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Drones and REALTORS®

As technology has evolved, we are faced with new challenges as a result. One such piece of technology which has resulted in significant challenges are Unmanned Aerial Systems, or what are more commonly known as DRONES.

Drones: Know Before You Fly

Drones present numerous opportunities for REALTORS® as a tool to present properties in new and innovative ways. But they are not without requirements. Below you will find more information about drone policy, the required federal registration process and the NEW state registration process.

Whether you are operating a drone for recreation or are interested in using it for commercial purposes, make sure you understand all of the rules and regulations.

This is a continually evolving issue so this page will be updated to reflect changes.


NAR Drone Information
The National Association of REALTORS® has developed a complete listing of information for REALTOR® regarding the laws and policies related to drones.

NAR recommends that its members comply with all federal, state and local laws governing the use of UAS technology. The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) is developing a regulatory framework that would integrate drones into the national airspace, while ensuring safety, privacy and national security. It is anticipated that the FAA will release a final rule in summer 2016 governing the operation and certification of small unmanned aircraft.

NAR participates in development of industry rule recommendations.



FAA Registration
As the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) works to develop a formal regulatory structure, they have implemented a registration process which is mandatory for all drone owners wishing to use their drone for either a commercial or recreational purpose.

For recreational use, the registration process is relatively simple. More information can be found here.

If you would like to use the drone for a commercial purpose, including taking pictures of properties for posting on an MLS, you will need to apply for a Section 333 Exemption. This is a much more involved process and requires a significant amount of documentation. The FAA has developed numerous resources to assist those interested in pursuing this type of certification. More information on this program can be found here.

In addition to the registration programs, the FAA, in partnership with trade groups has also developed a multi-faceted Know Before You Fly education program which has numerous videos and answers to all your drone questions. Visit www.knowbeforeyoufly.org for more information.

Know Before You Fly


NC Registration
In addition to the federal registration program, the North Carolina Department of Transportation (NCDOT) has also instituted a registration program for commercial and government drone operators.

Recreational operators are NOT required to register with NCDOT.

For more information about the NCDOT registration program, visit their website. There you will find permitting information, as well as state-specific rules and regulations. They also have a Knowledge Test to help you understand how to safely operate a drone.



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