Aerial Photos & Video

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Aerial drone photos have become something of a phenomenon in the last year or two. When we started doing drone photos about five years ago nobody was interested in it. Wouldn't you know it, after we sell the drone and change our focus to other services, drones would come back with a vengence.

Drone are very cool and fun to fly. However, there are rules that every Realtor needs to understand about drones and using them for your listing.

First, drones aren't cheap to buy. The one we use, the Phantom 4 Pro Plus was $2,000 and requires special insurance to cover it in case of an accident. Then you have to register it. Admittedly, registration is pretty cheap and it doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure out how to do it; but, it still has to be done.

Second, if you or anybody else for that matter wants to fly it commercially, you have to have a certificate from the FAA. According to the FAA's definition, if you'll profit from the time it's in the air, you need to be certified to fly it. The certification test is pretty involved. It was a lot like the real estate salesperson's test. It covers several flight manuals, a lot of flight laws and regulations, weather, weight, and of course, acronyms.

Third and perhaps most important, flying a drone for profit that is not registered and without a certification could thousanda of dollars in fines and penalties. Then if you're doing so and break the law, there could be jail time involved for - get this - 'domestic terrorism'. The reason is, there are places in Columbus that are in "no fly" zones and at times the zones can be anywhere. The terrorism label gets attached it you're flying it where a govenment official is making a public appearance.

Fourth, there are special permissions and waivers that you must have in order to legally fly the drone in certain areas of the city and at specific times. Without them, you'll be breaking the law. We all know what breaking the law could mean to our real estate license.

Lastly, you may be thinking, "that's all well and good, but I hire someone to take them for me." That's fine as long as they are certified and have insurance. Do you know what is the most often reason insurance claims are filed in drone cases? Fire. If that pilot isn't certified, it's a good chance he's not insured either. What happens when pilot error or the wind pushes the drone into and damages the house? What if it catches fire? Who pays for that? Who do you think is going to get sued?

Our pilot is certified by the FAA and is insured on every property for up to $10 million. Our insurance covers against property damage including fire, and bodily harm. Drone pictures are great! And we recommend them on properties with a lot of land; but we also recommend you exercise caution in who you hire to do it and never do it yourself without proper training or practice.


Please don't trust your seller's property to just anyone with a drone. Call or email your Total Realty Solution and let us take all your drone photos and video, you'll be glad you did.