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Drones, Virtual Visits Just Part of Real Estate Marketing Process

With the real estate market still booming, realtors continue to find innovative ways to market homes. While open houses still occur, these events are less frequent than in pre-COVID days.

Photography and technology have become critical to the marketing process. Typically, this includes professional photos, possibly virtual tours and in some instances, drone footage. Here’s a look at national trends, as well as what local agents are doing to enhance the home-selling process.

Preparation is Key

“I always walk through and see the condition of the property and give my opinion of repairs and decor improvements such as paint, furnishings, placement and small renovations,” said Wade Marshall of Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Chicago. “For properties that need more attention, I will bring in a professional stager or an organizer.”

After the initial repairs and staging is complete, the photography process begins. “I almost always use a professional photographer when listing a property,” said Jan Stevens of Coldwell Banker Realty in Pittsburgh. “Our company has a listing concierge service which we can book that provides a photography package for the website, brochures, flyers and more.”

According to Stevens, professional photography is vital to the marketing process “People are doing more of their screening of properties online and narrowing it down to the properties that appear to be good fits,” she explained.

“Still shots are great, but there are other ways of presenting properties, too,” added Marshall.

While videos can be compiled from a selection of still photos, there are more advanced technologies available. For example, Matterport 3D-type floor plans and videos allow potential buyers to walk through a property virtually, providing a sense of flow.

In some instances, drone aerial photography and videos add to the marketing process. “I see these often and my personal opinion is that they are great if you are trying to show the proximity to amenities,” explained Marshall of the technology’s use in urban areas.

Stevens also uses drone footage in certain situations. “The drone footage works well to show off a backyard or if the property has significant acreage,” she explained. “I use it depending on the property, and I think most agents also take advantage of this marketing tool.”

Pre-promoting Properties

COVID led most of the country into an extremely competitive real estate market. That trend appears to be continuing. As a result, driving interest to the properties even before they are placed on the market is also part of current selling strategies.

Time is of the essence in today’s real estate market. “If a property is expected to gain a lot of attention because of its location, condition or simply because inventory is low, it will often be pre-promoted before or when it comes on the market,” said Marshall. “Showings will be restricted to certain windows of time to drive the sense of urgency for offers.”

A lot of properties are being placed on private networks to realtors so that property exposure is maximized while it is being prepared to go on the market and before it is distributed to real estate websites. Some realtors will show the property while it is being prepared, and others will promote it that way to build interest until it hits the market. Once it is available, virtual walkthroughs continue to be a favorite way to narrow down choices.

As for traditional open house events, they’re still around but with fewer showings. “People are coming out for open houses, but we’re doing less of them,” said Stevens, adding that things don’t seem to be slowing down anytime soon for the real estate market.

“According to reports on sites like, it looks like 2022 will continue to be a busy market,” she said. As a result, prospective buyers can expect to see continued use of photography, virtual tours and drone footage as part of the marketing process.

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