FAA Grants Exemption for Drone Photography in Real Estate

Posted on Jan 8 2015 - 9:30am by Suzanne De Vita
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Despite current regulations prohibiting the use of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), or drones, for real estate photography, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) granted an exemption this week to one real estate agent in Tucson, Ariz.

According to the FAA, Douglas Trudeau, associate broker with Tierra Antigua Realty, has been authorized to operate his Phantom 2 Vision + quadracopter to enhance real estate listing videos and generate academic community awareness. Trudeau will remain subject to flight rules and policies, including a requirement to obtain airman certification – a process, he says, that has already begun.

“This is the first milestone in an effort to benefit the little guy who can take advantage of technology to get more for their home [when selling],” Trudeau said in an email to RISMedia. “To capture the essence and character of their home to sell faster and at a higher price – they deserve technology as much as the next guy.”

Trudeau acknowledges that there are more hurdles to overcome, including legislation that currently does not address certification for UAVs.

“Rather than fighting the FAA, I have chosen instead to work with them in removing hurdles to keep National Air Space (NAS) safe, as well as the public at large,” Trudeau said. “In the words of NAR and a few reporters, I am pioneering for others in the area for the use of UAVs not just for REALTORS®, but for videographers, photographers and others.”

The exemption follows a statement from the National Association of REALTORS® cautioning agents on the use of UAVs for real estate marketing purposes. The organization met with the FAA in October, voicing support for proposed regulations that would permit drone operation within the real estate industry.

Offering a bird’s-eye view of the property and surrounding community, aerial filmmaking could revolutionize the way homes are marketed to potential buyers.

“It’s definitely a perspective that no one has seen before,” said Matthew Leone of Halstead Property in RISMedia’s ‘Ask the Expert’ series. “When people are sifting through the featured properties online, it really jumps out…and it really resonates.”

SuzSuzanne De Vita is RISMedia's Online Associate Editor and social butterfly. She is the proud co-owner of a Parrot AR.Drone 2.0 Elite quadracopter.

 

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7 Comments so far. Feel free to join this conversation.

  1. Douglas Trudeau January 9, 2015 at 7:41 am - Reply

    Thank you so much Suzanne. Realtors, news reporters, lawyers, and photographers from all over the US have been calling and emailing. Impossible to answer them all. Even a few members of the FAA have called to congratulate me and offered guidance. Now to focus on clients and get listings to take advantage of the approval. Shout out to everyone supporting me, THANK YOU. Exciting times ahead. Lets all keep the National Air Space (NAS) safe, the public safe, and respect privacy at the same time.

  2. paulhoward January 9, 2015 at 10:18 am - Reply

    What a joke. “This is the first milestone in an effort to benefit the little guy who can take advantage of technology to get more for their home [when selling],” Trudeau said in an email to RISMedia. “To capture the essence and character of their home to sell faster and at a higher price – they deserve technology as much as the next guy.”

    It could be that it will show someone’s house to advantage but as an argument for allowing the privacy intrusion it is lame. In fact, when used by home inspectors and buyers agents it may have the opposite effect – which would be lower prices desired by buyers.

    • Douglas Trudeau January 10, 2015 at 8:18 am - Reply

      Paul, God bless you. You have a right to your opinion. Unless approved Inspectors cannot use UAS. I highly doubt a Buyer’s Agent would get FAA approval. There is a lot of red tape, notifications, permissions, and strict regulation of proposed flight itinerary before taking to the air. As far as privacy invasion, neighbors will be notified ahead of time for safety and to voice concerns. How can there be invasion with home owner written permission and neighbors homes/yards are kept out of the picture?

  3. scassel January 9, 2015 at 1:21 pm - Reply

    What Airmen certificate are they requiring? Private, light sport, ????

    • Douglas Trudeau January 10, 2015 at 8:22 am - Reply

      Scassel: Mine is the second of two requiring a Private Airman certificate. The remaining 11 all require a Commercial Airman certificate. There are a few groups recommending a change to address UAS certification, which the FAA has the authority to include. I believe they are being cautious and want to do it right before they do.

  4. Gary Brennan January 20, 2015 at 3:51 pm - Reply

    Great job jumping through the hoops Doug. It’s unfortunate that our government is years behind in adopting rules and regulations for this billion dollar industry. Once again, government falling down on the job.

  5. gus olsen January 20, 2015 at 5:10 pm - Reply

    What are the legal alternatives to drones?……. Helicopters? Balloons? Flagpoles? Gliders? And what are the costs?

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