Oklahoma City realty firm flies its own drone

The kind of video and photography never seen before in the real estate business is possible with a drone and the right combination of equipment, according to Price Edwards & Co. The firm obtained a quadrocopter and armed it with a high-definition camera in April.
by Richard Mize Modified: June 14, 2013 at 8:48 pm •  Published: June 15, 2013

Getting video to a client is as fast as email, but that last part, especially, perhaps, to a retail site selector, is more important than might be obvious. Retail investors, marketers and managers are interested in more than land and structures. Surrounding community matters.

Broker Mark Patton said the bird's-eye view of streets and activity around a property can be the deciding factor in a deal.

“It had traffic moving,” he said of a video clip he recently sent to an out-of-state investor. “That's huge. It's not static. It's changed the site search process. It's revolutionary for site searches.”

And that's without a gimbal, a device to keep the drone and its camera balanced to the horizon — and reduce the effect of the Oklahoma wind. Jackson said that will be Price Edwards' next investment in the technology arms race.

In-house advantage

It is a race, and Price Edwards intends to stay in the lead, with its in-house technology staff, said managing partner Ford Price.

It's unusual, he said, for a realty firm not to outsource the kinds of things Jackson works on improving every day. Price said the firm regularly takes time to concentrate solely on information technology and how the latest advances can be used to improve its work for its clients.

For all the bells and whistles — and the four little rotors and lights on what looks like a tiny space ship — the property transaction is still the main deal, Jackson said.

“It allows us to go out on a moment's notice and grab some video, edit it and upload it to a client within a few hours. Aerials don't allow you to do this,” he said. “And because it's not outsourced, it's all in-house, we do it really quick and get a quick turnaround for our clients and get deals done quicker.

“We've had a lot of clients wowed by it. Most people have never seen anything like this or knew something like this exists.”

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