If your neighbors place a “for sale” sign in their yard, you might soon hear the sound of a small aircraft flying outside your window.
Don’t be alarmed; it’s just a drone taking aerial photographs and making a video of their property. It’s a sound being heard more and more in Williamson County.
“Drone photography is a standard thing. The drone is so easy,” said Monica Neubauer, a Realtor with Benchmark Realty in Franklin.
Drones, or unmanned aerial systems, are transforming the way homes and developable land are marketed, said Bruce Jones, broker for Re/Max Fine Homes in Brentwood.
Good visual images, including dramatic aerial photographs and videos, are “an expectation” when potential buyers are searching on the Internet, he said.
“The listing nowadays is all about the online presence, photos,” said Jones.
Carbine & Associates, a Williamson County-based home builder, uses drone video to introduce new subdivisions such as Southern Preserve, Water Leaf and Natures Landing in Franklin.
“With the advent of social media, videos are the No. 1 thing for buyers,” said James Carbine, the company’s president.
He operates the drone, as do other members of the staff.
The company also uses its drone to inspect sites it is considering for new subdivisions. Previously, that was done on the ground.
“You can launch that drone without having to four-wheel or walk through the woods. It’s a whole lot less stressful and more informative,” said Carbine.
The number of drones in use in the United States is constantly changing, but the FAA recently reported that more than 1.1 million have been registered. That number is expected to grow to more than 3 million within four years.
Neubauer is a believer in the value of drones.
“I’m telling them (the Realtors she trains) that drones are ‘it,’” she said.
There are some limitations. In a big subdivision, aerial photographs might make a house look crowded. And if a home is expected to get multiple offers and sell instantly, there’s no reason to spend a few hundred dollars to hire a professional drone operator.
But when a home is surrounded by a bit of land or is in the country, Neubauer always makes a point of getting drone photography.
When she listed the home at 4646 Peytonsville Road in Franklin for sale at $1.295 million, she hired HomePix Media to get aerial images.
“Let’s impress people,” said Neubauer.
Re/Max’s Jones did the same thing for the home at 4114 Trinity Road in Franklin. The house, which is new, is on the market for $1.475 million.
The drone gave a bird’s eye view of the house and the private, 5-acre lot surrounding it.
“That’s 5 acres, in Franklin, said Jones.
“You get a panoramic view of the house,” he said.
The video and photographs have caught the attention of people planning to move to Williamson County from other states.
“One couple from Chicago saw the video online and have been here and are coming back,” said Jones.
He recalls how Realtors used to get aerial photos before drones were available.
“This guy had a little remote controlled airplane. He’d attach a little camera and buzz around,” said Jones.
Another option was to hire an airplane and a photographer, which was expensive and time consuming.
Mark Chestnut, who built the Trinity Road house and lives next door, estimates that he’s met 25 people at the property. Many of them saw the drone photography and wanted to see the house in person.
“At least eight were from California. They’re in town, saw it online and wanted to see it,” he said.
“Drones show the greenery, rooftop views. I think it adds a whole new dimension,” said Chesnut. “They get a feel for the property, as if they’re there.”