Taking house hunting to new heights - CBS News 8 - San Diego, CA News Station - KFMB Channel 8

Taking house hunting to new heights

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SAN DIEGO (CBS 8) - One local real estate team is doing something unlike any other, taking home showings to a whole new level flying high above San Diego. This new, complimentary service is not just for the rich and famous.

Are you in the market to buy a home? If so, how would you like to check it out from hundreds of feet in the sky? Now you can. One local real estate broker has adopted a new tool for showing properties -- a helicopter -- and the idea is taking off.

Seth O'Byrne's team with Sotheby's International Realty is soaring high over its competitors by giving free helicopter rides to potential home buyers. This way, they can get an aerial view of properties.

It's not only an innovative way of seeing your future home, it also gives buyers a clear sight of the topography in the neighborhood, nearby construction, and what traffic is like.

"When you are looking at real estate, the difference between communities, maybe the view corridors from one hillside to another, or the proximity to the beach… up in a helicopter you can really understand a lot more, which is I think what's made us better real estate brokers for our clients, and definitely made our clients a lot more sophisticated about what they're looking at," O'Byrne said.

It's especially helpful to those who are not familiar with San Diego, or who don't have a lot of time to look at homes.

"Typically if we were showing five to seven properties it would take us an entire day, about four hours, five hours. Up in a helicopter we can do it in about 40 minutes," O'Byrne said.

O'Byrne says don't let the fancy facade fool you. He doesn't just provide complimentary helicopter rides to show multi-million dollar homes.

"We've also shown this to clients that buy $400,000 houses and $600,000 houses. The main divider is whether or not you're already familiar with San Diego," O'Byrne said.

The helicopter is rented from Corporate Helicopters and costs about $500 to $2,500 each time it flies. But O'Byrne says it's all about promoting San Diego and educating his clients, so the cost is worth the benefit.

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