Drones – the Appraiser’s Next Great Tool
The following is a guest post by Greg B. Mays.
After years of consideration, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has finally published rules on how to integrate drones safely into the National Airspace System (NAS). There is now an easy to understand system and set of rules which anyone flying a drone must follow. This booming and exciting new technology is making its debut in many different fields of commerce and real estate is no exception. An interesting question arises from all of this. Should real estate appraisers consider using this technology when appraising real estate? The simple answer is, absolutely.
It’s been a long time since a new technology, other than software and gadgets that can measure and take notes in the field, has been available to us and I find it very exciting.
Our office has utilized aerial photographs in an appraisal on more than several occasions. Here are some examples: pictures of a new roof system installed on an older improvement; large acreage tracts that the client wanted in order to know more about forestation and topography; proximity to surrounding properties or features such as rivers, lakes, commercial buildings, and power lines – just to name a few. This bird’s eye view can provide the client with a much better idea of the neighborhood surrounding a property and physical characteristics of the property itself. To coin a phrase, “a picture is worth a thousand words.”
(birds-eye view of a property taken by aerial drone)
While the ability to fly a drone for commercial use cannot be learned overnight, no longer are commercial drone operators required to hold a pilot’s license that is expensive and time consuming to obtain. Any interested appraiser should look at the FAA’s website. I can’t stress enough doing this the right way. It is important to not think of a drone as a flying camera but as an aircraft requiring knowledge and certifications to fly.
Until we have cars that are driving themselves while you write your report this is as good as it gets.
Greg B. Mays is the owner and operator of Flying Fish Aerial Photography, LLC. He has been a licensed drone operator since 2015 and a REALTOR® Appraiser for over 25 years.