abandoned warehouse Asheville, NC

Why Do Properties Become Abandoned

The U.S. economy is booming.  The collapse of the housing market began well over ten years ago.  September 15, 2018 marked the tenth anniversary of the collapse of Lehman Brothers.  And despite the time and distance between the bad times and the good, it’s not unusual in 2018 to see an abandoned property, houses, or even business locations in US cities. Dronegenuity’s North Carolina team of aerial photographers recently set out to capture drone photos several abandoned properties, including the one in Asheville, depicted above.  This project inevitably led us to ponder the variety of factors that can lead iconic properties into various states of disrepair.  We looked long and hard at such real estate and asked ourselves, “What factors came into play to make this particular house or property fall into such disarray? What are the reasons for this seemingly avoidable problem? How can a family lose its home?” Let’s break it down.


According to the US Census Bureau, the bureau has found 48,000 abandoned homes in the Baltimore city limits alone. The bureau estimates that millions of homes have been vacated nationwide. The 2010 census found that there were approximately 19 million abandoned properties in America. New York state has thousands of what they call “zombie buildings.”

Abandonment Factors

The Cost of Renovation and Repair

There are times when the renovation or replacement of a building is just not cost-effective. A home, for example, may need rewiring, replumbing, foundation repair, and concrete replacement. Too often the price for bringing a house back to life is prohibitive.

Environmental and Sustainability Issues Arise

Environmental regulations often require homeowners and businesses alike to get rid of their septic tanks or old wiring. There is the asbestos factor, along with lead-infused paint about which to be concerned. The cost of refurbishing such pieces of real estate can be more expensive than it would be to build another house.

The Great Recession of 2008

Kimberly Amadeo, writing for The Balance, says because of deregulation, banks began to demand more mortgages. When, in 2004, the Federal Reserve raised the interest rate banks were charging each other to lend Federal Reserve funds just as new rates on mortgages reset, housing prices started falling and supply outweighed demand, by far. Homeowners could not afford their payments and couldn’t sell their homes. Many homeowners walked away from their houses and property before they faced foreclosure.

The Death of the Surrounding Neighborhood

Once an area becomes stagnate, landlords stop wanting to invest in their properties since they likely would not recoup their investment in rent payments. No one wants to live in a neighborhood without the requisite amenities. Retail businesses will not move into a community that is dead and dying. And the beat goes on. Once property values decrease, declines will occur in tourism, commerce, and the aesthetic appeal of a location.

Families are Reluctant to Sell

Sometimes families cannot face selling their familial home after their parents have passed away. Instead, the house remains uninhabited and deteriorates. In other cases, individuals die without specifying who is going to be responsible for the home, thereby leaving it in limbo.

Natural Disasters

It is often flooding, hurricanes, tornadoes, earthquakes or other natural disasters that force families and businesses to evacuate the area in which they live and make a living. And in some cases, when the individuals leave for safety reasons and they never return.

Ecological Disasters

Water contamination, air pollution, or other plagues can cause people to leave their homes and commercial property and abandon their properties for good. One example is Flint, Michigan The ongoing water troubles in the city have made it difficult, if not almost impossible, to sell a house.

Economic Busts

If a specific industry is supporting an area and the industry folds, such as the Detroit automobile manufacturing industry, people may have to move quickly to find another job. Some may abandon their properties.

Neighborhoods Become Violent

There are cases in America where street violence has become so overwhelming that families or commercial property owners simply abandon their investments because they see no other way to get away from the danger that has become prevalent in the area.

Difficulty Selling a Property

Several issues can affect whether a property sells or not. Property owners who are forced to abandon their properties may have suffered from the following mistakes:

Arrested construction – There have been incidents of contractors starting a building project but later being forced to leave the site uncompleted due to lack of continued funding.

Shifting demographics – If a project is begun in a neighborhood in which the population is supportive of the project, all is well. But when the community changes, the new people may not be as interested in the project as the former individuals were.

Lack of Marketability – In today’s world, people who are looking for real estate in which to invest, usually turn to online sources. One inferior photograph of the property can be enough to make that potential client scratch the property off his or her list.

Drone Photography Enhances Interest

We didn’t take on the abandoned property project with the purpose of marketing the properties; instead, we were evaluating what these properties looked like before construction, and we will photograph them again once construction is complete.  The photos of the renovated buildings will then become a powerful means of promoting not only the properties themselves, but also the work of the construction company behind the renovations. 

Drone photography is much less expensive than overhead aerial photography. Helicopter photography, in the past, was usually saved for only the most expensive listings. Now gorgeous commercial real estate photography is affordable to all.

Our company can become your customized aerial photography provider. No longer will you have to find a photographer in every city where your properties are located. We will supply consistent service, partnership, and our FAA certified drone pilot wherever you need photography assistance.

Stunning aerial shots, along with gorgeous cinematic video, will grab a residential real estate customers’ attention and showcase the beauty of the site.

Drone photography will promote the commercial viability of a property by showcasing it and its surroundings in innovative and exciting ways.

Using Drones for Marketing Real Estate Properties


Using drone technology can improve your marketing efforts by:

  • Accentuating your properties’ positive characteristics
  • Spotlighting your properties’ details
  • Engaging clients
  • Highlighting perspectives and angles that are unique
  • Zeroing in on architectural design
  • Visualizing acreage
  • Appreciating landscaping
  • Understanding surrounding areas

Types of Drone Imaging

All drone footage is not taken from high above. Many times, the most attention-getting shots involve something like the zooming in of the drone from higher altitudes into a closeup of the properties’ front yard.  Drones can photograph objects from a couple of feet above the ground, then fly off into a view of the sunset.

What Can Drones Do?

A smarter question might be, what can’t they do? The fact that drones rely on gyroscopes to keep the camera steady is a primary point in acquiring the smooth and uniform footage required for real estate marketing. Drones make it possible to capture 4K ultra HD, along with elegant detail that makes any property look its best.

Dronegenuity is in the business of providing value to its clients. Now, brokers can have beautiful video at their fingertips without having to invest in equipment, maintenance, software, training, and certification. We have taken care of all that for you.

No longer will obtaining photographs of your properties be time-consuming and intimidating. Once you tell us what you want, and we will supply it to you. With almost no effort on your part, we will furnish you with impressive aerial footage and plenty of valuable information that you will need to do your job well.

We have an array of pilots who are specialists in their field and highly experienced. But, above all else, we want to help your business grow; get rid of any barriers that might be in the way of having what you need, and ensuring that your drone services are delivered to you as quickly and effortlessly as we can. We think you are going to be as excited as we are when you see your finished products.


About the Author

Adam Shore

Adam is a Central Florida alum who recently left the Orlando area to relocate to Denver, where he enjoys shooting aerial photography of the Rocky Mountains. And to ski. He is a member of the AMA and was been a drone photographer since the early days of the industry. Follow him @dronegenuity.