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Blog :: 12-2014

I Want To Live Off Grid

I can remember the tag line for FRAM oil filters, "Pay me now or pay me later".  The same line of reasoning can be applied to building an off grid power system.  Living off grid has many advantages, one of which is having no monthly electric utility bill.  Another benefit is your land purchase may be less expensive, because there is no utility power available.  A third is being able to live truly independently of the utilities wherever you want to.  A forth benefit is no unplanned power outages. The following paragraphs are just a beginner's sketch of the basics of deciding whether going off grid is truly what you want to do.

Building an off grid electrical power system utilizing solar panels, wind turbines, or combinations of the two can be done anywhere the wind blows or the sun shines. There are costs that go along with building your own power system that is truly off grid.  The major components that go into having your own off grid system are the battery, charge controller, solar panels and/or wind turbine, an inverter system and a back-up generator.

The battery for an off grid power system is used to store energy from the wind turbine or the solar panels.  The charge controller regulates the energy from the solar panels or wind turbine to the battery bank.  The inverter converts the power stored in the battery bank from DC power to AC power which most homes in the United States are wired to use.  The backup generator is used to charge the battery bank if the state of charge drops down too low where the battery bank can be damaged.  Today's alternative energy components are highly sophisticated and reliable devices that once installed and programmed will operate nearly independently of you for long periods of time.

A well designed system closely matches the electrical needs of the off-grid home with the charge and storage capacity of the battery, solar panels and/or wind turbine and the average wind speed as well as the amount of sunshine available in your area.  When designed appropriately the back-up generator should run infrequently, and only to top off the batteries or if there is a repair being made to the system.

In 2014 dollars, an off-grid solar system costs $10-$15 a watt installed for solar.  The smaller the system the higher the cost per watt will be.  The average home in the U.S. that is connected to the electrical utility uses 600 kwh of electricity per month.  To produce that amount of electricity with solar panels in Maine requires a system of approximately 6000 watts.  The installed costs of all the components in an off-grid home will run about $60,000-$75,000.  The system if well maintained should last for 20 years or more.

The utility rate in my area of Maine is rapidly approaching $.20 per kwh.  Using that figure the average home in Maine pays $120 per month for electricity.  That brings us back to the FRAM filter.  "Pay me now, or pay me later", when building an off-grid home your electricity is purchased up front at a fixed cost for the life of the system.  Alternative energy is not free energy.  There are costs involved.  Living independently of the utility on a property located miles from the nearest power line can be done, and makes sense if that is what you want to do.

There are currently federal income tax incentives that reimburse you 30% of the installed costs of your alternative energy power system.  In the example system described above, your tax credit would be $18,000-$22,500 reducing your true cost to $42,000-$52,500.  Living off-grid in a modern home built where you want to live regardless of whether there is power available can be done if you want to do it.

When contemplating the possibility of living in the Maine woods miles from a utility line, realize that you can live comfortably with modern conveniences, but there are costs involved.  A future article will discuss energy conservation, versus energy production for an off-grid home power system design.  Until then I encourage anyone thinking about alternative energy to read some books on the topic.  A very good reference is The Renewable Energy Handbook by William Kemp.

Safety Tip for Managing Maine Land

If you own timberland in Maine you are probably aware that the heavy wet snows of late 2014 have been tough on young trees in the forest. During a recent trip to our woodlot we found our access road clogged with dozens of bent over birch, maple and other trees weighted down with snow and ice. Trees in this condition are referred to by loggers as "spring poles". If you are a new land owner not familiar with how to remove these trees please be careful. They may be small and look harmless but there is a lot of energy stored in that bow in the tree.

If you have no chainsaw experience it would be well advised that you hire a professional to clear spring poles from your roads and trails. Professional loggers will avoid these trees unless they need to be removed from access roads or present a danger near other trees they intend to harvest.

Should you need to remove a spring pole yourself here is a video showing a safer way to do so.

The Pros and Cons of Buying Land with Owner Financing

The most common question we get from people interested in buying Maine land is; "Will the owner finance the purchase"? In some cases the answer is yes, but often the best land we have to offer for sale does not have owner terms of either a mortgage or contract for deed.


From a buying point of view what are the advantages of financing your land purchase with the owner? .

Less Down Payment

One of the advantages of owner financing is sometimes the down payment requirement is less than required by a conventional bank or lender. If the owner does not have a mortgage on the property they will sometimes finance with less than 20% down payment. This is considerably less than a bank would require.

