Real Estate’s Dawn of the Drone

Cameras aboard drones are set to bring a new set of eyes to the industry. Drones’ capabilities allow agents and property managers to obtain views not otherwise available to prospective buyers. Additionally, they would come in handy for inspecting roofs, pipes and overall property.  Anything outside private residential flights is still illegal unless you obtain exemption “Section 333” from the FAA.  However, change is on the horizon – It is indeed the Dawn of the Drone.

The FAA Modernization and Reform Act of 2012 tasked the FAA with implementing clear-cut regulations allowing for the commercial use of UAVs to be done no later than September 30, 2015 but we may not need to wait that long.

Rumours that the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) may relax its restrictions on commercial drones that fly outside of the operator’s line of sight received the official stamp of credibility at the Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International’s annual trade show earlier this month. This past Friday in Washington, Doug Trudeau, Associate of Tierra Antigua Realty in Tucson, Arizona, appeared on a panel at a National Association of Realtors conference to explain how he obtained the first real estate exemption for drone use from the FAA.

When asked if a real estate agent could fly a drone as a hobbyist and then use photos from that flight later to help sell a house, he said yes.

“It’s a little nuanced, but I don’t think the FAA is going to get too concerned about that,” he said.

On April 17th, 2015 licensed private pilot and real estate industry professional Jeff Galindo, principle of Real Estate Strategies, LLC, received the special exemption “Section 333” from the FAA as well.  Jeff Galindo is the first real estate agent in the State of Nevada to be granted this exemption.

To date, the FAA has granted approximately 100 of these 333 exemptions to a variety of companies nationwide. This  underscoreshow hard it is to obtain this exemption for commercial purposes.

In granting the exemptions, the FAA considered the planned operating environments and required certain conditions and limitations to assure the safe operation of these Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) in the National Airspace System. Several key regulations are enforced – operations require both a pilot and observer, the pilot must have proper certification, and the UAS must remain within line of sight at all times.

Galindo noted,

“This new generation of unmanned aerial vehicles reaffirms the age-old notion that a picture is worth a thousand words. In the case of video, it’s really more like a million words!”

Right now they’re getting far more use in residential than commercial, but commercial use is indeed rising as we see the further loosening of FAA restrictions.

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