Author: Sondra Lockett

Rhonda Knop – McManus

January 3, 1947 – July 28, 2020

A Community Innovator. A Real Estate Legend. A Loving Family Member to All.

Rhonda was born in Wichita, KS on Jan 3, 1947 and began her legacy in 1968 when she graduated from Kansas State University. She started her life long path as a compassionate educator in a traditional school setting before kicking off her Real Estate career in 1979.

She has been a role model to many, and created a reputation that Realtors aspire to fulfill. Rhonda played an integral part in the commencement and continuing success of Distinctive Properties. She rooted her values in improving her clients’ lives, passionately pursuing her community’s evolving cohesion and always remembered that, at the end of the day, it was her family and friends that mattered most.

Her husband, two children, seven grandchildren and everyone in her inner circle were her true pride and joy! She began every day with the morning newspaper, fresh ground coffee and an internal agenda to connect with people while showing up sharply dressed for any occasion! When she wasn’t working, Rhonda enjoyed traveling, dancing, charity events and Afternoon Tea at the Brown Palace.

Her life purpose was to leave the Earth with more beauty, equality and kindness. All who knew her would validate she did just that!

On July 28th, 2020, Rhonda Knop closed on her new property in Heaven…and she is already making improvements!

Memorial contributions may be made in Rhonda’s name to the Redi Corporation, an established 501(c)(3) which is dedicating a legacy project in her name.

Understanding Hidden Costs: What it Cost to Buy and Own a Home

Understanding Hidden Costs: What it Cost to Buy and Own a Home

One of the biggest financial mistakes people make when buying a home for the first time is that they focus only on the property’s final price tag. Buyers should be aware that the final price of the house includes certain extra costs that need to be paid upfront or get rolled into the home loan.

Most of these costs are paid to third parties like realtors and attorneys. Before you buy a house, you must have an understanding of the additional costs so that the final price of the home does not come as a surprise to you.

We have examined a few hidden costs incurred by home buyers in detail. Most of them fall under closing costs, i.e. the last stage of home-buying (immediately before the keys are handed to the buyer).


Homeowners’ Insurance

Estimated Cost: Average cost is $1173 nationwide ($1383 in Colorado), but it can be as high as $3500 depending on the type of house, location, weather, and building materials.

This is a property insurance that covers payments for damages to the house and its assets. You may have to buy the insurance before closing on the home and pay the first year’s premium to show that insurance is in place. After that, annual premiums can be escrowed into the mortgage payment.

Home insurance cost depends largely on where you live. Homeowners who live in states that are more prone to natural disasters tend to pay more in home insurance. Florida is the most expensive state where home buyers pay over $3500 in home insurance. Additionally, home insurance varies depending on the value and size of the house. Buyers of single family homes typically pay more home insurance than condominium and townhome buyers.

Mortgage Insurance

Estimated Cost: $1000 – $4500 per year

Ideally, buyers have to make a down payment of 20% of the price of the house. Those who make a payment of less than 20% are required to pay private mortgage insurance. The cost varies depending on the size of the down payment and the buyer’s credit score, but typically lands between .55% and 2.25% of the original amount of the loan each year. Mortgage insurance protects your bank (or lender) in case you default on your loan and the lender has to foreclose on your home. Remember, mortgage insurance protects the lender (not the home-buyer) in case the buyer fails to pay the loan amount. Foreclosures can cost lenders around $40,000 – $50,000 including lost interest, attorney’s fees, insurance payments and potential equity loss.

Closing Costs

Estimated Cost: 2 – 5% of home price 

Closing costs include a series of costs that buyers can get rolled into their mortgage and not necessarily pay upfront. They may also negotiate with the seller to cover some of these costs.

Here are the closing costs you can expect:

  • Appraisal Fee

Estimated Cost: $400 to $1000.

An appraisal ensures that a fair market value of the house is established for tax purposes. In other words, appraisal is a written justification of the price of a property determined by the comparable sales of other homes in the area. The bank (or lender) needs the appraisal to ensure the property you are buying is worth the amount you want to borrow.

  • Loan Origination Fee

Estimated Cost: 1% of the loan amount.

This is the fee home buyers pay for the initiation and completion of the home loan process. It includes underwriting, processing, and application fee and is paid to the lender. Lenders charge this fee to cover costs of organizing your documents, analyzing income, requesting information from employer, and authenticating your documents. The smaller the home loan, the more is the loan origination fee.

  •  Inspection Fee: This includes building inspection, sewer inspection and pest inspection. Conducting these inspections is more important if you are buying an old house.

Estimated Cost: Depends on the size of the house.

