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Statistical data from Multiple Listing Service (MLS) reveals that property listings that feature aerial imagery are substantially more likely to attract potential buyers, with a 68% higher probability of closing a successful sale compared to listings without such imagery. 

This trend is likely attributable to the ability of drone videography to offer unparalleled panoramic views of homes and the surrounding neighborhood, allowing prospective buyers to fully appreciate the beauty and unique features of the property from a bird ‘ s-eye perspective. 

But what are the recent rules for real estate drone video? 

In this post, we’ll share new and important rules for real estate drone video in 2024. As well as what to think of when getting started operating a drone and other useful information. 

Getting Started With Real Estate Drone Video 

real estate drone video

According to a National Association of Realtors study, 57% of buyers expect to see at least 8 to 10 aerial shots of most residential properties. And 83% of home sellers prefer to work with a real estate agent who uses drone photography.

Given this empirical evidence, it’s clear that leveraging the power of aerial photography is a strategic imperative for any real estate professional seeking a competitive edge in the market.

With that said, this is how to get started with real estate drone video. 

1. Get Your License

Let’s get this out of the way right away. In every state, flying a drone requires a license. You must pass the Part 107 pilot’s test and get FAA-certified.

And simply getting the license is not enough, as the following shows:

  • Firstly, the license must be renewed every 36 months
  • Secondly, every 24 months, you must pass the recurrent aeronautical knowledge test

We recommend contacting local authorities to learn your area’s rules and laws for real estate aerial photography.

2. Buy the Right Drone for You

So, you’ve got your real estate photography drone license and now you’re ready for the next step – finding the perfect drone for you.

But hey, not all drones are created equal! 

They come in different shapes and sizes, with varying capabilities, ease of use, and price points. 

Here’s a pro tip: reach out to local real estate photographers and pick their brains. They’ll have some great recommendations for you. Or check out our blog post on the ultimate guide to real estate drone photography for some good drone tips.

And don’t rush this process… Take your time to practice flying your drone before you start capturing breathtaking aerial photos. It’ll make a world of difference.

Let’s now move on to registering your drone.

3. Register Your Drone

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) mandates that all drones weighing over 0.55 pounds or 250 grams must be registered. This is regardless of whether they are used recreationally or commercially. 

Plus, any drones operated commercially must be registered with the FAA, even if they weigh less than 0.55 pounds. 

This includes the total weight of batteries and other equipment installed. In addition, registration costs just $5 per drone and is valid for 3 years. 

Commercial use includes real estate photography, surveying, inspections, or other business applications. Proper registration is critical for real estate companies to legally and safely utilize drone technology for marketing and photography.

Now, let’s take a look at what restricted airspace means.

What Is Restricted Airspace?

real estate drone video

Restricted airspace refers to areas where drones and other aircraft require special permission. Or must adhere to specific regulations, regardless of a property’s air rights. 

In addition, there are “prohibited” zones where flying is strictly forbidden, as well as temporarily restricted areas affected by weather or hazardous events. 

The FAA is responsible for overseeing and managing these areas, typically centered around:

  • Airports
  • Sports stadiums
  • Military bases
  • And other locations of high-security significance

So, if you are listing a property located in or near restricted airspace, it’s crucial to verify the applicable rules. And also determine who to contact to obtain special permission, if allowed. 

Stay informed and ensure compliance to navigate the world of real estate photography smoothly. With that, let’s take a look at how to comply with the rules and regulations next.

Rules & Regulations for Real Estate Drone Video in 2024

real estate drone video

To operate drones for real estate photography purposes, it’s important to be aware of the FAA regulations that mandate registration and equipping with a remote identification broadcaster for drones above a specific size. 

These regulations are set to become effective in September 2024, and are the following:

  1. The FAA governs all airspace at and above 400 feet, which establishes the legal ceiling for drone operations
  2. Consequently, drones may not be flown within a 5-mile radius of any airport, under any circumstances
  3. Moreover, commercial use of drones for aerial photography and videography concerning a business such as real estate requires drone operators to obtain pilot certification or a license from the FAA
  4. Additionally, they must thoroughly familiarize themselves with the restricted flight paths, weight limits, altitude limitations, and speed regulations in their respective areas of operation
  5. Lastly, drones must always be in sight

It’s important to remember that states and localities are permitted to impose additional requirements that don’t conflict with federal regulations. This can add a layer of complexity to drone operations. 

