TRELORA v. REALTORS®: Who is right for you?

Many have asked, "How are you different from a traditional REALTOR®?" Being that our name TRELORA is the word "REALTOR®" jumbled up, we'd like to tell you just how different (and better) we are for you when you're selling your next home.

Below is a sample Listing Agreement our sellers sign to reference as we explain the stark differences (and similarities) when it comes to service, pricing and contract terms. Bear with us - we tried to keep this short, but there's too many awesome things about TRELORA.


With TRELORA, you’ll always receive first-rate service. Your home will be marketed, added to the MLS and your showings will be managed by us. You will get the best price for your home with our expert negotiating skills and we’ll walk you through the inspection, appraisal and closing better than any other REALTOR® you’ll speak with. Read our reviews on Google, Facebook, BBB, Zillow or Yelp.



TRELORA's Home Advisor Agents, our pricing experts, price approximately 800 homes per year and will always get you the most money in the sale of your home. 

  • Check out section 11. PRICE AND TERMS


With us, you’ll pay one flat fee instead of the “traditional commission” amounting to 3% of your home price. That’s $12,000 on a $400,000 home. At that rate, you’ll save $9,500 with our flat fee of $2,500.



TRELORA allows you to decide, with our advice and guidance, how much commssion the buyer's agent should be paid. Traditionally it's set to 3% of your home price, but it doesn't have to be that way. If you offered $2,500 to a buyer’s agent instead, you'd save another $9,500 on the sale of a $400,000 home. Keep in mind, buyer’s agents’ commissions are negotiable.

  • Check out section 7.2. Cooperative Broker Compensation


Unlike traditional REALTORS® who typically make you sign a 6-month listing agreement and add a holdover clause of 30 days (which means you can’t list with anyone else for a certain period of time), there are no risks or hidden long-term liabilities with TRELORA. You can terminate at any time for any reason - no questions asked, no further obligations.

  • Check out section 28. ADDITIONAL PROVISIONS


TRELORA is the smart way to buy and sell real estate. When considering your options, use these facts to make sure you are protected when you sell your home. Learn more tips on how to interview a REALTOR® here. Remember, all commissions and listing terms are negotiable.




Contact us to schedule your free pricing consultation

How to Win in a Bidding War

In today’s hot real estate market, it seems like a rarity to come across a home that doesn’t have multiple offers within hours of going on the market. As a buyer, you need all the help you can get, which is why we’ve put together a list of things you can do to help put the seller in your corner.

Here are 5 ways to get your offer signed:

1. Write a Letter to the Seller

Connecting with the seller on a personal level can really set you apart. Can you imagine your kids playing soccer in their backyard like they did? Mention that in your appeal to the seller’s soft side. Including a picture of your family helps a seller put a face to a name, making that extra special connection.

2. Guarantee Your Offer

Homes these days are selling for more than their appraised value because of the bidding wars. Providing a guarantee to the seller that you’ll pay them the under contract price even if the appraisal doesn’t come in at value can make your offer that much stronger.

3. Know Your Limits

Another contract clause you can provide to make your offer stronger is an escalation clause, which effectively means you’ll match or exceed any other offer by a fixed amount (example: $5,000 above any other offer). You can specify the maximum amount you will offer to keep you from going over your budget.

4. Sweeten the Deal for the Seller

TRELORA buyers have extra buying power because they get back the difference between the commission offered to the Buyer’s Agent and our flat fee of $2,500. That’s $5,900 on a $300,000 home. TRELORA buyers can give that credit to the Seller or Seller’s agent to make their offer $5,900 stronger than a competing offer with the same purchase price. Essentially, the Seller would net more cash with your offer.

5. Be Flexible on When You Take Possession

On occasion, a seller will need to stay in the home after the sale of the home final. Offering flexibility with that time can set you apart from the competition. The maximum number of days for a rent-back agreement is 60 days in Colorado, which means you won’t have to wait too long before moving into your new home and you could be helping the seller out.

TRELORA is Your Wingman

To help you compete in today’s hot market, your Buy Team is forging close relationships with local listing agents to help your home purchase go smoothly from start to finish. We help you save money and get you your dream home. TRELORA is real estate on your terms.

Contact us today to find out how much buying power you'll have when purchasing your next home with TRELORA.

The Ultimate Guide to Selling Your Home for Max Value

You’ve made the big decision to sell your home--congratulations! Now, one of the most common thoughts that comes to mind after making this decision is, "How can I sell my home for the most money in this market?" Here are the top 4 things you can do to make sure you sell for max value.

1. The price is right

The absolute most important part of getting your home sold (especially in this red-hot Denver market) is pricing your home right. When you hire your agent or brokerage to represent you, they will run a comparative market analysis (CMA) to give you a data-driven recommended price. They will evaluate the recently sold homes in your area, take into account days their on market and the condition of your home.

If you overprice your home, your home can sit longer and you run the risk of going stale on the market. Buyers will wonder why your home has been on the market for more than 10 days in the condition of Denver’s real estate market. 

2. Get the right agent for you

Real estate agents are not few and far between. That's why it's critical to do your research and make sure they are someone you want to work with for the next 60-90 days. If you want to save the equity you've built in your home, it's important to ask the agent, "How much are you charging to sell my home?"

3. From the outside looking in

The ultimate goal is to give prospective buyers a blank canvas so they can begin to picture living in your home. As soon as they walk in the door they’re probably thinking, “Will my couch fit against that wall? How is my bed going to fit in that space?”

Homeowners can sometimes get carried away with making improvements like changing out the lighting and plumbing fixtures or replacing the cabinetry before putting their home on the market. The challenge with that is not every buyer’s taste is the same. A fresh coat of neutral-colored paint can go a long way in making the home feel updated. If you’re going to go the extra mile, we suggest starting with the two main rooms buyers pay attention to: the kitchen and the master suite. That’s a sure way to impress potential buyers.

4. First impressions count -- a lot

It’s human nature to begin evaluating and formulating an opinion on something as soon as we see it. That’s why it’s important to make a great first impression with your home’s curb appeal. The price range for updating your landscaping can be anything from a couple hundred dollars to… well, you name it.

Keep in mind that the same rule for updating the inside applies to updating the exterior of your home: your style will not necessarily be the same as the person looking at your home. Simplicity can go a long way.

