NAR Takes a Seat in FAA's Drone Talks

September 17, 2014

The Federal Aviation Administration has invited the National Association of REALTORS® to participate in its ongoing working group addressing the use of drones or unmanned aerial systems.

“NAR will use the opportunity to educate FAA officials on how REALTORS® are interested in utilizing this technology safely and responsibly,” according to a statement at

The FAA currently prohibits the use of drones for any commercial purpose, including capturing video or photographs to sell a home. In June, the agency issued an interpretation of its guideline stating that “a REALTOR® using a model aircraft to photograph a property that he (or she) is trying to sell and using the photos in the property’s real estate listing does not constitute hobby or recreational use.”

Shortly after, NRT – the nation’s largest residential real estate brokerage company, which includes Coldwell Banker – advised its agents to stop flying drones to photograph listings as well as using any drone footage to market their properties.

Some real estate professionals have continued to test the boundaries of FAA’s interpretation, continuing to fly drones to capture footage of their for-sale listings. But the FAA did crack down on that use this summer, issuing subpoenas to a handful of New York City’s largest brokerages and threatening fines if they did not stop flying drones immediately. 

The FAA is to release proposed regulations in November to establish a time frame for integrating small drones or UASs into the national airspace.

“NAR supports regulations that would allow members to use this technology safely but that are not overly cumbersome or expensive,” according to NAR’s statement. In the meantime, a field guide by NAR explains the use of drones in commercial enterprises.