The real estate industry is one of many using UAVs, or drones. However, drones for commercial purposes are presently banned by the FAA until new rules are issued regarding their use.

So many industries have proliferated amid new, innovative 21st century technological advancements. The more digital the world becomes, the more everything is shifting toward autonomy. Just a few years ago, auto makers revealed plans to someday manufacture self-driving vehicles. And now, drones are the latest autonomous technology that has gained widespread attention.

Many industries are using the devices, even in real estate. However, the industry has hit a road block on their usage-the Federal Aviation Administration.


Drones are essentially unmanned aerial vehicles, or UAVs, that are operated from remote locations. Most of the public is familiar with military drones, but there are many different types that serve many different purposes.

Animal rights groups, for instance, have attached cameras to drones to detect illegal hunting practices in isolated geographic locations. Healthcare entities have even used drones to delivery medical supplies to people living in remote areas.

However, despite their seemingly limitless functionality, there are restrictions against their use in certain situations, particularly those that heavily utilize photography, like real estate professionals.

Present FAA ban on drones

In the real estate industry, photography is everything. Getting the best shot of a home, property, or land is essential. Since the launch of drone technology, real estate professionals have been able take close-up aerial photos that, not too long ago, were impossible.

However, the Federal Aviation Administration, or FAA, presently bans UAVs for commercial purposes. So, wedding, news, real estate, and other photography connoisseurs will face steep fines if they are caught using photography drones.

New rules are in the works but have yet to be released. The new FAA rules will likely outline licensing and certification requirements as well as guidelines on their use within public atmospheres, among other stipulations.


The FAA rules are expected to be released September of next year, however, some real estate professionals are ignoring the mandate amid the recent ALJ ruling. This past March, an Administrative Law Judge for the National Traffic Safety Bureau struck down the ban stating that the prohibition was unenforceable.

The National Association of Realtors, however, is advising real estate professionals to postpone use of drone photography until the FAA officially releases the final rules and guidelines.

It remains to be seen just how drones will be used by real estate professionals in upcoming years. It’s likely once they receive the go-ahead from the FAA, they will be commonplace in many types of industries.