Realtors can make lots of money brokering real estate transactions but they have to get the clients first. Spending $999 on a Phantom 3 Advanced is a good investment for the ambitious real estate agent because they will have the ability to take their own aerial pictures of the property for potential sellers as well as survey properties for buyers.
Drones For Sellers Agents
Lets be honest, there are way too many realtors chasing too few listings. Usually the top 5% of agents get the bulk of the listings due to seniority, word of mouth, more ad spend, etc. Making yourself stand out can be difficult and you have to find a way to differentiate yourself from the next person. One way you can separate yourself from the herd would be to bring the $999 Phantom 3 to your next client meeting. Insist on taking aerial pictures to assess the value and then make sure you send the best 1-2 photos to the potential client when you follow up with the client. If they are interviewing several realtors, you surely will jump to the top of the list. If you are willing to go out of your way to shoot aerial pictures of the property before you even get the listing, this sends the message that you mean business and will go out of your way for the client.
Drones For Buyers Agents
The most obvious use of drone photography is to get amazing pictures of properties for listings. If you are creative, you can find others uses for your new tool that can help you win buyers too. If you represent investors buying houses that need a little love, offer to survey the property from the air to check the condition of the roof and check the proximity to other properties. So much can be discovered from the birds eye perspective. Imagine the loyalty your buyer will have when you can offer this service and potentially catch things that a normal inspector might miss or even find a reason to skip the property before money is spent on an inspection.
If you are representing a high end home buyer, getting proprietary aerial photography for your client will add a lot of value and help you be different from all the rest. Seeing an amazing from the air might also help your client realize the true value of a property and help get them excited enough to make the offer in times when they are not sure. Even better, it might help identify problems with the property that they might have missed otherwise. In either case, you will likely get a lot word of mouth from your drone operations. "My agent took aerial pictures of the property for me. What did your agent do?"
I Want A Drone But I can't Fly One
Flying a drone has gotten so simple, just about anyone can do it now. They have GPS stabilization that means it just hovers in one spot until you move the stick. You get to see what the camera sees with an HD link to your iPhone that plugs into the controller and you just fly the drone where you want it, frame the property and push the shutter button on the remote. It really is that easy now!
For real estate agents, the DJI Phantom 3 Advanced will pay for itself quickly.
Two crashes in one day
Yesterday I crashed my Vortex twice and had a blast! I have hardly crashed at all in many years of flying FPV and I have not had a pilot mistake crash ever - until yesterday! I tried a roll, no problem. Then I tried a front flip and before I could blink I was laying upside down in the grass. I knew immediately what I did wrong. If you do not pull the throttle when you are upside down you will go down incredibly fast because of gravity combined with the crazy power of these tiny powerful, 4 cell powered motors. The other crash happened because I was flying on an incline and got below the spot I was standing, out of visual range. It is amazing how fast the signal drops out when the earth gets in the way. The signal went from clear to static instantly. This type of crash has happened to me once before with an airplane when I was flying it on the side of the crater here in Maui, it dropped out of line of sight and just went link dead. This is one of the biggest problems with 5.8ghz video links, they just die when something gets in the way.
I have been trying to avoid flying over cane fields because if I crash my little quad I know it will be hard to find. Today I was flying over a newly planted field and so I figured it would be easy to find. I got lucky and found it quickly but I was really worried about a 2 hour search and recovery mission that could easily happen. When the video went out on the second crash, I was really worried that it might take awhile to find but it was laying right on the road. The whole time I was thinking it sure would be nice to have a Tile on this thing to help me locate it! Luckily I have a few extra ones laying around.
Finding a lost quad with Tile
Both times I crashed I thought I could be in for a long search and each time I went out to look for it I wish I had stuck a Tile on the copter. A "Tile" is basically a little bluetooth beacon that you link to your phone. When you get within range of it, you can make it start beeping. Normal people use them to find their keys (I use them for this about once a week!) but us drone nerds can use them to locate lost racing copters in cane fields! They are about $20 - $25 bucks from Amazon and they last over a year. I am sticking one on my Vortex before I fly it again!
Here are the summary points of which drone you should buy:
I have been getting lots of questions about which drone should be purchased and the answer has almost always been the $999 Phantom 3 Advanced or the $1259 version that includes a hard shell backpack and an extra battery. The only difference between the Advanced and the Professional is the addition of 4k and for most people, that is an unnecessary feature that I will explain.
First of all, if you have never used 4k video then you might not realize how intensive it is. You will need professional software to edit it (windows movie maker will not do it) and you will need a fast computer or it will bring it to a crawl. Another downside to filming in 4k is the low frame rate of 30 frames per second. The 4k does look incredible, but paying the extra money ($1519 for the Professional with hard shell case and battery) just does not make sense unless you know that you need 4k. I say save your money or buy an extra battery if you are not sure if you need 4k.
Should you buy the Phantom 3 Advanced or the 3DR Solo? This easily can be boiled down to an easy question of cameras. Do you want to use a GoPro or be locked into the DJI camera world? If you already have a high end GoPro I would recommend going with the 3DR Solo at $999. The other budget option for GoPro owners is the older DJI Phantom 2 at $699.
When does the Inspire 1 get recommended? Not that often for a few reasons. First of all, I have to say that I love mine. It is a beautiful machine and it flies great. However, for most people it just does not make any sense to spend $2899 when the Phantom 3 is nearly as good. What do you get for 2-3x the cost of the Phantom 3 line? A higher power machine (6s battery vs 4s battery in the Phantom 3 and 3s in the Phantom 2) that can fly faster and handle more wind. However, I put my Phantom 2 through many high wind filming sessions and it performed well. The camera can be removed and upgraded and you can use two controllers to drive the camera. The portability of the Phantom should also not be overlooked as the size of the Inspire 1 makes transport more difficult.
You should buy the Inspire 1 if you have the extra cash or you want to look more professional. It is a sexy looking drone and if you are accustomed to top of the line, you will probably buy it regardless of the value of the Phantom 3 line.