The legal status of drone photography when it comes to real estate remains the subject of much controversy. In fact, several industries are currently affected with it comes to the legal status of arial video and photography, including drone photography for weddings, sporting events and the like.
At the current time, any aerial photography done to advance a commercial purpose requires that the operator have a private pilots license. Such licenses are not required for “hobby” flights however, although even these flights are restricted according to proximity of crowds and buildings etc. Even hobbyists can find themselves subject to legal action if they breach these guidelines. See, for example this drone flight across the Orlando skyline. Clearly designed to advance a ”commercial purpose, the UAV operator would not only have needed a pilot’s license, but even with that, there appear to be clear breaches of the guidelines that restrict flight close to public buildings etc.
According to a wedding drone site, it seems likely that in 2016, the current Federal guidelines may be softened or otherwise revised as authorities struggle with the proliferation of unauthorized UAV flight and what appears to be a loosing battle in the face of so many “illegal” flights taking place. Clearly something has to give and it seems increasingly likely that those drone operators who are already licensed in their industry, eg. real estate photographers, may eventually be given special dispensation to carry out those legitimate business activities, provided they adhere to the guidelines provided.