We hope you learned a few tips on getting your home ready for the market and selling for max value! If you enjoyed this blog, please share with your friends and comment below with suggestions for our next article.

Happy Selling!

Knowledge is Power, Knowledge is Your Money

What is the commission you pay to a real estate agent on a house? Most would say 6%, split between the buyer’s and seller’s agent, but what if you knew that it was all negotiable? And, you could save some of that money to buy more house or keep your hard-earned equity?

Over the years, the real estate industry has created the belief that there is a “standard commission”. While some homeowners don’t mind paying that rate because they believe their agent has earned it, most would be happy to know they could negotiate that commission to benefit them in their home buying or selling process.

With the use of technology, homebuyers are able to find their dream home online easier than ever before. Why would you have to pay a REALTOR® 3% if you found your own home? Some would say it is because of the work that goes into it after you are under contract, not just opening a door, and to that we say “touche” but a question to ask yourself when it comes to commissions is, “Is my agent truly earning their commission check?”

On a home that is $400,000, with the buyer's REALTOR® making 2.8% commission (the “standard commission” in Colorado), that equates to $11,200. On a home that is $850,000, the REALTOR®would make 2.8% commission, totaling $23,800. Why should an agent who is going through the same procedures for a homebuyer on a $850,000 home as the $400,000 home earn $12,600 more?

These days there are quite a few brokerages that are offering their services for a flat fee vs the “standard commission”. If you are a buyer who is looking at a home listing that is offering less than 2.8% commission (ask your agent if they don't tell you!), the sellers probably know that commissions are negoitable and are trying to save their hard earned equity - just like you could.

What you should also know is you don’t have to pay the difference to get your agent 2.8% commission. A REALTOR® can take a reduced commission and we see quite a few agents who do in order to get the deal done for their client.

REALTORS® have been known to tell a homebuyer, “Don’t worry about the commission, the seller pays it anyways.” If that is indeed the case, you should ask them to take a commission less than 2.8% to strengthen your offer. Some will say “OK” and unfortunately some will say the dreaded line, “If they don’t pay me the 2.8% commission, you owe me the difference,” which then voids their statement of “Don’t worry about the commission, the seller pays it anyways.”

Did you know that there are many ways you can either save your equity or buy more home? If you are a seller, you can negotiate the listing agent commission as well as the commission you are offering the buyer agent who successfully brings a buyer! You can use those savings for retirement, your kid's tuition, or our personal favorite... a kitchen remodel! Also, if you are a buyer and searching for a home, you can submit an offer with a reduced commission to strengthen your offer, or you can negotiate the commission with your buyer agent. If they are offering 2.8%, you can use the excess to pay for your closing costs or reduce the amount of your loan. Who doesn’t love a smaller mortgage payment!?

It is always best to ask as many questions as you can, so you can be fully equipped with the most information before purchasing something, especially a home! Buying a home is a big investment and selling your home is stressful enough without thinking about how much you’re spending on a REALTOR® vs the actual house. We believe you should always live in curiosity, and you shouldn’t let anyone else tell you how you spend your money. Knowledge is power and in this case, knowledge is money.

Live in the light, not the dark.

For more information on how you can talk with your agent about commissions, visit

Removing Barriers, Reducing Stress

Why can you chat with someone on Craigslist before you buy their car, but you can't chat with someone online before you buy their house? Seems silly, doesn't it? So we decided to do something about it.

In comes TRELORA Connect: the only way for home buyers and sellers to chat anonymously online BEFORE they go under contract. TRELORA Connect was created to give the power and control of the real estate process back to the people who deserve it the most: the buyer and the seller.

Here are the top 5 reasons to use TRELORA Connect:

1. Buyers can get accurate answers. Nobody knows the home better than the seller, not even their agent.

2. Buyers can get basic questions answered quickly instead of relying on a game of telephone (buyer to selling agent to listing agent to seller AND BACK).

3. Sellers can initiate conversations with buyers who are looking for a home that matches their home's description.

4. Buyers and sellers can form a relationship early on in the process. They aren't just two people behind walls created by their agents. 

5. Buyers and sellers endure less stress throughout the process. Negotiations, the inspection process, and everything else goes much smoother and gets resolved with much less friction when the buyer and seller already have rapport with one another.

One of the great features of TRELORA Connect is that users can turn it on and off at any time. If at any point a buyer or seller feels uncomfortable with the questions being asked, such as "will you take $395,000 for your home," their TRELORA team can jump in and handle the negotiations. If the messages become too plentiful or cumbersome, users can just flip the switch in their MyTRELORA account and those messages and inquiries will be handled by their dedicated TRELORA team members.

To enjoy the many benefits of TRELORA Connect, visit our search site and log in or sign up for a My TRELORA account. You can turn on TRELORA Connect in your account settings and set up a search to receive daily updates with new listings that meet your criteria. Happy chatting!

Affordable Real Estate, Affordable Home Ownership

Today TRELORA and Homestead Title are volunteering at Habitat for Humanity Metro Denver's Sheridan Square project, the largest development in Habitat for Humanity of Metro Denver’s history. In the spirit of spreading the word of good causes, we wanted to tell you why and how Habitat plays a critical role in the community.

In today's competitive real estate landscape, it has become harder and harder for searching buyers to find their dream home at a price that works for them. Then, there's our friends and family who can't afford any type of housing in Denver because the prices have skyrocketed or they're just not in a position to purchase a home.

Why this matters:

Affordable home buying is a rarity in the white-hot metro Denver home market. As demand outpaces supply, home prices continue to push higher and higher out of reach of hardworking families. According to the latest data for February 2017:

  • Housing inventory hit an all-time record-low in February in Denver with just 3,878 single family homes and condos active on the market

  • The average home price in Denver was $402,516 in February

  • $72,771 is the minimum annual income needed to buy a home in Denver according to

The market conditions can price out hardworking families looking to buy affordable homes. Unfortunately, this prevents families from purchasing safe and stable homes that help them build their future.

For every home listed and sold with us, TRELORA and Homestead Title will donate a portion of the sale to Habitat for Humanity of Metro Denver.

Habitat Denver builds and sells homes to hard-working families in metro Denver making between 30-80 percent of the area median income which ranges from $24,030 to $64,080 annually for a family of four.

Habitat homeowners build their own homes alongside volunteers and community partners and pay an affordable mortgage. Homeownership for low-income families provides financial independence and stability in their lives to build brighter futures.

