The real estate sector is undoubtedly the main buyer of commercial drones in the entire world. It is estimated that about 30% of drones sold today are delivered into hands of real estate agents and private house sellers. Certainly, it is not without cause that this has been the case; drones indeed play a great role in revolutionizing the trend in real estate management and marketing as we have discovered. That’s why it should be no surprise when you discover that the hunt for the best drones for real estate is quite bitter.
Last year the American Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) led the way in permitting the use of drones for commercial services. Ireland followed suite. What resulted can best be termed as a “breath of fresh air” in real estate marketing. In marketing houses, usually the best displays win the bid and the few companies that embraced these awesome bots have surely recorded an increase in sales. Most of those that were caught in the pangs of deciding, have gradually had to join this change.
In this edition of reviewing the best drones for real estate, we ventured to examine drones based on an entirely different look that will suit the real estate industry. The 5 key features we considered were:
- Camera quality.
- Ease of use.
- Drone’s flight time.
There are actually several drones that qualified into this classification. However, we opted to review only the very best among the best drones in the market for ranking. Below is our take.
Rank #5: Parrot AR. Drone 2.0 Power Edition
The Parrot AR Drone 2.0 Power edition is a later improvement of the Parrot AR. Drone 2.0. This drone currently costs just about $350 only in the online stores. One fascinating fact is that about 3 in every 5 drones currently used in Ireland for real estate is an AR Drone 2.0 version!
In our top 5, ranking it became the cheapest alternative that can help you move your real estate mountains. It comes in a Ready-to-Fly state and has two protective casings that help to protect the inner vulnerable parts.
Besides its cost and durability, this drone has a flight time of between 30 and 36 minutes when fully charged which is longer enough to help you navigate your estate. It has a powerful front camera that is able to shoot full HD (720p) images and videos, then relays them directly to the controlling device at speeds of up to 30 frames per second. The drone is agile like none other and can shoot stable images/videos even when firing at speeds of up to 11mph. It has quite a limited control distance of 150 meters. Even then, rarely can small estate agents have property stretching that much.
The drone is controlled by the Parrot FreeFlight 2.0 App that is free to download for iPhone, Android and Windows phones. In order to optimize usage when recording real estate videos, it is recommended to turn on the “Director’s Mode”. When in normal mode, the drone is very easy to use; under this mode, the drone is ultra-easy to control and it becomes pretty stable.
Even so, this drone has in the past recorded issues concerning its connectivity and its general durability. Since it relies wholly on Wi-Fi signals for control, it may encounter issues in areas where many Wi-Fi connections abound. As such, it is recommended that you optimize your controller’s settings to optimum levels. On a scale of 10, the AR Drone 2.0 scooped a 7.8 score. You’ve got to use it to know how good it feels, and, to get a better insight on all the features this model offers, we suggest checking out our Parrot AR 2.0 in-depth review.
Rank #4: Walkera QR X800 quadcopter
Of all Walkera quadcopters in the current market, none has been optimized to meet the performance of Walkera QR X800 yet. This drone combines both design and performance to produce a masterly performance.
It comes in a Bind-n-Fly (BNF) state. That means that it is ferried as a framework/skeleton upon which you are to weld, customize and add features as you will desire. Since its casing is made of strong 3K weaved carbon, the durability of this drone is less of a concern.
The Walkera QR X800 has a flight time of between 40 minutes and 1 hour. Precisely, this makes it the best option when you need to fly for lengthy durations. It can also be controlled remotely by the aid of the GPS controller (FCS800 Multi-Axis Control System), thus its control distance is virtually limitless. In addition, this drone is compatible with any normal professional camera. Thus, it isn’t limited to the smaller drone cameras with little resolution. The drone is certainly simple to control on air since it uses both manual controls and app controls.
Nevertheless, this drone too falls short in ranking since it has received issues concerning the durability of its fancy retractable landing gear. In addition, the fact that the drone is shipped in a BNF state makes it a poor option for people who don’t like welding electronics.
Besides the two main drawbacks, this bot surely is a great option for real estate purposes. It currently costs around $1000. On a scale of 10, this drone deserved a score of 8.0. and if you want to get much more familiar with all the features and flight characteristics of this model, we suggest reading our Walkera QR X800 in-depth review.
