Wednesday, 5 October 2022 | The Latest Buzz for the Appraisal Industry

Attack of the Drones

Drones Doing Appraisal Inspections?

“Yes Ma’am, that is correct. Next Tuesday at 9:30 AM. Our drone will be at your door at that time to do the visual inspection. Typically, it will fly around the exterior of the home first to measure and take photos. After it is done, the drone will need access to fly through each of the rooms in your home taking video and still shots of what it sees. Someone will need to be available for a few questions before the drone leaves. Will that work for you?”

This conversation may seem like something out of a science fiction show, but it could be coming to the appraisal world. In a way, it is already here. There are rumors of companies in some of the more metro areas who will fly a drone past a property and take a video of it for you for a small fee. What kind of implications does that have for the appraisal world? I can only imagine.

What is to say that, in the future, drones would not be used to make a full inspection of the exterior (laser measuring while simultaneously taking photos) and then fly right through the front door to hover through each of the rooms on the inside?

Of course, a drone does not necessarily need to replace a human being at an appraisal inspection. What if it could be used to enhance it? Head and shoulders inspection of the attic and crawl space? How about a full attic and crawlspace fly through? Need to get a better look at that roof? You could pull the ladder out and risk your neck or just fire up the drone to take a closer look.

Naturally, there are many issues that come up with new technology; not the least of which is legality. Currently, it is illegal to use drones for commercial purposes. That is not keeping some real estate professionals from using them anyway (see www.desmoinesregister.com). Of course, there are other issues at play here as well. Can something as important as an inspection for an appraisal reasonably be delegated to a toy helicopter with a Go-Pro camera mounted to it? What about privacy issues? It is one thing to allow a stranger to walk through your house taking notes and a few pictures as she does. It may be much harder for a homeowner to wrap their minds around a robot flying through each room shooting video. What about liability when the drone crashes into the vase holding the remains of Great Aunt Matilda?

So many question and so few answers, but these are issues that may need to be addressed in the near future. Times, they are a-changing and technology continues to affect the appraisal world.

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