Drone use takes off to sell homes

Real Estate Aerial pictures and video may seem cutting edge, but you should consider a number of issues before agreeing to have a drone flying over your home and neighborhood.

The Bulletin of Photography Volume 15 (published in 1914) includes an article about Des Moines, Iowa real estate agents contemplating a “scheme” of photographing homes. The photographs were to make touring homes easier for busy clients; agents were to have four photographs per home in their exclusive portfolios. Real estate photography has come a long way since 1914. Today, home sellers expect dozens of high resolution pictures and even video to market their homes. In addition to the typical media array, some agents promote aerial photography to capture different perspectives of large estates, farms, and acreage.

Aerial photography has been around almost as long as commercial photography. According to the Professional Aerial Photographers Association (professionalaerialphotographers.com), the idea of aerial photography was patented in 1855; however, the first known aerial photograph wasn’t taken until 1858. No one knows for sure when aerial photography was first used for real estate sales, but you can bet it that it probably coincided with the broad acceptance of real estate photography. Although aerial photography has been accomplished by helicopter, balloons, and even very tall poles, it is increasingly becoming the domain of drones (also known as “unmanned aircraft systems”).

Many tout the drone’s potential and value. However, as commercial and hobby drone use skyrocketed, many also began to see the threat to personal privacy and safety. There has been a dramatic increase in pilot reported close calls; compare the 238 sightings during 2014 to the 650+ sightings during 2015 – through August 9th (FAA.gov). Federal and local agencies have sought to regulate drone use by implementing rules for safe and ethical use. You may have read Rebecca Guterman’s article investigating this issue earlier this year in the Montgomery County Sentinel  (State explores new drone rules; February 25, 2015).

On February 15th, the FAA published proposed rules for unmanned aerial systems as a step forward to integrating drones in our skies. Jenna Portman and Josh Hicks reported in a June 30th Washington Post piece (New laws in Va., Md. and D.C. regulate drones, Uber, social media) that Maryland will propose drone use rules by 2018; and in the interim has prohibited counties and municipalities from legislating drones, giving “exclusive jurisdiction” to federal and state agencies.

Commercial drone use has soared, especially in real estate applications; such that Dronelife.com estimated that real estate drone use could generate $10 million by 2016. The National Association of Realtors® has been at the front of this issue, promoting and educating safe and ethical drone use to members. NAR President Chris Polychron stated in his testimony to the U.S. House Judiciary Subcommittee on Courts, Intellectual Property, and the Internet: “Realtors® have shown a consistent interest in the safe, responsible use of drones in the business of real estate… (realtor.org).

It may seem cutting edge to integrate aerial pictures and video into your marketing plan, however there are some issues you might consider before agreeing to have a drone flying over your home and neighborhood. You should ensure that the operator is experienced and authorized to operate the vehicle. Make sure the drone operator is insured, as accidents and property damage can occur. Finally, confirm that any aerial pictures and video publicized are worthwhile; poorly executed aerial photography could detract from your marketing efforts, and interfere with a buyer’s appreciation of your home’s qualities and charm. For more information, visit Know Before You Fly (knowbeforeyoufly.org).

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Disclaimer. This article is not intended to provide nor should it be relied upon for legal and financial advice. Readers should not rely solely on the information contained herein, as it does not purport to be comprehensive or render specific advice. Readers should consult with an attorney regarding local real estate laws and customs as they vary by state and jurisdiction. Using this article without permission is a violation of copyright laws.

Trendy is not for home staging

interior design

Departing from the safety of natural materials and earth tones, big and bold interior design has become popular this year. Many designers have talked about 2014 as the year of using bright colors, brass and other yellow metals throughout the house. But if you’re selling your home, tread cautiously– because trendy may not be the best choices for staging your listed home.

Kelly Walters of HGTV (Color Trends: What’s New, What’s Next?; hgtv.com) talked about color use in the home, over the last ten years, being a reflection of our need for safety after 9/11 and the Great Recession. However, this is the year for change, and it’s reflected in the colors we choose for our interiors. A palette of gray hues is replacing the use of browns as the favorite neutral color; while reds, pinks, and violets are trending in popularity.

Using brass throughout the house has been the buzz during 2014. Kate Watson-Smyth reported the popularity of brass (Why brass is back as the new must-have metal for home décor; Financial Times, January 24, 2014; ft.com) as being a trend moving away from shine towards warmer tones. The use of brass and similar metals has also expanded from stylish bathroom finishes and hardware to fixtures as well as furniture.

Remember wallpaper? It’s back! Realtor® Magazine’s Barbara Ballinger wrote about how wallpaper has made a comeback. Relegated to accents, wallpaper is once again acceptable as wall covers (Wallpaper: Back in the Game; Realtor® Magazine, October 2014; realtormag.realtor.org). The new generation of wallpapers are eco-friendly and easier to use; inks are typically water based, while many papers are designed as “peel and stick” to be easily removed and reused.

Kitchens are important to many of us, and what could be better for the home chef than their own hydroponic garden. On her blog The Entertaining House, Jessica Ryan (jessicagordonryan.com) describes the Chef’s Garden Wall hydroponic system, “Fresh is the new green.” Because some kitchen hydroponic systems are low maintenance, you don’t necessarily have to be a gardener to have fresh greens at your finger tips all year.

Although trendy interior design may seem modern and stylish, it may not be the best choices when selling your home. Melissa Tracey wrote in her Home Trends Blog (5 Design Trends You May Want to Avoid in Staging; August 11, 2014; blogs.realtor.org), “Staging in trendy fabrics, colors, and finishes may offer up buyers a feeling that the home is up-to-date and move-in-ready. But getting too trendy can also backfire, particularly if it’s too personalized.”

And about those interior design trends I listed above? Tracey says to “steer clear.” Although wallpaper may be a tempting and easy way to brighten up a room, she says to stick with paint because wallpaper may interfere with a buyers’ vision of living in the room. And when painting, she says that trendy colors may be “too bold” for buyers; sellers should stick with neutral colors, using bolder colors as accents (such as pillows, rugs, and lamps). And although many designers are going all in on brass, it’s best to use it sparingly as accents when staging your home. The trend toward doorless kitchen cabinets is to be avoided, because buyers will undoubtedly ask “Where are the doors?” And finally, Tracey points out that the highly popular Tuscan and French Provincial themes are giving way to transitional and contemporary styles.

By Dan Krell
©2014

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Disclaimer. This article is not intended to provide nor should it be relied upon for legal and financial advice. Readers should not rely solely on the information contained herein, as it does not purport to be comprehensive or render specific advice. Readers should consult with an attorney regarding local real estate laws and customs as they vary by state and jurisdiction. Using this article without permission is a violation of copyright laws.