The support in the community helps families build financial stability, provide for their children, and help our community thrive. Whether you partner with TRELORA and Homestead Title, or with a gift of your own, we and Habitat Denver thanks you for your support of affordable homeownership.

For more information on how to donate or get involved with Habitat for Humanity Metro Denver, please email us or visit Habitat Denver's website.

It's a Waiting Game... Right?


Do good things always come to those who wait?

We don't think so; especially when it comes to those Coloradans who are actively searching for their next home or condo. Although some buyers worry about the lack of inventory and others are scared away by rising home prices, most are forgetting about one of the most important factors of affordability: interest rates. 

Post-housing crisis, we have taken low interest rates for granted. They haven't always remained this low for so long and they likely won't stay this low for much longer, according to talking heads.

Reuters reports, "Financial markets financial markets saw just a 30 percent chance of the Federal Reserve raising interest rates in March; but by Friday after a striking series of comments from Fed officials, including Chair Janet Yellen, traders saw an 80 percent chance."

Most millennials, now the largest age group of home buyers, were probably not even born yet when interest rates were almost 19 percent in the early 1980s. Just imagine how much house could you buy if interest rates returned to that level at the next policy meeting on March 14-15.

We're not saying they are going to jump 15 percent anytime soon, but with the DOW hitting record highs, unemployment shrinking, and the economy fairing quite well as of late, the Federal Reserve has to feel more comfortable raising interest rates now than they would have 4 to 5 years ago.  

According to The New York Times, Federal Reserve chairwoman Janet Yellen says the Fed is likely to raise interest rates next week. As of Tuesday, Bloomberg has indicated a 98 percent probability that the Federal Reserve will raise interest rates at its March meeting. 

Locking your rate today and buying soon could potentially save you thousands of dollars in interest over the life of your loan. Now is the time to write and submit your strong offers. You're only going to be able to afford less and less as interest rates increase.

Contact TRELORA today to get those offers out while interest rates are still low! | 303.886.3000

5 Last-Minute Decor Tips for Hosting the Perfect Thanksgiving Dinner

Photo via Brie Williams

Photo via Brie Williams

Thanksgiving is a wonderful opportunity for friends and families to come together in joy and gratitude and create lasting memories. The food, libations and laughter are more often than not of epic proportions. Check out these five last-minute ways for you to make this another Thanksgiving for the books. 

1. Extraordinary Tablescape

Create a stunning setting for lively conversation and warm feelings of gratitude at your table. Adding some color with fall-hued flowers or the unique texture of moss can truly set your table apart. Keep it elegant with candles in soft golds and simple patterns, if any.

Photo via Camille Styles

Photo via Camille Styles

2. DIY Features

Make your guests feel extra special by designing quick, custom features. Create a placemat from parchment paper, which will match perfectly with any tablescape you design, and give your guests a chance to reflect on what they're thankful for. You'll spark laughter and joyful conversation while enjoying a delicious meal. You can also put their name on the placemat to serve as their place card.

Photo from Clarita at Skies of Parchment

Photo from Clarita at Skies of Parchment

3. The Ultimate Bar Cart

Give your guests the ultimate water cooler by creating a stunning bar cart stocked with all the ingredients to create the perfect tonic. If you are so bold, you can also place recipes of autumn-style elixirs in front of the strategically placed ingredients or pre-make them in glass milk bottles. Here you'll find creative and delicious cocktail and drink recipes from the ultimate host, Martha Stewart herself. If you're just starting to build your own, take a look at the anatomy of a perfect bar cart from Red Envelope.

Bar cart via Southern Living

Bar cart via Southern Living

4. Leftovers Station

Send your friends and family home with Thanksgiving leftovers to enjoy for days after. Gather takeout packaging and print these creative labels from Kojo Designs to create a memorable leftovers station.

Photo via Kojo Designs

Photo via Kojo Designs

5. Pumpkins

Pumpkins can be used in so many ways and in so many places around your home to bring in the fall feelings. Using pumpkins as a house marker can spruce up your front door and help your guests find their way. If you want to go the extra mile, you can carve your house number into the pumpkin and light it up with a candle. You'll make sure your guests can see it in the dark if your porch light isn't bright enough. 

Photo via Creatively Living

Photo via Creatively Living

Happy Thanksgiving! We hope you have the most wonderful holiday filled with love, joy and gratitude. 

Hosting Thanksgiving or Friendsgiving at your house? Tell us if you tried any of these tips out and how they went! Have a suggestion for next year's blog post about decorating? Tell us in the comment section below and don't forget to subscribe to our newsletter!

Winter Is Coming... 5 Ways to Prepare Your Home for the Impending Chill


Although it’s still a whopping 78 degrees outside in Denver, the foliage is kindly reminding us that it’s time to prepare our homes for the colder weather which will be upon us shortly. Here are a few low-cost tips and tricks to help you brace for the cold and save you some cash this winter.


1. Get Your Windows & Doors Ready

Your heating dollars could be going out the window if you have tiny unsuspecting leaks or holes letting the hot air out. Control heat from escaping your home and reduce your bill with these nifty tips for your windows and doors.

If there are gaps in the trim, you can put rope caulking (mortite) inside the window cases and along the cracks of the outside window frame. Alternatively, you can take some good ol’ cotton balls and tweezers and shove them into the gaps or cracks where you feel air coming in.

Keep your curtains open during the day to let the sun heat up your home and close them at night to help retain heat. If you’ve got some room in your budget, you can change out your curtains to a heavier fabric to help keep the heat in. Plus, you can decorate your home for the season with new window dressings in fall hues. When in doubt, you can turn on your ceiling fans to help keep the warm air directed towards the inside of the house instead of escaping out the windows.

Install weatherstripping and a door sweep in order to seal up those cracks. Check with your local hardware store (or Google) to determine what type of weatherstripping you’ll need. These quick, affordable fixes are easy to do and will be extremely effective for you in the long run.

Image via Gutter Helmet

Image via Gutter Helmet


2. Clean Your Gutters

Get rid of any buildup or blockages when the last leaf falls! Eliminate the possibility of flooding (and unwanted costs) by taking less than an hour of your day to attend to your gutters. Avoiding this task can result in mold and pollen, foundation damage, pest invasion, ice dams, and more.

