Have suggestions for products that you’d like to see reviewed by our real estate technology expert? Email Craig Rowe.

Visually powerful, aerial drone footage helps sellers showcase a home’s exterior, and it’s especially valuable when the surrounding landscape, such as a coastline or significant acreage, is a major selling point.

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) governs the use of private “UAVs,” or unmanned aerial vehicles (sometimes referred to as unmanned aerial systems), because of the risk they pose to commercial aircraft and municipal utilities, among other potential hazards.

The FAA also manages a national licensing system, and last week, in conjunction with the Department of Transportation, the FAA announced it is fast-tracking a one-time interim law that mandates licensed operators prominently display a “unique identifier” on all vehicles. In essence, a vehicle registration number.

Published under the title, “External Marking Requirement for Small Unmanned Aircraft,” the rule was announced on Feb. 13 and goes into effect only 12 days later, on Feb. 25. The law’s summary reads as follows:

This interim final rule requires small unmanned aircraft owners to display the unique identifier assigned by the FAA upon completion of the registration process (registration number) on an external surface of the aircraft. Small unmanned aircraft owners are no longer permitted to enclose the FAA-issued registration number in a compartment.

The FAA’s webpage specifically states that a more overt registration number will make it easier and safer for first responders reacting to incidents involving a UAV to identify the owner.

Aerial photography is also a popular tool for inspectors, appraisers and insurance professionals. It’s taken hold in the marketing of large land parcels as well, which tend to not photograph well from ground level.

Agents involved in the sale of timber stands and speciality land uses also benefit from being able to capture a property’s assets from above.

Agents who are pilots will need to move toward compliance quickly, and those who contract aerial photography should check-in with their marketing partners.

The law includes hobbyists, as well, so there’s no getting around the rule under the guise of not being a commercial pilot.

Have a technology product you would like to discuss? Email Craig Rowe

Show Comments Hide Comments


Sign up for Inman’s Morning Headlines
What you need to know to start your day with all the latest industry developments
By submitting your email address, you agree to receive marketing emails from Inman.
Thank you for subscribing to Morning Headlines.
Back to top
Only 3 days left to register for Inman Connect Las Vegas before prices go up! Don't miss the premier event for real estate pros.Register Now ×
Limited Time Offer: Get 1 year of Inman Select for $199SUBSCRIBE×
Log in
If you created your account with Google or Facebook
Don't have an account?
Forgot your password?
No Problem

Simply enter the email address you used to create your account and click "Reset Password". You will receive additional instructions via email.

Forgot your username? If so please contact customer support at (510) 658-9252

Password Reset Confirmation

Password Reset Instructions have been sent to

Subscribe to The Weekender
Get the week's leading headlines delivered straight to your inbox.
Top headlines from around the real estate industry. Breaking news as it happens.
15 stories covering tech, special reports, video and opinion.
Unique features from hacker profiles to portal watch and video interviews.
Unique features from hacker profiles to portal watch and video interviews.
It looks like you’re already a Select Member!
To subscribe to exclusive newsletters, visit your email preferences in the account settings.
Up-to-the-minute news and interviews in your inbox, ticket discounts for Inman events and more
1-Step CheckoutPay with a credit card
By continuing, you agree to Inman’s Terms of Use and Privacy Policy.

You will be charged . Your subscription will automatically renew for on . For more details on our payment terms and how to cancel, click here.

Interested in a group subscription?
Finish setting up your subscription