The FAA recently relaxed aviation laws for low-flying drones, which presents a tremendous opportunity for real estate appraisers. Drones can give you an edge over the competition and make your job easier. They can assist with a wide variety of tasks, including roof inspections, property feature fly-overs, and panoramic views of a property or home. Here, we review everything you need to know about drones in appraisal.
Drone flying qualifications for appraisers
Flying a drone for recreational use is permitted without a license. However, to use a drone for real estate services, you will need to obtain an airman certificate, alongside a small unmanned aircraft system rating from the FAA. There are two paths you can take to get your Part 107 Remote Pilot Certificate for commercial use. The first is to obtain a pilot’s license for traditional aircraft. This solution is not the best path for most appraisers.
Instead, you should enroll in FAA-sponsored training and take the FAA Unmanned Aeronautical General Knowledge Test. To pass, you must demonstrate knowledge in airspace classification, flight restrictions, and radio communication procedures, among other aspects of commercial flight rules and regulations. After you pass the test, you will be eligible to receive your Part 107 Remote Pilot Certificate. You can then get started using a drone for commercial work.
Benefits of using drones in appraisal
Better aerial photography
The ability to take detailed, high-resolution photographs is one of the key benefits of using drones in your appraisals. Drones can take pictures where other forms of aerial photography fall short, particularly in up-close shots. They can also operate in inclement weather, which is not possible when using other aircraft like helicopters. Drones are also not subject to the same aerial height restrictions. Thus, they can get better shots than traditional aircraft.
When taking or commissioning aerial maps for an appraisal, expenses are a big consideration. By utilizing a drone, you’ll save out on the rental cost for the aircraft, as well as the money you would have paid to the pilot. Drones are relatively inexpensive, with commercial grade units starting around $300. Another cost-saving feature of commercial drones is the fact that fuel costs are nonexistent; the vast majority run on rechargeable lithium-ion batteries.
Supplement to satellite photography
Your appraisal maps and reports may be used in ongoing litigation or to create legally binding documentation. Many legal professionals and companies choose to use satellite photography. These photographs have two significant drawbacks: they’re expensive, and they often suffer from age-related issues (since satellite photography is typically not in real time). You can cut out the middleman and create value for your clients by leveraging a drone to take accurate, up-to-date property photos.
Drones are the future of aerial property photography. By utilizing this technology in your appraisal business, you can gain a competitive advantage. Want more tips to improve your appraisal process? Subscribe to our blog or follow us on Facebook or Twitter.