Drone Use May Be on the Rise

Real estate pros have increasingly been using drones to capture aerial photos and videos of their listings or even the interiors. New Federal Aviation Administration rules may even allow for greater use too.

The FAA has recently eased some restrictions and expanded some drone rules by authorizing operations at night as well as over people and over moving vehicles. A new “Window to the Law” video—produced by the National Association of REALTORS®’ legal team—shares how this could expand drone use among real estate professionals.


However, the timelines vary as to when some of these new rules take effect.


For example, FAA’s new Remote Identification Rule will not go into effect until Sept. 15, 2023, to allow drone operations over people. It requires drones to transmit identifying information about the drone and its operator. This would be accessible by law enforcement agencies to identify any unsafe operations. Many newer drones will have a built-in remote identification broadcast function.


FAA’s Operations Over People and at Night Rule, which already took effect March 16, may open real estate pros up to capturing aerial twilight photos and videos of their listings. Certified drone pilots who have completed an updated initial test or an updated recurrent online training regimen will now be able to fly drones at night. The drone must include flashing anti-collision lights.


“These are exciting changes that generate more opportunities for drones to create impactful and creative marketing, but it’s important that you are familiar with the FAA’s rules, as well as any state or local laws that may impact your operation before your next drone operation,” Katie Garrity, associate counsel at NAR, says in the Window to the Law video.

NAR Resources All About Drones in Real Estate

Drone operators must have a pilot certification and be ready to show it upon request. Also, the FAA’s rules in 2016 added requirements and limitations on drone operations, including weight, altitude, and speed limits.


Real estate pros who hire a drone operator to capture photos or videos of their listings will want to ensure the company has insurance coverage and the flyer has a current and up-to-date pilot certificate. Learn more requirements to protect your brokerage against liability in The Window to the Law video.

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