Real Estate Trends: REALTORS® and Drones

In a recent blog, I explored the future of drones, or unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), for the photographing and videotaping of real estate listings. There are new regulations brewing regarding drone safety that will require drone operators to register their vehicles with the Federal government. The new regulations are a hot topic not just in articles and talk about real estate trends, but also in brokerage firms throughout the country. The requirements are meant to make drone pilots accountable.

Shooting awe-inspiring footage of a client’s property, as you can see here in a property I have listed in Calistoga, isn’t as simple as tossing a drone into the air and filming. According to a report in California Real Estate, the FAA new regulations are designed to grant commercial waivers, even for REALTORS®.

The Federal Aviation Administration aggressively regulates drone use. Just 10 years ago, only dedicated hobbyists flew miniature aircraft. These days, camera-mounted drones are easy to use, and there’s no barrier to entry for flying around a neighborhood and shooting YouTube-ready video from an altitude of 400 feet.

Current FAA laws and regulations prohibit the commercial use of UAVs, which includes for the purpose of real estate marketing. While the FAA is working on developing a regulatory framework that would integrate drones into the national airspace, a small handful of REALTORS® have been already granted a Section 333 waiver to use this amazing technology now. Without the waiver, REALTORS® are subject to substantial fines and penalties by using drones.

REALTORS® who have sought exemptions also have to meet the requirement of going through the process of becoming licensed to fly an actual airplane in order to fly a drone for commercial purposes. That stipulation—a hard one to meet—hasn’t stopped applications for waivers. Even so, there are still about three dozen restrictions that accompany every drone permit, including the fact that drones can only be operated in daylight, must stay within line of sight of the operator, and—here’s the tricky part—the operator must be a licensed pilot. Eventually, the FAA is likely to establish a special certificate for UAV pilots.

The National Association of REALTORS® (NAR) supports efforts to create new federal regulations to allow for the future commercial use of unmanned aerial vehicle technology by the real estate industry. NAR will continue its ongoing efforts to educate REALTORS® about the current and future regulatory structure for the safe and responsible operation of unmanned aerial vehicles.

Among real estate trends, the use of drones for REALTORS® will definitely be a game changer. Potential homebuyers will be able to tour a home and really get the feel for a certain property. If you want to get a feel for an extraordinary winery, vineyard, estate or home in Napa Valley,  not on the open market yet, please contact me at 707-738-4820 or via email at [email protected].

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