10 UAV Jobs of the Future

Drone-assisted Property Management
Dmitry Lipinsy, who owns Icedam Liquidators, uses a drone to see above a roof in Boston while Jesus Foentes uses steam to clear the ice off it. Joanne Rathe/The Boston Globe via Getty Image

Browse local real estate listings online and you usually see slideshows of static photos taken from the corners of empty rooms. Now imagine a real estate listing featuring a high-definition video that takes you soaring over the rooftop down to the backyard, then in through the open back door and up the stairs to the master bedroom. Sure beats a lawn sign.

Drones will be a huge boon to real estate and property management professionals, as soon as the FAA gives them permission to fly. The FAA is issuing permits on a case-by-case basis to businesses that employ drones to film real estate marketing videos, but the National Association of Realtors encourages its members to hold off until the UAV regulations are loosened [source: Kass].

It doesn't stop with listings. Home inspectors could use drones to survey hard-to-reach exteriors. Condominium boards in congested cities could check the condition of roofs and high-rise apartment exteriors without investing in specialized equipment and personnel. In the city of Somerville outside of Boston, the mayor recently employed drones to gauge snow levels on the roofs of public buildings like schools and hospitals to avoid a potential collapse [source: Annear].

Drones could even be used for security, helping to spot trespassers or burglars in a gated community, with the information relayed to police – assuming this kind of surveillance is allowed.