Agents making use of drones to boost business

by Jordan Maxwell12 Aug 2015
Real estate agents are turning to guys like Derek Celedon, a real estate photographer in Fresno, California, who uses drones to photograph homes and properties in the region.

“For people who can’t travel to see homes, it gives you a high-definition look at images of the property, both inside and out, and gives you a better quality image than what Google Maps or Earth could give you,” Celedon told REPA in an interview.

The Federal Aviation Administration began allowing drones to be used last year for commercial purposes. Since then, real estate agents have been teaming up with photographers like Celedon, who runs Aerial Properties Ltd.

The trend is helping agents to sell high-end homes and has also helped those looking for agricultural land to build on or harvest food.

Under the new regulations, drones must weigh 55 pounds or less and can only be flown during the day. The drones also must stay below 500 feet and have to be within eyesight of the operator.

Since the regulation change, real estate businesses have won nearly a third of the first 500 commercial done permits, according to a FAA study obtained by USA Today.

The most popular use accounted for 153 of the early permits granted by the FAA beginning in September, according to a study by the Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International.

On a geographic scale, California businesses received 70 permits, with 46 in Texas, 40 in Florida, 18 in Illinois and 17 in Arizona. While privacy concerns, as well as how drones interact with air traffic, is still a worry for officials, the rollout is going to help agents offer buyers a multimedia experience.

The National Association of Realtors (NAR) has been a vocal supporter of the new drone rules and is actively lobbying for the FAA to speed up the process for implementation.

“NAR plans to submit comments to the agency and will continue to work with our members to educate them about the future safe, responsible and legal uses of UAVs,” said Chris Polychron, president of NAR, in a press release.

“However, until the final rule is published, NAR discourages Realtors from using UAV photography or video for commercial purposes without an FAA exemption."


  • by Gerry 8/12/2015 12:07:10 PM

    Jordan, great article. Do you have any researched perspective on the Canadian Real estate market as it relates drones? Not sure if you wrote an article on the matter already. Thanks in advance.

  • by Bradley 8/12/2015 5:55:08 PM

    Hi...not a Realtor but a pilot. As of this date you cannot do any commercial work from a UAV or drone as you call it. You need to get a SFOC, (special flight operating certificate) from Transport Canada and they are quite strict on what you can and cannot do and where you can do it. Also you are looking at up to a 90 wait time to get a SFOC and usually it is for a one time event. With this being said...I am a rated pilot and do not fly a UAV.


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