  • Radon Test:  Radon testing is the only way to know whether your home has high levels of radon, a radioactive gas that can cause health complications over time.

Estimated Cost: $150

  • Home Inspection: According to the American Society of Home Inspectors, home inspections should include the examination of the following:
  1. Construction and structural flaws.
  2. Safety elements like fire alarms.
  3. Grounds, roofs, and exterior surfaces.
  4. Condition of attic.
  5. Interior plumbing and electrical system.
  6. Proper functioning of appliances.
  7. Heating and cooling systems.
  8. Condition of basement and garage.

Estimated Cost: $500+

  • Sewer Inspection: You many consider sewer inspection as an afterthought but it is one of the most important inspections home buyers should conduct. This stands true especially if you are buying a house that is more than 20 years old. The inspection will suggest whether the sewer line is clean or clogged, verify the material used in sewer construction, and the overall condition of the sewer.

Estimated Cost: $150

  • Pest Inspection: If the seller is not paying for pest inspection or if you doubt the quality of the inspection organised by the seller, it is a matter of due diligence on your part to conduct another pest inspection. Pest and termite inspections look for active pest activities in the house, past pest activities, signs of damage, and conditions that may make these activities more likely in the future.

Estimated Cost: $100 – $200

  • Documentation Fee: When buying a house, you will need to hire a solicitor to prepare documents for you. While it is possible to do this on your own, first-time home buyers are recommended to get help from a solicitor for legal documentation. Preparing documents for taking out a loan and other paperwork requires a fee that may be covered by either the home buyer or the seller.

Estimated Cost: $50 – $60.

  • Homeowners’ Association (HOA) Transfer Fee: HOA transfer fee is charged in communities that are a part of homeowners’ association. When a house in such a community is sold to a new owner, the community charges a transfer fee that includes the cost of document preparation for property transfer and distribution of documents related to the community’s rules and regulations. The HOA fee may vary depending on the location and size of the house and amenities like club, pool, or gym.

Estimated Cost: $200-$500.

  • Property/Municipal Tax

Estimated Cost: 0.66% of the total price of the house, but may vary.

 Ideally, the seller pays the property taxes from the beginning of the real estate tax year until the date of closing. The buyer should pay the taxes after the closing date. If the vendor has already paid the property and municipal taxes for the time period during which the buyer will be the owner of the house, then he/she has to pay the amount back to the seller at closing. In case, the seller has not paid the taxes, the buyer can ask to adjust his/her allocated share at the time of closing.

  • Maintenance and Repair Costs

Estimated Cost: 3.6% – 4.5% of the purchase price of the house annually.

Apart from these, if you are buying an old house for the first time in Denver, for example, calculate the budget for home maintenance and repair costs too. From getting a fresh paint and fixing faulty faucets to mowing the lawn and replacing kitchen appliances, first-time home buyers in Denver can be caught off guard by several additional costs.


Your home will be one of the biggest purchases you will make in your lifetime. Knowing your financial options will make the process of home-buying easier. An understanding of these costs will help you finalize the purchase of your new house and prevent any unexpected costs later on. Consult an experienced real estate agent before you buy a house to understand the bifurcation of the costs home buyers usually incur. 

TJC Real Estate has been your neighborhood Realtor since 2005. Our wide range of expertise ranges from first time home buyers and real estate investors to property management and commercial real estate. Just have a few questions? Call us, we are happy to help!

Brought to you by Sondra Lockett-Cameron, Marketing Manager for TJC Real Estate and Management Services.

TJC Real Estate & Management Services • 303.324.6988 •

Your Neighborhood Realtors® Since 2005

© 2020

Exploring Denver’s Aerotropolis: Painted Prairie Neighborhood

Build a New Home in Painted Prairie!

Painted Prairie is on the move!  A new residential and commercial subdivision in Denver’s Aerotropolis region, Painted Prairie is expected to house 3200 homes from these builders: KB Home, David Weekley Homes, McStain Neighborhoods, Meritage Homes and Epic Homes.  Looking to build a new home? There will be something for everyone with single family and paired homes ranging from 1150 sq. ft. to 2700 sq. ft. and starting in the low $300’s. So far, David Weekley and KB Homes are open for business and selling lots, with the rest of the home builders to join in shortly.

Views of the Plains and Mountains from Painted Prairie.

Views of the Plains and the Mountains from Painted Prairie

Where is Painted Prairie?

North of Green Valley Ranch, east of High Point and west of the Aurora Highlands, this new neighborhood will sprawl from Dunkirk Road to Piccadilly Road and 56th Avenue to 64th Avenue in the far Northwest corner of Aurora. 

What does Painted Prairie Offer?

