Can Real Estate Agents Use Drones?

can real estate agents use drones

How can real estates agents

legally utilize drones?

So you’re looking to use drones to capture stunning aerial footage for your next real estate listing? Fantastic idea, it seems that drones are becoming ever more popular, so why not hop on the bandwagon and integrate this revolutionary technology into your real estate business immediately?

Over the past few years, the use of commercial unmanned aerial vehicles (or drones) has skyrocketed. It seems that the number of industries utilizing aerial drone technology grows by the day. Every time you turn on the TV, the radio, or simply open your favorite news website, it seems your hearing about Amazon utilizing drones for 30 min delivery, or dominos pizza flying pizzas to your front door, so on and so fourth. But no one ever seems to talk about the laws surrounding these futuristic visions.

Now, your real estate business isn’t quite Amazon, but none the less there are laws in place that may crush your dreams of taking to the sky. In the following paragraphs I’m going to answer the question of how real estate agents can legally utilize drones to capture beautiful photography or video and improve their listings.

Why utilize drones for real estate?

Very simply put, drones will allow you to capture absolutely stunning footage from the sky. For many listings this adds a significant element of depth that otherwise would be impossible to capture. It also allows you as an agent to showcase not only the property, but the surrounding area as well. For example does the property back on to a nature reserve, is there a mall or city center nearby, or maybe a school within walking distance? You can capture all of this from the air, likely while still keeping the house in frame, an incredible tool for any agent.

So can real estate agents use drones?

The answer is that anyone can utilize a drone for commercial operations IF* they meet all the required criteria. So yes, as a real estate agent you can use drones to capture aerial photography and video legally, but there are some rules and regulations you must comply with first.

Legal Regulations & Requirements

At the date of writing this article (Aug 12th 2016) the FAA is in the middle of shifting to a new set of regulatory requirements. Currently you must apply for an FAA 333 exemption if you wish to operate a drone in the USA. But a new regulation known as Part 107, will soon become the standard which all drone pilots will need to satisfy. Below you will find links describing the necessary requirements to satisfy these regulations.

333 Exemption:

Part 107:

Aerial Photography without all of the hassle

Just because you “can” legally fly drones to capture footage for your listings, that doesn’t mean you “should”. Drone operations can be a full time job, not only because of the extensive entry requirements, but also the ongoing compliance. You will need to purchase aviation liability insurance, keep up to date with your training, and keep accurate detailed flight logs for future record. This combined with technological requirements, system maintenance and keep current with new technology, which will require constant equipment upgrades. Will likely prove too much to handle in addition to your real estate business. It is not an effective nor efficient way of doing business.

The simple solution? Just hire an existing drone company! Plenty of great companies exist, just make sure they meet all regulatory requirements, and provide proof of insurance. Having them do the aerial photography and video for you, will save you endless headaches. At a rate of $100 – $400 per property depending on the size, its relatively affordable and makes all the difference in the world for your listings.

Many real estate photography and video companies, are already integrated a drone unit into their operations, so check with your current contractor, as they may already offer this service, or might at some point in the near future.


So can real estate agents use drones to capture footage for their listings? Yes. But it is not recommended; simply find a credible aerial contractor who can fly for you, and it will become as simple as a phone call. You will still get beautiful aerial footage but without any of the hassle. Thanks for reading, we hope this answers the question of can real estate agents use drones.