Do this before hiring a company to take drone photography of your listings

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Drone flying in the air

06/30/2015 | Author: Editorial Staff

As of July 1, nearly 700 operators have received a Section 333 exemption from the Federal Aviation Administration to legally fly drones commercially—and the number will continue to rise. You can hire FAA-approved operators to take aerial photos and videos of your properties if they have received an exemption that covers this activity. Before you hire a company, though, you should check to make sure it really has the exemption. Otherwise, you can be held liable for photos and videos that were obtained illegally. In addition to asking for proof from the operator, you can locate exemptions yourself. Here are two ways to do it:

  • Visit the FAA’s website and see the list of authorizations granted via Section 333 exemption. Use the search box on the right side of the table to find the name of the company or person you want to hire. You can also search terms like “real property,” “real estate,” or “real” to see exemptions related to the industry. From there, you can view the exemption letter the operator received from the FAA outlining what’s allowed.
  • Check NAR’s list of operators with real estate-related exemptions.

The FAA has created a chart to help you determine whether you need FAA permission to operate your unmanned aircraft. Remember, it’s currently illegal to fly a drone for commercial purposes without an FAA exemption, but hobbyist use is allowed if the user follows the FAA’s safety guidelines.

Categories: Business tips
Tags: drones


David Davis on 07/23/2015

So what about the operator that does the aerial photos for free but charges for the editing of the photos?  He says he flies below 400 feet and so he is exempt.  Want to use him, but still not sure this is legal.

Joseph on 07/02/2015

You need to also make sure your Home Inspector is not using a drone illegally without the proper license/exemption.  Otherwise as the buyer’s Agent you can be dragged into the mess that occurs if they cause issues or are reported.

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The material provided here is for informational purposes only and is not intended and should not be considered as legal advice for your particular matter. You should contact your attorney to obtain advice with respect to any particular issue or problem. Applicability of the legal principles discussed in this material may differ substantially in individual situations.

While the Texas Association of REALTORS® has used reasonable efforts in collecting and preparing materials included here, due to the rapidly changing nature of the real estate marketplace and the law, and our reliance on information provided by outside sources, the Texas Association of REALTORS® makes no representation, warranty, or guarantee of the accuracy or reliability of any information provided here or elsewhere on Any legal or other information found here, on, or at other sites to which we link, should be verified before it is relied upon.

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