The views are spectacular!! The snow capped purple mountains, Downtown Denver, the wispy edges of the grass plains….you truly feel connected to what it means to live in Colorado. Within the neighborhood, plenty of open space, community gardens and 2 vast parks have been planned. One of the parks that is near completion is 22 acres and includes trails, a huge playground, and a pavilion with seating, perfect for watching the sun rise and set!

Views of Downtown Denver from Painted Prairie.

Views of Downtown Denver from Painted Prairie

Now….City Lane.  The 55 acre urban commerce development that will complete this neighborhood and bring its residents together.  From local eateries and farmer’s markets to shared work spaces and wellness options, slotted to shoot up across from the Gaylord of the Rockies, it will be a destination location for all around.

The Gaylord of the Rockies is located in the Painted Prairie neighborhood.

Gaylord of the Rockies

Buy. Sell. Rent. Invest. Build.

Feel inspired to move, upgrade or purchase a rental?  TJC can help you buy, sell, rent and invest. Having a seasoned realtor on your side to help you through all the steps of any real estate transaction is priceless.  Did you know that when you build a new home, there is no out of pocket expenses for you to have a realtor help you through the paperwork, design center, inspections, walk-throughs and closing?  We also offer no obligation tours of Aerotropolis, investor ROI discussions, and CMAs for your current home. To learn more, contact TJC Real Estate and Management Services today!  


Brought to you by Sondra Lockett-Cameron, Marketing Manager for TJC Real Estate and Management Services

TJC Real Estate & Management Services • 303.324.6988 •

Your Neighborhood Realtors® Since 2005 

© 2020

Giving Back. It’s Worth Reading.

I love to read. I have always loved to read. When I was a little girl growing up in Indiana, I hid in the closet and the bathroom (sitting on the toilet with my pants up) so I could read. I read Nancy Drew, Trixie Belden and the Bobbsey Twins. My elementary school had 1 classroom that had been turned into the school library. I was an almost daily visitor. I read biographies of famous explorers and famous Americans. I read many biographies of saints (as I went the St. Therese Catholic School). I would guess that I read nearly every book in that school library and many of them more than once.

Then I moved on to the Waynedale Public Library. More books, more choices, more to read. I had a period of reading historical romance. I actually learned a lot about history and a fair amount about the birds and the bees.

I read some classics in high school. I even read the Little Prince in French. After college when I had more disposal income, I purchased books. I still love to own books. Shortly after I moved to Colorado in September of ’98, some friends and I started a book club. I have been with this same book club for more than 18 years. 6 other ladies and myself meet each month and we read everything…Fiction, Non-Fiction, Mysteries, Self-Help, Classics.

Of course, I was an avid reader to my 2 kids. We loved reading Go Dog Go and Fancy Nancy, Magic Treehouse and the Rainbow Fairies. My son went through a reptile period for so long that I BEGGED his elementary school librarian to stop sending books home about snakes and lizards! I have to admit that when it came to the young adult books, they were so such fun to read when my kids hit middle school: the Harry Potter series (which I have read at least a half dozen times), Percy Jackson, The Hunger Games series, the Divergent Series, The Fault in Our Stars.

I like to read ‘real’ books. I like to read on my Kindle. I read on my phone using the kindle app. I read the newspaper and magazines. I LOVE to read.

About 5 ½ years ago, I decided to find a volunteer organization that allowed me to share my love of reading with others. I joined Reading Partners ( as a tutor in Denver, Colorado. Once per week (or twice a week this year twice), I tutor a child for about an hour in reading. I read to her (from Karen 5 years ago to Elizabeth today) and then she reads to me. Reading Partners uses a prescribed curriculum to work on concepts like sight words, fluency, sequence of events, inferences, vocabulary, describing characters, and on and on. I try to pass on my love of reading with each child I have tutored. It’s a gift worth giving.

Group of school kids reading for education

The statistics around reading and our nation’s children are alarming. According to the National Assessment of Educational Progress, only about 1/3 of America’s 4th graders can read proficiently. Once students start to fall behind in reading, they tend to fall faster and further behind their peers every year. The ability to read on grade level by the end of 3rd grade is critical. Fourth grade academic standards assume students have already learned to read and therefore require them to “read to learn” (Center for Public Education 2015). Students who have not learned to read by 4th grade are 4 times more likely to drop out of school and this risk is even great for low-income children. Nationally, about 67% of all children and 80% of low-income children do not reach this critical milestone.

