March 21st, 2017 at 11:00 am


No doubt about it: When it comes to marketing homes, drone use is on the rise.

Small, light, agile, and inexpensive, drones outfitted with video and still cameras are being used to produce eye-catching images that capture potential buyers’ attention like never before.

They are just one aspect of marketing a home, but can literally open the door for sellers who want their property to get noticed from the ground up, throughout the interior, and above the neighborhood.

Marco Rufo of our Pacific Palisades office has been utilizing drones extensively the past five years.

After years of hiring helicopter and small-aircraft firms for aerial photography, Marco has some great advice for agents considering integrating drones into their sales efforts.

His main takeaway: Don’t overdo it.


Martha’s Vineyard Lighthouse, sold by Marco Rufo using drone photography

Keep it short

“Drones have been an ongoing pursuit of mine in finding and utilizing what works best for the client in getting listings and showings,” he says.

“A lot of times, we do more what the client wants than what actually works in selling the property. But I believe I’ve found a happy medium. I make a drone video under one minute long, very quick, so it doesn’t lose anybody’s attention.

“Then I do a brief video of myself talking about the property. I found that when the video is not a high-end production-style piece, it works much, much better. I receive more calls from an honest, simple video using my GoPro, just talking about the house for a couple of minutes maximum. Just be very honest and blunt about what the features are, location, size, price, etc. I find that to be very successful in getting showings.

'I make a drone video under one minute long, very quick, so it doesn’t lose anybody’s attention' Click To Tweet

“People like it because it comes from a very simple place. You’re not trying to put one over on anyone with a very beautiful, high-end production, which I’ve done and paid $5,000 for. With social media today, the simpler and quicker it can be, the more response you will get.”


Why not do it yourself?

Thinking about grabbing the controls and piloting a drone yourself? No so fast, Marco advises.

He always hires professionals who have already secured the required FAA licenses, own the equipment, and know how to navigate through homes and neighborhoods. The price is surprisingly affordable: about $600 per property, not including post-video production costs.

“I don’t have time for all that,” he says.

A professional will know:

“My job is to sell the property, so I will hire an individual to do the drone video. It’s a service to my clients to give them the most exposure possible.”

Even with the wow factor associated with drone property-tour videos, Marco doesn’t emphasize the technology to clients because “I have a lot in my marketing toolbox. You’ll find out very quickly which one works best for the property. The drone video with my simple narration has gotten me more response than my major newspaper ads and luxury magazine ads, but I still do all of it. They get posted on my page on, my own site, and on my YouTube channel.”


Other uses for drones

Showing just the home isn’t the only things drone imagery can do: Here are some other uses you or your client might not have thought about:

Still want take control?

Drone training centers are popping up all over. Most are retail operations, but one nonprofit newcomer offers indoor training and practice in a large indoor space with padded walls and floor, safe from wind and weather, so you can learn the controls before flying outside. It’s called the Hornet’s Nest at Coleman University in San Diego. Training is available or you can hire their FAA-certified pilots. It will cost you $400 for up to four hours of flying, plus all the required data manipulation to deliver stills, video, or both using the onsite 4K camera and drone. Other cameras can be attached for additional fees on a case-by-case basis. Information is at

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