“It’s just an additional tool to help calm the nerves,” said Kyle Pulis, president of Pulis Investments. “An investor should still drive or fly out to the property to look it over and have a qualified home inspector to ensure everything is functioning properly.
“It does, however, allow you to see and judge the property a lot better from home, eliminating the disappointment of travelling all the way out there to see something much different than you expected.”
Paul Rouillard, president of Flatprice.ca, purchased a small drone four months ago. He uses it to show properties to potential investors and to help investors show their properties to potential tenants.
“A lot of the time tenants are moving around; they’re more mobile than purchasers,” he added. “A lot of tenants come in from Toronto or London or Chatham – to them, it’s more of a spontaneous decision, rather than the calculated decision of an investor. When they see something like this, it gives them the Wow-factor right away.”
Pulis also recognizes the use of small drones is ideal for out-of-town investors. “It can give the investor a terrific perspective of the property and neighbourhood without having to leave their home,” he said.
“Up until now, Google Earth would have been their only other resource for viewing the property from afar. The problem with Google Earth is that the pictures are often dated and when you try to zoom in, the image becomes very grainy. So having a drone pass over the property and neighbourhood is an excellent way to look everything over.”
But Rouillard warns potential purchasers that even these small drones can be very pricey. At their most basic, a small drone will cost around $1,000, but that price doesn’t include any of the video or battery sets.
“If you’re doing what I’m doing, it starts getting pricey,” he added. “You can get some really cheap models, but you’re not going to be able to get good quality production out of it. You also need software, which is not cheap, and a good quality computer that’s going to run the video editing software.
“Anyone can go out and buy this thing, fly it around and have fun, but once you have the footage, what are you going to do with it?”
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Investors and real estate professionals are increasingly using small, commercial drones for marketing, but they will never replace the due diligence needed to acquire a property, say experts.