Today’s real estate is all about impact and “wow.” More home buyers today are looking at digital listings and social media first. And that has introduced a unique need for drone photography. The best drone for real estate can be used to photograph and videotape properties from above, creating superb scenery and dramatic listings.
While drone technology is still fairly new, real estate professionals have been some of the first to adopt it. But drones can range from $50 to $50,000. How do you know which drone is right for you?
Let’s take a look at the best drones for real estate — depending on your needs and your budget.
1. The DJI Mini 2 Drone
DJI’s smallest and most accessible drone yet. Perfect for beginners, the DJI Mavic Air features high-end flight performance and functionality in a portable design.
- Captures Incredible Photos & Videos with its 12 MP Camera with Dolly Zoom
- Fly up to 24 mph (38 kph) with ActiveTrack, TapFly and other smart features that make professional looking video effortless
- 27 Minutes of Flight Time per Charge gives you plenty of juice for longer excursions or multiple batteries for increased range*
The DJI Mavic Mini 2 is an entry-level, affordable drone that nevertheless takes fantastic photos and videos. This DJI drone includes features such as 31 minutes of flight time, 10 KM video transmission, and 4K video. It’s a great choice for amateur drone photographers and those capturing drone footage for the first time. Check out my post on real estate video tips to learn more about taking high-quality videos.
For real estate photography, the DJI Mini 2 is ideal; it can handle up to Level 5 Wind Resistance, providing stable and attractive video. It may not be as “heavy-duty” a drone as some others, but it’s still more than capable of capturing engaging drone photosets.
The DJI Mavic Mini 2 used to be the more “casual” line of drones when the Mavic Pro existed. Now, the next step up from the DJI Mini is the DJI Mavic Air 2. DJI also produces products like a stabilizer and gimble to improve operation. There’s also the Mavic 2 zoom camera, which can provide aerial photography from a distance.
2. The DJI Mavic Air 2
DJI Mavic Air 2 is the perfect drone for anyone looking for an easy way to capture amazing aerial photos and videos. This quadcopter offers intelligent shooting functions and excellent image quality, making it easy to create beautiful masterpieces from the sky. Its compact form factor makes it highly portable, while its safer flight enables you to focus on your creative process without worrying about safety.
The DJI Mavic Air 2 is a more advanced DJI drone than the DJI Mini 2. Apart from real estate marketing, this drone can be used for capturing any type of cinematic setup. It’s an excellent replacement for the Mavic Pro, which has been discontinued (the Mavic Pro had similar technology). There’s also the DJI Inspire, which is similar.
For drone real estate photography, the DJI Mavic Air 2 has 4K video, a 1/2 inch image sensor, 48 MP photography, enhanced HDR, 8K hyperlapse, and 34 minutes of flight time. It also has automatic obstacle avoidance.
The benefits of the DJI Mavic Air 2 really have to do with its ability to take fast shots and high-quality shots. With this camera drone, you can take real estate video without having to be incredibly precise. You can get aerial photos as quick shots even if you’re not used to flying drones, and you can use stabilizers and a gimbal to improve performance.
This device also has 2 zoom, which makes it easier to zoom in on properties from a distance.
3. The EXO Blackhawk
This drone is a professional-level quadcopter that's ready to fly straight out of the box. It includes a series of instructional videos (included with purchase) taught by Chuck the Drone Guy, that will teach you everything from flying and editing to video and photo. This drone has an HD camera for capturing high-quality photos and videos. The included mini laptop allows you to view your footage on the go!
A 4K drone targeted at both professionals and hobbyists, the EXO Blackhawk is a great choice for those in the real estate market. It’s a stylish real estate drone that comes “ready to fly” with easy instructions and tutorials for those who are new to aerial drone photography. There is also the EXO Cinemaster for those who want to get into the drone business.
Features of the EXO Blackhawk include a 16 MP camera, 4K 30 FPS video, and over 30 minutes of flight time. It doesn’t capture as high-quality, high-resolution images as some, but for sharing online on real estate listings its camera may be powerful enough.
This is a solid entry-level device for those who aren’t completely confident in their ability to maneuver their camera or capture stabilized video. It’s a little more expensive than many entry-level devices, however, so you should still be careful!
4. The Flightelf
Flightelf Professional is a drone that combines a powerful camera with intelligent shooting modes for stunning results. It is the ideal tool for people who want to take their photography to new heights. The Flightelf drone features obstacle avoidance technology and a 3-axis gimbal, which allows you to fly with peace of mind!
The Flightelf is one of the most affordable devices that you can get and is ideal for a beginner real estate photographer. You can select from a 30 minute, 60 minute, and 90 minute flight time, though this will impact price.
Specs include intelligent flight modes like obstacle avoidance, 4K 25 FPS footage, a Sony IMX 179 camera, and a 3-axis Gimbal.
