An article on realtors and drones:


An excerpt:

Real estate agents who use drones say the marketing edge is invaluable — and the process is mesmerizing. Matthew Leone, who oversees the use of drones as the director of Web marketing and social media for Halstead Property, described the effect as a drone soars above a home or buzzes room to room gathering digital footage for a real estate website.

“The neighbors say ‘what’s going on?’ and then they start coming out to take pictures,” he said. “It’s cool when you’re there.”

It seems as if everyone is doing something cool with drones these days.

Amazon promises to deliver products door to door with UAVs. Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg plans an Internet in the sky with solar-powered drones.

On a February episode of TV’s “Modern Family,” Phil Dunphy’s wife urges him to spy on their son with his drone. When he protests it’s a professional real estate tool, she shouts, “You used it at the beach to film yourself doing sand angels.”

Levy, who has been honing his maneuvering skills since he bought his first drone two years ago, chose them because he was tired of the usual home display.

“This is a way to stand out and look different,” he said.

He, too, has managed to avoid any home accidents, although he did admit to one mishap in an empty field while he was testing a drone. He laughed but didn’t want to elaborate.

“Let’s just say it involved 14 stitches and a ride to the hospital,” he said.

Levy said his two UAVs cost about $10,000 annually for maintenance and repair. Stabilizers create a smooth motion display, and a GPS function can send it to a precise spot. The operator’s ground-control station can provide streaming video through a laptop computer, a tablet or an iPhone. A lithium polymer battery keeps it in the air for about 15 minutes, and if the operator accidentally loses the drone’s signal, a default mode returns it automatically to its launch point.

No one has voiced concerns about privacy issues so far, Levy said.

“I don’t fly up to people’s windows and record for five minutes,” he said.

Richard Werthamer, owner of a Bridgehampton home that was drone profiled last summer, certainly got a kick out of seeing it floating around his home.

“I was dying to watch this and very pleased that I did,” said the retired physicist. “The gee-whiz factor was very high, and I think it’s a good way of displaying a house.”

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