Helicopter house hunting is sweeping LA’s luxury market

Brokers shell out up to $800 an hour to give clients aerial views

Apr.April 18, 2016 03:00 PM

L.A. traffic has never been less of a joke.

Or at least for the special class of house buyers whose brokers cough up thousands of dollars arranging tours via helicopter.

House hunting from a bird’s eye view is the latest buzz in luxury real estate, according to the Wall Street Journal. It is probably not a shocker that a major incubator for this perk is the City of Angels, where nice properties are often blocked by congested freeways and sky-high gates.

“We can go really, really close — you can literally see people laying out on their decks,” Lindsay Galbraith, a Sotheby’s International Realty agent based in West Hollywood, told the Journal.

Using mapping softwares, most brokers coordinate with third-party pilots to schedule these aerial tours. They pay up to $800 per hour for each session, reserved for their most elite clients.

“We don’t do it for just anyone — they have to be very well-qualified,” Gwen Banta, an L.A. luxury broker told the Journal.

Agencies like Heli-Realtors, based in L.A., have built their business on the sole premise of helicopter viewing sessions.

And the charms of a view from above seem to be effective. Elena Berman, an artist and wellness consultant, listed her $3.2 million San Fernando Valley home after a demo viewing with John Mowatt, a real estate agent and pilot who co-founded Heli-Realtors.

The only downside to these airborne tours is possible bad weather. Dramamine may or may not be included. [WSJ]Cathaleen Chen

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