Using Drones to Showcase Real Estate: Best Practices for Privacy and Safety

Technology is ever-evolving with new innovations emerging every day. These innovations can benefit many industries, including the real estate industry. Everyone has heard of drones in the military to keep our troops safe in perilous situations. Using drones in the private sector may still feel a bit like science fiction to many, but is just around the corner.

Drones in Real Estate
Drone technology has advanced in ways that make it a viable tool for many industries, including real estate. How would drones be used in real estate, you ask? Drones can be used to collect aerial photographs and videos of a property for sale, especially if the property includes quite a bit of land. In cases of natural disasters, drones can be used to assess whether it is safe for a homeowner to return to their home or to assess the extent of damages and repairs required that may not be readily visible from the ground.

Best Practices for Privacy and Safety
While drones may have some very useful applications for the real estate industry, care must be exercised to keep people and data safe - just like any other technology. Here are a few best practices for sellers considering using drones to capture photos or video of their property.

1. Notify neighbors of the upcoming filming activity and when it is expected to take place. You want to avoid neighbors or someone else being unintentionally filmed or photographed by the drone without their permission. To reasonably protect the privacy of others, don't use footage that includes other people.

2. Have clear instructions for what you want filmed or photographed and what you don't. Also, provide clear information about where your property lines are to avoid accidental filming of a neighbor's property.

3. Ask questions to ensure the drone operator has security measures in place to keep all visual and other data collected by the drone private and protected. This protects you and helps you make sure the aerial photos or video ultimately released is what you want to show prospective buyers. It also protects you in the event someone else is unintentionally filmed (see point 1).

When using drones in real estate, it's important to understand best practices for safety and privacy.  Should you decide to use drone technology to capture aerial views and video of your sale property, protecting the safety and privacy of others, as well as protect you from potential lawsuits should be of importance. With advances in technology comes the duty to make sure your use of that technology is done responsibly with utmost respect for the security and privacy of all.