The Weekly Buzz: 2/25/15

The latest news and reports to share at your next sales meeting.

February 25, 2015

FAA Proposes Long-Awaited Drone Rules

If your agents are interested in using drones to capture aerial photography or video of their listings, let them know that the Federal Aviation Administration has taken an important step toward creating commercial-use regulations for small, unmanned aerial vehicle systems (UAVs).

Last week, the FAA published its proposed rules for drones weighing up to 55 pounds. The rules seek to identify safe conditions for flight, with the intent of avoiding collisions. Here are a few highlights:

  • Commercial drones would not be permitted to fly higher than 500 feet, cannot exceed 100 miles an hour, and would only be allowed during daylight hours. All flights also would be within visual line of sight of the person operating it. No objects could be dropped from the UAV.
  • The UAV would be registered and required to include specific aircraft markings.
  • Commercial UAVs operators would have to pass an aeronautical knowledge test to receive a permit, subject to renewal every two years. This certification would cost about $300. Operators would also undergo a TSA background check.
  • Operators would have to report any UAV accident that results in injury or property damage to the FAA within 10 days.

The National Association of REALTORS® is cautioning members to hold off on using drones in their business until the rules become final.  With the release of the proposed rules, a public comment period has begun which could lead to revisions. It could take as long as two years for the rules to take effect, according to a recent New York Times article.

ListHub Continues to Send Trulia Listings For Now

Last week, after Zillow finalized its $2.5 billion acquisition of Trulia, ListHub, a listing syndicator owned by Move Inc., announced that it will cutoff thousands of listings sent to Trulia effective February 26. However, Zillow received a temporary restraining order halting ListHub’s action. A hearing on Zillow's restraining order is set for March 12.

If ListHub stops supplying listings to Trulia, Zillow's negotiating position with brokers will be weakened, says Lloyd Walmsley, an analyst with Deutsche Bank. Walmsley also called the Zillow lawsuit "flimsy" in a report on StreetInsider.com. Read the latest developments between ListHub and Zillow for more information.

Video: Responding to 'Patent Trolls'


What do you do if you receive a letter from a non-practicing entity, or "patent troll," demanding payment of a licensing fee? Patent trolls are companies that accuse other businesses of patent infringement in the hopes of winning settlement money.  Claims have focused on online search features that brokers and agents use on their websites, for example. NAR's latest Window to the Law video outlines how practitioners should handle the situation if they are the target of a patent troll.  

2015 Broker Summits Announced

NAR has announced three Broker Summits in 2015. Two summits will take place back-to-back in Seattle, Aug. 17-19, one focusing on business management and the other on brokerage technology trends and tools. Then, Sept. 22-23, a third will convene in Charlotte, N.C., which will also focus on business management issues and trends. Learn more at realtor.org.

Is There a Good Neighbor in Your Office?

REALTOR® Magazine is seeking nominees for the Good Neighbor Awards, which recognize REALTORS® who have made an extraordinary impact on their communities or the larger world through volunteer work. Five winners will be recognized at the 2015 REALTORS® Conference & Expo in San Diego and will receive travel expenses to attend the show and a $10,000 grant for their cause. Volunteer efforts recognized in the past have included affordable housing initiatives, youth mentoring, and homelessness prevention. Entries must be received by May 15, 2015. For more information and an entry form, go to realtor.org/gna, or contact Sara Geimer at sgeimer@realtors.org.



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