Despite the risk of thousands in fines by the FAA, some realtors are using drones to take photos and create marketing videos of high-end houses and condos. The New York Times is reporting that after gathering no offers on a $6.1 million-dollar Connecticut estate, realtor Halstead Properties had its director of web marketing and drone operator, Matthew Leone, make a promotional video of the home and grounds to showcase its setting. The video, and another shot from a drone of a $7.6 million beach home in Darien, Conn., have had more than 500,000 views to date, according to the Times.
A developer, Alchemy Properties, used a drone positioned at the heights of various floors of a condo it is building in New York City to show potential buyers the views they would have. The FAA currently prohibits commercial operation of drones, although it is expected to propose operating rules for drones under 55 pounds in 2014. Developers and realtors argue that so long as they stay under what they consider the ceiling for model airplanes, 400 feet AGL, and are solely over the property owned by the client, they should be allowed to freely operate the drones and have not been applying for approval from the FAA. Thus far, the FAA has only fined one commercial drone operator, and that was in 2012. The $10,000 fine is under appeal.
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