Rank #3: Walkera QR X350 Pro
The Walkera QR X350 drone series is the second best-selling drone after the DJI Phantom 3 series. Unlike the QR X800 reviewed above, this drone is much lighter and thus is highly portable. It comes in a BNF state and thus will require you to get your hands a little dirty. However, the main reason why this drone is so popular in the market is the fact that it is very customizable.
The Walkera QR X350 drone is best suited for use in high altitude areas since it is a very agile drone that can move in speeds of up to 45mph. Besides, it hardly experiences connectivity issues since it can be controlled even remotely with help of the GPS and can take all modern high-quality cameras like Hero 3 and Hero 3+ from GoPro.
It is incredibly easy to control since it allows you to have a First-Person-View of the area you are flying over. It has an average flight time of 25 minutes when fully charged which certainly is adequate to take professional snaps. For a better insight on the features of this model, we suggest reading our Walkera QR X350 in-depth review.
Nonetheless, this drone too fell short because it has in the past recorded compatibility issues with various cameras. In addition, it may not be your best option if you hate the screwdriver. Besides the two main drawbacks, this bot is a queen in flights and an ace in taking snaps. With just about $500 you can start enjoying it. On an average scale of 10, this drone deserves an 8.6 score.
Rank #2: DJI Phantom 3 Advanced
There are several good quadcopter manufacturing companies out there but the DJI Phantom isn’t one of them. DJI is a great company competing on its own and it has always managed to keep up in producing a class of its own diverse drones. The DJI Phantom 3 Advanced, for instance, isn’t just good; it is exceedingly great and smart. Being the final production of their third series, this model was undoubtedly designed to be a killer in both designs and performance.
This drone will add to your flying menu an added feature of quality and unlimited customizability. In addition, it comes in a Ready-to-Fly state thus will require minimal welding if any at all. Its 12 MP camera is capable of recording Full HD images (1080p) and relays them directly to the controller device. In addition, this great drone has a 3-axis stabilization gimbal which ensures that all videos taken by the drone lack the normal shakiness of drone-recorded videos.
The best part is that it is app controlled. The controlling software is available and free to download for Android, iPhone and Windows phone users. This drone too uses the First-Person-View feature, thus is incredibly easy to control. In essence, a novice will fly it comfortably. What makes it stand out taller than others, is the fact that this drone’s normal control distance is within 5KM and it has a 25 minute flight time. However, it can be improved to fly for 300 minutes and be controlled remotely with aid of the GPS.
So far, not many complaints have been made about this drone besides the fact that it is quite costly when compared to other drones. Some of its critics have also blamed it for having relatively less durable propellers. Even then, this drone is surely something worth trying out, and, to find out much more, we suggest that you also take a look at our Phantom 3 series review. On an average scale of 10, this bot will deserve a score of 9.0. Currently, it costs anything between $700 and $1000.
Rank #1: DJI Phantom 4
DJI Phantom 4 is the newest “boy” in town. Long before its official release, the whole drone market had gone bizarre with speculations. In the official release, it was made clear that Apple Company had a hand in the production of this drone. Judging it by its looks you may not see any noticeable change in design even though the DJI Phantom insisted on it. But when it gets to performance, this drone performs actions that could only be imagined in science fiction. It can be termed the smartest drone of all DJI Phantom drones currently on sale.
The control of this drone has been eased exceedingly. Besides the normal app controller features, this bot is now able to follow the controller (under ActiveTrack flying mode) and it’s smart enough to evade obstacles on its own. It has a powerful 12MP camera that is able to capture 4K videos and relays them directly to your phone within 30 frames per second. By a double tap on your controller screen, you will share live video recordings directly to a social site of your choice. Since it also has a 3-axis gimbal, it is capable of producing very stable video footages.
The main improvements for this drone mainly dwelt with a longer flight time that extended to 28 minutes away from the former 20 minutes. Further, it is also able to make decisions that prevent it from accidents thus lengthening its durability. It has a 5K control distance and it will allow you to pre-program its moves with the aid of the Intel SDK software. For a much better insight on all the features and flight characteristics of this model, we suggest checking out our DJI Phantom 4 in-depth review.
