FAA eases rules on drone use, creating more opportunities for real estate marketing

Some tech-savvy real estate agents are already using drones to create aerial videos and photos that enhance their listings. Now their use could be expanded by new regulations from the Federal Aviation Administration, the National Association of Realtors reported last week.

The FAA has relaxed some restrictions on the use of drones and expanded other rules. For example, it has now approved drone operations at night and also allowed drones to fly over people and moving vehicles, reported Realtor Mag.

The NAR’s Window to the Law video explains more about how the new rules could expand the use of drones by real estate agents. With the new Remote Identification Rule, which comes into force on September 15, it is, for example, legal for the first time to carry out drone operations over people. This will make it possible to take aerial photographs of houses in busy areas, such as urban condominiums.

Drones that fly over people must transmit identifying information about the drone and its operator. This information would be available to law enforcement agencies to help them identify unsafe flight operations. Newer drones will have built-in functionality to transmit remote identification, while older drones will need to be able to legally fly over people.

A second new rule, which went into effect March 16, allows drone operations to operate at night, which could open up the opportunity to create more enchanting aerial photos of a house at dusk. To fly at night, certified drone pilots must complete an updated initial test or an updated online recurring training program to qualify. The drone must also be equipped with flashing anti-collision lights.

Katie Garrity, Associate Counsel at NAR, said in the video that these are “exciting changes” that are giving drones more opportunities to innovate and create impactful marketing. “But it is important that you understand the rules of the FAA and any state or local laws that could affect your operation,” she said.

Existing requirements stipulate that everyone who flies a drone must have a license to do so and be prepared to show it at the request of law enforcement authorities. The FAA’s rules, first published in 2016, also contain restrictions on the speed and weight of drones. In addition, drones are limited to flying at certain altitudes.

Real estate agents who want to take aerial photos with a drone are advised to purchase a license and insurance or, if this is not the case, hire a qualified drone operator who has both a current certificate and insurance cover.