Easier Qualification

If you have had a few credit blemishes in the past an owner is more likely to extend credit than conventional lenders. Many owners will ask for a credit report and a low score could cause the owner to decide not to finance the property or ask for more money down and/or a higher interest rate. The owner is also less likely to want to see all of your financial history which for many is enough of a reason to stick with the owner. Some banks and other lenders require a lot of documentation to consider a loan.

Cheaper Closing Expenses

Owner financing usually comes with lower closing cost requirements. Owners will rarely ask for appraisals, points, flood certifications, title work among other things. For buyers looking for short term financing the cost savings of low closing cost may be the reason they want the owner to hold paper.


Without any question the purchase of land with the owner financing the transaction is much quicker than the same loan with a bank. Most owner financed land deals will close within 2 weeks of the offer being accepted. The owner may have a licensed loan originator package the deal but no underwriters or other reviewers will need to approve the deal.


For the buyer who insists at only owner financed purchases the downside could be considerable. You may think that owner financing is the best way to purchase but here are a few things you should consider before ruling out other means of borrowing.


Most owners ask for and get interest rates from 1 - 4 % higher than some of our conventional banks charge. Over the life of the loan this increase in rate could add up to thousands of dollars in additional land cost.

Less Choices

Many owners have mortgages on the land that they are selling. With a few exceptions most of the owners lenders will require them to pay off the note with the bank if they sell the property. This could cause the seller to ask for a larger down payment or refuse to consider owner financing altogether. If this is the perfect property for you, other forms of financing should be considered in order for you as a buyer to have all land available for you to purchase.

Higher Price

If you are asking the owner to finance the transaction they are less likely to take less than they are asking for the property. Having financing secured ahead of time with an alternative lender will put you in a position to offer the seller an all cash deal. Many, if not most owners will negotiate a better price for an all cash deal.

When looking to buy land in Maine keep all of your options open for purchasing the right property. If you have sufficient down payment, good credit and patience; owner financing is not the best choice. Many more properties at better prices will be available to you with an all cash offer. Call us today for a list of land friendly banks and other lending options.


  1. OK Cash Home Buyers on

    This is very informative and is probably one of the best presentations of the pros and cons. Thank you for sharing
    • Owner Finance OKC on

      Awesome presentation, thanks for such a comprehensive article
      • Sooner House Buyers on

        Very well presented article, good job writing such a comprehensive article, totally share-worthy

        Snowshoeing - A Recreation Activity for Maine Land

        Have you purchased Maine land for recreation use? Are you looking for things to do in the winter? Why not give snowshoeing a try. This fast growing sport has outpaced skiing and snowmobiling. The relatively low cost of entry and health benefits may be the two biggest reasons for its growth.

        Snowshoe hiking in the winter is great exercise burning up to 600 calories per hour not to mention that it provides a completely different look at your land. Views unobstructed by foliage are impressive in the winter. For those willing to brave the colder weather they will be rewarded with more solitude.

        The trails you make on your land for summer hiking and fall hunting will make great trails for snowshoe hiking in the winter. What snowshoes should you have for your land will depend on the terrain and snow conditions. Deep powder snow will require a longer wider snowshoe to provide more flotation. Steeper and firmer snow conditions will favor a shorter shoe with more aggressive toe crampons for traction.


        Hiking with land agent Doug Reed in Mount Chase Maine

        Hiking with land agent Doug Reed in Mount Chase Maine


        Affordable winter recreation is the appeal of snowshoeing. Cost of new snowshoes will vary from $100 to $300 or a little more depending on the brand and features. The most important decision in purchasing a shoe is the length. The length of snowshoe needed will depend on the intended use and the weight of the user. If you are new to the sport check out the LL Bean outlet store in Freeport Maine. The ski and bike shop has a big selection of snowshoes of all shapes and sizes and a staff who can help you pick the correct shoe for you.

        Before heading off in the woods for a winter hike get prepared. Layers of clothing that can be shed or added as necessary will make your outing much more enjoyable. Snowshoeing can build body heat in a hurry, so be prepared with a pack to stow the layers you take off as you heat up and added for changing weather. This is a sport that rarely causes injury but consider bringing a friend or two in case of an accident. Mishaps in the winter tend to be more of an issue then summer accidents.


