On the Market

Real Estate


Not long ago, buying a home meant a lot of driving around and walking through homes in hopes of finding everything you want in a property. Now, thanks to drone cameras and virtual technology advancements, prospective buyers can see detailed, 3-D views of homes on the market, all without leaving the comfort of home.

“Real estate is very visual and internet-based today,” said Bob Clark of the Clark, Cramer and Frank Team at Sea Pines Real Estate. “Particularly when people are shopping from outside the area.”

Drones4Drone photography has been used for years to sell real estate, and as the technology becomes cheaper and more accessible, the practice has grown. Clark has worked in real estate for 20 years and has been using drone footage for the past five.

“For the right house, it’s very useful,” he said. “It takes away all the guesswork on how the house sits.”

In addition to drone photography, real estate agents have also embraced high-tech virtual tours. Software creates a 3-D floor plan of properties that lets users “walk through” the home. Potential buyers can stop and start the tour as they like, look closer at the home’s features, and get an impression of what being in the space would actually be like. And sellers can use the technology to look at comparable properties. The combination of drone photography and virtual tours allows people to see everything about a property from their computers.



Jason Adams of Luxury Imaging said his company purchased a drone camera and added a pilot to its team about a year ago. The company uses it to provide drone photography to real estate clients, as well as for other commercial uses. For the bird’s-eye shots, they fly the drone about 75 feet high, capturing images that orient the property in its surroundings. Adams also uses drones to capture level images of tall properties, like the narrow beach houses that are gaining popularity in many island neighborhoods. For this type of shot, the drones only fly to about 25 or 30 feet high and face the house straight on.

Drones3“To get the right perspective and a straight shot of these taller houses, you have to get the camera up higher,” Adams said. “Shooting from the ground, you can only get about half of the house.”

This type of work used to require renting a cherry picker; flying the drone is much easier. And oftentimes you can capture the water or golf course behind the home in the shot as well.

David Carroll, an agent with Charter One Realty, recently used drone photography to showcase a property in Port Royal Plantation that was a five-minute walk to the beach.

“It’s easy to say third row from the beach,” he said. “But with a photo, it gives perspective for people who aren’t familiar with the area.”

Carroll has lived in the Lowcountry for 32 years and worked as a real estate agent for 30. He has been using drone photography since it became an option and finds it to be effective anytime the home is close to the beach or has a marsh view.

“The bird’s-eye perspective is a very effective marketing tool,” he said, “and it’s satisfying to listing clients to see their property from that view.”