The use of drones for real estate marketing saw a significant uptick in 2016. According to industry statistics, homes with aerial images in their listings sold 68% faster than homes with just standard images. Many real estate professionals jumped on the trend, using photos and videos captured with drones to catch potential buyers’ eyes and gain a competitive advantage.
But drones aren’t just great for enhancing your MLS listings. Many home inspection companies use them as a tool to investigate rooftops too high or steep to safely access. They can then provide their customers with high-quality photos of any damage that might have been missed during a traditional inspection. Inspectors can even stream video on a tablet or smartphone to show customers the condition of their roof and other hard-to-reach areas of their home.
Whether you want to ramp up your sales with aerial photos of your listings or your clients are interested in supplementing their home inspection with high-resolution imagery, you should be aware of the risks and know the FAA guidelines that govern drone use.
- You (or the drone operator you hire) must have a remote pilot-in-command certificate or a Section 333 waiver.
- The drone must not exceed 55 lbs. If it weighs between .55 and 55 lbs., it must be registered with the FAA.
- You can only operate drones within Class G airspace (typically very near the ground at 1,200 feet or less).
- You must keep the drone within your line of sight at all times, flying at or under 400 feet and 100 mph. Note: you cannot fly a drone over people unless you have obtained a waiver.
- You (or the drone operator you hire) should have liability insurance. It’s also a good idea to obtain personal injury liability coverage in your E&O policy to protect your business if the drone operator unintentionally infringes on a person’s right to privacy.
If you’re thinking about using a drone for your business, be sure to check the laws in your state or country. The FAA issued updated commercial requirements for drone operation as recently as 2016, but regulations may vary depending on location.