Drones Are HOT But Here Is How To Avoid Getting Burned!

By Michael Krisa, Executive Editor - Posted on
Don’t forget to leave us your comments at the bottom after you’re done reading this article…

It’s that time of year again when the days are getting longer, skirts are getting shorter and against the clear blue sky you see … DRONES, lots of DRONES!

Love them or hate them, drones are here to stay and as a Realtor they are a powerful marketing tool for you to have in your arsenal.

The ability to easily and affordably shoot aerial video footage of your listings gives you a great marketing advantage over your competitors. In fact, according to N.A.R. 73% of home sellers would prefer to work with an agent that uses video to market their listings.

Things to Know Before You Drone

But before you run out and buy a drone or consider hiring someone do to aerial video for you, there are things you need to know that can seriously impact you and your clients both financially and legally.

Think Vicarious Liability … we’ll look at this in more detail in a moment.

If you purchase a drone for commercial use, even before you fly it, you must first register it with the FAA. Failure to do so could results in a hefty fine in the thousands of dollars.

Now before you say you include this service in your listing package so you don’t actually collect a fee, from the FAA’s perspective that video is being used for marketing purposes and therefore deemed commercial.

Drone Requirements

The next thing you’ll need is an FAA-issued “UAS Operator Certificate” … UAS stands for Unmanned Aerial System.

Here are some of the requirements:

  • Be at least 16 years old.
  • Be able to read, speak, write, and understand English (exceptions may be made if the person is unable to meet one of these requirements for a medical reason, such as hearing impairment).
  • Be in a physical and mental condition to safely operate a small UAS.
  • Pass the initial aeronautical knowledge exam at an FAA-approved knowledge testing center.

Click here to get all the details by visiting the FAA’s website

Insure It!

Although drones look like cool little toys keep in mind that their propellers are spinning at about 10,000 RPM and like any object falling from space, can cause some serious damage to property and people.

With that in mind you will need to carry some sort of liability insurance just in case little Timmy from next door losses an ear because you lost control of your drone.

Earlier I made reference to the term “Vicarious Liability” and this is where your seller comes into the picture.

If during the operation of your drone something goes wrong, let’s say you lose control and it crashes through the neighbor’s window, then obviously they will be coming after you for damages. But since you are an agent of your brokerage, they can also go after your broker … and since the brokerage is employed by your seller …. you guessed it, they can go after your seller too!

That’s why liability insurance is not only a good idea, it’s a must-have.

Regulations When Flying

Liability aside you also need to be aware of the FAA regulations when it comes to flying your drone, for example:

  • always avoid manned aircraft.
  • never fly near airports.
  • all drones must operate under 400 feet; if flying over tall buildings, they may not fly higher than 400 feet above the building.
  • maximum speed allowed is 100 mph (87 knots).
  • always fly via line-of-sight (no flying behind buildings or out of your clear eyesight, EVER).
  • You cannot fly over populated areas or people unless:
    1. they are directly participating in the operation.
    2. under a covered structure.
    3. inside a covered stationary vehicle.

So you may now be thinking that operating a drone is just too much of a hassle. It might make more sense to hire someone to do this for you, but keep in mind the same rules apply to them.

So before you hire a drone service here are some of the things you should ask:

  • Are they FAA commercially licensed?
  • Do they carry liability insurance?
  • Do they have references?

As I said in the very beginning, drones are a great way to market your listings and to help you stand out from the competition. But make sure you are doing so responsibly for your sake and your client’s.

What did you think of this article?

Click here to leave a comment!
Michael Krisa
Michael is a licensed real estate broker, a syndicated columnist and a freelance internet marketing consultant. As a sought after speaker and trainer, he is best known for helping to utilize video and video marketing in a way that actually works to make you money! As Executive Editor, Michael is very excited to bring his years of experience in real estate marketing to the team.
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11 thoughts on “Drones Are HOT But Here Is How To Avoid Getting Burned!”

  1. Thank you very much! This was very educational and explained so much that I was not aware of. I appreciate the concise and simple way you express yourself in educating us.

    1. You are most welcome Lynne and thank you for taking the time to leave a comment!

      All Good Wishes,

  2. Mike, I am looking at the newer Mavic Air, not to replace my professional video tours, but for coming soon and some marketing of rural etc… FAA requires $100,000 min liability for commercial or hobby drone operators. If deemed commercial you are required to take ground school.
    Are you flying a Drone? If so, what model and any recommendations? I like the Mavic Air as it will shoot 30 FPS in 4k and 120 FPS at 720P.
    Thanks for your continued tips.

    Caledon East, ON

    1. Hey there Hunter great to hear from you!

      I don’t have a but the guy you want to connect with is Jason Steel. He is a fellow Ontario Realtor and the resident expert on all things drone in Canada.

      All Good Wishes,

  3. Great information to know! Perfect timing too, I’m meeting someone next week who provides this service for agents. I’ll check with him before we meet and waste each others time.

    1. So Glad we could help Julie … speaking of help … PLEASE feel free to share our videos with agents you know … Hint Hint. 🙂

      All Good Wishes,

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