“You have to be very, very careful,” warns Realtor Tom Albrecht, who uses drones when marketing his listings. “[Using the drone] involves a lot of paperwork, there’s a lot of work to do to get the necessary exemptions.”
Unlike their U.S. counterparts who face up to a $10,000 fine, any Canadian real estate sales reps wishing to use a drone for commercial purposes has to fill out a Special Flight Operation Certificate with Transport Canada.
Transport Canada says the goal of the certificate is to “ensure the safety of the public and protection of other users of the airspace during the operation of the unmanned air vehicle. Transport Canada has to be convinced that an individual can conduct their planned operation safely and is familiar enough with aviation regulations before an SFOC will be granted.”
Indeed, Albrecht says privacy seems to be the number one concern for members of the public, and rightly so. Earlier this year, the RCMP launched an investigation after several reports claiming a drone was peeping in the windows of a Vancouver condo building.
However, once the legalities are sorted out, using the drone to market a listing is incredibly valuable – regardless of the property’s perceived worth.
“We figure we can add a significant amount of value to people’s transactions,” Albrecht tells REP. “We anticipate things to sell quicker and for more. And we anticipate to be selling more volume as a team.”
Many agents once only considered aerial photography and videography for large luxury properties that cover many acres – and that come with high enough commissions to cover the cost of renting a helicopter and hiring a photographer. However, the accessibility, affordability and ease of use of drones are making the practice more common for smaller properties, too.
“We’ll be offering aerial footage to all our clients,” Albrecht says.
The drone footage also helps to promote listings via social media, especially while it remains a commodity. “If we spent, say, $100 on pictures, no one would share it [on social media]. But if we spent $100 on video, maybe five people share it, and when we add the aerial aspect, maybe 10 people would share it, especially through social media.”
It’s a bird… it’s a plane – no, it’s increasingly a drone, with more and more Realtors taking advantage of this technology, despite the paperwork involved to use it.