Preparing for Drone Work

We are licensed by the FAA, our drone is properly registered, and our drone services are fully covered by our insurance policy. When hiring a drone operator, you want to be sure that your operator meets these same requirements in order to ensure you and your client are safe and in good hands.

Drones have quickly grown into an extremely valuable tool in helping sell homes faster in the real estate market, especially with larger estates. They provide a view that can’t be captured in any other way. And when done in a wide format, provides a cinematic appeal to the viewer that captures their interest and helps them remember it much longer.

Please be aware that we only use the drone for aerial imagery, and do not use it for interior videos. Though some do use their drones for interior video, we are not willing to take that risk.

I do not have a set number of images and video time, but I aim to deliver roughly 10-20 aerial images and an exterior video that is 2-5 minutes long. The images are captured as HDR images just as our home photos are, and will be delivered with your home photos. Your video will be delivered as a finished file, or can be uploaded to YouTube and the link will be provided to you at your request. These videos can be delivered at different quality levels, so if you need a quality other than what I deliver, simply contact me to request it.

So what do you need to do to prepare for drone pictures? If it is a developed property, then you’ll want to ensure that the property is cleaned up from clutter such as hoses, toys, yard equipment, fallen branches, etc. You’ll also want to have all vehicles removed from view if possible, along with other items such as trailers. Doing this will provide a cleaner final product.

As a courtesy to neighbors it is recommended that you make them aware that you are planning drone services for your property, and that there is a possibility that their property may inadvertently be partially included in parts of the final images. If order to fully capture a property, it is often difficult to avoid completely from capturing even the smallest amounts of your neighbors property. Giving them the heads up gives them the opportunity to remove any items they may not want seen on the outside of their property. It also gives the opportunity to avoid any conflicts that could arise after the fact.

To help minimize the possibility of capturing more property than is supposed to be, it is recommended that some form of imagery be provided ahead of time that shows the property lines for the property to be captured. This can be in any form, whether a plot plan or satellite image, so long as it clearly identifies to property boundaries. It is also recommended that either the agent or the property owner be present to help ensure that we stay within the property limits, sufficiently capture it, and act as a safety observer in case power lines are present.

For any drone operations to happen, there’s a few conditions that must be met first.

  • Weather conditions must be conducive to drone operations. Drones can handle a substantial amount of wind, but it is not recommended to operate a drone under extreme wind conditions preceding a storm front. It is better to wait for a better weather day than risk the dangers in order to hurry and get the imagery.
  • Be aware of whether or not the property is within five miles of an airport. If so, then authorization must be acquired ahead of time by the drone operator. Since weather conditions effect the operating height of aircraft, this can affect the operating permissions for a drone operator, especially when within 2-3 miles of the airport. Generally this should not be a problem as drones operations are limited to 400 feet by the FAA, but final authorization will be in the hands of the airport authorization authority.
  • Will there be people and vehicles present? The FAA prohibits drone operations directly over persons not directly involved with the drone operations, and from operating directly over moving vehicles (traffic). Generally this should not be a problem, but may be a hinderance if a property is alongside a heavily trafficked road, or if the property is in a development area where construction workers are present outside nearby.
  • Ensure the operator is good to go. The operator is required by the FAA to hold a remote pilot license, and that their drone be registered. Insurance is not currently required, but is recommended. Beyond this, you want to make sure that your drone operator is in good health and fully functional both physically and mentally.
  • Visual line of sight must be maintained at all times of a drone operation according to the FAA. This can be a challenge when covering large areas with tall trees. Because of this, coverage of large land lots may be limited to line of sight distance coverage. Extending the area of coverage may require extra persons to act as visual observers in those areas the drone operator cannot see the drone directly.