There are a lot of rules and regulations when it comes to drone technology especially in the use of a business. Most real estate agents find it beneficial to use tools and technology that many of their coworkers are simply not using yet. There are pros and cons to the use of drone technology but the pros enough to outweigh the cons?
The drawbacks of using a drone is that they are not cheap. A good drone that will take pictures or video of an area typically will cost at least $1000 and if you hire a professional drone operator you're looking at several hundred dollars. Does this benefit the client? It depends. If we're talking about a million-dollar home here, using $1000 drone might be very beneficial as the seller expects this type of technology and you should get it back in a commission.
It's also beneficial to get an operator test before flying your own drone. The last thing you want is for it to get stuck in a tree on the roof of the house. The test is not hard and if you hire out the drone technology then you won't even have to take the test yourself. However, if you do hire an operator you want to make sure that they have their certification.
The downside is that the registration process can take several months. So this is something to plan for way in advance. The registration might be inexpensive, but this is likely to go up as more and more drone operators hit the skies.
The FAA commercial drone rules that real estate agency to be aware of. After registering, the drone must have a specific ID number that traces back to the owner. The drone cannot weigh more than 55 pounds and it must have at least one pilot. Other regulations include the drone being flown by an English-speaking pilot at least 16 years of age or older. The drone have to be flown from a stationary point of view and not from under a roof or in a moving the. The drone must be in sight of the pilot at all times and the FAA requires inspection of the drone before flying it. Drones can only be flown during daylight hours and must maintain a height of 400 feet or less.
All these regulations are very reasonable and most homes are far below 400 feet, unless we are talking about a high-rise condominium complex but even then, 400 feet is quite dramatic. Drones also cannot exceed 100 miles per hour.
So you can see the dilemma; there are a lot of rules, regulations, registration and inspections that need to take place before you can even use the drone. And then, are you impeding on someone else's property or privacy by flying over backyards and houses, even if it is innocently taking a good screenshot of the surrounding neighborhood?
Drones might be a great idea but really only in the luxury real estate market and also in an area that benefits from drone technology. If the neighborhood leaves much to be desired most real estate agents are not going to focus or feature the rest of the neighborhood in a flyover video.
It might be a fad right now but it might also be a fact that carries on for some time. The point is to use them responsibly and keep yourself and others as safe as possible.
Image adapted from Andrew Turner Flickr