Brooke has been selling real estate since 2001 and enjoys serving the community. She has 2 professional designations, CRS (Certified Residential Specialist) and ABR (Accredited Buyer's Representative). What that means to you is she strives to go above the required continuing education standards to provide a higher level of expertise to her clients. She has been with Springs Homes since early 2008 and loves providing stellar service for all your real estate needs! She has been in Colorado since 1988, growing up in Castle Rock and now gorgeous Colorado Springs/Black Forest area with her husband & her 2 wonderful sons. She has family in the real estate industry all along the front range and loves serving & selling in the Pikes Peak region. Her family enjoys the great Colorado outdoors (camping, dirt biking/ATVs, hiking, fishing) as well as being very involved in their church.

14910 Spiritwood Loop - Black Forest Home

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After years of living in Black Forest ourselves, there are normally two personality types:

  1. I have always lived in the City, want some space & trees/views, still like people
  2. I want to live in seclusion and never see anyone again 

I'm kidding of course, because there are all sorts of people here, but some do tend to lean one way or the other. 

If you are looking for a community in the Forest... this IS IT!! Seriously, I know 4 families on the cozy Spiritwood Loop and there is a strong sense of community! What you find here (if you choose):

  • Neighbors who care about one another 
  • Common spaces for annual gatherings
  • kickball / baseball back stop
  • Equestrian easements for the horse-back-riders
  • variety of home ages/styles/sizes
  • Low HOA dues to keep the neighborhood nice
  • not overly strict covenants so you can enjoy your home and land the way you'd like

My new listing at 14910 Spiritwood Loop exists in this lovely community, and has also been nicely kept up and updated itself! Enjoy--  

  • fun outdoor spaces to include a gathering fire pit and welcoming "southern" front porch 
  • hardwoods throughout the main level
  • peaked main level ceilings 
  • Quartz kitchen counters, huge pantry, open living
  • Fireplace at family room, adjoining dining space
  • walk-outs to separate patios off kitchen and master
  • updated master bath and huge walk-in closet
  • 2 basement bedrooms, one it huge! & with nearby 4-pace bath has almost on-suite feel 
  • abundance of trees
  • winding driveway (owners will leave you the snow-blower!)
  • Spacious 3-car garage with workshop space
  • tremendous lower level rec room with versatile space for office, TV, gaming, exercise, theater potential

There is so much to this sweet neighborhood and home. Please take a look, and feel free to contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. | 719-229-8143 if you don't have a Realtor to show you this lovely home! For more photos, video, 3D tour and so much more, please check out http://www.spiritwoodloop.com/ !! 

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I Want to be a Realtor...

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With the booming real estate market, especially locally, we are seeing lots of people interested in the real estate business... friends, family, & clients.

But HOW?.. well it all starts with real estate school, but those of us in the business a while know there should be some sort of personality exam first. HA! It's a very interesting and challenging business, but so much fun most of the time! Here is what you need to know before you take the first steps to become a Realtor.

Real Estate School

This is the actual real first step. My schooling was 16 years ago, WHOA! So things have obviously changed, but the goal of real estate school is to provide a framework for the industry and help you learn to pass the test. Then the real education begins. ;-)  My top recommendation would be a real school like Kaplan where their sole focus is the real estate industry and surrounding fields (appraisers, etc). 

There are other ways to do it, I think our local community college and probably the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs (UCCS) have real estate classes. Classes can be taken on-line through schools all over the country.

Real Estate Test

(Dun dun DUNNN)

  • You have to pay each time
  • There is one test facility in Colorado Springs (and one in Pueblo)
  • There are two portions... State and National
  • Plan a couple hours
  • Results pretty much immediately
  • I think the majority do not pass the first time
  • Your license can transfer to different state with different levels of reciprocity (some are full transfer, some partial, some require taking their state test, some don't transfer and you have to start over)

Hanging Your New License

Once you pass the test!.. you will soon have a Colorado Real Estate license, but now you have to figure out where to "hang" your license. During real estate school, if you went to classes at Kaplan in person, some real estate companies will come visit your class and do some light recruiting. You may also do research on your own. What do you want? ... what do you need?

  • First, the state requires hanging your license under a brokerage for minimum 2 years to be supervised by a broker. 
  • small or big?
  • boutique or big box?
  • company splits or desk fees?
  • personality (yes, offices carry different personalities, and like any job, it's nice to get along with the people you work with)
  • monthly meetings
  • supporting staff
  • mentor program

Once you pass your test, to be issued a license, you have to be fingerprinted by the state of Colorado. They do a full background check. 

The Costs of Being a Realtor

It is expensive to get going; there are start-up and recurring costs:

  • Real Estate School
  • PPAR/CAR/NAR (see next paragraph) - monthly/annually
  • Electronic Contract Software - monthly
  • License Renewal - every 1-3 years
  • Signage - as needed
  • Lockboxes - as needed
  • Education - multiple times annually
  • Gas/vehicle maintenance - weekly/monthly (I drive now about 25,000 miles per year)
  • Meals, expenses, client referral gifts
  • I'm sure there are others I'm not thinking of! 

