Realtor’s drone takes marketing to new heights

Font Size:
Default font size
Larger font size

Posted: Saturday, April 26, 2014 6:15 pm

A luxury home for sale just off Old Taos Highway on Santa Fe’s north side has its own website. Buyers, especially those who might be a continent away, can peruse dozens of high-quality photographs of the 3,900-square-foot main house and 1,300-square-foot guesthouse and take a video tour of the 1.2-acre property. There’s also an aerial image from Google.

But the website now includes high-definition video recorded by a camera mounted on a remote-controlled unmanned aircraft — commonly known as a drone. The video gives potential buyers a bird’s-eye view of the property, which is on the market for $1.3 million.

Subscription Required

An online service is needed to view this article in its entirety. You need an online service to view this article in its entirety.

Have an online subscription?

Login Now

Need an online subscription?



You must login to view the full content on this page.

Thank you for reading 5 free articles on our site. You can come back at the end of your 30-day period for another 5 free articles, or you can get complete access to the online edition for $2.49 a week. If you need help, please contact our office at 505-986-3010 You need an online service to view this article in its entirety.

Have an online subscription?

Login Now

Need an online subscription?



More about

More about

Rules of Conduct

  • 1 No Alias Commenters must use their real names.
  • 2 Keep it Clean. Please avoid obscene, vulgar, lewd, racist or sexually-oriented language.
  • 3 Don't Threaten or Abuse. Threats of harming another person will not be tolerated. and please turn off caps lock.
  • 4 Be Proactive. Use the 'Report' link on each comment to let us know of abusive posts.

Welcome to the discussion.


  • Douglas Trudeau posted at 7:42 am on Wed, Apr 30, 2014.

    DougofTucson Posts: 4

    Bill, just because you want it to be illegal does not make it so. Please quote specific laws? Safety is foremost when I fly. Just as I bet it is with Brian. Most of the time I am below 100 feet, stay away from people and stay away from traffic. Just enough height to give a dramatic video to create a lasting impression. If neighbors are too close I go to a jib/crane to get an elevated effect. For rural or large properties I can go higher to reveal the property and views. Worked great for a vacant lot flying over the saguaro cacti to create a dramatic look. Then 10' above the ground to give better representation of terrain. How is that illegal? Quote the law!

  • Bill Salopek posted at 10:54 pm on Tue, Apr 29, 2014.

    Bill Salopek Posts: 12

    Douglas, what you are doing is illegal.

    People are saying "there are no FAA regulations for flying under 400 feet"...but that's for recreational flying. When flying for commercial purposes, that is something different.

  • Bill Salopek posted at 10:51 pm on Tue, Apr 29, 2014.

    Bill Salopek Posts: 12

    The FAA has jurisdiction over ALL the airspace (and everything flying in it), just as the FCC has jurisdiction over ALL the radio spectrum.

  • Bill Salopek posted at 10:50 pm on Tue, Apr 29, 2014.

    Bill Salopek Posts: 12

    If a person flies for hire...flies commercially...gets compensated for flying...makes money from the act of flying flying...that's a whole different thing than flying for recreation. The FAA regulates (among other kinds of flying) commercial flying, no matter the altitude.

  • Pat Shackleford posted at 11:06 am on Mon, Apr 28, 2014.

    Pat Shackleford Posts: 1085

    From the FAA News & Updates page at their website, dated Feb 26, here are the first two of seven "myths" they address there. (UAS = unmanned aircraft system)

    Myth #1: The FAA doesn't control airspace below 400 feet

    Fact—The FAA is responsible for the safety of U.S. airspace from the ground up. This misperception may originate with the idea that manned aircraft generally must stay at least 500 feet above the ground

    Myth #2: Commercial UAS flights are OK if I'm over private property and stay below 400 feet.

    Fact—The FAA published a Federal Register notice in 2007 that clarified the agency’s policy: You may not fly a UAS for commercial purposes by claiming that you’re operating according to the Model Aircraft guidelines (below 400 feet, 3 miles from an airport, away from populated areas.) Commercial operations are only authorized on a case-by-case basis. A commercial flight requires a certified aircraft, a licensed pilot and operating approval. To date, only one operation has met these criteria, using Insitu's ScanEagle, and authorization was limited to the Arctic.( http://www.faa.gov/news/updates/?newsId=73981)

  • Douglas Trudeau posted at 8:54 am on Mon, Apr 28, 2014.

