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Kentwood buys drones

Highlights:

  • Kentwood buys a drone, with another on the way.
  • Drone videos will be a free service to Kentwood brokers.
  • Kentwood plans to create a video library shot by drones.
Drone

Kentwood Real Estate recently bought this drone for filming aerial videos.

“Our marketing director and our head of technology were going to various real estate conferences and they started to hear a lot of comments about using drones to showcase properties,” said Niederman, CEO of Kentwood Real Estate Co.

Last week, Niederman told the 185 brokers at the three Kentwood companies — The Kentwood Co. at the Denver Tech Center, Kentwood at Cherry Creek and Kentwood City Properties — that he had purchased a drone for aerial photography and another is on the way.

“They went crazy,” Niederman said. “They loved it.”

Fuller Sotheby’s International Realty has contracted with a third-party, Salt Lake City-based company to shoot videos with drones, but Niederman wanted to keep the operation in-house.

He said he isn’t aware of any other Denver realty firm that owns its own drones.

Niederman is offering the use of the drone at no charge to Kentwood agents. A third-party vendor might charge a Realtor $200 to $300 per video.

“Do that math if you have 600 to 1,000 listings,” Niederman said.

Also, by owning the drone and the videos, there never will be any copyright issues, he said.

Niederman plans to hire a full-time videographer to shoot the videos for Kentwood brokers. Individual agents won’t be allowed to shoot their own videos.

“You really need a qualified, trained professional behind the controls,” Niederman said. “These aren’t toys; they are sophisticated, sensitive pieces of high-tech equipment.”

Kentwood managers have named the drone “Kenny.”

Niederman said the drones aren’t just for shooting sprawling properties that can’t easily be captured in more traditional videos.

“Let’s say you are listing a bungalow in Washington Park,” Niederman said. “You might have the drone fly up and down the street, so a person can go on the Internet and get a feel for the neighborhood. Maybe we would videotape Washington Park itself.”

Indeed, one of his plans is to create a video library of things such as parks, neighborhoods and attractions that Kentwood would own.

Niederman owns the domain name Denver.com and he said the drone videos could be showcased along with that name on the web.

“It’s all part and parcel of figuring out ways to use this,” Niederman said. “It’s really cool to be offering cutting edge technology.”

Kentwood’s team looked at numerous drones before buying one from a South African company.

The drone is primarily constructed with highly durable carbon fiber with a GPS setup featuring advanced waypoint mission control software, auto pilot, and one switch return to launch capability.

The drone house a 1080p full HD video camera shooting at over 60 frames per second, providing smooth and professional quality footage that can be viewed and monitored in real time during the flight.

The drone will sustain only minor damage in the event of a crash. Each drone can operate at speeds up to 60 mph with excellent stability. The battery allows it to fly for eight to 10 minutes before it needs to be recharged.

“Today, you can buy a drone for as little at $1,500 and as much as $10,000. Our drone is kind of in the middle of that price range and is a very high-end model,” Niederman said.

As with all things technological, there is a strong possibility that drones will become better and less expensive as they grow more popular.

“In that case, we would invest in more of them,” Niederman said. “Who is to say we wouldn’t end up with a fleet of them? My goal would be to eventually have a video shot by a drone with every listing.”

As drones become more popular with Realtors and other professionals, he said he wouldn’t be surprised if their use become more regulated.

“Of course, Amazon and other big companies are looking to use them,” Niederman said.

“And I know some people are concerned about privacy issues,” he said. “I know the FAA is studying way to regulate them when it comes to private business. We, of course, will comply with any regulations that are put in place.”

Have a story idea or real estate tip? Contact John Rebchook at  JRCHOOK@gmail.com. InsideRealEstateNews.com is sponsored by Universal Lending, Land Title Guarantee and 8z Real Estate. To read more articles by John Rebchook, subscribe to the Colorado Real Estate Journal.