FAA Awards Real Estate Companies Commercial Use Drone Exemption

The Federal Aviation Administration recently announced that they have issued a drone permit to a company in the real estate sector for the first time. Tierra Antigua Realty in Tucson, AZ, was the lucky real estate group given such a permit specifically for “enhanced aerial footage of buildings.” However, the exemption specifies that the commercial drones must an observer watch both the drone and the on-ground pilot at all times, and that a drone must not leave the operator’s line of sight. Tierra Antigua Realty announced they will use a Phantom 2 Vision+ Quadcopter to “enhance academic community awareness and augment real estate listing videos.”

So what does this mean for the rest of the country and its real estate agents?drone

Competition is Edgy

First and foremost, agents should be excited that these permits are being given out. It should be only a matter of time before more people can file and get in on the action. Secondly, it’s going to cause a lot of animosity until everyone gets equal footing in the drone world.

Many believe that the best way to get a taste of a property without having to enter it is through pictures and videos, thus the use of drones. And given that most people view this as a distinct financial advantage, both in marketing strategy and in accessibility, then people are going to be upset that they’re excluded for the time being.

Reality May Differ

In theory, equality in this area sounds great. But let’s take into consideration the cost involved for your average realtor, the accessibility of drones in smaller areas, and the demographic reach—it will most likely only be used for the most luxurious of properties to entice extremely wealthy buyers. Not to mention the privacy concerns or the problems that will occur the first time someone crashes a drone into a car, or worse yet, a person.

With real estate drone photography still in its infancy, it’s anyone’s guess how it will all play out. Do you think it will benefit us all in the long run, or do you think it will be a short-lived experiment? Do you believe it will create an unfair advantage among agents, or that it won’t affect the large majority?

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