I’m what other people call an “early adopter.” I like to try new things and sometimes I hit upon a good idea before everyone else catches on. For instance, using drone photography has been an important marketing development for my suburban real estate investment business in New Jersey. It might sound extravagant but don’t get me wrong—I’m not in the business of very expensive houses. Rather, I focus on acquiring fixer-upper homes for sale and rehabbing them to sell to middle-income families. These days, however, because of changes in federal policy, properties at all price-points can be marketed in ways that were cost-prohibitive in the past. And, I have to tell you, my New Jersey properties are spending less time on the market when the listings include aerial footage by drones.

Using drone photography for commercial purposes was just too expensive before the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) passed the “Small Unmanned Aircraft Rule” last year. You used to have to hire someone with an FAA-issued pilot’s license to take aerial shots of your property. Now, almost anyone can become a certified drone operator by passing an exam on basic aeronautics. As a result, drone photography services are becoming commonplace across New Jersey and they are more focused than ever on serving real estate professionals. And, the costs of integrating it into your marketing strategy has gone down significantly.

How to Use Drone Videos for Real Estate Promotions in New Jersey

Benefits of Drone Photography for Marketing Your Property

With job growth soaring upward in New Jersey again, more families will be looking online for a home to buy in the relatively affordable suburban neighborhoods. For these prospective online buyers, video footage has already proven its value—of homebuyers who access video during their property search, 70% use it to tour a home and 86% use it to research a community.

Even more, listings that included video received four times the inquiries than listings without. More recently, the use of video for highlighting a property’s features online has swiftly expanded to include 360-degree virtual tours. Listing your property with aerial footage can woo these homebuyers with even more of what they are looking for.

Drones offer the advantage of higher quality and more detailed property images, presenting more depth and dimension than standard ground-level video. The footage is like a mini-movie that tells a story about the home, neighborhood, and surrounding area. This expanded view is especially influential for prospective buyers searching in suburban neighborhoods, as it gives a real-life perspective of important details like the home’s proximity to parks, schools, and other local amenities.

The best part is that the cost for drone photography is now reasonably affordable across New Jersey—usually between $100- $150 per hour. Of course, the overall cost can range depending on several factors, including:

  • Length of footage required. Larger homes or properties will need more footage to showcase all of its advantages and particulars. For online marketing collateral, however, you don’t want the video to be too long or you risk losing a prospective homebuyer’s attention.
  • Amount of editing needed. The video should only highlight the best features of your investment property, and that may involve some editing time for the photographer to create a visually compelling story.
  • Possible travel expenses. The drone pilot may have to spend extra time to get to your location If your property is not located near an urban center in New Jersey. They usually charge a moderate fee for travel time.
  • Project timeline. If you needed to get that listing online yesterday, the photographer may charge an extra “rush” fee.
  • Of course, most local drone photography services know the area and are happy to ballpark a price for you over the phone. I’ve found it to be worth the cost—professional drone footage can deepen the emotional connection of prospects and raise the chance that they will get in touch for more information about your house.

Distinguishing Your Investment Property for Faster Sales

Real estate investing is an ever-evolving industry and it’s important to stay ahead of the curve in reaching buyers. Early adopters of drone photography will have the upper hand—until homebuyers come to expect it as an online marketing standard. In an increasingly competitive marketing landscape, drones deliver a unique approach for differentiating your investment property to online buyers and now it’s affordable for sellers of even modest suburban family homes across our state.

As an independently owned and operated HomeVestors® franchisee, I swap ideas and strategies like this for optimizing investment returns with over 1,100 experienced investors nationwide. If you would like to join our conversation, reach out for more information today.

Each franchise office is independently owned and operated.

Photo Credit: Flickr user Hillel Steinberg.


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