Technology is constantly changing the real estate marketing landscape. Social media and mobile marketing have become the norm today, so what’s next? Introducing the newest gadget real estate professionals are using to take listing photos to the next level: the drone.
The trend of real estate professionals using drones to take photos or videos of listings is on the rise, despite the Federal Aviation Administration’s (FAA) regulations. Real estate agents, developers and architects use aerial photography to showcase the angles and details of a property that you can’t get with traditional photography.
While the real estate industry has embraced the use of aerial shots to add a cool factor in marketing a waterfront home or urban condo building, the legal restrictions on commercial drone usage remain murky. According to current rules, drones cannot be used for commercial purposes, and violations can result in a fine of up to $10,000. The FAA has issued permits for drone usage, but permits are determined on a case-by-case basis. In the meantime, it’s a common practice for photographers and real estate agents to sidestep the federal regulations by charging only for video editing services, not the drone flights.
Commercial drone usage in real estate has also raised questions regarding privacy laws. A Seattle woman reported a drone flying outside her 26th floor apartment. The drone was being used by a development company to photograph a planned 20-story building. Another situation where a camera-mounted drone could raise legal questions about privacy laws is if neighbors are not comfortable with aerial images of their homes being taken and posted online without their consent.
With the rise in importance of online and mobile marketing, aerial images and videos can certainly give real estate agents an edge over the competition. Before agents start embracing the new technology in their online marketing efforts however, the legislation needs to catch up. Congress has mandated that the FAA release defined guidelines for unmanned aircraft usage in 2015.