That being the case, let’s look at two more recent rules from 2021 and 2023 that are beneficial for drone operators next. 

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The Remote Identification Rule

The Remote Identification Rule, which was designed to support the use of drones as a means of operations over people, will go into effect on September 15, 2023. 

Under this new regulation, drones will be required to transmit identifying information about the drone and its operator, which will be accessible to law enforcement agencies. 

The Remote Identification Rule will help identify unsafe operations and assist in the prosecution of violators. This is an essential tool for ensuring the safety and accountability of drone operations.

Fortunately, for those who own newer versions of drones, the built-in remote identification broadcast function will already be included.

However, for those without this capability, a separate broadcast module may need to be attached to the drone to ensure compliance with the Remote Identification Rule. 

Regardless of the method, all drones must comply with this new regulation to ensure the continued safety and exceptional quality of aerial real estate photography.

The Operations Over People and at Night Rule

Furthermore, the recently established Operations Over People and at Night Rule has brought about a pivotal change in the drone regulation sphere. 

This revised rule was initiated on March 16, 2021. It permits licensed drone pilots who have undergone either an up-to-date initial test or refreshed recurrent online training to operate drones at night, given they are equipped with flashing anti-collision lights. 

Additionally, the regulation introduces four distinct categories of drones that are authorized to fly over individuals and moving vehicles, beyond establishing boundaries for each category and varying flight types. 

These changes have allowed the real estate industry, among other sectors, to excel with impeccable aerial photography. This enables properties of all types and sizes to become increasingly appealing to clients. 

With these new regulations in place, it’s now possible to maintain an edge over your competitors and make significant strides in real estate marketing.

Lastly, it can be useful to know that the FAA website has a list of resources based on each restriction type. They also offer a mobile app called “B4UFLY App” that helps recreational users know which areas are safe to fly in.

FAA Announced a Set of New, Final Rules

real estate drone video

The FAA announced a set of new final rules on December 28, 2020, which aim to regulate the use of drones for certain purposes. 

This announcement was preceded by years of careful planning and development towards the improvement of existing regulations. 

Among some of the highlights, these new rules build upon previous rulemakings that had already permitted commercial use of UAS, easing operators’ restrictions and even creating categories for small and micro-sized UAS. 

Overall, the new regulations mandate the use of remote identification technology for UAS. Including expanding commercial operations to allow for flights over crowds, based on the category the UAS falls into. 

Additionally, it creates a structure for operators to conduct UAS flights at night time, which had not previously been allowed. 

FAA Is Easing Restrictions for Drone Operators

The FAA’s move towards expanding drone flight capabilities at night and over crowds carries significant implications for real estate photographers who are seeking to display their clients’ properties using aerial videography.

Why is this important?

The simple answer is that this technology is currently unmatched in showcasing the exterior beauty of properties and their neighborhoods. 

Under the revised regulations, agents in the real estate industry would be able to gain a critical advantage over their competitors when effectively leveraging aerial photography. 

Moreover, the new FAA rules underscore the importance of incorporating drone flight technology into current and future business strategies. 

These new rules are a testament to the FAA’s commitment to enhancing the safe and responsible use of drones for a variety of purposes. It also marks an important step forward in the evolution of UAS technology in the U.S.


In summary, drone operators must be well-informed of these rules and regulations before carrying out any drone operations. 

This includes obtaining the necessary pilot certification. And being able to present it upon request, much like a driver’s license when operating a vehicle. 

By following these regulations and staying current with any updates, drone operators can maximize the potential of their equipment. As well as harness its power for the benefit of real estate marketing and sales.

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All you need to do is sign up for a free PhotoUp account, upload your images, provide us with your instructions, choose your export settings and turnaround time, and lastly, download your beautifully edited images!

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We hope you enjoyed this article on new and important rules for real estate drone video in 2024. Before you go, you may also want to check out the following related resources:

Stina Pettersson

Professional Blogger

Stina is an entrepreneur, digital marketer, and professional blogger who's passionate about real estate photo editing, being outdoors with her pup, and sweaty gym sessions. She loves the written word and has been writing for publications like Forbes and Thrive Global. Originally from Sweden, she's called South Florida her home since 2013.

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