Quick note: Make sure you gather all your tools outside and a sturdy ladder before approaching this task. It can get messy and you don’t want to track dirt in and out of your home. Also, if you take a garden hose to the little bits and pieces at the end you can make sure your gutters are super clean and the downspouts have good clearance at the same time.

This tutorial from PlanItDIY has a helpful video and explains clearly how to attack this task.

Image via Mother Earth News

Image via Mother Earth News


3. Ready the Furnace

This is a simple yet important step in preparing your home for the winter. Two critical parts to this step are changing your furnace filter and installing a programmable thermostat. Not only will changing your filter save you money by keeping your furnace running at peak efficiency, you’ll also reduce the amount of pollutants entering your home, sweet home. You can also extend the life of your furnace by making sure you take care of this task periodically. Check out this tutorial from The Family Handyman so you can do it all by yourself!

Next, install a programmable thermostat. They’re easy to install and there is no shortage of YouTube tutorials that can help you out if the written instructions aren’t enough. With simple programmables costing as low as $20 or a Nest Learning Thermostat running you $250 per unit, there are plenty of options to suit your financial needs.


4. Prep the Fireplace

Make sure your fireplace is cleaned and functioning properly by inspecting it thoroughly. Check the exterior part of the fireplace to ensure the chimney cap is present and in good condition. If this critical part is missing, you can expect flooding in your house and a whole lot of mess. Side note: this metal piece makes sure snow, rain and other debris doesn’t get into your chimney and also prevents sparks from landing on your roof, possibly creating a fire situation.

Take a flashlight and inspect the inside of the fireplace. Check to make sure it is free from combustible materials such as a bird’s nest and the flue opens, closes and seals well. If you do this during the day you should be able to see daylight when looking through an open damper.

Make sure to keep the damper closed when the fireplace is not in use. This can be a major source of heat escaping your home, thus making your bill much more damaging than necessary.

Home Depot created a handy video that walks you through the steps to get your fireplace ready.


5. Clean & Prepare Yard Equipment

Who hasn’t heard the old adage, “fail to prepare, prepare to fail?” Well, when it comes to snow in Colorado - or basically anywhere where it snows - you can bet this will be relevant very soon. Not only should you make sure to clean your spring-summer tools before putting them away, you should also prepare your snow-clearing equipment before the first snow falls. This way you won’t be overwhelmed when there’s a surprise flurry. Plus, your spring equipment will be quietly waiting, all clean and ready.


Comment below with additional tips & tricks that you've found useful in your winter-prep routine! Let us know if you have suggestions for more blog posts that you would like to see from the TRELORA Team.

*Disclaimer: any mention of businesses or trades is not an endorsement by TRELORA.

Sprucing Up for an Autumn Sale

Along with lower temperatures and the brilliant fall foliage we enjoy in Colorado this time of year comes another seasonal transition: less real estate competition as the market begins to cool a bit in the autumn months. If you're planning a fall or winter home sale, now is a great time to plan a home remodel or a few simple upgrades in advance of your listing. Read on for insight into the most effective projects for your remodeling dollar. 

National home sales stats point to kitchen upgrades, complete kitchen renovations, bathroom renovations and new wood flooring offer the most buyer appeal and high resale value. The key is to set a reasonable budget and not to go overboard; studies also show high end kitchen or bath makeovers ($45k +) tend to recoup a lower percentage of the investment at closing. Overdo it and you'll waste time you could've been on the market and money you won't see again, all for the sake of someone else's kitchen or bathroom. Save the big bucks for your next home. (And work with commission free TRELORA to save on your next sale or home purchase, of course.)

If you are ready to move on from your current house and you're not interested in a major overhaul, there are lots of minor upgrades you can make for a small investment of time and money that will impact your home's appeal to buyers without a big hit to your wallet.


A new tile backsplash in a smaller kitchen. 

New paint in any room. Don't forget ceilings; if you've lived in the home for several years or the ceilings seem dingy, borrow a ladder and pick up an extendable paint roller rod at the hardware store. For a hundred bucks or so in crisp white paint on the ceiling, every room in your home will feel refreshed and a bit taller. 

Freshly painted trim will give a similar effect of newness. Just make sure you are prepared to spend a fair bit of time painting every speck of trim in your home, or investing in someone else doing the job. Painting trim takes time. 

New faucets, door knobs or cabinet hardware in kitchens and baths. Choose classic finishes rather than following trends. You'll find more affordable options and more buyers will appreciate the look.

More paint! Paint the front door and if necessary, modernize the hardware. Replacing an entire front door set up can be a bit more costly, but painting the door an attractive new shade will draw potential buyers in and cost you half a can of paint and a Saturday afternoon. 

Lighting. Lighting. Lighting. Dimly lit rooms can appear dated, dingy and downright dirty. At minimum replace your light bulbs with attractive GE Reveal bulbs and consider updated main floor ceiling fixtures and exterior lights. For a smaller investment you can take with you to your next house, pick up a pair or two of classic lamps to update the living room and master bedroom. A bit of symmetry can pull a space together and well-put-together spaces feel like a better investment to buyers, which can mean more cha-ching for you. 

Get a new shower curtain for every bathroom and consider replacing dated or fussy drapes with something more neutrals. A tip? Drapes should hang several inches above the top of the window and break at or just past the floor. You wouldn't wear highwater pants to a job interview, don't hang highwater drapes on the windows when trying to sell your home. 

You can make a big impact on the interior of your home without bringing in anything new or spending a dime; donate or pack up 10-20% of your stuff - especially anything personal, religious or highly taste specific (not everyone loves Coca Cola collectibles, cuckoo clocks or medieval stone crosses, as an example). Your home will feel more spacious and buyers will be able to see themselves in it more easily. 

Don't forget the exterior of your home. Top off the mulch in your flower beds (even if nothing is growing there now), trim grass along fences, hedges and decorative areas, even if you normally skip that task. Consider edging the lawn if you've never done that. Trim back unwieldy bushes or shrubs, or hire a professional to do it. Clear gutters and any other spots likely to trap leaves or other debris. If you'll go on the market soon, pick up a few pumpkins or a couple of hardy potted mums to bring autumn cheer to your entry. 

