by Laura Matiz
Are drones the next big thing in real estate marketing? I don't think so, especially in New York. A number of recent articles have featured the use of drones, or unmanned aircraft systems (UAS), for real estate marketing, usually featuring an impressive fly-over of a luxurious mansion, touting the possibilities. What is clear is that currently the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) restricts the use of these devices for such purposes. The use of drones for commercial purposes is illegal in almost all cases and the FAA has taken action against real estate firms that have used such aerial photography.
But changes are underway. The FAA recently put out a press release announcing an exemption for six companies who will be allowed to fly drones under FAA-approved safety procedures. This thawing step may be the beginning of broader policies to enable greater and safer use of drones for commercial purposes, especially as the drones and cameras get cheaper and more accessible — it is now possible to purchase low-end models with camera for under $80. Additionally, the FAA must come up with new rules and regulations by September 15, 2015. Of course, the value of such photography and video will have to be worth the cost, given that it is now possible to get pretty simple fly-overs using Google Maps and other such tools without leaving your office chair.
Indoor use of drones, while not likely to raise the ire of the FAA, appears to be a gray area. There are opportunities to photograph some of the larger New York City apartments in unique ways by taking advantage of high ceilings and, otherwise, unreachable vantage points. Examples of that work are fairly limited, but likely to expand. I can picture it now: showing up to a new listing with both our company photographer and our air ace ready to maneuver his flying machine. I will need to make sure that the resident cat is safely stowed away, lest it think a bird has come to visit.
Explore the conversation for Twitter hashtags: "#drones #realestate".