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Could Drone Use In Real Estate Be An Emerging Trend?

January 16, 2014

If you see a tiny helicopter hovering over a home for sale in South Florida, don’t be alarmed. It may be the latest example of drones being used for local businesses.

If you see a tiny helicopter hovering over a home for sale in South Florida, don’t be alarmed. It may be the latest example of drones being used for local businesses.

Coconut Creek-based Above It All Video is using drones, or “aerial photography platforms” to shoot video and still photos for real estate marketing.

Local realtors have already used the drones for selling luxury properties, and the feedback is good from most of them. “It’s an incredible way to showcase larger properties with nice views – like waterfront and golf course homes, said John O’Flaherty, a licensed real estate agent with Keller Williams in Fort Lauderdale. “At this point, it’s unique and it makes people pause and say, ‘Wow, I need to check this out.’”

Roy Caswell owns Above It All Video. He is certified through Minneapolis-based FlySafe, a training program for aerial photography.

Still, using drones to shoot photos or videos for commercial purposes isn’t without risk. Caswell knows that the practice is currently illegal. But he believes he can avoid scrutiny from the FAA because he is not charging for the aerial photos themselves. “We are a photography service, and we offer land-based photography for a fee. We also charge for editing and producing the aerial photos and videos,” Caswell said. “I own the aerial platforms as a hobby only.”

Online retailer Amazon.com recently made headlines by unveiling a plan to deliver packages using aerial drones, but the company acknowledged that regulations currently prohibit such activity. “We try to avoid using the word drones because it has a negative connotation from the military,” Caswell said. He uses two remote controlled units. One of them is valued at roughly $16,000, he said. It carries a high-definition Sony Nex 5 camera. Fees are $150 for still photos, $300 for still photos and a two-minute video, or $600 for still photos and a video of four to six minutes. That compares to hiring an aerial photography company for up to $1,100 per hour, Caswell said. The only other alternative is to embed a Google image in a website, which doesn’t offer the same versatility.

Source: SFBJ

 

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