Tag: Distinctive Properties

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 (www.ReadingPartners.org) 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 (https://readingpartners.org/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 • info@tjcrealestate.com

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 • info@tjcrealestate.com

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 • info@tjcrealestate.com

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.

MegSebastianInteriorDesign.com • 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  smarthomeusa.com, “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 •info@tjcrealestate.com

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 • info@tjcrealestate.com

Your Neighborhood Realtors® Since 2005

© 2018