        Phil McPhail showing Maine Land on Snowshoes

        Phil McPhail showing Maine Land on Snowshoes


        Have you explored all of your Maine land and are looking for other places to go. Check out any of Maine's public land units, state parks and other trail areas. The possibilities are near endless

        Recreation and Land Opportunities on the Penobscot River

        Named for the Native American tribe, the Penobscot River has a history as a colonial trade route and the delivery system for the logging industry in Maine during the hay-day of river driving. With its 4 branches and main stem it is reported to be about 350 miles long. The Penobscot originates from large northern Maine lakes and drains an immense area of northern Maine. Several other river system drain into the Penobscot such as the Mattawamkeag River, the Piscataquis River and the Passadumkeag River. One could spend a lifetime exploring the Penobscot and its many branches.

        The north and south branches are in a remote wilderness part of Maine. Getting there requires a long drive over access controlled logging roads. The land owner association that owns these roads charges a nominal fee at the gates managed by North Maine Woods ( and also maintains many camp site locations along these stretches of river which they also charge a small fee for. This is a scenic area that will appeal to hikers and photographers. The river has a wild population of brook trout and landlocked salmon. The ruffed grouse hunting in this part of main is legendary. The north and south branches feed into the West Branch. This area is mostly owned by large institutional landowners. You can't find much land to buy here unless you are in the market for the occasionally offered township.


        Whitewater Rafting

        Whitewater Rafting


        The West Branch of the Penobscot is THE whitewater river in Maine. The river segment beginning at McKay Station in the Ripogenus Gorge to Debsconeag Falls has a commercial rafting industry that thrills thousands every year. This section of river is also world known for its challenging fly fishing for wild landlocked salmon. This area is also mostly owned by large landowners and with much conservation easement you will rarely find any property for sale in this section with the exception of a few camps or cabins on leased land.



        Fly fishing the West Branch Penobscot


        The upper reaches of the East Branch of the Penobscot is wild brook trout heaven. This section is a very scenic canoeing hotspot with views of Mount Katahdin and the other nearby mountains. Those canoeing this section should plan ahead for portages around a few tricky falls. Buyers looking for a camp or home site can occasionally find land for sale at the lower end of the East Branch.

        The West and East Branches of the Penobscot come together in Medway to form the main stem of the river. From this point to the Atlantic Ocean is where you will find many small and large land parcels for sale. Prices here will vary greatly depending on the quality of the waterfront. From Medway to Old Town the river is noted as one of the best smallmouth bass fisheries in the United States. The river still has a small protected run of Atlantic salmon, sorry no fishing allowed for them at this time. A recent restoration project in the Bangor area has breached a number of old dams and has reopened the river to runs of shad, alewives and other anadromous species. This segment of the river is also a great spot for boating including trips from Bangor to the open ocean.

        The Penobscot River is my favorite Maine river. If you come to Maine to buy land or just to enjoy the outdoors be sure to put it on your list of places to visit.


        How To Buy Land In Maine

        Purchasing a property, especially land, can seem like a difficult task. To make it easier you need to start with a plan. Here is a step by step check list of how we approach purchasing.

        1. How much can you spend? Are you paying cash, getting bank financing or hoping to find a parcel with owner financing? If you are financing the purchase, work with a lender to see how much you can borrow. This is the most important step. Knowing your price limits and securing financing before you start looking at parcels will save you time, money, shorten your search for land and improve your negotiating position. Statistics from the statewide MLS show the average parcel of land that sold in Maine during the last 12 months closed at about 87% of asking price. This would indicate that looking at lots priced more than 15 - 20% above your price limit is most likely a waste of your time.

        2. Pick a location or at least narrow it down. Prices will vary a lot in Maine depending on where you look.  Do a little research online and you can find out a lot about most areas of the state. Call local chambers of commerce for information on the areas of interest.

        3. Start looking for property. The internet makes this process much more efficient. Most sites will allow you to save searches and notify you when new land comes on the market that matches your criteria. If you are working with a land broker you can ask them to set up a saved search on the statewide MLS. The broker can program this to automatically send you new listings.

        Helpful Hint - When using search engines like Google, be specific using search terms for the type of land you are looking for. For example: timber, waterfront, farm, recreation, hunting, fishing, development, investment or combinations  of these terms and others.

        If your timeline is more than 3 months out, subscribe to local magazines such as the Northwoods Sporting Journal. While the property you see advertised there has probably been on the market for a month or more, local magazines, newspapers or journals can help you experience the flavor of different areas, the recreation available in these locations and any current social and or political issues.

