Deciding to sell your property is no small undertaking. In an increasingly competitive real estate market, your property needs to capture attention swiftly and definitively. Aerial photography, facilitated by drone technology, provides an unparalleled ‘wow’ factor. According to the National Association of Realtors, properties showcased with aerial imagery are 68% more likely to sell. However, employing drones for real estate marketing comes with its own set of legal and ethical responsibilities. In this article, we explore the critical importance of hiring a licensed drone operator when selling your property.
Legal Implications: FAA Regulations
The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has stipulated that unlicensed drone operators can face penalties starting at $1,100 per violation. Moreover, individuals who hire unlicensed drone operators can face fines starting at $11,000. The person doing the hiring is 10x more liable than the illegal pilot. If you’re an unlicensed drone pilot capturing footage of your own property for purposes of selling it, you could incur double penalties, amounting to $12,100. It’s also important to note that these penalties are per “operation”. That means that if the pilot lands and takes off again in the same photo session, that’s double the penalties.
It’s Not Enough To Hire a Realtor
Many real estate professionals are unaware of the serious implications of drone photography. Without a remote pilot certificate from the FAA, everyone risks substantial penalties. One individual in Minnesota without this certification was fined a total of $39,700 for multiple flights conducted to obtain photographs for real estate listings. The real estate brokerage firm that engaged the unlicensed pilot was able to avoid penalty, but had to comply with FAA subpoenas, a process that required a considerable investment of time and resources.
Beyond Monetary Penalties
The FAA also has the authority to revoke or suspend pilot certificates. This is not limited to drone pilot certificates but extends to Part 61 commercial pilot certificates as well. In one instance, a pilot faced a $3,000 fine along with the revocation of their pilot certificate.
Ethical and Privacy Concerns
The use of Unmanned Aerial Systems (UAS) can potentially result in liability claims related to invasion of privacy, depending on the jurisdiction. Nuisance and trespass actions may also arise if aerial surveillance is found to interfere with an individual’s peaceful enjoyment of their property. Additionally, the risk of personal and property injury due to drone malfunctions or collisions cannot be overlooked.
More Than Just Federal
Many other more local jurisdictions have rules that limit the use and increase the liability of hiring a drone operator. Some of these include, the State of Oregon, Bend Parks and Recreation, city governments, and even local homeowners associations.
Why Choose Strategic Realty
If these risks seem daunting, rest assured that Strategic Realty has preemptively addressed them. Kerry O’Neal, Principal Broker with Strategic Realty holds a Part 107 licensed drone operator certificate. Our drones are registered with the FAA, and we have extensive experience navigating the unique FAA-designated airspaces throughout Central Oregon. Choosing Strategic Realty isn’t just about superior real estate services; it’s about ensuring your peace of mind.
Please Be Careful
Don’t gamble when it comes to selling your property. Employing a licensed drone operator safeguards you against various financial and legal pitfalls. At Strategic Realty, we integrate technological innovation seamlessly with exceptional customer service, ensuring a superior client experience at every step of your home-selling journey.
For comprehensive information on FAA guidelines and regulations, please visit the FAA’s official website.
By entrusting Strategic Realty with your real estate needs, you’re making a choice for professional excellence and integrity. Feel free to contact us for more information on our range of services.