Drone Progress for Real Estate Update: FAA Guidelines

DJI_Phantom_1_1530564aWe can’t help but notice the increasing number of articles on the topic of drones and their potential to revolutionize several industries, including real estate.

Drones are about two things in the real estate world; a better view and an even better view. Not being facetious here; the real advantage is the both the exciting aerials possible, as well as the angles and detail possible when you have an object moving in ways that ‘grounded’ humans can’t achieve.

While drones are not yet approved for broad commercial use, the recent release of proposed rules by the FAA for commercial use is considered a major first step. According to Stephanie Spear, the commercial regulatory policy representative for the National Association of Realtors, “We were existing in this regulatory and legal gray area. This rule is the beginning of clarity.”

Below is a summary of the recently released FAA proposed rules for commercial use of drones:

• may weigh up to 55 pounds
• must fly within the sight of their pilots
• must fly during daylight hours
• must stay below 500 feet
• must fly less than 100 mph

The good news is that, while the real estate industry is waiting for clearance to use drones, technology is not. Drones are becoming more compact and easier to use. Perhaps even more importantly, they are also coming down in price. With an average price tag today of $1,000, there are hopes that, once approved for commercial use, market competition will put pricing more within the reach of independent real estate agents.

The question is that, once approved, who will find this technology the most useful? Will professional real estate photographers and videographers use drones to compete for the business of real estate agencies? Or will lower prices and easy-to-use interfaces put a drone every real estate agent’s tool kit?
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