        Helpful Tool - Download Google Earths free software to your computer. Don't confuse this with the online Google Maps, this is a more useful tool. Ask the owner or Realtor to email you a shape files which will show you the approximate locations of the property you are looking at. These files can be opened in Google Earth. This bird's eye view (and in some areas street views) showing the outlined area of the prospective land can help answer a lot of your questions.

        4. Now that you have located some promising Maine land, have studied the data and maps sent by owners or brokers, it's time to take a trip to see the properties. If you are not familiar with Maine weather, you should know to bring layers of clothing and sturdy foot wear for changing conditions. Other good items to help make looking at land more enjoyable would include a small back pack, raincoat, snacks, water bottle, a Delorme Maine Atlas and Gazetteer and camera.

        If you are going it alone, also bring detailed maps of the area, a compass and GPS if you have one and know how to use them. Because Maine is a large state with a lot of remote regions of interconnected forests, if you have no experience in land navigation we highly recommend bringing along someone who does. Our agents always let someone know where they are going just to be safe, we advise you do this as well in case you do not return on time.

        5. Get on the property to look at the features that attracted you to it. Be sure to view some property lines and abutting properties for potential concerns. Are there nearby areas of interest that make the land more appealing? If so, take time to see them.

        6. Now that you have found some acres that satisfy your wants and needs, it's time to write an offer. The emphasis is on the word "write". Verbal agreements don't carry much meaning with an owner who does not know you. Review required property disclosures for any potential hazardous materials, rights of way, tax status and other issues. Write in any contingency you need including due diligence inspections if you have unanswered questions. Don't forget to bring your checkbook for earnest money deposit.

        Words of wisdom we can pass along from our own experience. If you find a property that you like and want and you know that the price is fair. Don't mess around offering a lot less, UNLESS you are prepared to lose it to another buyer. A land owner and their real estate agent know when they have a properly priced lot. Even if the property has been on the market for a few months don't assume the owner is going to sell way below market. The average time on market for Maine land last year was over 7 months. Even well priced land in Maine can take some time looking for its new owner.

        7. Your offer was accepted! It is time to start the closing process. Ask your lender or your land broker for a list of title companies or attorneys that handle real estate transactions. Work out your due diligence, get that title checked, buy title insurance and close the deal.

        8. Enjoy your Maine land.


        1. David Rivela on

          I'm trying to purchase a lot of land( about an acre or 2) with a manufactured home included on the lot. How do i go about doing that?
          • Phil McPhail on

            You will need to do a construction loan with your bank or mortgage company. Some sellers will finance the lot sale with a balloon payoff when your construction or new purchase loan is completed.

        Innovative Maine Company Provides Dependable Drinking Water

        Are you looking to buy land in Maine to build an off grid, strategic location property?  Maine has some great properties for sale that will fit your needs.  There are a lot of criteria to consider but a few basics hit the top of the list.  Today, let's just look at the basic need of drinking water.

        After listening to the news about the California water shortage, I realize how blessed we are in Maine.  Being born and raised here, I do not remember a time we ever had to ration water.  The quality of drinking water in Maine is excellent.  Once in a while you may run into some higher mineral contents but nothing a filtration system can't fix.

        My home has a 160 foot deep drilled well with 20 feet of casing and produces 10 gallons per minute of some of the best drinking water you will find on earth.  Right out of the tap with no filtration!  The cost to drill is $12/foot for drilling and $12/foot of casing.  20' of casing is the minimum amount required by code.  Then factor in some excavation work and the well pump and that will add about another $1,300 to $2,000 depending on your location.

        My home is connected to the grid but what happens when you lose power?  That's were Bison Pumps enters the scene.  Their slogan "The Premier Hand Pump" and after having one installed at my home, I have no doubt that my drinking water needs will be met during my lifetime with or without power.   The design, engineering and quality of the working components are second to none.  I was not looking to buy the cheapest hand pump on the market but I wanted to be confident that no matter the season (Maine can get some extreme cold winter weather), I would be able to get drinking water when the need arises.

        Bison Pumps, was founded by David Harbison, Jr of Harbison Plumbing in Houlton Maine.  We've all heard the saying "necessity is the mother of invention", well (no pun intended), Bison Pumps is a true example of this old saying.  Maine's ice storm of 1998 left 1000's of people without power in the middle of winter, some for a few days and some for weeks.  After seeing so many people struggle to meet the need of basic drinking water, Bison Pumps was developed.

        I had the pleasure of meeting David and his son Jonathan (3rd generation plumber) this summer as they installed my pump.  They are first class people and hard working Mainers.  It was very interesting talking with David and his vision of how Bison Pumps could help around the globe with the world water crisis.