Ready to share your love of reading? Reading Partners Colorado just finished their After the Bell campaign, although you can always donate ( They are always looking for volunteers (I already committed for next year). Please consider donating or volunteering. And remember to read! Read to learn. Read for enjoyment. Read to teach a child or an adult. Read to your child or your niece or nephew or grandchild. Give someone the gift of reading!

Brought to you by Kari Cummings, Real Estate Director/Owner of TJC Real Estate and Management Services.

TJC Real Estate & Management Services • 303.324.6988 •

Your Neighborhood Realtors® Since 2005

© 2019

Cover Your Asset

Here’s a look at the typical timeline of the average American resident:  Phase 1. Graduate college. Get first REAL job. Buy first house. Adopt a dog.  Get married. Have first child. Realize that the first ‘home sweet home’ is just too small.  End of phase 1. Now, phase 2 may not be as typical as phase 1, but it’s a great route to follow:  Buy new home. Decide to build retirement portfolio. Keep first home as a rental property.

If you were able to follow phase 2 as listed above or are deciding at a later phase in your life to acquire rental properties, make sure you have your asset covered.  I sat down with my Property Manager and our long-time Maintenance Professional to devise a check-list of opportunities to maintain your/our long-term investments. Some people may have an obsession with recreating the 1986 blockbuster Money Pit, but that is not in our list of recommendations.

So what should you look out for to make sure your home is tip top?  First and foremost, if you are purchasing a home as an investment, listen to the home inspector carefully and follow his/her list of recommendations.  Moving forward, here are our top 22 items to keep in mind:

  • Keep water out – make sure caulk is not failing anywhere water exists (interior and exterior)
  • Have HVAC system serviced yearly
  • Have the sewer cleaned out yearly on older homes (especially with clay piping)
  • Have tankless water heaters serviced annually
  • Running toilets should have all rubber parts replaced
  • Ensure sump pump is working properly
  • Ensure all doors and windows seal properly to keep the weather out
  • Change air filter frequently (consider providing this service to tenants if it is hard to access)
  • Ensure spring hinges are working properly on door between the garage and the house
  • Replace weather stripping that is wearing
  • Seal granite countertops
  • Refinish hardwood floors when the finish is visibly wearing
  • Replace washer hoses (especially rubber) when needed
  • Ensure CO detectors, fire extinguishers and smoke detectors are working and not expired
  • Re-seal grout in showers
  • Trim trees and bushes away from the home
  • Don’t forget about the outside
    • Touch-up/paint your home
    • Replace rotted wood
    • Make sure everything is caulked and sealed
    • Ensure drainage/grading is pushing water away from your home
    • Stain fence/real wood deck when it no longer repels water (typically every other year)
    • Have roof inspected after wind/hail storms
    • Have gutters cleaned yearly (where mature landscaping exists)
    • Lubricate all moving parts on garage doors yearly
    • Ensure garage door seals to keep water out

“We spend thousands of dollars on a depreciating asset (car) and take it for regular oil chang-es, check-ups, and take it to the car wash every time it gets dirty, but we spend hundreds of thousands of dollars on a home and don’t do anything to it.”  – Bob, handyman

It is a best practice to make sure everything in your home is functioning properly. Don’t forget higher quality products typically last longer!

Brought to you by Sondra Lockett-Cameron, Marketing Manager for TJC Real Estate and Management Services. 

TJC Real Estate & Management Services • 303.324.6988 •

Your Neighborhood Realtors® Since 2005

© 2019

Design Trends: What’s Hot for 2019

There were many trends for 2018 that were fun and interesting, but as we begin Spring in 2019, some new trends are on the horizon. Here’s a quick photo tour of what you can expect to see more of in the coming year!


Tropical Plants are in for 2019. Succulents are taking a back seat to the bigger leafed and bolder tropical plants. Some varieties include: Banana plants, fiddle tree ficus, and snake plant.


Floral Wallpaper and Murals are still trending for 2019. Now with removable wallpaper and murals, all kinds of fun can be had to accent a wall or do a whole room!


Update your Cabinets with a fresh coat of paint continues to trend with various shades of muted gray, blues and greens.


Speaking of Green, teal blue/sea green is also a hot color for 2019.


Geometric Shapes are still showing up all over, in tile, textiles, lighting, rugs, and wallpaper.


And if hard edge geometric shapes are not your thing, Curvy Furniture is very in and showing up in many furniture outlets. The softer sophisticated edges are easy on the eyes.


Hygge (pronounced hoo gaa) in the Home , is a style that uses natural elements and conveys being cozy and content. It is clutter free, simple and a calm comfortable environment.

Stay tuned for more Design Trends 2019!

Brought to you by Meg Sebastian Evans, Owner of Meg Sebastian Interior Design.

