Commercial Appraisal Aerial Photography Options

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Commercial Appraisal Aerial Photography
Jeff Weiner

Jeff Weiner

CEO & Co-Founder | Transforming Commercial Real Estate Valuation | B2B SaaS Product Innovator | Creating Amazing Software from Zero to Scale | Longevity Enthusiast

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Drone Photography for Commercial Appraisal

Commercial Appraisal Aerial Photography Options

Using drones to capture aerial photos and video for commercial brokers has grown in popularity. Shots from above create striking imagery that’s great for sales.  However, today, using drones for commercial appraisal aerial photography is also gaining steam. The reason is simple. There are things that a commercial real estate appraiser can see from the air that aren’t visible on the ground. Also, climbing to the roof may be either inconvenient or unsafe like in an ice storm or… a pandemic! That’s why realquantum teamed up with DroneBase so realquantum users can easily order drone photography. There are several areas in which drones can augment the photography captured by a skilled appraiser.

Drone Appraisal Use Cases

Roof Inspection

In the DroneBase blog Roof Inspections with a Drone, they describe the ability to inspect roofing material condition and uncovering the potential for maintenance issues. These observations can be included in the final report. An external view of the heating, air conditioning and ventilation system will not uncover internal issues. But clearly, if a panel is open with exposed wires, the appraiser’s client will want to know.

Parking lot

Obviously, the appraiser can see the parking lot while standing on the ground. But, getting an aerial view of the entire parking area is useful to show the overall condition. A drone photo combined with some close-up shots of trouble areas is very effective. It’s also easy to count spaces from the air as long as tree coverage isn’t too dense.

Roadway access

The appraiser will provide written assessment of a property’s access to adjoining through roads, access roads and highways. They often include a photo of the intersection. However, a drone photo showing precisely how the building is situated is superior to either ground-level photos or satellite imagery.  The satellite images are not as high-quality and may be outdated, especially on new construction.


Area surrounding the subject property

The drone offers a superior view of roadway access. Similarly, it can provide a clear perspective on the subject property’s surrounding area too. Again, satellite services are free, but the drone will provide up-to-date and higher-resolution images.

Using realquantum and DroneBase Together

The realquantum database includes both properties and assignments. When inspecting a subject property, realquantum stores all the photos, notes, sketches and other details in the property record. Then, the appraiser can use them for the current assignment and future assignments as well. The appraiser could order the drone photography to be gathered first. Usually the process takes only a few days unless there are unusual circumstances or a stretch of bad weather. With drone photos in, the appraiser can see a quick lay of the land, decide if the roof, parking lot or other features require further scrutiny, and head out to do their onsite inspection using realquantum mobile. During the property inspection, the appraiser collects photos, sketches and notes in the app. They are all uploaded automatically to the assignment.

How to Incorporate Drone Photos Into an Appraisal Report

The photos from the drone mission and the appraiser’s onsite inspection are all in the property record. So, the appraiser or research analyst can then select photos for the assignment. With DroneBase photos, there are two choices. First, if there are only a couple pertinent photos to include, then just uploading those to realquantum is easy. Alternatively, the appraiser can include a link to the DroneBase portal. There, the client can view all the images collected during the mission.

Closing Thoughts

Scott Anderson is a Certified General Appraiser who is adding drone photography to his assignments more often. In a recent blog he said, “I don’t use the drone on all of my inspections, but I do if I have flat or large roof areas. If there are large expanses of land such as farms or developments, I’ll definitely be incorporating aerial shots.” Certainly, not every appraisal assignment will need aerial shots. With everything, the easier something becomes, the more people will find creative ways to use it. Realquantum and DroneBase are doing just that for commercial appraisal aerial photography.


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