Autumn is a great time to list your home for sale with less competition and a trend toward serious buyers and fewer looky-loos. Contact us for a referral to a qualified local tradesmen, advice on which projects to tackle and which to pass over, and how you can save thousands on the sale of your current home and purchase of your next home in the Greater Denver Area. We think commission free real estate transactions are kinda cool - and we're pretty sure you will, too.  

Friday Feature: Atelier Interior Design Q&A

Designers Katie Schroder and Erika Rundiks

In this week's Friday Feature we interviewed the masterminds behind Atelier Interior Design, a Denver-based full service interior design firm. Designers Katie Schroder and Erika Rundiks have over 25 years combined experience. Their designs are "driven by vibrant color and pattern, textural and sculptural details with eclectic style."

Katie and Erika were each inspired to be interior designers from a young age. Katie's mother worked with an interior designer on her own childhood home and would wait with baited breath for her mother to receive new items so she could help her unwrap them. Erika has always loved being in beautiful environments having traveled often from a young age and collecting beautiful treasures from around the world along the way. 


TRELORA: What is the most important piece of advice you would give someone remodeling their home?

Atelier: Come up with a plan before you start. A well-designed home is all about the layers and if it's done well you can avoid spending money on every single item you don't think is quite perfect yet. They need to know what they're getting into monetarily so they're not surprised in the end. Sometimes people go into a project thinking "it can't be that much" and they're overwhelmed when they find out how much things actually cost. If you know numbers going into it then you can better allocate your money.

The rooms that people remodel the most are kitchens and bathrooms. So if you're going to remodel the kitchen then don't forget the backsplash. I think that's one of the most important areas to elevate the design and get the most bang for your buck. Give it a little more personality and exude something special. 

Paint goes a long way too. Having someone professionally paint your home is amazing.

TRELORA: For a first time homebuyer who has a limited budget, what small improvements would you suggest to spruce up an outdated space? 

Atelier: I would say paint, pillows and lighting. Switching out a dining room light can just "wow" you. 

TRELORA: Do you have any other design advice for first-time home buyers?

Atelier: Don't embellish things that you don't want to notice. If it's an eyesore then you want it to go away so don't try to draw attention to it. 

TRELORA: How does your creative process work when you're picking out different pieces and designing a space? How do you decide what matches and what doesn't?

Atelier: We both intentionally try not to match things. We love all kinds of textures like wood, metal, glass, ceramic, rough, smooth, shiny - it all depends on the client. For people who don't like too much pattern you're going to accentuate texture more because that will give them interest without scaring them. 

You just really have to go for it and not overthink it. We also believe in your gut reaction. If you look at a room and your gut reaction is "this is fantastic" then you're onto something. People are naturally drawn to what they love and they just have to stop fighting it. 

TRELORA: What's the best way to add some design elements to a home for the changes in seasons?

Atelier: I thin that any kind of arrangement is great. In the spring we love having willow branches and pussy willows and aspen leaves and cattails in the fall. In the winter having little spruce trees in the home is great. They're small, seasonally-driven inexpensive accessories that can really add to the design element. 

Pillows, throws and candles are easy seasonal changes as well because all you're doing is changing the color and - voilà - you have a totally different look. We have a client that changes her patterned drapes for each season. If you have the money to do that it's a great way to make a big change.

TRELORA: What was your favorite project so far and why?

Atelier: We both love any kind of culture in a project. If a client has traveled a lot and they're interested in different kinds of ethnic patterns, textiles and motifs - sculptural artistic things.

Our clients came from New York and had never lived in a full-scale home before. They were recently married and had both traveled all over the world. Their families are art collectors and they're a very artistic couple. 

We had maybe two or three meetings, which is rare. We had to do the entire house on a very fast pace, make all the decisions in one sitting and just make it happen. 

We liked the house because it is really earthy and warm - it was quite a transformation. The fireplace was pink marble and the powder room was really red. We redid everything. 

Their money went really far for what they got. Sometimes moving along quickly like that can keep you from getting bogged down in making those decisions. You just really have to trust in your designer because they're really helping and guiding you. They trusted us and let us go for it. She was pregnant at the time so we really had to make it happen fast. It was special.

[The photo below is from the Boulder Contemporary Home]

Photo via Luxe Magazine and Atelier Interior Design

Photo via Luxe Magazine and Atelier Interior Design

Contact Atelier Interior Design:

Website: | Houzz | Facebook | Phone: 720.339.6950


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Simple Remodeling Projects to Hide the Ugly

If you own a home, chances are you have read about remodeling, talked about remodeling with your friends and neighbors and spent plenty-o-time pondering your kitchen / bathroom / bedroom / yard and every other fix-uppable space in your home. You may not have the funds to add a bedroom or a magazine worthy deck, but for minimal investment you can upgrade or cover up the eyesores in your home, improving your outlook at home and adding value to a future sale. Read on for our favorite mini (but mighty) home remodeling projects. 

Just imagine if you had this much ugly to fix!


Hide unsightly technology.

TVs offer a world or entertainment and educational options, but in and of themselves they are a bit of an eyesore - especially the trailing cords. For anywhere from $50 to a few hundred dollars, you can hide the cords or give your television set up a bit of a face lift

Make over a bland or unsightly front door. 

For $300 and up (not including installation) you can replace your front door. For the cost of a paint brush and a can of paint, you can give it a fresh new look for less than $50. You'll improve your home's curb appeal and a classy front door can help you leave future buyers with a memorable impression. 

Hide an outdoor AC unit.

There's nothing particularly redeeming about a hefty metal outdoor AC unit, but if you're stuck with one on a porch, patio or somewhere visible in your yard, for a couple hundred bucks and a couple hours of effort, you can build a louvered screen to cover it up while still allowing it to function like blogger Kim of KimSixFix

Spruce up an ugly concrete fence.

If your home features a cinder block fence, you can dig it up and replace it for a few grand if that's an option, but for a couple hundred bucks you can give it a facelift over the course of a weekend. 

Add function and beauty to an unattractive basement wall. 

If you are lucky enough to have an "opportunity basement" (read: unfinished), you may benefit from the project undertaken by Becky of Organizing Made Fun. She had a dingy, pipe-filled wall in her laundry room that was a bit of a bummer, so she painted and installed a charming pegboard to the space to add attractive function. 

Hide a thermostat or other clunky wall-mounted object.

