(Real Estate Tab) Drones are changing the real estate market for the better

WINCHESTER – For Shaun Galang, owner of Cedarmeade Studios, the sky’s the limit- literally. Galang is a local drone operator who uses his talents to boost real estate agents’ profiles and bring much-needed excitement to a new or existing listing on the market.

“Drone photography is a unique way to really market a piece of real estate because it gives it an entirely new and different perspective- one that we might not see otherwise from the ground,” Galang said. “When a listing has acreage, say like 95 acres, from the sky I can show all the desired angles, tell the properties story through photography and then some.”

Stacey Hartley Mullins, agent with ERA Oakcrest in Winchester, first began working with Galang over three years ago when she sold her first home. She said it was the best marketing decision she’s made since becoming an agent four years ago. 

“Drones really allow us as real estate agents to hype up a property that we’re marketing,” Mullins said. “As an agent, it’s really allowed me to stand out among the crowd and catch buyer or sellers attention because it’s something exciting and different.”

Drone photography is not new to the northern Shenandoah Valley. Galang recalled purchasing his first drone “because it seemed like fun at the time” in 2014 before drones were popular or before the Federal Aviation Administration became sticklers over the laws. 

“I’m always trying to find the latest and greatest technology craze,” he said. “When I first found drones, no one knew what they were. We didn’t have FAA — Federal Aviation Administration simulations or rules like we do today.”

Despite the changes, Galang said he’s never looked back.

Drone photography is not the only talent in Galang’s creative toolbox. First and foremost, Galang said he’s a photographer and videographer.

“I noticed a shift in the industry around 2015 when more real estate agents began realizing the added benefits of drone photography,” he said. “It really does help the home sell faster. One of the first agents I worked with, their client told me directly that it was because of the aerial shots that the home sold. That’s a good feeling.”

Mullins said she had no idea drones would become such a game changer in the real estate industry. She recalled when they first hit the market and that no one was really talking about them.

“Shaun is able to take a home from good to great with his photography,” she said. “In today’s day and age, a picture really is worth a thousand words. If the property has say an interesting roofline, I know I can’t photograph it myself with my cellphone because I won’t do it justice. But with his drone, Shaun is able to capture that and more.”

Mullins said most homebuyers begin their search online, so good photography is a must.

“With a drone, you can see the horizon line, what the neighborhood looks like, where the property line starts and ends,” she said. “Plus drone photography saves time in the long run. It displays property details that may not be noticeable until the buyer visits the site.”

Mullins added: “I think drones really streamline the entire process. They provide more visual information, which allows me to further educate the buyer or seller on the property. Which really is a win-win for everyone involved.”

Galang recalled a listing that had been active for awhile when he first started his drone photography. The seller’s agent contacted him because they wanted to “change things up, be different, unique and stand out with new photos.” The house immediately sold. Galang said he still likes to think it was because of his work.

“Drones are great and all but I still have to make it very clear to agents I work with what the stipulations and regulations are,” he said. “It all comes down to education. Knowing where or how high, for example.”

The general education on the use of drones is still a sticking point with Galang as he said more and more people are purchasing drones to “simply have them.”

“Drones are quite common now,” he said. “But from my perspective, agents aren’t just selling a home- they’re selling a lifestyle. Through drones, I can provide an emotion and pull the buyer in.”