Colorado Association of REALTORS | Drones can take your listings to new heights…
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Drones can take your listings to new heights…

May 02 2018

Drones can take your listings to new heights…

Just Be Mindful of the Regulations Surrounding It

As competitive as things are in Colorado, REALTORS® across the state are always discovering new and innovative ways to market their listings.  One of these marketing techniques is the use of drone technology to photograph homes and properties.  Those of you who haven’t dipped your toes into the world of drones may be asking, “what are the benefits and restrictions of using drone technology?”


Mike Laughlin, the Director of Operations for Colorado Virtual Tours – a photography company that specializes in drone technology for real estate properties – spoke on some of the advantages that come with utilizing drone photography.


“The main reason to consider an aerial photoshoot to a traditional photoshoot is to show the property from a different perspective.  It shows the scale of the house, the different wings, the different additions, and it really showcases how impressive the architecture is,” said Laughlin.


Using aerial photography showcases a different side of the property that traditional photography is unable to capture, and it can be useful in marketing various types of properties.  Drone footage can be beneficial when trying to showcase high-end properties, mountain homes, and vacant land.  Kelli Anderson, a REALTOR® in Evergreen, Colorado, recently used aerial photography to better a land listing.  “I felt it was important for that particular listing and I would do it again,” said Anderson.


Laughlin also discussed how using a drone can speed up the process of a photoshoot by flying throughout the property rather than walking it.  Aerial photography can show a potential buyer the proximity of the listed house to a river that runs close to the property, a complex layout with multiple features, or the topography of the land.


Clearly, there are many benefits of using drone technology to photography property, but what are the restrictions?  According to Business Insider, recent data shows that the market for commercial and civilian drones may grow at a compound annual growth rate of 19% by 2020.  The use of any technology usually (if not always) results in regulations by federal, state, and local governments.


According to the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), a drone must be:

  • Registered
  • The operator must fly the drone within eyesight
  • Cannot be blown within controlled airspace
  • Cannot be flown higher than 400 feet
  • Avoid flying near people or sturctues


If the drone is to be used for commercial purposes, like photography for real estate, the operator must be a licensed pilot through the FAA.  Colorado laws are similar to the federal regulations except Colorado encourages drone operators to insure their equipment.  Local countries and municipalities have specific laws regarding drones as well.  Some ski resorts towns prohibit any flying near the slopes, other countries prohibit flying above city property like parks or golf courts, and other countries prohibit drone operators from flying under the influence of drugs or alcohol.


Tye Stockton, a REALTOR® with LIV Sotheby’s International Realty in Vail, Colorado, uses drone technology in his listings and spoke to the legal obligations that REALTORS® need to consider.


“There are more and more restrictions on where you can shoot and how you can shoot,” said Stockton.  “We make sure that our photographers and videographers have of the proper permits and paperwork in place to be able to do that.”


Due to the many regulations that mandate how drones can be operated, you may want to consider using a professional before you “Click to Buy Now” that drone off of Amazon.  This new technology boasts many benefits for a unique and engaging marketing technique, but as always, it’s your responsibility to ensure you (as well as any company you hire) are in compliance with laws and regulations where you live.

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