Hosted by…

TJC Real Estate and Management Services • 303-324-6988 •

Your Neighborhood Realtors® since 2005

© 2019

What is Staging and Why Should You Stage Your Home?

Staging is the process of getting your home ready to sell. It is not decorating, but making your home appeal to many different buyers by showing its positive attributes. Many realtors are recommending that clients stage their home. The Real Estate Staging Association (RESA) studied 1,081 homes. The un-staged homes spent an average of 184 Days on the Market. After staging, these homes sold, on average, in 41 days. Homes that were staged prior to going on the market, sold in approximately 23 days. Here are some more quick facts:

The cost of staging is always less than your first price reduction, which is typically 1 to 5% of the asking price according to RESA.
Keeping you home immaculate and show home ready is not easy. Homes that are staged prior to listing spend 90% less time on the market according to association data.
Buyers tend to ask for fewer concessions when making an offer on a staged home.
Time to get started? Keep reading to find some great staging tips on getting your home market ready!

Take a look around your home and pack up specific collections (glasses, travel items, mementos). Clear out most of the Curio cabinet or the top of console tables or kitchen cabinets. Personal family photos should be taken down, at least the current ones. Sometimes historical or family portraits can be left up, but only if they don’t have your family name or location on them. For example, you could leave a nice black and white photo of Gramma, but it is harder if people recognize your family and children, as they may live in the neighborhood, etc. You want to have a blank slate so to speak, so folks can imagine living in your home. It can be difficult to let go of your home, but you can take your memories with you and you want to get the most value for your home in the least amount of time on the market.

Clean out the closets, and anything that feels crammed full. Pack it up or, better yet, donate it to Goodwill. Think it’s worth something? Have a garage sale. But take time to do this because once you get started, it is very cathartic. And get the whole family involved.  Have the kids make a pile and help them understand what is happening and why it is important. When people walk through the home, they will open drawers and closets, so make it appear there is plenty of space. You don’t have to completely empty closets or drawers, just make them neat and functional.

Clean and Deodorize
There’s a saying in the industry, “If you can smell it, you can’t sell it!”

If you own a pet, you must steam clean your carpets and make sure all pet odors have been removed. If you can’t tell if your house has an odor because you are used it to, your realtor will tell you and recommend a solution. As much as we love our furry friends, some folks are sensitive to smells etc.  Also, if your carpet has buckles or ripples, it is often just that it needs to be re-stretched which is usually a quick fix.

You may love your purple bedroom or orange kitchen, but most buyers will not. You have to remember that you are appealing to the masses. You can decorate your next home the way you want, but it is highly recommended to paint over bold colors in at least the kitchen, dining, living room and master bedrooms. These rooms will be the most important rooms photographed for your realtor and his marketing materials.  I recommend a light gray or even a warm white tone, see some color choices at the end of this post. Look up at your ceiling as well, signs of water damage or a sagging dry wall seam can alarm buyers. Check in with you realtor for recommendations.







Before Staging                                                          After Staging

What a difference a fresh lampshade or a couple of new throw pillows can make! Even some different wattage light bulbs can help a space. Many retailers have great accessories at low prices. Bedding should look clean and fresh, get rid of the tattered or dog fur covered comforter. You can often find a bed in a bag for a song! Think muted tones or a light pattern for bedding. Artwork is very personal as well. You may want to swap out some bold colors or religious themed pieces for some neutral colors, so no buyer gets stuck on something as they walk through. If you have an expensive or fragile piece of artwork or something that is very meaningful to you, it is best to put this away or transfer off sight as well. If you need a lot of help or want your home professionally staged, these items can be brought in for a rental and staging fee.

Your stager will be happy to rearrange and even eliminate some of your furniture depending on a room to make it feel more open and highlight a fireplace or view out a window. Often, we end up with too much furniture in a room and by simply moving one or two items, you can change the feel of a space. You want your buyer to move freely throughout your home and highlight the best features.

Brought to you by Meg Sebastian Evans, Owner of Meg Sebastian Interior Design. • 303.842.7077

© 2018

simple. efficient. safe. SMART HOMES.

Who are the Jones’?  And why is keeping up with them so exhausting, yet we feel is SO necessary?  While, it may not always be necessary, it can definitely be exhausting and yet, a good choice if you are following their SMART HOME trends.  For those that are way behind the Jones’, making your home a SMART HOME has the possibility of bringing a sense of zen to your life, the environment and your pocketbook.  Here is just a quick glance at the SMART HOME movement and a couple of sites worth checking out that can take you further on this journey.

what is a SMART HOME?