The image resolution on the Flightelf isn’t the best; your footage will be recorded in 2048 x 1080p. But that’s still an HD resolution and it’s still stabilized through the Gimbal.
Other functions include an automatic GPS return to home, 50x zoom compared to a 2 zoom, waypoint flight, point of interest flight mode, and even gesture recognition.
5. The GoolRC RC Drone
GoolRC T32 is a foldable drone that comes with a 720P HD camera, upgraded 2.4G 4CH transmitter, and 6-axis flight control system. The GoolRC T32 features high/low-speed modes, 3D flips, and headless mode function. It can be folded into a compact size for easy carrying and storage.
Available at your local Wal-Mart, the GoolRC RC Drone is an affordable drone that is priced less than even the DJI Mavic Mini. For those still getting used to drone flight, the GoolRC can be used as an entry-level device for practice.
But that doesn’t mean that it can’t be used professionally. The GoolRC has a 2.0 MP HD camera and stabilized flight movements, perfect for taking off and taking some shots from above. It’s not going to produce fantastic video, but it provides a great method of practicing flight.
The downsides are obvious; it is more a “toy” than a professional tool. But it can give you a good idea of how drones work and the advantages of drone aerial photography, particularly if you’re still on the fence about whether it’s something you want to invest in.
6. The MJX Bugs
MJX Bugs 16 Pro is the perfect drone for capturing amazing aerial footage. It comes with a 3-axis gimbal, electronic image stabilization, support shooting 4K CMOS sensor and wide-angle lens, and a built-in optical flow sensor that gets the real-time optical flow information and integrates computations. This allows you to capture smooth, stable footage no matter what the conditions.
Another great starter device is the MJX Bugs. It comes in multiple models, with the MJX Bugs Pro being the best of the line. The MJX Bugs Pro includes electronic image stabilization, a 3-Axis Gimbal, 4K camera quality, and the ability to follow the user through a mobile phone.
Even better for real estate professionals, it includes the “Point of Interest” flight mode. You can set a point of interest for the drone to take an aerial shot of. It will circle clockwise around that spot taking aerial images for your listing.
The MJX Bugs is an advanced, easy-to-use drone videography tool, which can have paths drawn on the ground through a mobile app, and an LCD screen that makes it even easier.
7. The Ruko F11 Pro
Ruko is a professional manufacturer of high-quality drones, which has been devoted to the R&D and manufacturing of UAVs since 2013. Ruko F11 Pro is the updated version of Ruko F11, with advanced features such as 5GHz Wi-Fi FPV real-time transmission, brushless motor made from high-quality aluminum alloy, and 11.1V high voltage battery for powerful and stable flying. Equipped with strong GPS positioning and air pressure, to help the drone hover stably and avoid camera vibration.
The Ruko F11 Pro has a 4K UHD camera, 36 minutes of flight time, a 500 meter GPS signal, and multiple flight modes. Flight modes include Auto Return, Tap Fly, FPV, and Headless Mode. All that in a fairly small, affordable package; the Ruko F11 Pro is a mid-range beginner drone at the low end of cost.
Ruko specializes in small form factor drones that can be folded up for easy carrying; perfect for the real estate professional who is on the go.
This drone is more than sufficient for real estate professionals who want to take high-quality aerial videos and images. A slight upgrade to the Ruko F11 Pro is the Ruko F11 GIM, which also comes with a 2-Axis Gimbal. At the lower end of the spectrum, the Ruko U11 model comes with a 4K camera and 40 minutes of flight time.
8. The DJI Mavic Pro 3
The DJI Mavic 3 Pro is a high-performance drone with a 4/3 CMOS Hasselblad camera that captures 12.8-stops of dynamic range and shoots in RAW, JPEG and DNG formats. It has an upgraded flight control system with 4 vision sensors, dual-band satellite positioning, OcuSync HD video transmission technology and a maximum flight time of 46 minutes. The Mavic 3 Pro features the FlightAutonomy system that includes five vision sensors to detect obstacles up to 49ft (15m) away in every direction.
Drone enthusiasts have loved the DJI Mavic Pro ever since it was first released in 2016. It had some exceptional features even back then. Today, DJI just released the Mavic Pro 3. This drone is DJI’s mid-tier option. I believe it presents one of the best bang-for-the-buck in terms of value compared to any drone on the market today.
With omnidirectional sensors, you can fly confidently knowing it’s near impossible to crash into objects. Also, the O3+ transmission system is capable of flying over 15km away (please fly line of sight only). Finally, the new battery is able to keep this bird in flight for up-to 46 minutes! The longest ever for any Mavic.
The Mavic Pro can record MPG, MP4, and MOV movies in 5.1K, 4K, 2.7K, and HD resolution. It can also capture images of 20 megapixels. So, though it is on the pricier side, it is still an excellent product.
