As a real estate agent, the sky’s the limit when it comes to finding clever ways to market and advertise a property. Agents have started using remote-controlled aircraft (also known as drones) to film their properties from above in order to amplify their video tours and interest prospective buyers.
However, the sky is now limited. Federal regulators claim that drone use is illegal for commercial purposes. Yet other industries have already made use of the new technology. Agriculture, filmmaking, and journalism have all benefitted from the use of drones. Now real estate joins in the fun of pushing the legal boundaries of how, where, and why you can use these devices.
Real estate agents are always looking for the latest and greatest tricks and tools to stay ahead of the competition and help their clients find their dream home. They provide evaluative information about real estate options, and help negotiate a deal when buying a home.
“We are seeing this technology being utilized more often in this market already. We’re big advocates in using as much technology as possible, especially photographs because they enhance the listings,” says Dylan de Bruin, Broker at Century 21. “We’re also watching FAA regulations because there is some debate on whether drone use like this is actually legal or not.”
“There is something about being able to see things from the sky that people are really enamored with,” said Bill Knapp III, co-owner of Ironwood Homes Inc. “This allows us to do that with HD-quality video.”
The Federal Aviation Administration has ruled flying drones for commercial purposes illegal, and real estate agents could face up to a $10,000 fine from the administration. However, these rules are under scrutiny and review. The FAA is currently working on implementing a set of rules on small drone use — but waiting for these rules to come into affect is costing Realtors potential profit.
Some real estate agents use their drones to show their prospective buyers around the neighborhood. They not only show the buyers the immediate front and back yard, but also the surrounding lots or any forests and parks nearby, as well as the quickest route to the nearest school.
According to Paul McLaughlin, attorney for the Iowa Association of Realtors, only one agent had a drone in the beginning of 2014. Now, drones are bought on a regular basis for commercial use. The cause for such a spike in interest and sales of drones? The simple fact that they are made of better quality materials, they’re cheaper, and they’re more widely available.
Unfortunately for the United States, other countries have quickly passed motions to incorporate drone use into the real estate business as the FAA ponders and debates their commercial use.
“Without a clear path forward from the regulators, the government is holding a lot of progress and innovation back,” said Brendan Schulman, an attorney who represents companies that have been served with subpoenas by the FAA regarding drone use.