There are worse uglies to be hidden in your home than thermostats, wall-mounted garage door openers and other such utilitarian items, but finding design-friendly ways to hide these boxy plastic installations is affordable and even fun for the home design geeks among us. We love Kristen's idea from My Clever Slice of Suburbia, to upcycle a cheap thrift store frame with a bit of paint and a hinge to cover up her black plastic garage door switch. 

Buyers on the Go: the Hidden Cost of Transporation

As an urban home buyer, there are many factors to consider before making a real estate investment. Price, location, nearby amenities, school district, the neighborhood. One factor buyers may overlook, especially in a hectic real estate market like Metro Denver, is the cost of travel to and from work, school or other frequent destinations. Read on for perspective on planning and preparing for the time/cost mix of your future commute as you search for your next home. 

The Time Factor

What would you do with an extra 49 hours? According to the Texas A&M Transportation Institute's most recent(UMS), this is how many hours the average Metro Denver resident spent in traffic in 2014. Bear in mind this has nothing to do with commute time. If you typically spend an hour or more round trip on your daily commute, that momentum isn't factored in; the UMS report is about a lack of momentum - the time you waste sitting idle in traffic. 49 extra hours might not sound like a lot, but if you are already commuting 10 or 15 or 20 hours every week, an extra nearly 50 hours every year just adds insult to injury. If you are expanding your home search to areas beyond where you work, consider doing a bit of research beyond home price points - look carefully at traffic projections for the next 5-10 years and consider how major roadwork or increases in delays might affect your free time and impact your lifestyle. 

The Money Factor

One way to avoid the time-suck of a sluggish commute is with public transportation. Thanks to Light Rail and Denver's RTD bus service, public transportation is widely available across Metro Denver. Similar to many metropolitan areas, living immediately adjacent to convenient public transit sites like bus depots and Light Rail in Denver will come at a premium. Weigh the pros and cons of time vs. money as well as the cost of fuel and vehicle wear and tear with a lengthier, slower commute. 

Additional cost factors may include parking in the form of a monthly lease or addendum to your purchase agreement in Denver proper or other more urban locations, or additional parking or garage purchase fees in a townhome or condo situation further out from Denver proper. 

The majority of the time, public transit costs less than owning/operating/fueling a vehicle for a commute, but this trend doesn't always hold true and buyers should consider pros, cons and costs of both options.

Living in Metro Denver offers incredible lifestyle and career benefits for families and individuals, sports fans, outdoor enthusiasts, dog people, artists, chefs, fishermen and anyone who enjoys sunshine and scenery. Your potential commute is definitely worth thinking about when you buy your next home - but living in Denver ... is totally worth the drive. 



Denver - the Ultimate Staycation Destination

If you're longing to get away from it all but you're short on cash or time off from work (adulthood - it happens to the best of us...), we have a novel idea for you:

Why not embrace everything wonderful Denver has to offer

and slip into vacation bliss at home?

Read on for ways to maximize your time and budget

when planning your next staycation.

  • Turn your home into a luxury hotel. If you can afford it, hire a cleaning service to spiff up your digs shortly before your time off. Make sure clean sheets and bathrooms are on the list. Imagine the divine feeling of relaxing in a home you don't have to dust/scrub/tidy - it's already been done for you. If you need a referral to a quality service near you, let us know. If you can't afford to hire maid service, spend a few hours before (not during!) your staycation putting your home in order. And if you are DIY-ing the cleaning, consider splurging on a set of crisp new linens or even a couple of ultra plush towels. Just think what you're not spending on airfare, car rental or hotel accommodations; sheets and towels are a fraction of those costs. 
  • Prepare colleagues/clients/your boss beforehand: you will be on vacation on ___ dates, and you won't be answering the phone or emails. If you were visiting the Great Wall of China or the Emerald Isle, you probably wouldn't have your laptop in tow or plan to return work related phone calls at 3pm on the dot. A staycation is still a vacation! Respect your own time and prepare your peeps to do the same. Set up voicemail and email messages letting the world know you are offline, then let yourself off the hook for a few days. 
  • Create a mini bucket list of local opportunities you'd like to explore. Have you always wanted to peruse the charming shops of Downtown Littleton? Have the alpine views of Estes Park have been calling your name. Maybe you are longing for a spa day. Search online for local day spa deals or whip up a batch of home treatments for practically pennies. 
  • If the kids are adventuring at home with you, pick up a new board game or two, plan a movie night with your favorite treats, or fire up your favorite backyard flame receptacle for s'mores under the stars. Consider setting up the tent in your own backyard - it's not as wild as camping in the great outdoors, but you'll be conveniently adjacent to home when nature calls. #winning
  • Plan your staycation dining ahead of time. Consider a continental breakfast you, your partner or entire crew can grab on the go so you don't become a week-long short order cook. Fresh fruit, frozen waffles, hard boiled eggs, instant oatmeal and cold cereal are a great start to everyone's day and require little to no supervision for bigger kids or adults. If you're staying around the house, purchase a selection of everyone's favorite sandwich fixings, chips and veggies for easy lunches. If you decide to picnic in the backyard or at a local park, you'll already have what you need to take lunch to go. Plan a fun meal or two out during your staycation if the budget allows; if funds are scarce, plan your meal out for lunch instead of dinner, or have dinner at home and go out just for fancy dessert.  

The foothills of the Rocky Mountains are an incredible place to live, and there is so much to see and do. If you are opting for a staycation this year, consider how many people actually plan a vacation to Metro Denver and surrounding areas - and you are lucky enough to live here already! Explore the people, culture, art and opportunities all around you. A Denver staycation is easy on the wallet and will remind you how wonderful your hometown is all year long. Bon (or non) voyage, friends!

Meet Jason Szabatura

Jason Szabatura is a Listing Administrator at TRELORA. The team calls on him to prepare your listing docs and create the MLS profile buyers rely on to make informed showing (and eventually purchase) decisions. Once you are ready to list, Jason provides a lightning-speed turnaround to ensure your property is on the market quickly and accurately. When you drop us a line via email or dial us up, Jason is standing by to answer questions and keep your transaction moving forward successfully. 

What does it mean to you to be part of TRELORA?

It feels great to play such a big part in changing the way people think about real estate. I love working with such amazing, smart and driven colleagues!

What do you like about working at TRELORA?

I love staying busy all the time, and learning something new every day. I get to work with amazing people who are willing to do anything to help me out when I am in need.

