How You Can Use Drones in Commercial Real Estate

Drones are not new to the commercial real estate industry. However, their use has dramatically increased since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic last year. Drones—also known as unmanned aircraft systems or UAS—are able to perform a wide range of tasks efficiently while minimizing person-to-person contact. Read on to learn more about the many ways brokers, tenants, property owners and investors are using drones in commercial real estate.

Inspector Drone

Drones lend themselves very well to detailed property inspections that can even be conducted without anyone actually walking on the property. In addition, drones can go places that may be difficult to access. Consequently, areas that have been poorly maintained are suddenly visible.
Also, aerial imagery from a drone can help interested parties assess the condition of a property, including the roof. Ensuring structural integrity becomes a safer—no ladder-related accidents—more cost-effective and faster way to inspect. As such, drones can make the pre-acquisition and pre-lease due diligence process more thorough.

See the Whole Picture

An aerial view allows prospective tenants to better understand the area surrounding a property where they’re considering leasing space. A bird’s-eye view makes it easier to see:

  • Automobile flows
  • Pedestrian traffic
  • Access for delivery trucks
  • Parking
  • Access roads
  • Street lighting at night
  • Recognizable landmarks

There is even software available that can analyze the data a drone collects to count cars, measure how long pedestrians stay in a certain spot and compare traffic patterns among different locations.

Design Assist

Most of the time, drones are used to examine an existing building and get a clearer view of the exterior and the grounds. However, drones can also come in quite handy when developers and investors want an idea of a building’s view even before construction begins.

Drones can be sent up to the height of a particular floor in order to take images of the views in all directions. With this imagery, developers know where to place floor to ceiling windows to capture the best views and, conversely, which views to avoid. Thus, drones overcome the limits of what can only be imagined from the ground level.

Relocation or Expansion

Thinking of relocating or expanding your company? With drone footage, you can scout out locations in another city, state or even country without ever leaving your desk and computer. The details of drone imagery can help narrow down the locations for consideration, so you can then knowledgeably visit potential cities in person.

Re-Visit and Share

A drone-based property tour can be re-visited repeatedly and shown to any number of people. Thus, several members of a business can see a prospective site without having to coordinate everyone’s calendar in order to schedule an in-person visit.

Drone footage has become an even more important tool for commercial real estate professionals during the Covid-19 pandemic. Whether allowing a prospect to experience a space from afar or conducting a property inspection safely and efficiently, drones bring added value. For this reason, their role in real estate is likely to expand.

For more information on how drone technology can support your commercial real estate needs, please contact a Henry S. Miller associate.