With Drones, Safety and Privacy are Goals That Real Estate Strives to Meet

“Real estate professionals understand, perhaps more than most, the importance to a homeowner of having privacy in his or her home and backyard, or to be able to guard against trespassers on private property.”—NAR President Chris Polychron in Sept. 10, 2015, testimony to the House Judiciary Commiteee subcommittee on the courts and intellectual property

NAR President Chris Polychron testified before Congress about the real estate industry’s readiness to use unmanned aerial vehicles, or drones, in a safe and responsible way once the federal government clears the way with final rules.

Drone  Test

NAR President Chris Polychron prior to Sept. 10 House Judiciary Committee subcommittee hearing on drones. Photo: Nathan Moncrieff

To get ready, NAR has joined the Federal Aviation Administration’s Know Before You Fly campaign, provided its analyses of safety and privacy issues to the FAA as it writes its rules, and continues to educate its members about the importance of safe drone operations.

NAR’s efforts in this regard put it out front of what will surely be an increasingly important matter as drones become a familiar part of our airspace.

Among the real estate-related questions that are likely to be asked by lawmakers and others as the technology moves forward are these:

  • If you’re working with a drone operator and have the permission of the owner to take aerial photos and video of the owner’s property, what must the drone operator do to ensure the data that’s collected is kept secure?
  • What if a neighbor or someone else is unintentionally photographed or videotaped by the drone?
  • What if the drone causes a safety issue?

For real estate, one of the main uses of drone technology will be aerial photos and videos. But as Polychron made clear in his remarks, the range of possible uses goes far beyond that. The devices can become a safe and cost-effective way to assess property condition and gauge property damage after a storm, among other things.

In short, drones hold a lot of promise for the industry, and in his testimony, Polychron stressed that REALTORS® will make every effort to tap this useful technology while keeping the focus on its safe and responsible use.

Polychron’s testimony is one of the featured segments in The Voice for Real Estate for the week of September 21. Other segments look at two tax victories REALTORS® in Washington state achieved thanks to their efforts at building a state-wide coalition of businesses and building an information campaign for property owners. NAR also helped with pin-point polling and provided grant funds.

Also in the video, Polychron gives a warm tribute to real estate icon Ebby Halliday, NAR Chief Economist Lawrence Yun, talks about the recent dip in home sales, NAR researchers share findings from a new technology report, and NAR helps Richard Cordray of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau get the word out on the federal government’s most recent efforts to help real estate professionals get up to speed on the closing process changes that take effect October 3.

Robert Freedman

Robert Freedman is director of multimedia communications for the NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS®. He can be reached at rfreedman@realtors.org.

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  1. The real estate industry needs to welcome technological advances with open arms. Drones are used in Las Vegas for luxury real estate photography. Their benefit to the industry is tremendous just like mentioned above. I completely agree and feel real estate professionals needs to encourage the use of drones.