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How Commercial Real Estate Professionals are Finding Even More Value from Drones

Commercial real estate professionals were some of the earliest wide adopters of drones in their businesses, particularly for marketing purposes. Why would such a large industry be so quick to take a leap into something like unmanned flight?

Conceptually, drones and the application of the technology can at times seem a bit complex for the layman. Like Elon Musk’s frictionless underground tunnel solution for LA traffic, the full potential of drone use sounds possible, but premature, and perhaps best left to a future generation to apply practically.

The fact is, though, that drone tech is very much in the here and now. More importantly, it is widely accessible, relatively inexpensive, and implies massive Return On Investment for any industry. It is for this reason that CRE companies and REITs around the country are taking full advantage of aerial imagery and other drone-enabled processes in their marketing, due diligence, and other efforts.

The Rules of Attraction

Aerial photography of some kind has been a staple of the REIT and the more general CRE investment space for a long time. Traditional aerial imagery gathered through manned flight in a helicopter or small plane, however, is complicated, cumbersome, and SUPER expensive.

Drone imagery offers CRE and REIT managers a higher quality product at a smaller chunk of overhead. Through service packages like those offered by DroneBase, flights can be ordered and images delivered faster and more affordably than would be the case with conventional aerial photography.

There is also much less red tape to cut through with drone flight. This is in part due to relatively new legislature concerning the licensing process for drone pilots and flight regulations. Not to mention, DroneBase will handle all the due diligence and flight logistics for you.

The quality of aerial imagery is especially important in the new age of REIT holdings. Companies like Fundrise, a crowdfunding eREIT, depend on drone footage to attract investors to trusts that span every corner of the country. Because of the ease with which drone missions can be ordered, how fast images can be delivered and audited, and the relatively low cost, eREITs are more in control of the content’s quality. In other words, those using the imagery are no longer in a position where they must take it, or leave it, so to speak.

Due Diligence

Another realm of REIT and CRE operations where drones can be applied is in due diligence and property inspection.

Drones can be outfitted with hardware or integrated with software that allows them to assess real estate and environmental risk, manage energy use, and procure information on engineering services with respect to their properties. For these purposes, drones provide an inexpensive option when compared to manned reconnaissance of the same kind.

Lastly, when CRE pros have strategic partnerships with drone providers and networks of pilots like DroneBase, they are also provided the luxury of quickly mobilizing services to anywhere in the country. In this way, both CRE entities, whose properties may be scattered across various locations, and the people invested in those properties can both reap the benefits of drone imaging.


There are many more use cases being discovered as the technology continually spreads and gets more efficient. From commercial underwriting inspections for insurance purposes to parking lot inspections saving countless hours, there's no end in sight to drones positively disrupting the CRE and REIT spaces. Ready to get started with drones in your business?

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Tags: Commercial Real Estate customers REIT
Christopher Grillo
Christopher Grillo

Christopher Grillo is a freelance writer and marketing consultant from New Haven, CT. He works mainly with companies in tech, real estate, and construction and development. Chris is a regular contributor to Futurism.com, Futurism Products, Contractor Culture and serves as a digital marketing consultant Fosdick Fulfillment Inc. a full service third party fulfillment center headquartered in Connecticut. He is the graduate of the University of New Haven, where he played strong safety for the Chargers’ football team, and of Southern Connecticut State University’s MFA program.

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