How do you try to leave people better?

I'm a passionate and outgoing person; when given the chance to make someone's day better, I try to make that happen - in or out of the office.

Name 3 of your core values.




Tell us about your best TRELORA experience. 

Whenever the team is able to make a client's transaction easier/smoother, it makes us feel like we are making a difference in this market. 

Tell us about a work-related challenge you have overcome.

I didn't have a background in real estate before joining TRELORA. The first couple of weeks were eye opening! With help from my colleagues, I have been able to overcome initial challenges and keep learning this exciting industry.

If you weren't revolutionizing the real estate industry, what would you be doing?

I have always wanted to be a teacher and a coach at a high school.  Being a history buff I would probably teach history (love the WW2 era) and either coach basketball or football.

Read any good books or heard any rad tunes lately? 

I read the book House of Cards - I thought it was better than the tv show.  Also, I love all music, but especially country music. The new Eric Church CD is amazing!

Pets? Family? Hobbies?

My supportive & beautiful mother Sheri lives in Littleton and my brother Bryan is in Denver; my sister Stacy lives in Seattle. I love going to sporting events (Rockies, Broncos, Avalanche, Nuggets - I love 'em all!), going to country concerts at Red Rocks, camping, fishing and biking.

Next time you save $12k (or more) on your personal real estate transaction, how will you spend your dough?

I would take my family + friends on a beach vacation. Sun, sand and the libations would be flowing!



Meet Austin Wilcox

Austin Wilcox is a Transaction Coordinator for team TRELORA. Behind every smooth transaction is a detail oriented professional prepared to dot every i and cross every t on your behalf. If the going gets tough or your deal hits a rough patch, it is even more important to have a savvy transaction coordinator on your side. Hiring top talent for this role is a priority for us, and we know you'll love our go-to TCs as much as we do. 


What does it mean to you to be part of TRELORA?

I am extremely grateful to be part of a company that is creating the future of real estate. 

What do you like about working at TRELORA?

I like the team approach TRELORA practices. The employees here are super talented and when we all come together, we are unstoppable. 

How do you try to leave people better?

I strive to give people a positive experience they will always remember. 

Name 3 of your core values.

1) Family + Friends

2) Success

3) Fun

Tell us about your best TRELORA experience. 

My best TRELORA experience so far was when I found out we've saved customers almost $20,000,000 in commission fees to date. That's a whole lotta money! 

Tell us about a work-related challenge you have overcome. 

As a service professional, I have come across my fair share of frustrated or even angry customers; often miscommunication or a lack of understanding is at the heart of the issue. I have learned to diffuse client frustration by seeking first to understand, then to offer information and education. Clients need a listening ear - not judgment. 

If you weren't revolutionizing the real estate industry, what would you be doing?

At present I can't imagine being anywhere else!

Read any good books lately? 

7 Habits of Highly Effective People. I would highly suggest this book to anyone who wants to be more effective in work and in life. 

Pets? Family? Hobbies?

I have a beautiful wife named Bethany and a spoiled cat named Fefe. 

Next time you save $12k (or more) on your personal real estate transaction, how will you spend your dough?

I will buy a shiny new Jeep Wrangler

If you're thinking of making a bold career move, learn more about joining our team of change-architects. We're innovating the real estate industry one transaction at a time - and we're looking for a few good movers & shakers. 

Got the Rising Rent Blues? You're Not Alone

According to a recent article on Apartment List, you aren't alone if you are feeling the squeeze when it comes to making ends meet as a renter:

Rent or Buy.jpg
Inflation-adjusted rents have risen by 64%, but real household incomes only increased by 18%. The situation was particularly challenging from 2000 – 2010: household incomes actually fell by 7%, while rents rose by 12%. As a result, the share of cost-burdened renters nationwide more than doubled, from 24% in 1960 to 49% in 2014.

The uptick in home foreclosures during the recession created a nationwide increase in demand; the result was rising rental rates and because businesses were suffering, a decrease in income at the same time. Not an ideal situation for families and individuals who lost a home to foreclosure and were forced to choose between the rental market or taking up residence in grandma's basement. 

If you happily own a home, these issues may feel like water under the bridge or somebody else's problem - unless you are the aforementioned grandmother and Junior and the missus just won't leave. If, however, you are currently or soon to be a renter in the Denver area, pricing trends in the rental market may mean the difference between dinner out with friends and off-brand PB&J on the couch at home.

Rent Jungle data suggests Denver rental rates have increased between 5.6 and 6.1% in the past 6 months; this represents an increase of $74 for a one bedroom on average and $104 per month for a two bedroom. If you didn't happen to get a 5-6% raise in the last six months, you may not have an extra $100 to spare. Over the course of a year that's $1200 bucks you might have spent on a vacation, a chic new sofa or the good brand of peanut butter. And oh yeah - shelling out big bucks for rent lines your landlord's pockets, but you aren't gaining equity or enjoying the benefits of homeowner tax deductions, either. 

If you know you'll move on from point A to point B in 6 months to a year, you should probably rent (or stay put with grandma.) Closing costs and other expenses of buying a home probably make a short term living situation the sensible choice for you. If, on the other hand, you plan to spend longer in beautiful Denver, Colorado or any surrounding community, consider investing in real estate. Pride of ownership, tax deductions, equity building, and your very own kitchen cupboards to stash peanut butter and whatever else makes you happy. 

If you are interested in buying a single family home, condo or townhome and putting more of your hard earned money toward home equity instead of inflated traditional commission, get in touch. We are Denver's leading full service, commission free real estate company, and we'd be happy to help you ditch your tired rental and find a place to call home.



Quick - Where's Your Money?!

Where do you stash your hard-earned money for safekeeping? In a low-to-no-interest giant brick piggy bank? In the volatile stock market? In your mattress? If you've been adulting for awhile, chances are you have a savings account at your local bank, maybe a 401k, possibly a few stocks and bonds from grandma. Investing - not stashing cash - is the path to wealth. And right now, real estate happens to be a phenomenal investment. 


Fox News recently blogged on the topic. Our favorite highlight:

"Technology has made investing significantly easier."
"In the "olden days," investing in real estate took a significant amount of driving around, talking to people, waiting, looking at hundreds of pages of documents and other difficult, time-consuming tasks. Today, technology has made investing in real estate significantly easier."