        Whether you are looking to build off grid or just looking to have a drinking water solution in case of power outages, Bison Pumps should be top of your list.


        Why offer your Maine land for sale by owner? Most who consider this option will say "I want to save the commission that would be paid to a real estate agent or broker". So what do you need to know and do to sell your land yourself?


        Assuming you have a good idea of what you own, with good property boundaries, good title with insurance and legal access the first thing you need to do is establish a price for your land that will cause it to sell. Because there is no rule of thumb that will dependably set a price, you need to do a lot of research of sold properties and those land parcels for sale that your real estate will be competing with for buyers. This is critical for two very important reasons. First, you need to be sure that you do not underprice your property. Obviously if you do you will be leaving cash on the table. Second, and more important than the first, setting a price too far above market value will result in no sale at all or may cause you to sell below market value many months or years later. Accepting a less than market price after a longer time waiting for your cash, your losses may be hard to calculate.


        Next, you need to be prepared with ways for prospective buyers to get financing. Do you know what current requirements are for credit score, down payment and acceptable income to debt ratios that will satisfy conventional lenders? Call a few and see what the underwriting guidelines are. Are you going to offer owner financing? If so, what will your terms be? Do you have an attorney and loan originator ready to go with the legal documents and disclosures?


        Do you have a Purchase and Sale Agreement ready to fill in when you locate the right buyer? If not, you need to see your attorney and get one drafted. Have you prepared disclosures about the land that will help limit future liability? These and other legal details should be covered before the property is shown or marketed.


        Now that you have decided on an appropriate asking price, not too low not too high, you need to attract prospective buyers; hopefully lots of them. The amount of land out there for buyers to see is vast. How do you make your property stand out? Spend some money and invest some time. To reach buyers interested in your land you need to understand who you are marketing to and how to reach them. What are the minimum of things to do to get your property noticed?

        With nearly 95% of all buyers using the internet to locate property, you will need to build a web page or pay someone else to do it. Then you will need to buy space on sites that will get your webpage found. There are a number of webpages that do not charge for listings but most usually don't appear high in searches. Do not discount print advertising as some prospective buyers still look there. Which publications you should use depends on your target market. Also, have you put together an informative package of details, high quality photos, maps, disclosures etc. that buyers want to know and see. You need to do this because most buyers outside your immediate area will want those details before making a trip to look at your acreage.


        Now that you are getting emails and phone calls from prospective buyers; how do you separate qualified buyers from the unqualified? Ask a lot of questions. If you need to travel any distance to your property gasoline alone can eat into your bottom line. So showing your land to someone who is not ready, willing and able to buy should be avoided. Do they have a down payment, good credit? Are they ready to buy now or next year?

        Showing your land should be easy for you. Make a plan to show the property's best features. Be sure to bring a map and your compass.  On land of any substantial size you can get confused walking in the woods while talking with someone.  Getting lost in the Maine woods is a sure way of turning off a prospective buyer.

        It pays to make a plan and try to stick with it when negotiating a transaction. Decide what your bottom line is and stick with it. This decision should be made with the knowledge you gained while studying the market data mentioned earlier.


        You had a successful showing and your customer wants the land. What's next? Fill in the purchase and sales agreement you got from your attorney. Enter the names, dates, price, terms, disclosures etc. Both of you sign it, get that deposit to seal the deal and consider letting your attorney keep it in his/her escrow account. Follow through with any due diligence items agreed to in negotiation. Finally close at the location both you and the buyer agreed to. Let an attorney or title company handle this to be sure all required tax forms are done. You don't want Uncle Sam or the state tax man looking for you and your buyer after a closing.


        If all of this seams overwhelming consider this. Why do buyers like to buy for sale by owner property? Why would they go to an owner who has just one property to offer them? They look directly with the owner because they hope to discount the price by the cost of a real estate brokerage commission or more.  Wait a minute, how is it possible for you and the buyer to both save on the commission?

        Unless you are a professional land dealer (often mistaken by buyers as a "for sale by owner") with multiple properties available and all systems above in place, you are going to pay a real estate commission. The real question is do you want to pay it to the buyer of your property, or to a professional land broker who will take care of all the above items, takes the risk of paying the cost of all or most of the marketing expenses, and not get paid unless and until the land is sold?

        Investing in Maine Timberland

        A friend asked me today if Maine timberland is a good investment. I think it is and invest in it myself.  For me, there are many reasons for doing so.