Join a Real Estate Board

Our local board is the Pikes Peak Association of Realtors. Membership here includes membership to the local board (PPAR), Colorado Association of Realtors (CAR) and National Association of Realtors (NAR). To join the board there are required orientation and ethics classes. You will learn how to use the MLS and how to handle various situations. It would also be advised to take additional classes through PPAR or local title companies for things like contracts, electronic contract software, etc. There is so much you can learn. 

Required Continuing Education

As with most licensed profession, continued education is required... a certain amount of hours per 1 and 3 year period... ethics, contracts, elective courses... all to help you become better at what you do. 

The industry is constantly changing, the contracts change annually, every transaction is different because of various parties involved and every home is unique. 

My best advice

  • work on a team or under a mentor for at least a year!
  • soak up everything you can from the successful agents around you
  • SAVE$$!... it can take months/years to be truly successful, and even then there are rollercoaster times as the market shifts. It may be several months before you close your first sale, and you need to still be able to pay your rent/mortgage during that time... and probably eat. 

If you have a friend who is a Realtor in Colorado Springs, take them to lunch or coffee and "pick their brain". I have done this with several people in the past few years. I love helping people, so I want to talk them through if it's a good choice. Everyone thinks it's so easy right now because it's busy, but in 16+ years, this is the hardest market I think I've worked! If you are interested, jump in with both feet and prepare to be challenged, frustrated, encouraged, let-down, built-up, and grow!  If you already have your license check out our mentorship program. It is a good option to get off on a good foot once you have your license.

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Home Buyer's Needs Assessment

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It seems in this "transitional community" we live in, with military, job growth, etc. we frequently do needs assessment over the phone or on-line... only planning showings once the buyers arrive and we hit the ground running. 

What is a needs assessment for a home buyer? and where do we start?

Recently I had a buyer who lives here in town already and wanted to have coffee and chat before actually starting their home search. So we planned a Saturday morning meeting and here is what we talked about.

How are you going to finance your home?

We started with financing because while it is so fun to be looking at houses starting on-line, it can be disappointing and time wasted if you're not in the right target price range. There are a variety of mortgage calculators available on-line, but your best bet is to ask us for one of our awesome local lenders to start the mortgage discussion! I put buyers in the capable hands of a couple different awesome local lenders, if you are in need of one, .

There are two components to the loan approval... what you can spend... and what you want to spend. (okay, there's much more than that, but this is an important part of the decision.)

I tell clients ALL the time that my husband and I never take advantage of the full mortgage amount we are approved for. We prefer to save a little for home improvement, emergencies, travel, camping, and generally enjoying life not being strapped to our house and mortgage. 

So, I have the buyer thinking about the financing... and then we start talking about their wants and needs. 

What do you need in a home? 

The basics start with:

  • number of bedrooms/baths
  • number of garage spaces/carport/etc
  • total square footage
  • main level bedroom for elderly/disabled
  • area, location, neighborhood, schools

These items are generally decided based on the size of family, whether their growing or downsizing, etc. Based on price, buyers may include other wants into their needs.

The location is often determined by job expectations and then driven by price and availability of homes nearby. I will say that Colorado Springs and the surrounding area is generally extremely easy to commute. The most challenging commute is the bottleneck at Monument, as the market has driven people out of the Denver market and into the Pikes Peak Region; however many of those still commute north to the Denver metro area daily! 

Now, there are other criteria for most people, but they tend to be more in the "wants" category. I'm perfectly capable of running up and downstairs 100 times a day for my kids, my upstairs home office, etc... but we still strongly prefer a main level master. 

What do you want in a home?

  • basement... finished basement
  • deck/patio/sunroom
  • house age
  • wood burning or gas fireplace
  • gas range (actually difficult to find here in our average price range)
  • mountain views (see my previous blog for more on that one)
  • vaulted ceilings
  • large / fenced back yard
  • backing to open space/golf course 
  • treed property
  • privacy from neighbors
  • acreage 
  • Upgrades (granite, hardwoods, custom, etc.. and consider location ahead of these items that can be added/changed)
  • natural water... I chuckle a little when people want to have a creek running through or back to a lake. There is just very little water in our area. There are several small lakes in the "Tri-lakes" area (Monument, Palmer, Woodmoor and now Forest Lakes). There is water/creek running through the Ute Pass area and on the northwest side of town south of the Air Force Academy... plus creeks in Cottonwood area and Fountain. 

Location, location, location... it will always be the case, the one thing you cannot change, location! It's extremely expensive and not always cost effective to add onto a home, so size is probably the next most important factor. 

What about buying a home that has good resale?

Resale is also a very important factor when buying. If you know you'll be transitioning out of the community in 3-5 years for military, job, family, etc, you might have to stave off your desire to have the most expensive and unique home in your neighborhood. Often in these cases, the basic home in the popular neighborhood that is well kept will help tremendously with resale.

What do you give up?

Compromise - When you cannot line up the age, size, style, area, the budget for your home, it's time to start talking about which criteria you're willing to compromise... "I'll accept an older home in this area", or "I'll go farther from work for the house I want". In this high-demand market, buyers are making more sacrifices and learning what it means to compromise. 

