How drones are being used to sell homes

Drone photography
Drone photography
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IF YOU see a low-lying UFO that resembles a tiny helicopter, don’t panic. The chances are you’ve spoted a drone. Best known for their use in war zones, the unmanned aircrat are being used to capture pictures from places that photographers can’t reach. They are increasingly being used by estate agents, keen to show homes from the best angle and by surveyors who want to check sites and high roofs.

IF YOU see a low-lying UFO that resembles a tiny helicopter, don’t panic. The chances are you’ve spoted a drone. Best known for their use in war zones, the unmanned aircrat are being used to capture pictures from places that photographers can’t reach. They are increasingly being used by estate agents, keen to show homes from the best angle and by surveyors who want to check sites and high roofs.

Ed Stoyle, Head of Residential at Carter Jonas, York, says: “They are the latest gadget and they are incredibly useful. “It works well at the top end of the market on big country properties and those with lots of outbuildings. It’s also very useful to capture the extent of a country estate, rather than shooting it piecemeal. I’ve also used it with city centre properties in York to show how much garden they have and where they are in relation to the Minster.”

The cost of deploying a drone is not prohibitive, at around £250 per session and the cameras can take stills and video footage. Lionel Firn, of Hopgrove Productions, York, operates three drones ater spending a year obtaining a Civil Aviation Authority licence. He used to make videos for motorsports manufacturers but since investing in the drones and geting a licence, the bulk of his business is taking photographs and video for developers, surveyors and estate agents.

“Drones are great for checking roofs as in the past you’d have to get a cherry picker or scafolding to get up there. I also use them to take aerial pictures of sites for land surveying. The surveyors can then check the images on the computer,” he says. “Estate agents use them to get pictures of properties because they can get to heights and positions that pole photographers can’t.”

The drones, which are around 2ft wide, are electrically powered by a batery and have a satellite navigation system, a stabilising mechanism and a camera atached. The CAA licence allows them to ly up to 400t.

“I can set the GPS and it will ind the location and stay there. I can then see what the camera sees and click a buton to take the picture, or move the drone around until I get the pictures I want.

“Before I do anything I usually tell air traic control and check I am not infringing on any airspace and you have to make sure they are not lying over people or busy roads, but they are very safe and if they lose signal for any reason they automatically ly back to the place they set of from,” says Lionel, who adds that he isn’t convinced of their suitability for delivering parcels, which is what Amazon says it is aiming for.

“The technology isn’t quite there yet. The batery power only allows them to stay in the air for around ten to 20 minutes so I think parcel delivery is a long way of. At the moment they are perfect for photography and video.”

Geting the right image is more important than ever for estate agents, according to Ed Stoyle. “If you don’t capture a buyer’s atention with that irst image on a property website, then you’re lucky if they click in and look any further. So the picture is vital, especially if a property has a lovely seting. If you get that across then it can sell a house.”

He advises anyone thinking of selling this autumn or winter to talk to their agent about geting professionally-shot exterior pictures of their property done now. “Properties look beter with a blue sky behind them and with their gardens looking green and in full bloom,” he says.

Hopgrove Productions, www. hopgrove.com; www.carterjonas. co.uk