Aerial Drone Photography for Real Estate Update


Well, we sure thought the FAA was finally going to have rules in place by the end of 2015… I was disappointed to hear this week from a local attorney, versed in the laws effecting commercial aerial photography, that we probably won’t see rules in place until 2017. There is a current exemption one can obtain, but you MUST have a real pilots license to be eligible. This counts me out.

I flew my little DJI Phantom for just a year before things started heating up in the media, so she’s been grounded since last fall and she is now up for sale. By the time the FAA has all its rules in place, this will be outdated equipment.

It is sad because an aerial view of a home can be so terrific – setting up a better since of place.

IMPORTANT for those of you who are hiring commercial aerial photographers or if you are doing it yourself as an agent; as soon as you are using the images to sell a property you are in violation of the current laws – unless you or the photographer has the actual 336 Exemption.

Incase a drone does damage to a property, the owner of the drone will be liable, but if it goes to a civil suit – they will most likely go after whoever hired the photography company. So, be aware; check if your photographer has the 333 Exemption and if your insurance policy will cover you in the event of an accident.

Congratulations to the REALTORS® I know who are the 5280 Magazine – 2012 Five Star Real Estate Agents

I want to specifically congratulate all of the Realtors® I have worked with who have been selected as 2012 Five Star Real Estate Agents by 5280 Magazine:

Justin Anderson – Metro Brokers, Andersen Realty • Pam Burke – ERA Herman Group Real Estate • Kati Harken – Keller Williams Realty, DTC • Sandi Hewins – Metro Brokers, Sandi Hewins & Associates • Mary Ann Hinrichsen – RE/MAX Masters • Scott Kirk – Metro Brokers, Kirk & Company • Debra Clem – ERA Herman Group Real Estate • Kyle Kunkle – Prudential Real Estate of the Rockies • Jim Levy – RE/MAX Professionals • Brian Lovett – Metro Brokers, Hetherington Properties • Gary Morton – Metro Brokers, 1st Real Estate Group • Jo Pellegrino-Ellis – RE/MAX Professionals • Bruce Pfabe – Keller Williams Realty, DTC • Nicole Pinette – Pinette Realty Group • Annette Quick – Real Estate of Colorado

I also want to congratulate all the rest of the Realtors® I know who were also selected:

Ted Baer – Metro Brokers, Paramount Properties • Sonda “Sunny” Banka – Sunny Homes & Associates • Tom Barnwell – Fuller Sotheby’s International Realty • Denise Barnwell – Fuller Sotheby’s International Realty • Tina Del Ponte, RE/MAX Professionals • Jeri Evans – RE/MAX Professionals • Cathy Fox – The Realty Fox • Bill Fung – Keller Williams Realty • Vickie Hall – RE/MAX Masters • Renee Helten – Keller Williams Realty, DTC/The Helten Team • Pam Kiker – Keller Williams Realty, DTC • Pie Konchar – BRC Real Estate • Steven Konecny – Metro Brokers, Liberty Associates • Michael Marcus – Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage •  Scott Matthias – RE/MAX Professionals • Kirsten Medeiros, Coldwell Banker Devonshire • Kimberly Rachwalski – Keller Williams Realty, DTC/The Helton Team • Marcel Savoie – RE/MAX Southeast • Gary Weimer – RE/MAX Professionals • Kathy Weimer – RE/MAX Professionals • Erin Wilson – Rogliano Real Estate Group

I found a great panorama stitching program for partial panos.

I recently found a better program for creating my partial panoramas that I use in my virtual tours – PanoramaStudio 2 Pro from tshsoft. Tobias Huellmandel, the owner/developer started in 2001 with a simple editing tool. He released the first PanoramaStudio version for Windows in 2004 and to my delight released a Mac version in August of 2011. Of course, it took me this long to realize there was a Mac version – I checked for it early last year. Huellmandal plans to launch an updated version “with a further improved image alignment algorithm and a better vignetting and lens distortion correction in the single row mode (and some other features).”

It is quite an intuitive program, which I really appreciate.

The first window opens where one can chose what kind of panorama you wish to produce.

Then one selects the photos to stitch.

Stitch It! – Actually in this program its “Align”

You will notice that it automatically corrected the light balance in the room – I just pulled these photos from iPhoto without doing any corrections.

What I really like is it that the field of view (fov) data is available for me to use when I upload to my tour platform : Tourbuzz.

From this window I pull the Horizontal (HFOV) and the Vertical (VFOV) and add it to my title. My photo title would be something like “2 Story Living Room (fov213.75×54.25)”. Tourbuzz can then translate that information to make the partial panoramic pan correctly when one views the tour.

Get that shower glass clean for photography….OK, and showing the home for sale.

Do you have soap scum on the glass in a shower? Have you had a hard time cleaning it off with various cleaners? Here is a tip on how get great results with a little elbow grease.

1. Get a package of 0000 or 00000 steel wool.

2. May sure the glass is dry.

3. Start in a corner and rub with the steel wool.

4. As the steel wool gets clogged with soap scum, unroll it to expose another section.

5. Continue until you have wiped down the whole shower.

6. Rinse, then clean using your favorite glass cleaning method.

Sparkle and Shine.

How to find accurate information when looking for a home in the Denver Area

Are you frustrated with such websites as Zillow and Trulia because the information is not accurate and up to date?

Go to the local Multiple Listing Service (mls) public website. In Denver it’s You will get the most accurate and up to date information on homes that are for sale in Metro Denver area and beyond.

On the home page you can type in a neighborhood, address or mls number – click on search and voila you will get the accurate information, photos and virtual tours when available.

Note: if the listing does not currently show photos, it could be because the photos usually take a day to get on the public site. So, I recommend going back the next day to check it out.

Happy Shopping!

Preparing a home for a photo shoot

In the 7 years I have been photographing homes for sale, I have moved many trash cans, tissue boxes and numerous other items. So, with the suggestion of another photographer across the country, I put together a handout to send to home owners. Once a homeowner has this in hand, the house is usually in photo ready shape for me when I arrive.

Feel free to use my suggestions to create your own handout.

Virtual Tour of an 11,000+ Square Foot Home

Wow, this home was so much fun and a challenge to photograph in the late summer of 2010. I did have to go back the next morning to capture the sun on the front of the home and it was well worth it for the result.

Click on any of the photos to see the tour.