    DougofTucson Posts: 4

    I applaud Brian for being a leader in his area. Videos are an under used tool in real estate. I use cinematography style videos with my real estate in Tucson. I too I have added a quad-copter with a GoPro; drone if you may. It is another tool added to the arsenal of equipment I use to create a lasting impression to get Buyers to the homes I list. Drones aren't for every property. It allows for a dramatic view of larger properties that other means do not allow. It also allows a 4-10 second elevation shot for a home with views behind it that are blocked by the home when standing in front of it. Similar to elevated photos that have been around for years.

    I researched a lot before spending money on a quad-helicopter. There are no FAA regulations for flying under 400 feet. I offer the same service to every client, which takes it out of the commercial realm since I charge nothing extra for the service. I stay away from traffic and people for safety. As and RC helicopter hobbyist I don't need the FAA regulating me.

    Brian, way to go giving your clients the edge. Which is what it's all about.

  • Douglas Trudeau posted at 8:37 am on Mon, Apr 28, 2014.

    DougofTucson Posts: 4

    How is it illegal? What laws are being violated? FAA does not regulate anything under 400 feet. Why should FAA regulate us who are RC helicopter and RC airplane enthusiasts? FAA already tried to fine a videographer who a university hired for aerials of their school. Federal court threw it out and let FAA know what they were doing is illegal. How is this different from hiring an intrusive full size helicopter to shoot videos? It is just a tool to help people sell their homes faster and for more by making their home stand out. Why not give clients the best service possible? I use it in my real estate in Tucson. Like Brian Tercero, I am leading the pack with sound business practice to benefit my clients.

  • Douglas Trudeau posted at 8:26 am on Mon, Apr 28, 2014.

    DougofTucson Posts: 4

    These quad copters barely carry a GoPro, not big enough for a bomb. Terrorist would be more interested in heavily populated areas of Los Angeles of New Your. Doubt there is enough population in Santa Fe to get world wide attention.

    FAA doesn't regulate them and shouldn't. Court already threw out FAA arbitrary fining of videographer who did aerial of a university. I use it for my real estate and to show what local communities look like for people out of state. If you were selling your home, wouldn't you want every advantage to get the most buyers looking and sell for a higher price?

  • Pat Shackleford posted at 9:13 pm on Sun, Apr 27, 2014.

    Pat Shackleford Posts: 1085


    Because there's not even a 3 minute edit-period here in Podunk; there's no way to correct anything (simple/easy at most 21st century sites) after hitting "Post Comment". Clunky, and clutterful. If this link above doesn't work, just search with "Busting Myths about the FAA and Unmanned Aircraft".

  • Pat Shackleford posted at 9:01 pm on Sun, Apr 27, 2014.

    Pat Shackleford Posts: 1085


    Seems over-reaching of the FAA to prohibit use of low flying craft over private property even though the craft stays within the property boundary. However, it appears that Mr. Salopek is likely correct at this time. Hopefully, the link above works, and will take you to an FAA bulletin from Feb of this year titled "Busting Myths about the FAA and Unmanned Aircraft".

  • Bill Salopek posted at 6:37 pm on Sun, Apr 27, 2014.

    Bill Salopek Posts: 12

    This is illegal. Plain and simple. Many folks, who want to use a drone in their business, or fly a drone as a service for businesses like real estate sales, are waiting on the sidelines for the FAA to finish their rule making and establish guidelines for what a drone is...essentially, a commercial aircraft. Some folks, like Mr. Tercero, are "jumping the gun"...essentially cheating...by using a drone commercially before it is legal to do so. And that is not right. I expect Mr. Tercero will get a call from the FAA telling him to stop, or face fines, etc.

  • Fred Stokes posted at 8:56 am on Sun, Apr 27, 2014.

    fredstokes Posts: 138

    ****On his second flight, he crashed the drone into a juniper tree.***

    Anybody can buy one, apparently can fly it teaching themselves.

    Any terrorist could attach a bomb.

    FAA is right to regulate these things.


Follow The Santa Fe New Mexican

Click to read the eNewMexican edition

View the digital replica of today's Santa Fe New Mexican.

Click to read the digital edition of Pasatiempo

View an exact replica of the latest edition of Pasatiempo magazine.