Tuesday an Arizona man became the first realtor to receive an FAA exemption to operate a drone for commercial use. Douglas Trudeau of Tierra Antigua Realty plans to shoot aerial footage of his clients’ homes and then edit it with other videos and photos to better market the homes.
“You only need a few seconds of it,” Trudeau said. “If you look at what a lot of aerial photographers do, they overdo it. Who wants to watch two minutes of flying around? People want to see the house. They want to see an elevated shot, they want to see how it relates to the community, then they want to see all the characteristics of the home.”
Trudeau began using a 1.7-pound drone in late 2013, but stopped when the FAA warned in June 2014 that a real estate agent using a drone to capture footage of a home is commercial use, which is currently prohibited. So the Tucson real estate agent contacted the FAA and began the process of applying for an exemption.
“I’m not interested in the neighbor’s yard, or invasion of privacy or anything like that,” Trudeau said. “I’m primarily interested in getting a good visual presence of that home in order to market it in the best way possible.”
Trudeau — who has long flown model helicopters — says he’ll be receiving a pilot license from a local flight school, AUV Flight Services, as part of the exemption. He will also need a third-class airman medical certificate, which requires undergoing a physical exam with an FAA-authorized examiner.
Most of his clients are selling homes worth less than $400,000, with many in the $100,000 to $200,000 range. He sees his drone as a way to level the playing field for sellers with less advantages.
“They’re not going to be able to pay $5,000 to $10,000 for a helicopter to go out there and take pictures,” Trudeau said.