Your home – from a drone’s eye view

Aerial footage is changing the way we showcase property

Tuesday 3rd of October 2017


Drone footage is popular on a global scale and is showing no signs of slowing down. Shanghai-based photographer, Charlie Xia, has a deep fascination with how the growth of cities has transformed China’s landscape. Specialising in architecture and food, Xia’s work has appeared in Wallpaper, Architectural Digest, and Interior Design. His personal photography has been showcased in Shanghai and Berlin, and you can check out his website.

“There are so many interesting things to investigate once you’re up in the air, so I imagine I’ll be kept busy for a while. Anything that has to do with the geometry of people’s lives interests me. I’m currently working on a series called “Chinese Houses” focusing on Chinese residential developments, as well as another one on water parks.” – Charlie Xia

This unusual vantage point has several perks when it comes to real estate marketing, like giving your buyers, quite literally, the bigger picture when it comes to neighbourhoods, public areas and property footprint. Technology has outgrown legislation, however, and sellers need to work with those who understand the technicalities around what’s possible and what’s not (and what’s right and what’s not) when shooting in South Africa. 

Here’s what we love about drone shooting:

  • Aerial photography from drones creates a level of visual intrigue that is hard to match, and in a way that is more affordable than you might think.
  • It can produce high altitude shots, which can be fantastic for city developments, and are good for rural properties with views, but even properties in reasonably built-up areas can be uniquely showcased.
  • General roof inspections are easier.
  • Proximity to developments, parks, schools and amenities.
  • It gives buyers a broader sense of the property, its layout and land as well as the surrounding area and therefore makes the decision to view/buy more engaging for the market.

What to watch out for:

  • Be cautious of “no drone zones” and flight restricted areas.
  • Flying is prohibited within 50m of a public road, person or property without permission. Without this there is no insurance.
  • Whilst the seller may indicate that they are happy with the footage, it’s important to gauge how those in close proximity feel, like the neighbours.

According to SA Civil Aviation Authority (SACAA) Drone Operators require:

  • A Remote Pilot’s Licence (RPL)
  • Certificate of Drone Registration
  • RPAS Operator Certificate

Many Pam Golding agents have embraced this technology and many are incorporating drone shooting into mandates, including the editing and sound tracking. A pretty impressive addition to your property’s marketing tool-kit.

Take a look at the vantage points in this uniquely designed golf course residence in Zimbali, KZN, which beautifully captures the essence of modern Balinese architecture.

(Credit: Asia Society. Charlie Xia Photography/Insta Spiky247)

Posted by Jean Scheltema