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Video: Drone captures footage of synchronized holiday lights

Video: Drone captures footage of synchronized holiday lights.


Sunset Over the Gulf of Mexico

Sunset Over the Gulf of Mexico.

Trend Watch: 13 Kitchen Looks Expected to Be Big in 2015

Real Estate Drone And UAV Photography

In the United States the use of drones for aerial real estate photography is currently being evaluated by the FAA. The National Association of Realtors® (NAR) had this to say:

The National Association of REALTORS® has instructed its members to not use drones nor hire photographers or videographers who use drones for capturing aerial images of listings until the FAA issues its final guidelines. Those who continue to use drones may be fined by the FAA.

That ruling by the FAA is not expected until 2017 or even later.

“The consensus of opinion is the integration of unmanned systems will likely slip from the mandated deadline until 2017 or even later,” says Gerald Dillingham, the GAO’s director of civil aviation.

In Canada it’s somewhat different.

Although it may be tempting to fly your camera equipped UAV over a new listing and get some cool aerial shots; check first, it’s not as simple as you might think.

In a recent conversation with Transport Canada it was made abundantly clear that the strict rules governing the operation of Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) must be precisely adhered to. Flying your UAV or drone when and where you shouldn’t could have some serious repercussions. Think safety.

There are a few Do’s and Don’ts to be aware of (there is a link to Transport Canada’s website at the bottom of this post). Depending on the weight of your aircraft you may require permission to fly it and have successfully completed a pilot ground school program.


  • Only fly your aircraft during daylight and in good weather (not in clouds or fog);
  • Always keep your aircraft in sight, where you can see it with your own eyes – not only through an on-board camera, monitor or smartphone;
  • Make sure your aircraft is safe for flight before take-off. Ask yourself, for example, are the batteries fully charged? Is it too cold to fly?
  • Know if you need permission to fly and when to apply for a Special Flight Operations Certificate;
  • Respect the privacy of others – avoid flying over private property or taking photos or videos without permission.

Don’t fly:

  • Closer than 9 km from any airport, heliport, or aerodrome;
  • Higher than 90 metres from above the ground;
  • Closer than 150 metres from people, animals, buildings, structures, or vehicles;
  • In populated areas or near large groups of people, including sporting events, concerts, festivals, and firework shows;
  • Near moving vehicles, avoid highways, bridges, busy streets or anywhere you could endanger or distract drivers;
  • Within restricted airspace, including near or over military bases, prisons, and forest fires;
  • Anywhere you may interfere with first responders.

For less than one-hundred dollars you can purchase a camera equipped quad-copter (a four rotor battery powered drone available on Amazon) and start taking aerial photographs of your listings. Sounds easy. Research suggests otherwise. The one-hundred dollar cheapie may be fun to fly but the video is by no means broadcast quality, not even close. Achieving good quality photography and perhaps recording some reasonably viewable video footage with this aircraft would be difficult at best – even for a professional – close to impossible for an amateur like me.

A quality machine could set you back several thousands of dollars and may not include a controller or a camera. Incorporating DIY aerial photography into your real estate business is a good idea, no doubt about it, but it’s costly and time consuming and perhaps should left to the professionals, for now…

Before you fly a UAV or Drone in Canada visit this Transport Canada website. Here is a chart with more details.

Drone technology for real estate agents: the real deal over hype | Inman News

Drone technology for real estate agents: the real deal over hype | Inman News.

First Time Buyers


As a Realtor® I enjoy working with first time buyers. Yes, it’s a challenge, but a challenge, that done properly, can be very rewarding. Here is an excerpt from my April 2009 news letter. As you will see things haven’t really changed:

Are you sick and tired of paying rent to a landlord who uses your money to pay his mortgage? Well, you’re not alone! Many first time buyers make the mistake of thinking that renting is more affordable than buying, but it’s worth remembering that when you’re paying a mortgage you’re paying for something that you own – an investment. As a first time buyer, you are the heartbeat of the property market – vital to its health!

Here Are A Few First Time Buyer Tips:

  • Pre-approved Mortgage. This is the best way to determine exactly what you can afford. Get your pre-approval in writing and signed by the lender. Any additional items that the lender may require should be completed as soon as possible. (Like the source of your down payment if it is a gift etc.) This information is important when it come to writing a Contract of Purchase And Sale so be sure to give your Realtor a copy of any relevant documentation.
  • Be Practical. Your first home most likely will not be your last, so be flexible. Remember a number of factors will affect the desirability and therefore price of a property including transport links, schools, leisure facilities, shops and green space.
  • Don’t forget the deposit isn’t the only money you need to raise – you’ll need to consider all the costs associated with buying: property purchase tax and legal fees to name just a few.
  • If you find yourself crashing back down to earth with the realization you can only afford a shoebox in your target area , don’t despair. There are ways of making your money go further. For example, did you know that almost half of first time buyers under 30 are getting ‘substantial’ financial help from relatives? So, if it’s an option, go for it. You’ll have a significant advantage. The bigger the deposit the better mortgage rate you’ll get.
  • Don’t be too fussy about the area you have decided to live in. Sometimes a better deal can be found elsewhere requiring a bit longer commute. And those friends you can’t possibly move away from? They’ll still be your friends should you move a few extra kilometers away.
  • Use a Realtor®. (I know, a shameless plug for me!) A Realtor will help you find the right home and negotiate the best price. Realtors know the market and will get you the best deal. Read “Working With A Realtor” it is full of useful and important information that you need for a successful home purchase.

Good Luck!

Plunging Into Wordpress

Well here goes…

For some time now I have been using social media products like Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and Flikr (and many more).  Back in 2009 I had a go at blogging and it looked interesting – but I didn’t stick with it long enough. So here is another go at it!

It may be all over the map but I will truly try to keep it to real estate.