        I became interested in timberland because it has been a proven investment for many of my clients and other family members. I have witnessed well managed land provide periodic returns of stumpage while the land remained well stocked with trees for future harvest. As an investment, one of the key features of timber is the ability for the owner to leave trees on the stump to grow and move up to a more valuable product class. Unlike other crops, if markets are not good, trees can be left for a later harvest when markets improve.  Additionally, with a number of other potential uses, land values over time usually continue to rise.


        Managed Clear Cut

        Managed Clear Cut


        I would also credit forestland for helping to improve my mental health. Spending time in the forest I own has a relaxing effect on my mind.  Doing the physical work of timber stand improvement not only helps increase the value of my woodlot, I find it the perfect stress reliever as it lets me forget about the complications of our modern world.  Improving land of any kind gives me and most others I know a great feeling of accomplishment.

        As a hunter, owning timberland gives me the ability to help our local game animals by managing areas for them. New growth from a harvest provides a desirable food source and cover for many of our favorite species like ruffed grouse, woodcock, rabbit, whitetail deer and moose. Areas left heavily wooded will provide good winter cover for those same animals.

        The State of Maine gives a landowner a better chance at the any deer permit lottery. Any private landowner is eligible for the landowner permit drawing if the person owns a particular piece of land that is: 25 or more contiguous acres in size; is agricultural, forested or undeveloped land; and open to hunting, including hunting by permission. Any dependent living in the household of a qualifying landowner is eligible.

        Maine has another benefit for timberland owners. The tree growth tax program is a special tax status available for owners who agree to manage their lands the commercial harvest of the forest. This reduction in property tax is the reward for the landowner to properly care for the forest and provide the raw materials that support our forest products industry. The requirement to have a Maine licensed forester provide a management plan also ads value to the ownership.

        Timberland is a great asset that can provide you with cash returns, pride of ownership and recreational pastimes; it is also a potential legacy for your children and grandchildren. Properly managed forests have historically supplied generations of owners with all of the above.

        If you are interested in learning more about timberland investing, United Country Real Estate's timberland specialty property group has an informative free E Book written by Eric J. Holzmueller PhD.  Eric is a forester and one of United Country's many licensed foresters who are also land brokers. You can download the free book at

        Why We Don't Use Drones For Aerial Photography

        Unmanned aerial vehicles also known as drones are some amazing pieces of engineering. The photographic and videography capabilities of these units offer a unique view of our world. Real estate agents are naturally drawn to this technology as an exciting way to show a property, especially large acreages and expansive buildings. When these units first came out I immediately started shopping for a unit for our business.  However, we received very quick warnings from the National Association of Realtors (NAR) to not use them.

        Recently I have seen agents around the country and locally advertising and promoting the fact that they offer this service to prospective sellers. I sent an email to MAR legal counsel Linda Gifford, asking her if the FAA had lifted the ban. She told me without a doubt, as of this date the FAA prohibits the use of these vehicles for any commercial use, including the promotion of real estate. Linda advised me not to use them. As a Realtor, I am thankful for my affiliation with the Maine Association of Realtors and the National Association of Realtors. These two organizations keep its members up to date on rules and legislation both state and federal.

        The commercial use of UAV's  could draw the attention of the FAA with expensive fines for the real estate agent and their agency, but what kind of liability do their sellers have should an investigation take place? What if one of these agents accidentally crashes the UAV into a home, moving vehicle or another aircraft while using a tool that the federal government tells us not to use? I am no lawyer, but I would wager that the lawsuit the agent (and vicariously the property owner who hired them) would have filed against them would be a slam dunk for the plaintiff.

        So why is it that we are seeing blatant violations of FAA and NAR warnings? Non Realtor agencies and agents may have an excuse (though not a very good one) because they could be ignorant of the rules. But for the Realtors who are using the devices, shame on you. As Realtors we should be setting the example.

        United Country McPhail Realty will continue to get its aerial photography the old fashioned and legal way by hiring professional pilots and shooting photos from FAA approved aircraft. Once the FAA lifts the bans and approves the use, we will begin using this exciting tool.

        I welcome your comments.

        See the video from NAR explaining the FAA position and that of NAR.


        1. Tony Cesare on

          Very interesting article. I can imagine that at the pace the FAA works it could be a few years before they develop the rules for UAV's. Until that happens we will be happy to provide the flying your business needs to help with your marketing of properties.