The Importance of Legal Drone Photography in Real Estate

Real estate agents are always on the lookout for ways to make their listings stand out. One of the most effective methods is drone photography. These high-definition aerial shots give potential buyers a bird's eye view of the property, showing off its best features and surroundings. But while drone photography is a game-changer, there are crucial legal aspects to consider.

The Risk of "Free" Drone Photography

Some photographers offer drone photography as a "free" add-on service, a tempting proposition that's hard to resist. But be cautious. This seemingly innocent offer can lead to serious legal trouble. Why? Because it may be an attempt to bypass the FAA's rules requiring a Part 107 commercial drone license for such services.

Even though the service is marketed as "free," if the photographs are being used to promote a property for sale, it's considered commercial use. Both the real estate agent and their broker could be held accountable for this violation.

The FAA's regulations are clear: anyone using a drone for commercial purposes must possess a Part 107 certification. Civil penalties can be hefty, with fines levied not just on individuals, but also on corporations representing the broker. The FAA can propose a fine of up to $1,437 per violation for individuals and $32,666 for corporations.

The Pitfall of DIY Drone Photography

Similarly, agents who consider taking drone photos of their own listings might think they're in the clear if they're doing it for free. However, this is still considered commercial use under FAA rules, as the photos are used to sell property.

And it's not as easy to fly under the radar as you might think. With property photos being listed publicly on the MLS and affiliate websites, the FAA can easily identify unauthorized drone usage. This leaves agents and brokers exposed to potential legal and financial consequences

Hiring a Licensed Drone Photographer is Essential

It's crucial to ensure that any drone photography used in your listings is fully compliant with FAA regulations to protect you, your client and your broker

I hold both a Part 107 commercial drone license and a real estate license, giving me a unique understanding of both the legal and aesthetic requirements for effective, compliant drone photography in real estate.

Don't risk your reputation or your broker's business on "free" or DIY drone photography. Instead, invest in professional, licensed drone photography services that will enhance your listings and maintain your peace of mind. Choose for your real estate drone photography needs and enjoy the view from the top, worry-free.

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