According to, “Smart Home is the term commonly used to define a residence that has appliances, lighting, heating, air conditioning, TVs, computers, entertainment audio & video systems, security, and camera systems that are capable of communicating with one another and can be controlled remotely by a time schedule, from any room in the home, as well as remotely from any location in the world by phone or internet.”

why have a SMART HOME?

convenience. safety.

Imagine this….

  • Going out on a Friday night date and forgetting if you left the stove on.  With a SMART HOME feature, you can check from afar and turn the stove off.
  • Coming home late at night by yourself can be a little intimidating.  With certain SMART HOME features, you have the ability to turn the lights on before you arrive.
  • Being on vacation should be worry free unless you have a nagging feeling that you left the doors unlocked.  No worries, lock them from the convenience of your phone.
  • Away for the weekend and getting an alert that someone was trying to break in? Call the authorities, as well as, turn on the lights and the TV as a quick deterent with ease from wherever you may be.

simplicity. efficiency.

  • Save time and money by allowing your SMART HOME technology to do the work for you.  Connect your lights, a/c and furnace to sensors to enter savings mode when you leave a room.
  • Connect your SMART HOME to a voice control device such as Google Voice or Alexa and control all your electronic devices by the sound and command of your voice.

There are many different levels that you can take your SMART HOME, from simple and inexpensive to technical and a big investment.  Any SMART HOME addition is designed to save you time and money, add value to your home and make your life easier. Check out these sites for a more in-depth look at these great life hacks:

Advantages of a SMART HOME

Best SMART HOME Devices

Looking to make improvements to your investment properties?  If you live in the Greater Denver area, contact TJC Real Estate and Management Services,  Central Park (formerly Stapleton)’s largest full-service real estate firm, for a complimentary consultation. We are unique in the industry as we are a one stop shop for real estate investors. TJC can help with the acquisition, property management, and asset management. Our goal is to create a long-term relationship that helps your asset(s) grow, as well as, provides stable, long-term ROI. We are happy to assist you on your journey to become a real estate entrepreneur and hands off landlord!

Schedule an appointment today to discuss your property management questions!

Brought to you by Sondra Lockett-Cameron, Marketing Manager for TJC Real Estate and Management Services.

TJC Real Estate & Management Services• 303.324.6988 •

Your Neighborhood Realtors® Since 2005

© 2018


Paying the Price of Landlord Mistakes

There are many types of landlords in the renting world:  

  • The Hands Off Landlord
  • The Nosey Landlord
  • The Mr. Fix It Landlord
  • The Let’s Be Friends Landlord
  • The Slum Lord

If you are already a landlord, then you can probably relate to the one or more of the titles (and hopefully not the latter one).  Though all of these different types of landlords may have their own unique way of handling their rental(s), there are some processes and some laws that shouldn’t be ignored.  Not heeding this advice may cost you more than just a headache down the road.

There are many facets to running a tight, profitable, somewhat grief-free rental property.  Here is a list of 5 of those components that will definitely save you time and money:

  1. Know the Landlord-Tenant Law in your state
  2. Research your HOA Bylaws and Policies
  3. Practice Fair Housing to the ‘T”
  4. Inspections, Inspections, Inspections
  5. Find Great Tenants and keep them happy

In this article, we will touch base on each of these items, but stay tuned for a series of blogs in the near future that will dissect each topic and dissolve any trepidation or skepticism that may surface at the mention of these concerns.

Landlord – Tenant Law

Every state implements different laws regarding the relationship and processes of the Landlord and Tenant.  It is within your role as a landlord to know and execute the laws accordingly. Did you know that if a tenant takes their landlord to court for lack of receiving their security deposit on time that they can sue their landlord for up to 3x the security deposit itself?  Here are a few more examples of Colorado Landlord – Tenant Laws:

  • Security Deposit In most instances, it is the responsibility of the landlord to return any refundable security deposit back to the tenant within 30 days after they move from the premises.  

★ Tip:  Doing a pre-move out inspection once the tenant gives their notice will allow you to assess possible damages and prepare by scheduling quotes for such repairs prior to move out.  This step will assist you in saving valuable time during that 30 day period as some vendors may not be as speedy as you would like at the time you need them most.

  • Abandoned Property – If a former tenant leaves items behind, it is state law that the landlord give the former tenant a 15 day written notice before selling or disposing of their property.
  • Warrant of Habitability – A tenant has the right to terminate a lease if the home is lacking some rather simple items (and of course the landlord does not oblige) such as:
    • Locks on exterior windows and doors
    • Adequate number of trash receptacles in good condition
    • Extermination of a rodent or vermin infestation

HOA Bylaws and Policies

Oh the HOA….unless you are sitting on the board of an HOA, you probably cringe every time the acronym is mentioned.  Don’t get me wrong, the

HOA’s serve a purpose, but that doesn’t mean that they are all created equal or easy to work with.  Know the laws as a property owner as well as for your tenants.

