Drones, also referred to as unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), are used in many fields these days. Realtors use them to take photos and videos of listings, the military uses them in warfare, and archeologists use them to scan ancient ruins. However, in order to use a drone in your real estate firm, you must get an exemption from the Federal Aviation Agency (FAA). If you are thinking of buying a drone to enhance your company’s operations, here are some things you should know.
You Can’t Take Real Estate Photos or Videos Unless You Are Certified
Drones are possibly the best thing to happen to real estate. They help realtors to take breathtaking aerial images of homes and to conduct 360ᵒ interior tours. Homebuyers can view their potential homes and neighborhoods and decide if they want to live in that area. However, a drone comes with a set of rules. In order to operate one, you must get an operators certificate from the Federal Aviation Agency which is renewed every 2 years. While the certification procedure is yet to be finalized, the National Association of Realtors states that any realtor who is committed to safety and serious about real estate should be able to achieve certification. To date, the FAA has gotten 214 requests for exemptions and granted only 14. It granted the first exemption for real estate photography in January 2015.
Proper Education is Required
Flying a drone is not a walk in the park, it is something that takes time to learn. Additionally, if the controller is manual, the process is even harder. Before you buy a drone for your real estate company, make sure you know how to fly one. This is because you must pass a test issued by the FAA before you get a license. There are formal drone controlling training classes you can join to become skilled in flying a drone. If you don’t have the time to learn how to fly, capture, and produce aerial content, you are not ready to buy a drone.
You Should Know the Regulations
As much as a drone will augment your real estate operations, don’t be in a rush to buy one if you aren’t familiar with FAA regulations. Some of the rules include:
- You can only fly your drone during the day and it must always be within visual range
- You cannot fly a drone in restricted airspace such as airport flight paths
- Drone flights are restricted to 500 feet altitude at speeds of 100 mph or less
The FAA allows drones to be used for commercial purposes but handles such requests on a case-by-case basis. It is therefore important to check with the regulatory agency before you start charging homebuyers and sellers for your drone services. Commercial use of drones covers areas such as professional real estate photography and contract services for land surveys or mapping. Only when you know all the regulations will you be able to make the most of your drone and improve your business. Besides learning all the techniques of flying a drone, you should be able to keep it in good condition and make repairs when necessary.
Drones are on everyone’s wish list these days. In fact “I want to buy a drone” is one of Google’s most asked questions. However, there are some key things to consider before you get a drone for your real estate company. You don’t want your drone to crash into buildings, collide with airplanes, or hit onlookers on the head. Take time to learn all you can about drones before you go out and get one. If you do so, your investment will be a valuable one.