9. The DJI Phantom 4
The DJI Phantom 4 Advanced has a flight time of up to 30 minutes, reaching speeds of up to 44 miles per hour. The 20MP camera can shoot 4K videos and take stunning photos. The 4.35-mile range and 5 vision sensors in the Flight Autonomy System allow for great obstacle avoidance and smooth flying. This drone also comes with remote control and an intelligent flight battery.
If you’re looking for professional features, the DJI Phantom may be the best drone for real estate. The DJI Phantom provides professional-grade aerial imaging, including aerial footage and aerial photography. Features include a 20 MP camera sensor, 30 minute flight time, and obstacle sensors.
While it’s at the more expensive end of the spectrum compared to other hobbyist drones, it’s an all-in-one film-making and photo-taking solution. It can shoot 4K video at 60 FPS. Its onboard Gimbal camera has a mechanical shutter and f/2.8 wide-angle lens, which is a great lens for real estate photography., which is a great lens for real estate photography. It also has intelligent flight modes: ActiveTrack, Return to Home, TapFly, Draw Mode, and Gesture Mode.
This device can be used by professional cinematographers. It also has a remote controller and remote controller. The downside to the DJI Phantom is that it is quite expensive; three times as expensive as some of the mid-line products.
10. The Contixo F24 GPS Drone
The Contixo F24 Pro 4K UHD Foldable RC Quadcopter GPS Drone is perfect for capturing amazing aerial photos and videos. With its 2.7K video resolution and 90° adjustable 120°FOV camera, you can capture stunning footage from any angle. The drone also features a max control range of 1200M/3600FT and a max HD video transmission range of 500M/1640FT, so you can fly it anywhere with ease.
A 3D, foldable design makes the Contixo F24 GPS Drone compact and easy to bring with you. The real estate professional on the go can bring the Contixo anywhere to get fast, effective video shots and aerial photography. Despite its small size, the Contixo F24 can fly for up to 30 minutes.
The Contixo F24 GPS Drone has a 1080P HD Wi-Fi camera, which shoots with a 120 field-of-view. Advanced features are included in the Contixo F24 such as gesture control, flight pathing, and return to home.
The Contixo F24 GPS Drone isn’t going to be the best drone that you can possibly get, but it provides very good value for its price, especially for those who just want to take a few pictures or videos.
FAQs on Best Drone For Real Estate
Why would you use a drone for real estate photography?
Drones are often used to complete a “fly-by” of a large lot or a luxury property. Many properties can’t be properly viewed except through the air.
You can also use drones to take photos of larger estates, photos of backyards and front yards, and generally accentuate the property’s curb appeal.
Real estate drone photography can even be used to fly through a property if a real estate agent wants to get a little creative.
Are there laws around real estate drone photography?
Drones have introduced a multitude of new laws regarding airspace. But those performing real estate drone photography aren’t likely to run into issues, as these laws generally concern public airspace.
When using a drone for real estate drone photography, it’s critical that you don’t fly into areas that could be considered a neighboring property. Do not fly into a neighbor’s property or over a neighbor’s property.
If you are unclear about the laws regarding drone video and photography in your area, you should consult with a professional before you begin.
Do you need a professional drone pilot to use a drone?
The best drone for real estate professionals will be a drone that can be flown by an amateur. Usually, a professional drone pilot comes with a rental drone; you rent the entire service. But drones today are actually surprisingly easy to maneuver. Many of them can be used to “hover” over a property with limited effort.
A real estate professional who has never used a drone before could consider practicing a little before they purchase a more expensive drone. And those who don’t do their own real estate photography may want to hire a professional rather than taking their aerial photography on their own.
Most people will crash a drone the first couple of times they use it. Starting with a cheaper drone can be a good option for those who have never piloted a drone before.
Should you buy a drone or just rent one?
If you don’t frequently require aerial photography, it’s possible to simply rent a drone (and a drone operator) rather than attempt to complete your real estate photography yourself. Aerial photography is best for large lots, luxury properties, and commercial properties. A drone operator will often have more expensive equipment than an individual real estate professional would have.
That being said, it is not difficult for anyone, even a casual user, to become a drone pilot. Real estate photography tends to be fairly direct, so there isn’t a lot that has to be done besides hovering and capturing the image.
What should you look for when buying a drone?
As a real estate professional, you’re looking to buy a drone to perform video and photography. You should look for a drone that can do 4K video and a drone that does high-resolution photography. Additional features you might want to look for are flight modes, such as “Point of Interest.”
A point of interest flight mode means that the drone will hover around the point of interest, in this case, the drone would be hovering around the house that’s for sale. Another great flight mode is “Active Tracking,” which can follow someone — such as a person walking through a large property.
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