Drones Give Home Inspectors Bird's-eye View

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Subject: FAA Exemption for Commercial Use of Drones

Federal law requires an FAA Exemption for the commercial use of drones -- and "commercial use" means used in a business. The FAA exemption requires the drone be operated by a licensed pilot. Further, if the drone is to be used within 5 miles of an airport (not just major airports) an agreement with the airport is required. The law provides fines of $250K and jail time for violations.

Carl Scheuermann

Subject: drones used during home inspections

I was a home inspector for 20+ yrs in the Philadelphia area. A tool like this would have been faster, more efficient and much safer for the inspector. It is great to see technology making the business better.

beth phillips

Subject: DroneServiceFinder

I was able to find a drone operator to come to my house and take pictures of the snow on the roof and ice dams through a service called droneservicefinder.com

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It's a little unusual to do this except in cases of fixer-upper properties but you should call a local general contractor with experience renovating/remodeling homes in the neighborhood.  They'll know the typical problems with the homes there and what to look out & budget for.  For example, here in San Antonio many of the homes built in the mid-fifties to 60's have lead drains that were not put in properly or were installed in such a way that repairs are not quick or cheap.  Many homes even older have the same drains but seem to be less hassle to repair.  Homes in my neighborhood have a problem with improper supply lines (wrong type of copper) which break due to corrosion.  Just make sure the contractor you hire to go over the property with you has done significant work on homes in the area on similar homes.

Todd Shell
Todd's Home Services
It really depends on where you are and the type of work.  In Texas most home inspectors are only trained in general areas of interest and have no detailed knowledge of construction practices.  Some do after having carrerrs in other fields including engineering or as general contractors/home builders.  If you are wondering if a completed job was done in a professional manner appearance wise and have minor concerns an inspector can help you.  If it is more extensive hire professionals from the different fields to inspect the respective work.  Plumber for the plumbing, electrician for electrical, etc.  An experienced GC or inspector can do an initial inspection and advise you whether you should have the concerns further investigated by the trades.  Remember, they can't tell much about what they can't see so framing and insulation concerns will be hard to verify.

Todd Shell
Todd's Home Services
San Antonio, TX