Drone Photography & Video Are Changing The Face of Property Marketing in The UK. Agents and vendors are using aerial photography to show prospective buyers the properties on the their books from a whole different angle.

Drones, or unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), are increasingly being used to provide a better overview not just of the property, but also of the surrounding area.

“Telling the story of your home, really communicating the key points is vital to selling your property well. With aerial photography you can instantly showcase the property and the area” says Simon Handley of Skylark Aerial Photography. “We are showcasing a home not just a house”.

“The drone photography & video allow you to paint a wider picture, providing buyers with a perspective of where the property is located within the neighbourhood, proximity to parks, public transport, shops and schools and of course the dramatic scenery in the Lake District”.

“Adding aerial video to a sales kit can drive engagement and attract attention to your property profile as well as highlighting the best aspects of your home. We are now sometimes including additional features as well as aerial video, this can be the owner or owners having a coffee and reading a paper on their balcony or lawn whilst showing the scenery such as Windermere in the background. The aerial footage sells the location and the property but we like to add a little variety to the videos we produce and not just have drone footage”.

Selling a house can be a stressful process at the best of times, so add in an extra layer of technology and to help market your property with drone photography & video.

Simon says “vendors should weigh up whether drone photography will help profile their particular property”.

“Drone photography and video is great for many properties, and we have also produced aerials for Hotels, Town Houses, Commercial Buildings and Farms”.

“When considering  Drone Photography & Video you need to keep in mind any visual obstructions from trees or power-lines that could prevent clear visuals and be a danger to the drone. Also make sure all bins and cars have been moved well away as the drone sees all. It can be very frustrating having to see a bin or car in frame when you get back to the studio. We recommend thorough preparation and site visit prior to filming with a drone”

Skylark Aerial Photography currently provides aerial filming for three large estate agents in Cumbria. “We work with three agents in completely different areas so there is no issue about effecting each others sales”.


Advice For Engaging a Drone Video to Sell Your Home

  • Ensure the drone operator is properly licensed by the relevant authorities
  • Ask to see examples of their work to ensure you’re happy with the quality
  • Inform your neighbours you’ll be filming and work through any issues they may have prior to starting
  • Agree on what aspects of the property/local area you want to focus on before you start


The Benefits

It’s easy to understand why the idea of presenting homes using photos taken from the air is so appealing. They provide a completely different perspective on properties offered for sale and they fulfil the highly desirable objective of making homes stand out from the competition on the portals and in other advertising. Also, drones provide the possibility of video which, done correctly, can look really beautiful and will certainly help attract interest in the property being sold.

For the right properties – generally country houses and the like – their potential is enormous. How else would it be possible in one photo to show the extent of a property that has many acres And just how would that photo of the house look if taken at height from over the centre of a lake or water. There are certainly plenty here in the Lake District.

“I know how tempting it is to take the risk and buy a cheap drone, mount a GoPro camera – small and lightweight – and head out to your clients’ houses in the country for an afternoon’s entertainment shooting from the air. But quite apart from the risks you’d be taking, the likelihood is that you’ll be really disappointed with the results. The GoPro is great for video but because it has an insanely wide angle of view, stills taken with this camera tend to suffer a high level of distortion – where straight lines appear to be curved”.

“It really is much more sensible to hire a professional to do the job for you (or better still, get your vendor to do the hiring as they’ll benefit from the extra marketing advantage). Professionals fly with high-resolution cameras”.

“Professionals who are any good  have the added benefit of using video downlinking so that they can correctly compose their shots from the air – many amateur flyers simply fly blind and hope for the best. Skylark Aerial Photography also turn up to their shoots with a full backup drone in case the first one fails – that does happen with technology from time to time. Skylark also use hand held gimbal systems for ground based footage”.

The past 2 years has seen an amazing increase in the use of drones as a way to take aerial photos and video of property for sale.

Some agents are even buying machines themselves in order to show their homes from a different perspective; and while this extra effort is admirable, it is also very probably illegal unless they happen to have permission from the CAA as well as sufficient Public Liability Insurance.

Since 2009, anyone flying drones commercially (for example, to take aerial photos of property for sale) has to:

  • be in receipt of formal permission from the CAA (Civil Aviation Authority)
  • be able to supply the CAA with evidence of their competence. If you’re new to the industry you would need to complete a course with someone like RUSTA. http://www.uastraining.com/
  • be able to supply sample risk assessments and maintenance schedules as part of an operations manual, and
    have sufficient Public Liability Insurance cover.

The CAA Permission is a costly and time-consuming authorisation to acquire, but without it anyone flying these machines commercially is taking a fairly high risk – especially because of the potential to injure someone, damage property, frighten life stock.

Additionally, if you as an estate agent hire a contractor to take your drone photos for you then you will also have responsibilities under Health and Safety legislation covering the hire of contractors. You would need to be sure of your contractor’s competence and their qualifications if you do not want to find yourself accountable too in the event of an accident.

That apart, if a drone flown by someone unqualified and hired or recommended by you falls out of the sky and damages their car, or worse, injures or kills a member of their family, how do you think that would play with your vendor.

What’s it going to cost

Prices vary per property (2 hours on site) but you can expect to pay in the region of £180 including mileage (up to 50 miles from Skylark office) including editing. For a days shoot which is better value the price is in the region of £300 including editing.  But weigh this against the advantage that a photo and video with the kind of impact (see examples below), will provide for the properties that have been shot that way. When you’re selling a home of (probably) well over £500, 000 what’s £180 or £300?

Applethwaite Hall, Applethwaite, Windermere, Cumbria, Lake District, UK    The Boat House, Halton, Lancs   Hobson's Farm   Wedding Celebration at Shaw End Mansion   Storrs, Windermere  Boat House, River Lune, Lancaster


Skylark Aerial Photography is owned and operated by Simon Handley. Skylark Aerial Photography provides filming for many clients within the Lake District National Park and film companies on location in the area.