, you need to follow Transport Canada’s rules in the Canadian Aviation Regulations, including rules about drone weight. Specifically, drones that weigh between 250 grams (about half a pound) and 25 kilograms (about 55 pounds) must be registered and can only be operated by a person who has a pilot certificate

While drones above 25 kilograms require a more specialized pilot certificate, drones under 250 grams do not require registration or a pilot certificate. With respect to the operation of a drone, it must be flown:

  • where it can be seen at all times
  • below 122 metres (400 feet) in the air
  • away from bystanders (minimum horizontal distance of 30 metres for basic operations)
  • away from emergency operations and advertised events
  • away from airports (5.6 km) and heliports (1.9 km)
  • outside controlled airspace (for basic operations only)
  • far away from other aircraft 

There are also varying rules based on geographic location, with some regions requiring advanced pilot training and/or permission to operate a drone. More details about those rules are outlined in this Real Estate Council of BC advisory.

In terms of cost, a drone can range from about between $2,000 and $4,000. There are also some moderate fees associated with obtaining a pilot certificate and registering a drone. Alternatively, hiring a drone pilot can range from about $200 to $400, depending on size, location and image type.

For either option, you will incur new expenses that increase your overhead. However, given the potential benefits of drone footage as a marketing tool, it could be a worthwhile investment as a value-added-service to elevate your business.       

Source: FVREB Professional Standards