Let’s Go Fly A Drone!



What a great discussion this morning in regards to using drones in our real estate business.

Long Story Short: Not yet.

Here’s the deal – unless you have in your possession something called a Section 333 Waiver, you are not able to launch. Tucson’s own Douglas Trudeau has paved the way for all of us in this process. It’s been a lot of trial and error…and a LOT of learning for him. He’s put a lot of information on his website for those interested in the process.

Here are a few gems from the forum:

If you are interested in pursuing this, check where your drone was made. Crazy as it sounds but when you go to register that drone to get your N number, if the drone was made/built in China, you’re going to have to prove that it wasn’t registered with the Chinese FAA.

Insurance can be pricey. You’re looking at $875 to $1400 for a $500,000 policy but that might not be enough coverage.

NAR, local boards and MLS’s have NO ROLE in discipline. Read that again.

Currently, according to Jim Williams of the FAA, only 311 exemptions have been issued. They are approving about 20 to 40 a week.

If you are curious if the person who just sent you a marketing email about getting your property video’ed by a drone, check realtor.org or the FAA website to see if they have an exemption. You can also ask them to see their paperwork.

Bottom line is this: This is a safety issue when it comes to flying drones or other unmanned vehicles. So much could go wrong in a split second. A pilot needs to have the ability and the knowledge to know the do’s and don’ts for proper operation.  Just like real estate or any other career, you have to have the information and education to do it correctly.

Emmary Simpson

Emmary Simpson is a REALTOR® and MRP with Realty One Group Mountain Desert - Tucson. She's been in real estate since 2010 and partners with husband Kent. Her main focus is assisting our military members moving to or from Davis Monthan Air Force Base as well as retired members of all branches. She is also the Chair of the Education Committee for the Beverly Carter Foundation.

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  1. So even if you hire someone who has a drone to do it, you have to check their credentials?

  2. Erica – to be safe, yes. By checking, you know that they have the experience and have gone through the “hoops” the FAA has. It’s not necessary but I wouldn’t want to risk using someone that doesn’t have enough insurance coverage if something were to happen.