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Drone Photography and Video of Catskills Real Estate

Aerial view of an old house in the Catskills

My name is Richard. I'm a semi-retired IT geek and an FAA-licensed Part 107 remote pilot ("commercial drone pilot") based in Delaware County, New York.

In recent years, there's been a dramatic increase in interest in Catskills properties by people living in New York City, New Jersey, and other urban areas hours away from the region.

Part of this interest has been fueled by the pandemic; but other city-dwellers are retiring or just want to get away from the noise, crowds, and crime of city life, just as has always been the case.

The problem, of course, is that buying a home in a place that's a hundred miles or more away means many hours spent driving to properties that may turn out to be less-perfect than their listings made them out to be. Real estate listings and seller-commissioned aerial videos emphasize a property's good points. What do you do if you want a more candid and complete aerial overview of a property before spending a day on the road to go see it in person?

That's where I come in. My little niche in the aerial imagery world is shooting buyer-commissioned drone photographs and videos of real estate in New York's Delaware, Greene, Otsego, Schoharie, Sullivan, and Ulster Counties for people who live far from the region. This allows potential buyers to get an idea what a home and its property and surroundings look like before making the trip to see it in person.

Buyer-Commissioned Real Estate Flyovers

Real estate agents and FSBO sellers also commission aerial photographs and videos of properties that they're selling. The problem is that when the seller is paying for the pictures or video, then the seller gets to decide how the video is edited and which pictures to use. Some sellers and agents are scrupulously honest about this. Others, not so much.

If you want a more complete and objective aerial view of a Catskills property, the easiest way to get one is to commission it yourself. With the seller's consent, I can provide aerial video and photos of the property that seek to present a more comprehensive and candid overview of the house and grounds than most sellers or real estate agents are willing to provide. I call these missions flyovers.

In addition to providing a more honest overview of a property, buyer-commissioned flyover videos and photographs can reduce the number of trips you have to make by eliminating properties that don't look quite so good from the air as they do in the seller's listing photos. They also provide a better view of the home's surroundings and grounds than sellers typically provide.

What is a Flyover?

Firstly, it's important to understand that a flyover is not an inspection. I'm not any kind of engineer or building expert, and I'm not qualified to perform inspections. I'm licensed to fly drones commercially, not to evaluate a home's structural integrity. If I see something like a gaping hole in the roof that looks fishy to me, I'll focus on it; but it's up to you to have an engineer or building expert evaluate it.

Secondly, a flyover is not a survey. The video and pictures may (and probably will) include portions of adjacent properties, irrespective of boundaries or ownership. A flyover seeks to show you the home's surroundings, not to mark property lines.

A flyover is simply a best-effort attempt to provide aerial video and photos of a home and its surroundings intended to give you an overview of a property, within the limits imposed by obstructions, topography, vegetation, and (rarely in the Catskills) FAA airspace restrictions. In other words, I try to provide as complete an overview of the property as I can given the specifics of its location and environment.

You will receive an unlisted Vimeo link to the video and will have an initial 60 days during which you can view or download it. (Extensions can be purchased if needed.) During that time you are free to share the link with friends, relatives, engineers, mortgage bankers, or anyone else you choose. You also can download the video and re-upload it to your own account on YouTube or other video-hosting or social media services if you like.

The video itself will be boring and lightly-edited. Other than editing out transiting, positioning, and (occasionally) people who get in the way, there will be very little editing at all. There also will be no soundtrack or music. The purpose of a flyover is to inform, not to entertain.

You also will receive an email containing selected still images taken during the flyover, or a link to those images on my server.

For more information or to request a flyover, please contact me. Thanks for visiting.