Realtors Consider Drone Tech an ‘Incredible Tool’ That Requires Responsibility

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) continues its work to integrate unmanned aircraft systems into the National Airspace System (NAS), and Realtors stand ready to take advantage of drones’ many benefits.

That’s according to panelists at the “Using a Drone in Your Business: Knowing Your Risk” session held as part of the recent 2015 REALTORS Conference & Expo in San Diego.

“This technology is an incredible tool for real estate professionals, but can be dangerous if the wrong person is in control,” said session moderator Kolleen Kelley, vice chair of the National Association of Realtors’ (NAR) 2015 risk management committee.

Other panelists included Eric Myers, vice president of Victor O. Shinnerer & Co.; Lesley M. Walker, NAR associate counsel; and Dean Griffith with the FAA’s Office of the Chief Counsel.

According to NAR, the panelists spoke about the extensive benefits of using drones in real estate but also warned the audience that following the rules is of critical importance to mitigate potential risks and liabilities.

Panelists widely agreed that the use of drones for commercial purposes will only grow with time, even as issues related to safety, privacy, insurance and the regulatory framework continue to evolve. They advised the audience about the importance of hiring approved operators with strong risk management practices, sufficient insurance coverage and, most importantly, a Section 333 waiver from the FAA.

The speakers also reminded Realtors to be thoughtful about agreements with outside companies to ensure that ownership of any photographs taken is clear, as intellectual property laws and rules still apply.

Walker pointed to NAR’s policy statement in noting that the association supports the integration of unmanned aerial systems into the NAS and a clear regulatory framework for interested Realtors to responsibly make drones a part of their business.

Earlier this year, NAR joined the “Know Before you Fly” campaign, and NAR President Chris Polychron has testified before a U.S. House Judiciary Subcommittee on the value of drones in real estate.


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