Realtors, Beware: It's Not Just the FAA You Need to Worry About

CEO Khai Intela
Introduction As Realtors and real estate agents, you understand the power of drones as a marketing tool. They offer incredible aerial shots and videos that enhance property listings. However, it's crucial to remember that drones...


As Realtors and real estate agents, you understand the power of drones as a marketing tool. They offer incredible aerial shots and videos that enhance property listings. However, it's crucial to remember that drones are not mere toys; they're aircraft. With this in mind, it's essential to adhere to the rules and regulations set by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to avoid legal and safety issues. In this article, we'll delve into the importance of understanding and following these guidelines.

The Problem: Violations in the Real Estate Industry

The real estate industry has become the leading end user of drone technology. From single-family homes to commercial listings, drone photos and videos are now mandatory for effective marketing. Consequently, the number of drone flights for real estate purposes has skyrocketed. However, these flights often come with a lack of education and knowledge about FAA regulations, leading to a plethora of violations within the real estate industry.

Education and Awareness

While the FAA and organizations like the National Association of Realtors (NAR) are making efforts to educate drone users, the dissemination of this information remains a challenge. Lack of awareness contributes to the improper and illegal use of drones in the real estate industry. It's important for Realtors and agents to stay updated on the rules and regulations governing drone use for commercial purposes.

Hazardous Attitudes and Their Consequences

Two hazardous attitudes prevalent in the drone industry are anti-authority and invulnerability. Some individuals believe that the rules don't apply to them and ignore FAA regulations. This mindset is not only dangerous but also potentially costly. Ignoring aviation rules can lead to accidents, damages, and legal consequences. It's crucial to recognize and address these hazardous attitudes to ensure safe and responsible drone operations.

The Importance of Compliance

Real estate professionals must understand that drone flights for commercial purposes fall under the FAA's Part 107 rules. These rules apply regardless of whether you charge for your services or not. Failure to comply with Part 107 regulations can result in FAA fines ranging from $1100 to $32,600 per violation. Additionally, knowingly hiring a drone pilot without a Remote Pilot Certificate can make you liable for up to $11,000 per occurrence.

The Role of Insurance

While the FAA may not always catch illegal drone flights, insurance companies are closely monitoring these activities. If an incident occurs during an illegal flight, insurance claims may be denied. Insurance companies scrutinize the legality of flights and may reject claims if the FAA regulations were not followed. As a result, both the drone operator and the real estate agent could face significant financial liability for damages.

Mitigating Risk and Ensuring Safety

To prevent potential legal and financial implications, it's important to take the following measures:

  1. Get a Remote Pilot Certificate: If you are flying drones for commercial purposes, obtain your Remote Pilot Certificate. This certification ensures that you are knowledgeable about the rules and regulations governing drone operations.
  2. Verify Credentials: If you are hiring a drone operator, ask for their Remote Pilot Certificate, insurance certificate, and proof of recurrent training. Ensure that they are legally certified and adequately insured.
  3. Educate Your Agents: If you own a brokerage firm, make sure your agents only work with legal and certified drone pilots. Provide them with a list of preferred pilots to ensure compliance.
  4. Stay Informed: Keep yourself updated on the latest FAA regulations regarding drone operations. Attend training courses and seek out resources that promote safe and responsible drone use.

By following these guidelines, you can protect your agency, avoid legal troubles, and contribute to the safe and responsible use of drones in the real estate industry.

Please consider joining the Drone Service Providers Alliance to advocate for reasonable regulations at both the federal and state levels. Stay informed by subscribing to our newsletter and YouTube channel. Together, we can keep the skies clear of unnecessary restrictions and ensure the growth of this exciting technology in the real estate industry.