Currently, there hasn’t been a serious hullabaloo concerning the DJI Phantom 4. Thus it became to us the best drone in ranking. Even so, its current price tag of $1400 may discourage many people from having it. Then again, if you can afford, try it out. It’s worth the cut. On a ranking of 10, we give it a 9.5 score.
Things you must know before purchase
- Legality in such flights is king: different states and countries will require varied regulations on the use of the above drones. Always familiarize yourself with these laws before flying.
- Privacy is second: before filming your houses, it is important to inform all people who may be living on the property and/or your neighbors before making such a move. Otherwise, you could be sued for interfering with other people’s privacy.
- Drones are always noisy: Some of the drones reviewed above like the Walkera QR X800 are exceedingly noisy. Thus, they shouldn’t be employed where silence is paramount like near courtrooms or schools.
Do you really need a drone for real estate?
As explored before, the need for drones in real estate fields is increasing day by day. The main reason is simply to help you showcase your property.
In doing that, it is conceivable that you may need to buy a drone soon in order to help you:
- Incorporate the entire property in imaging: by this, we mean that a drone’s elevated/aerial view is great in giving a rough view of an entire property looks to a prospective buyer.
- Shows the surrounding facilities: with the aid of aerial snaps, one can easily show the available amenities e.g. schools, hospitals and others of the like manner that support settlements.
- Show likely future developments: it’s also through such images that buyers can notice likely developments near the property that can favor its purchase.
- Help you in mapping: aerial images also play a great role in mapping property.
There are several activities that you can throw your drone in and maybe get some benefits out of that. The popular ones include:
- Aerial photographing: definitely, this is the key reason for using drones in real estate. In order to sufficiently utilize this feature, the camera quality of a drone becomes the key feature followed by its flight time.
- Mapping & Surveying: as noted before, aerial images play a critical role in the mapping of properties. Thus, with advanced drones like the ones reviewed above, mapping and surveying can be highly simplified.
- Entertainment: besides helping you in doing business, quadcopters are also incredibly awesome to play with. These bots can spin, rotate, hurl with agility and do very awesome moves. Leading in this category will be the DJI Phantom 4.
- Piloting: these bots can also enable you to have a virtual experience in flying a real plane and they will also act as your help if you wish to advance in aerial photography.
The key features to look out for when buying
In real estate classification, a drone’s looks may not be as important as its performance. Thus, if confronted with deceiving looks, always choose the performance. Also, since most of drone sales are done online, it is also great to trade on drones and buyers with high ratings as opposed to low rated sellers and drones.
The key features you need to put your attention before buying such a drone are:
- Camera quality: under this feature, only the Parrot AR drone 2.0, The DJI Phantom 3 Advanced and the Phantom 4 qualify. The two Walkera drones aren’t ferried with cameras, thus their quality is relative to the one that is bought.
- Battery: the battery of a drone determines its flight time. Usually, longer flight times allow for better photographing/filming than lesser ones. Leading in this category is the DJI Phantom 4.
- Ease of use: all of the above-reviewed drones are surely easy to control.
- Cost: in technology, usually, “cheaper is expensive”. By this, you may need to be aware of cheaper alternatives that do cost highly in their less durability.
Not sure what model to buy?
Using drones in real estate is still a new practice in most countries. But despite being new, its use has changed trends within various markets for the better. As such, it is essential to have a look at some of the pros and cons associated with their use.
- They are cheaper: when compared to the traditional means of using planes to take aerial images, drones are surely much cheaper.
- Drones are friendlier: anybody can fly quadcopters and showcase property expertly. This eliminates the complexity of expensive training in order to take aerial images.
- They are portable: the drones reviewed above are all small enough to carry to different sites where they may be required with ease.
- They will always get the job done!
- Drones are usually noisy.
- Some may be hard to configure and use when new.
Currently, there is no doubt that as years will progress, drone usage in real estate is going to record an increase as they play a great role in marketing. Nonetheless, this increase is likely to be curbed by various states through the issuance of licenses.
By buying one today, you may become the first person in your entire locality to embrace this change. However, have no doubt that soon you will meet competitions. So, take this chance and be ahead of others.