  • Move In Fees – Many (most) interior multi-family units have some sort of move-in process and fee/deposit required upon move-in and reserving the elevators.  
  • HOA Dues – Though it is tougher for your HOA to foreclose on your property these days due to non-payment, they can definitely restrict your tenants’ privileges such as receiving their annual community pool pass. Don’t be that landlord. Pay your dues.
  • HOA Rules –  You will get at least one warning before a violation fee is issued, but it will save everyone a lot of distress if the rules are known up front.  Typically, if your tenant(s) keep their porches tidy, don’t smoke, pull their weeds, put trash in proper place and doesn’t use the wrong grill on their balcony, then everyone should be good, but rules can change, so stay informed.
    • Tip: Know your rules and pass them along to your tenant prior to move in, better yet, with a copy of their lease.

Fair Housing Laws

Let’s keep it simple.  It is unlawful to advertise for or make the decision to rent a property based on race, color, sex, familial status, handicap, national origin or religion.  For ALL the details, it would be wise to take a class and/or read more HERE.


So you found the PERFECT tenant.  They were SO nice. They pay their rent every month, ON TIME.  They never submit maintenance requests, AAHHH! A year later, they give their 30 or 60 day notice just like their lease states.  Everything is rolling along as you dreamed it would until you visit the property for the first time in over 11 months. OUCH! The weeds have overgrown, the fridge has been leaking for, well, a very long time, the hardwood floors are wrecked, and the east side outer window sills are rotting off your home due to last season’s bad hail storm and the lack of paint that was barely attached.  Completely the tenants’ fault? No. 60% your fault and/or doubtlessly avoidable? Yes, probably. The tenants should have maintained the lawn and reported the leak, but if you would have visited the home at least once every 3-6 months, you could have been more prepared and possibly have caught a couple of the problems before they were beyond repair.

  • Tip:  It should state in your lease that the lessor has the right to enter the home at any time during reasonable hours for the means of inspections, improvements or re-renting the property.  We always give our tenants a 24 hour courtesy unless it is an emergency and it is also wise to take in account the tenants’ right to quiet enjoyment (which should also be stated in the lease).

Find a Great Tenant! And keep them happy…

This last component to successfully managing your rental investment with as little grief as possible is to find a great tenant and do your best within reason to keep them happy and at arms’ length.

  • Take enough time to market your property.  It is in our lease that 60 days notice to vacate is required which allows plenty of time to find a new tenant.
    • Use this time wisely and utilize proper advertising techniques from the get go: good photos, precise description and free online advertising such as Zillow and Craigslist.
    • Don’t take your first applicant if they are not what you are looking for in terms of pets, credit score, rental history, etc.  Just make sure you are complying with Fair Housing laws and staying consistent with all prospective tenants.
    • Make sure you are off to a good start with your new tenant:
      • House is professionally cleaned and the maintenance checklist is up to par.
      • All communications have been clear, prompt and delivered with a kind, professional tone.
    • Keep home in good working order throughout terms of lease.
    • Take any complaints with an open ear.  If your tenant is disgruntled, listen first.  Then try to come to a mutual agreement. It will make everyone’s life easier in the end.

If you live in Greater Denver area, contact TJC Real Estate and Management Services for a complimentary consultation.  We are unique in the industry as we are a one stop shop for real estate investors. TJC can help with the acquisition, property management, and asset management. Our goal is to create a long-term relationship that helps your asset(s) grow, as well as, provides stable, long-term ROI. We are happy to assist you on your journey to become a successful real estate entrepreneur!

Schedule an appointment today to discuss your property management questions!

Brought to you by Sondra Lockett-Cameron, Marketing Manager for TJC Real Estate and Management Services and Distinctive Properties.

TJC Real Estate & Management Services • 303.324.6988 •

Your Neighborhood Realtors® Since 2005

© 2018


Managing Your Rental Investments


Like any investment, keeping your current rental, buying a new rental property or converting your current home into a rental, may seem like a leap of faith, and to some degree it is.  In today’s market, given the low interest rates and record high rental rates, it is the perfect way to diversify your investments, but with rental properties, there are many moving parts that can make or break your investment.

Rental properties are versatile as you may have them for short-term or long-term investments.  No matter the length, there is the deep lying concern that may linger in your subconscious: should you manage the property yourself or hire a reputable property management service to eliminate the guesswork and hassle of being a landlord? Neither decision is an easy one to make and both will have costs involved.  As we have all heard before, “Time is money” and this saying definitely rings true with being a landlord. Now it is up to you to know which route is best for your present and future endeavors of being a landlord.