The real estate market has ups and downs like any marketplace, but unlike some commodities, people will always require housing. Even in a hot market like Denver, there are deals to be had (it helps to know a savvy team of professionals who can help you out).

Interest rates are fantastic right now, and our commission free approach helps tip the scales in your favor on your real estate purchase. 

When it comes to investing in real estate, time is on your side - but if you'd like to celebrate the growing value of your investment in ten years, you need to invest now. 

Are you ready to learn more? We work with buyers, sellers and investors across Metro Denver to seize the day and make great real estate investments. Learn more about how our commission free, full service approach can help you invest with confidence. 


What Boomers are Buying

Baby Boomers - those fabulous folks born between 1946 and 1964, are expected to spend $1.9 trillion (or more!) on home purchases. People are not only living longer, they are living better than ever into their retirement years, and their housing wants and needs are unique. Read on to learn what this segment of buyers is seeking, and how to appeal to their must-have list in a future home purchase. 

Don't call these fine people seniors - sir or ma'am will do just fine!

Don't call these fine people seniors - sir or ma'am will do just fine!


 For early boomers (those born before 1956), many have settled into retirement or are on the cusp of doing so. They've weathered the recession - an economic phenomenon with a major impact on retirement savings; for this and other reasons, many still work part time - whether by choice or necessity. Compared to past generations, this group is more active beyond retirement, including sports, political or community involvement and of course spending time with grandchildren. 

Well over half - about 60% - are likely to stay near home when making a future move. The advent of social media has diminished the importance of in-person community to a certain degree as a priority for younger generations, but boomers still value a network of connections including friends, doctors, hairdressers, church ties and familiar brick and mortar retail options - facets of life they've taken time to nurture and sustain that are not easily replaced in a new setting. 

For those who can afford it, younger boomers are investing in second homes in warmer locales like Arizona, Georgia and of course Florida, planning ahead for their second home to become their primary residence after retirement. Sales in resort areas have increased 57% in the past year, indicating continued national economic growth as well as a desire to begin to build post-retirement community and connections in advance of this time in their lives. Smart planning, boomers! 

Master plan communities are more enticing to boomers than old school retirement communities, offering a vibrant mix of ages and family groups; many retirees are looking for community life and connections across generations, especially if their own children, grandchildren or extended family don't live nearby. 

In terms of amenities, builders are appealing to this generation by building more homes with main floor masters, ranch style homes and built in user-friendly smart technology so buyers don't have to navigate the tech marketplace, but have programmable thermostats and Bluetooth friendly door locks already in place.

No longer real estate novices, Baby Boomers are savvy home buyers who know what they want and have a taste for high end finishes. Many are interested in downsizing a little in square footage, but want something more than the tiny postage-stamp sized home they may have grown up in mid-century. They are seeking functional floor plans with an efficient use of space. They also desire low maintenance; they are capable of minor home repairs and then some, but have also likely spent significant time and money repairing or updating former or current homes and want something less demanding to carry them through their golden years. 

Move in ready homes with smart floor plans, chic finishes (granite counters, stainless appliances, wood floors) and functional features (built in sprinkler systems, walk in showers, convenient pantry and linen storage) are what today's Baby Boomer real estate buyer is looking for.  

If you (or a boomer you know and love) are planning a real estate purchase or listing in the near future, contact us to learn how much a commission free real estate transaction with TRELORA can save you. We're revolutionizing the real estate industry one transaction at a time, and we'd love to help you protect your current or future home equity. 


Millennials are Heading to the Suburbs

According to the National Association of Homebuilder's (NAHB) 2015 consumer preference survey, What Home Buyers Really Want, among Millennial prospective home buyers, 75% reported a desire for a single-family detached home Just 11% indicated a preference for a townhome, and only 4% wanted to own a condo.

The data also indicate an ongoing goal of living in the suburbs. Two-thirds of prospective buyers in the survey wanted to reside in a suburban neighborhood, compared to just 10% wanting to own a home in a central city. Nearly a quarter of residents wanted to be outside large metropolitan areas entirely, preferring rural housing.

There are a lot of young people poised to enter the real estate market in Metro Denver - particularly in light of rising rent in and around the city; young adults are running up against rental rates that offer less space than ever before for the money, making home buying ever more attractive. 

It may be tempting to pigeon hole the Millennial generation, assuming they have their eye on hip condos in urban settings. Surveys like NAHB's, though, point out that the desires of Generation Y don't fit into the box we might assign them to. In other words, young people are still people - and we don't know what they want unless we ask. 
- TRELORA Founder & CEO Joshua Hunt
Millennials - coming to a suburb near you. Don't they look like nifty neighbors? 

Millennials - coming to a suburb near you. Don't they look like nifty neighbors? 

The Millennial generation is larger than the Baby Boom Generation and three times the size of Generation X, representing 77 million individuals and nearly 1/4 of the US population according to Nielsen data. If you plan to list or shop for a home, chances are good you'll rub shoulders with buyers or sellers who are part of the Millennial crowd, and you may be interested to know what matters to them in a home. 

According to the NAHB survey, Millennial respondents say they value: 

  • Seventy-eight percent wanted an open-kitchen-plus-family-room concept.
  • Eighty-one percent wanted three or four bedrooms.
  • Sixty-four percent wanted at least two or two-and-a-half bathrooms.
  • Fifty-five percent thought a laundry room was essential, and 35 percent thought it was desirable.
  • Eighty-four percent were willing to pay 2 to 3 percent more to get a highly energy-efficient home with lower utility bills over the home's lifetime.

The following are aspects Generation Y found undesirable:

  • Fifty-seven percent did not want a home in a golf-course community.
  • Forty-seven percent did not want a master bath with a shower stall but no bathtub.
  • Forty-seven percent did not want to live in a high-density community.
  • Also on the "unwanted" list: gated communities, wine coolers, wet bars and laminate counters.

Our advice? Prepare to welcome this generation of buyers and sellers with open arms. Your parents home buying potential and habits probably looked a lot different than theirs, and the habits of your own generation may look different, too. Different can be good, and we're excited to see this generation rise up and embrace the opportunities offered by home ownership.

Whether you are a Boomer Baby, Gen X, Gen Y or Gen Z (is that even a thing???) our commission free business model can protect your hard earned home equity and save you thousands of dollars.