Real Estate Drones: Hobby or Commercial?

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has said that real estate agents who fly their own drones to take pictures or video of a listing are not engaged in “hobby or recreation.”  Realtors who are found to be flying drones without commercial certification from the FAA will be fined.

Some real estate agents who fly drones to photograph listings have claimed that as long they are not charging money for the service, they qualify as hobbyists. Companies that provide drone photography or video for real estate brokers and agents will sometimes say they are charging for photo or video editing, not drone flights.

In a notice interpreting the special rule governing model aircraft, the FAA explicitly stated that “a Realtor using a model aircraft to photograph a property that he is trying to sell and using the photos in the property’s real estate listing” is not engaged in a hobby or recreation. Nor is “a person photographing a property or event and selling the photos to someone else.”

Realtors and other commercial drone operators “are subject to all existing FAA regulations, as well as future rule-making action,” the FAA said.

Haven’t seen the newest drone craze in action?  Check out this video of a listing in New Mexico, which was shot using a drone.

What’s Going on in Buffalo This Weekend?

June 27 – July 7: Friendship Festival, Canada/Buffalo

There’s a lot happening this weekend.  To see more events, don’t forget to check out the concert calendar on our website.

June 27: Never Stop Believin’ (Journey Tribute)/Livin’ on a Prayer (Bon Jovi Tribute), North Tonawanda

June 28: Ride for Roswell, UB North Campus (watch out for cyclists!)

June 28: Taste of Diversity Festival, Buffalo

June 28: City of Night, Silo City, Buffalo

June 28 – June 29: Roycroft Summer Festival, East Aurora

June 29: Parkside Garden Tour, Parkside, Buffalo


Repost: Public Input Sought on Outer Harbor

From The Buffalo News:

Less than a year after the transfer of outer harbor land to a state waterfront development agency, the effort to convert the prized acreage into a regional attraction is being pushed into high gear by the state.

Western New Yorkers will get their first chance to weigh in with their ideas for Buffalo’s outer harbor next month, as an international consulting firm that was hired to engage the community launches a months-long effort to come up with a “road map” for redeveloping nearly 200 acres of waterfront land.

State and city officials, together with consultants from Perkins+Will, will conduct a series of open forums in early July to inform the public about the plan and to solicit ideas in crafting it.

Plans call for a final “blueprint” for outer harbor redevelopment by the end of September – just six months after the Erie Canal Harbor Development Corp., at the direction of Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo, took possession of the land from the transportation agency that held it for more than 60 years.

“We’re on a very short, very aggressive timetable,” Robert D. Gioia, chairman of the harbor agency, a subsidiary of Empire State Development Corp., said during a meeting with The Buffalo News Editorial Board. “Normally, it can take quite a while to do this, but I work for a guy who doesn’t like to do things slowly in Albany, and he says we’re going to move quickly.”

The forums will be held from 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. July 9 and 10 at the WNED studios and the Makowski Early Childhood Center in Buffalo, respectively, and from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. July 12 at the Old First Ward Community Center. They are open to anyone, and officials are printing 2,500 postcards to distribute widely at street fairs, farmers’ markets, Canalside and events such as Taste of Buffalo in order to attract people.

The aim of the meetings is to “reach the broadest possible section of the community,” said project manager Dennis Dornan, a senior associate and architect at Perkins+Will in San Francisco.

“It’s about accessibility, it’s about diversity, it’s about planning and design, and it’s about financial payback,” Gioia said.

Participants will have opportunities to offer their own ideas for the space, and will participate in exercises in which small groups will create their own models for the outer harbor using maps and game pieces that represent various ideas.

“It’s a way to really get people involved and get people engaged in our process, and not just in a way where it’s a back-and-forth dialogue,” said Perkins+Will urban designer Noah Friedman. “We like to turn it into fun games and events that people can do, to really get into the work. We want everybody to come.”

The consulting team will compile suggestions that come out of those meetings into a set of alternatives and possibilities, which in turn they will bring back to the community for comments and more feedback in early August. That will be followed by another month of work to develop a “preferred plan” by early September, with a final opportunity for input before that is turned into a final blueprint later that month.

The plan, which must fit within the city’s new Green Code, will then be publicly released by harbor agency for final comment for one more month. However, it will be flexible and adjustable for changing conditions or needs in the future.

The goal, officials say, is to turn the long-neglected industrial property into “world-class” public, entertainment and commercial space that builds on the success of Canalside downtown.

“This community has been craving a better watefront and more waterfront access forever,” said Sam Hoyt, Western New York regional president for Empire State Development. “People have been very patient. People have waited an awful long time for progress, an awful long time to see results. The governor has charged us with delivering results, and in an inclusive way. … We want to replicate the process that got us to the point that we are at with Canalside and created a world-class waterfront.”

Canalside to Host Another World Cup Viewing Party

Canalside to Host Another World Cup Viewing Party


This past Sunday, 5,000 Western New York-ers turned up at Canalside to watch the US play Portugal on two big screens.  With lawn chairs and children in tow, the massive crowd went crazy with each US goal.  Because of the success of this first event, Canalside has announced that it will once again host a viewing party for the US’s final group game against Germany, which is set to start at noon on Thursday, June 26.

The viewing party is free, and is slated to have several food trucks on site.  We recommend you bring your own lawn chairs.

Six House Hunting Pitfalls, Part Three

From Trulia:

Sometimes, house hunting failures are at the fault of the agent or market; other times, its buyers who unknowingly sabotage their search.  You can find parts one and two of the series by clicking the links.

5. Foregoing inspections.

In a perfect world, sellers would disclose every single issue to the prospective buyers. Since that’s not the case, inspections are a great idea; yet one that Sweeney sees clients skipping too often.

What Agents Can Do:
“I have a strong knowledge of construction and always advise my clients to pony up and have both an independent pest and contractor inspection,” says Sweeney. Inspections identify red flags and can address the general state of a property. Plus, they can provide leverage when it comes time to negotiate. Discuss these issues in details with your clients, and remind them of how much neglecting inspections may cost them in the long run.

6. Buying a “project.”

The unwritten rule of renovating states that it will take more time and money than expected. So it’s important for buyers to know their threshold for renovations before buying a fixer-upper.
What Agents Can Do:
Be prepared to share referrals to general contractors and specialty tradesmen. It doesn’t hurt to schedule a showing with one of these pros in tow either. It’s better for clients to know what they’re getting into before they find themselves in over their head. Plus, a happy new homeowner is the source of a great recommendation and referral clients for years to come.