The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has said that real estate agents who fly their own drones to take pictures or video of a listing are not engaged in “hobby or recreation.” Realtors who are found to be flying drones without commercial certification from the FAA will be fined.
Some real estate agents who fly drones to photograph listings have claimed that as long they are not charging money for the service, they qualify as hobbyists. Companies that provide drone photography or video for real estate brokers and agents will sometimes say they are charging for photo or video editing, not drone flights.
In a notice interpreting the special rule governing model aircraft, the FAA explicitly stated that “a Realtor using a model aircraft to photograph a property that he is trying to sell and using the photos in the property’s real estate listing” is not engaged in a hobby or recreation. Nor is “a person photographing a property or event and selling the photos to someone else.”
Realtors and other commercial drone operators “are subject to all existing FAA regulations, as well as future rule-making action,” the FAA said.
Haven’t seen the newest drone craze in action? Check out this video of a listing in New Mexico, which was shot using a drone.