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Drones in Real Estate?

FAA Stops the use of Drones for Commercial Purposes

Real estate companies, including those that sell real estate in College Station are strongly considering the use of mechanical drones as part of their promotional campaigns. The drones are built with cameras that take photos of the properties that realtors sell. However, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) are insisting that the real estate company have an airworthiness certificate first before they are able to fly drones for commercial purposes. Otherwise, it is illegal for them to use drones.

Lately, a case involving a University of Virginia photographer is being closely watched because of this. The photographer was fined 10,000 USD because he flew his drone for the purpose of taking commercial photos and videos. The court questioned the FAA’s authority in prohibiting the use of drones in real estate. To reinforce their drone regulations, the FAA will be issuing the needed rules concerning the commercial use of drones next year. Still, drone operators are still told to be prudent in their flying purposes.

The FAA is concerned about the safety and the privacy of the people and ultimately, the national security. For now, real estate companies are not allowed to use drones for their marketing campaigns. The clamp down has pushed the FAA into investigating real estate agencies that use these flying robots to take aerial videos and pictures of apartments and houses.

The FAA has already sent questionnaires to several real estate companies, with regard to their drone use. They received letters, phone calls, and even subpoenas, inquiring about how they utilize their drones. Realtors have been asked how high they take their drones, where they take them, and for how long they fly them. Brendan Schulman, a lawyer specializing in cases involving drones, said that this move by the FAA is a classic example wherein the government meddles or interferes with the logical use of new technology. The realtors have also received cease and desist orders from the FAA in 2013.

Realtors use drones because the shots they take really help sell properties quickly. Real estate in College Station has achieved the same progress. The FAA clearly stated that any company that makes use of a drone for business or commercial purposes will require their authorization. Even if the FAA was firm on this, they still haven’t authorized any realtor. To abide by the FAA’s regulations, the spokeswoman for the National Association of Realtors said that all real estate agencies should not use their drones until the FAA gives out their regulations.

Real estate companies that are being questioned by the FAA hire aerial photography companies like Skypan to do the aerial photography for them. These aerial photography companies have also received subpoenas from the FAA in 2013. It is unfair for the realtors because the FAA allows amateur photographers to fly their drones below 400 feet, about five miles from an airport.

Presently, drones are not being used by Realtors in College Station for their property promotion campaign in an effort to avoid getting more heat from the FAA.  At least, until their regulations are clear enough to follow. However, many feel that even if they are cooperating with what the FAA wants, they still find it unfair to hold back their ingenuity and creativity.

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