AT THE recent REinnovate 2016 conference in Sydney, digital media expert Steve Sammartino challenged property agents to connect with their customers by embracing new technologies to sell real estate more innovatively.
“I have one YouTube video that has had eight million views. I look at the average real estate video and it only has 80 views. But those 80 views made more money than my eight million, because those 80 people walked through the listing and an agent sold it to one of them and made a profit.”
It’s a practice some rural property agents have also well and truly embraced. For the past 10 years, Inglis Rural Property has used aerial photography technology to showcase rural properties listed through its Sydney and Melbourne branches to domestic and international investors. Click the link below to see a sample:
Rural property sales manager Sam Triggs said initially, Inglis employed helicopters to film rural properties from the air.
Aerial photographs were a powerful tool, but as technology improved, the logical (and considerable cheaper) step was to move to drones, or unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs).
“Drone photography gives buyers an immediate overview of a property – scale, water, improvements, yards, topography and the general landscape – on their mobile device, or desktop computer,” Mr Triggs said.
Small unmanned aerial vehicles or UAVs are certainly bringing aerial photography and video to the masses and increasingly, they are being engaged for use in rural property marketing.
In just four years, drones have become smaller, the camera technology has improved and the cost of hiring a drone and a two-man operating team has been halved.
Brett Chilton, the founder of SWARM UAV, said as a selling tool, there’s nothing more powerful than a good aerial view of a large-scale cattle property.
“Five years ago, the only option was to put a high-definition camera on a helicopter or fixed wing aircraft. That was a very expensive way of showcasing a property’s size and scale. Today, for a small amount of money, a professional UAV can be hired to tell that story.”
Mr Chilton said buyers are not always located in the region of the property in question, so a video can show proximity to water, the number and location of buildings, waters and the lay of the land – things cameras on the ground can’t effectively capture as effectively.
“Properties can look big from the ground, but nothing’s better than 120 metres above the landscape. It would take a lot of static photos to tell the same story. People have a digital appetite and prefer to sit back and just hit ‘play’,” Mr Chilton said.
“They may need to delve deeper. It may prompt them to visit the property in person, or make a call to the agent, but some investors have even bought sight unseen, on the basis of the video.”
In 2014, Swarm UAV produced Inglis’ first aerial video for Yallambee, one of Victoria’s oldest and most successful bloodstock operations. American thoroughbred breeder Spendthrift watched the video https://vimeo.com/110230325 with a representative here in Australia. They were impressed and subsequently purchased the property.
Last year, Inglis was recognised for the marketing and sale of Yallambee Stud with the Real Estate Institute of Victoria’s prestigious Rural Marketing Award for Excellence.
Speaking to Beef Central after the award, Mr Triggs said Inglis was recognised for its marketing strategy, the way it targeted interested international parties and finally, for achieving a strong sales result.
“Part of our success was in introducing drones to better capture the property’s qualities and features. They have become a very cost-effective way to create a powerful presentation tool for the properties we are showcasing. That was one of our key strengths,” he said.
Trenton Hindman from Colliers International thinks most real estate agents will start using drones and aerial videos, as vendors and their agents move away from print media.
“Digital media is so affordable now. You can produce a video for the same price as a newspaper advertisement. From a marketing perspective it provides another view of the property. A simple presentation gets the message across strongly. It’s certainly value for money,” Mr Hindman said.
Some agents, including personnel from Inglis and Colliers, carry a self-piloted drone in the boot of their car.
Later this year, when regulations loosen up, Mr Chilton assumes that ‘every man and his dog’ will have a drone and be shooting property footage themselves.
“Moving forward, there will be more use for drones. The technology is so good that people can now direct a drone using their smart phone.”
On its website, SWARM UAV said there are five things to look for and investigate when hiring drone operators.
- The operator has their Casa Operator’s Certificate (OC).
- The operator has full Public Liability Insurance ($20,000,000).
- Understand the camera they are shooting with (ie. a GoPro versus a Canon 5D).
- Understand the files being offered and the format they will be provided in.
- A sample of previous work.
There’s also a website called Drones for Hire www.dronesforhire.com.au which is Australia’s largest drone operator directory.