FAA Investigates The Use of Drones in Real Estate

by Lark Turner

FAA Investigates The Use of Drones in Real Estate: Figure 1

Realtors are using drones to capture aerial photos of properties in New York City and in the Hamptons, and the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) isn’t exactly excited about it.

The FAA recently demanded to know exactly how realtors are using the devices, according to the New York Post. That’s an ominous sign for the practice, because the commercial use of drones is prohibited in the U.S.

A broker told the Post that using drones to photograph new projects in the city was cheaper than the alternative.

“You can get them online for 1,500 bucks,’’ the broker told the paper. “It’s a lot cheaper than hiring a photographer and a plane for an aerial shot. As long as they aren’t used for spying, what’s the problem?’’

Technically the FAA says the problem is that commercial uses are prohibited, although some realtors claim their use isn’t commercial because they don’t charge clients for the photos, at least not directly. But safety is another issue. Last October drone crash-landed in Manhattan and nearly hit a pedestrian.

Inman reports that several real estate companies in New York City and the Hamptons have received subpoenas from the FAA regarding the practice.

Image: Flickr user Don McCullough

See other articles related to: realtors, faa, drones

This article originally published at http://dc.urbanturf.com/articles/blog/faa_wants_to_investigate_realtors_using_drones_to_take_listing_pictures/8699


  1. QuadcopterHQ said at 12:11 pm on Wednesday July 9, 2014:
    Drones (aka quadcopters for most of these applications) can take great videos and showcase a property in a very unique way, though I understand why the FAA is hesitant to endorse their commercial use - lots of operators are just not that skilled or responsible and if there is a crash, it can be very dangerous for bystanders. That said, I hope that the FAA does soon come to a resolution RE: their commercial use. Also, I wonder if Realtors have have success arguing that their use is not commercial given that they are not explicitly charging for their photos. For anyone interested in buying a quadcopter for real estate, the model most are using right now is the DJI Phantom 2 Vision - more details on it can be found here (http://quadcopterhq.com/best-quadcopters/) and I'm happy to answer any questions about it!
  1. Tommie said at 1:00 pm on Saturday September 27, 2014:
    I think Quadcopters are designed to take aerial photos and videos in a very innovative manner. However, it's quite understandable that FAA is not excited about using quadcopter to take pictures of real estate properties. As far as the commercial use restriction, it is very effective because there are so many inexperienced flyers who may cause damage to public. However, real estators have a edge if they can prove the fact that it helps to grow their business and save money. As mentioned in the article Dji Phantom is one of the very popular quadcopter that many people prefer. You can find more details about it here: <a href="http://www.bestquadcoptersreviews.com/">Best Quadcopter Information</a> I would be ready to answer any doubts about Quadcopters.
  1. David Wang said at 4:08 am on Sunday October 19, 2014:
    The FAA rules are absolutely ridiculous regarding drones - they just don't make sense. For instance, if you fly your drone as a hobby and take pictures of the property, then it's ok. However if you fly your drone and take pictures that you want to use to sell your house, then it's not ok. Why does flying the drone commercially change anything? What happens if you took the pictures as a hobby, then decided to use them to sell your house later? The FAA is should be reviewing the rules in early 2015. Hopefully they'll come back with something that makes more sense! -- http://www.quadcopteracademy.com
  1. Tommie said at 12:23 pm on Saturday May 16, 2015:
    The Federal Aviation Administration guidelines are completely brainless about quadcopters - they simply do not seem sensible. For example, in case you take-off your quadcopter as a passion as well as take photos of the premises, in that case, it is fine. But if you take off your quadcopter and obtain photos which you need to work with to promote your home, in that case, it is not acceptable. The Federal aviation administration is a need to looking at the guidelines early. Hopefully, they will come back again with anything which will work better! You might come across more information about the drones realtors are using in Real Estate here: <a href="http://www.bestquadcoptersreviews.com/">http://www.bestquadcoptersreviews.com/</a>
  1. Max Abbey said at 11:56 am on Saturday August 1, 2015:
    The FAA guidelines are completely ridiculous about quadcopters - they simply do not seem sensible. For example, in case you soar your quadcopter as a pastime and capture images of the real estate home, then it is ok. Nevertheless, in case you soar your quadcopter and capture images which you require to utilize to advertise your home, then it is not fine. Why does hovering the quadcopter or drone commercially transform anything? What occurs if you captured the photos as a pastime, then made the decision to make use of them in order to promote your home later on? The Federal Aviation Administration is ought to be looking at the guidelines in mid-2015. If at all possible they will come back along with something which seem sensible! For anybody fascinated in purchasing the best quadcopter for real-estate, the edition the majority of are utilizing at this time is the DJI Inspire 1 - more information on this could be discovered here (<a href="http://www.topquadcoptersreviews.com/dji-inspire-1-review/">DJI Inspire 1 review</a>) and I am pleased to respond any concerns regarding it!

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