The Big Picture

Let’s first lay out some scenarios as well as a list of priorities that go hand in hand with owning a rental property.


  1.   You don’t mind having your family dinner interrupted or be woken up in the middle of the night to handle of maintenance call of no heat or a water leak.
  2.  You have the time and resources to advertise a property, conduct showings, complete the screening process, prepare a lease, execute a move-in inspection, and ready a property for a prospective tenant.
  3.  You are wanting to expand your portfolio of rental properties in the area.
  4.  You have one or more rental properties and live out of the city or state.
  5.  You are working full-time or trying to enjoy the golden years of retirement while doing your best to make the most out of your rental investment.


  •      ***Best return on investment***
  •      Time on market and/or vacancy
  •      Rent pool and advertising reach
  •      Screen prospective tenants
  •      Getting prime rent
  •      Having a professional lease
  •      Legal services and possible evictions
  •      Handling tenant challenges, HOA communication and maintenance requests
  •      Finding trustworthy and quality vendors
  •      On-going property upkeep
  •      Collecting rents and security deposits
  •      Returning security deposits upon assessing possible damages
  •      Accounting/Taxes

Let’s Dig Deeper

Now let’s look at some qualifying questions to make sure that you have the fair ability to get your best return on your investment if you were to manage the property yourself:

  •      Do I have the time to answer and take care of maintenance and tenant challenges?
  •      Am I willing to answer after hour maintenance emergency calls?
  •      Do I have the skills to handle most common maintenance requests?  If not, do I know trustworthy and quality vendors?
  •      Do I have time to advertise the property, organize showings, show the property, and screen tenants effectively in order to acquire qualified tenants, appease current tenants, and keep vacant time to a minimum?
  •      Do I have time to manage on-going property upkeep in order to prolong the quality of the home?
  •      Do I have time to collect rents and manage the security deposits?
  •      Do I have the knowledge of HOA regulations, tenant-landlord laws, and means to keep correct records for taxes/accounting purposes?

So to keep it simple, if you fall into scenario 1 or 2, understand the pertinent priorities to owning a successful rental property and said yes to at least half of the qualifying questions, then it probably wouldn’t make sense to hire a property manager.  But just in case you are curious why hiring a property manager can in fact save you money, then please, keep reading.

It’s Real

First you will see the typical costs of allowing a reputable property management company to manage your investment.  Second you will find a condensed list of what to expect when owning a rental property. All in all, the burden of the costs can be greatly counteracted by allowing a professional to handle the burden of the expectations (along with the other great ROI benefits linked in the next paragraph).

The Cost

You will usually pay:

  •      about 10% of the monthly rent as a management fee
  •      50% of a leasing fee every time the company finds new tenants
  •      possibly $100-$300 misc fees per year
  •      Average of 1-3 days vacant time.
  •      Hands off experience, except for brief communication regarding maintenance items, lease renewals, and new leases.
  •      Remember that you will also pay for all maintenance costs, but do not hire a company that upcharges on these costs.

The Expectations

Here are a few examples of what you should expect when owning managing your rental investment:

  •      A new tenant or renewal every 1-2 years.
  •      Fresh paint every 2-3 years.
  •      New carpet every 5-7 years.
  •      New water heater every 10 years.
  •      The possibility of dealing with flood, hail, fire or tenant damage.
  •      The possibility of some tenants having different expectations of quality compared to yourself or previous tenants.
  •      In current market, rent increase every year.

Let the ROI Begin

Now how would a property management company actually become an investment and increase your ROI instead of being a liability and expense? Read about the top 10 ways hiring a reputable property management company can save you (time and) money.

All in all, hiring a property management company may not be the best move for every landlord, but if it does make sense for you, they will be able to assist you with the balance of being rent ready without eating too much into the bottom line.

If you live in Greater Denver area, contact TJC Real Estate and Management Services for a complimentary consultation.  We are unique in the industry as we are a one stop shop for real estate investors. TJC can help with the acquisition, property management, and asset management. Our goal is to create a long-term relationship that helps your asset(s) grow, as well as, provides stable, long-term ROI. We are happy to assist you on your journey to become a real estate entrepreneur and hands off landlord!

Schedule an appointment today to discuss your property management questions!

Brought to you by Sondra Lockett-Cameron, Marketing Manager for TJC Real Estate and Management Services.

TJC Real Estate & Management Services • 303.324.6988 •

Your Neighborhood Realtors® Since 2005

© 2018