Finding the right home to buy

We take all of these factors into account with the buyer and set them up with a search. "Garbage-in-garbage-out" can be a bit of a challenge... for example, if a buyer wants wood floors & you select "wood" as a requirement in the MLS flooring field, but a listing agent forgot to check that box, a house that might work for the buyer won't actually show up on their search. It's best to keep the MLS search basic and use pictures, descriptions, & virtual tours to decide if it's worth a personal showing. 

Writing this makes me realize how much I love this process. After 16+ years, I'm still not tired of looking for and finding "the one" for buyers! It's fun to be presented with a unique challenge and find the solution... no doubt every buyer that I work with has a unique set of wants/needs, it's so cool! If you are ready for a Home Buyer Needs Assessment, .

More Information:

Home Buyer Needs Assessment

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Buying a Home with a Pikes Peak View

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People come to the Colorado Springs area from all over the country... the world for that matter. They move here primarily because of our military and technology companies, but also just for the sheer beauty and reasonable cost of living. The Pikes Peak region is a popular place. One of the first things people ask for (especially from the midwest or south) is for a Pikes Peak view! "America's mountain" sometimes feels like she's right on top of our beautiful city! Since the angle and view of Pikes Peak can vary so much, it can be a big factor in determining where you should buy a house. 

I frequently tell incoming clients that there is a trade-off between the view versus the feeling of living in the mountains. Once you get pretty far west, it's actually more difficult to see Pikes Peak because the other mountains stand in the way. So, I just wanted to give you a little perspective on our beautiful mountain from various angles. As you look through them, I'm sure you can hear "for purple mountain majesty, above the fruited plains.." playing in your head. Katherine Lee Bates wrote America the Beautiful lyrics, inspired by Pikes Peak, actually originally as a poem called "Pikes Peak"; later it was put to music with Samuel A. Ward of Grace Episcopal Church in NJ. 

This beauty was taken from eastern El Paso county in the Calhan/Peyton area as I headed back into town after showing houses. As you can see, Pikes Peak looks like a lone, towering peak from this distance, the rest of the mountain range hardly discernable. Note the cows and wide open spaces... if you're looking for this type of land and view, maybe this is the area for you!

Head just a bit further west into Colorado Springs. This shot it taken from the Briargate area. Obviously, a recent snow fall helps define the lines on the mountains, but it's also just a little more clear the closer you are. 

This one is on the way up Ute Pass. This might be the type of "peak-a-boo view" you might expect if you land in a home on the west side of town (west side is pretty much west of I-25, our major interstate... but the further west the better for most with this preference). 

Not sure I will call this saving the best for last, but I have a strong opinion on the beauty in Woodland Park... our mountain town, just 20-30 minutes "up the pass" west of Colorado Springs. The perspective on Pikes Peak is completely different. The mountain is far deeper that it seems from the Colorado Springs area. I've hiked the Crags from this back side and you can see to the west for miles. 

Needless to say , the weather, the friendliness, and so much more... but Pikes Peak is probably our most notable landmark, with Garden of the Gods, the United States Air Force Academy and the Broadmoor hotel as other major draws to the area. I'm not sure if this helps you make a decision about where you will end up buying a home, but in any case, I'm sure you'll love the area and our mountains almost as much as I do! 

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PPRBD Building Permits for Home Improvement

PPRBD Building Permits for Home Improvement

With just about any home improvement in El Paso and Teller counties, homeowners are required to pull a permit with the Pikes Peak Regional Building Department (PPRBD) in Colorado Springs... anything from basement finishes, decks, electrical/plumbing updates, water heaters, furnaces, adding outbuildings... the list goes on! Their website is relatively user-friendly. 

What we know about PPRBD

They often get a bad rap for high fees, strict rules for visiting properties, and being extremely particular. The codes do change almost annually, and they have a lot to keep up with. If you request a visit on building inspection, as long as you request by 8am, they will come same day. As you can imagine there are hundreds of thousands of homes here, and they do everything they can to remain organized. The rules are all posted on-line and homeowners can pull their own permits, general contractor not required, but all the same rules apply. I do not think their fees are really all that high. 

My experience with Regional

We had the unfortunate issue last summer of having to terminate an agreement with a contractor mid-bathroom-remodel. It was extremely stressful. So 4 permits had been pulled - general building, heating, plumbing and electrical. And we were in a skeleton of the bathroom we had envisioned. As we approached new contractors to assist us, we realized much of the work was finalized and could be moved into our name. The contractor that helped us finish also helped us with PPRBD. My husband is really handy and did the work himself with the assistance of a contractor that worked on our kitchen. The plumber had fortunately been paid from beginning to end of the project. When my husband called them, we were stressed, but they were very helpful getting him to the right person with the answers. They voided permits and re-opened them in our name so we could conclude the project. Our electrician had skipped town, taking advantage of several customers, fortunately not us!  

I also had a client do a bunch of work himself, and want to list with us without permits. We are full disclosure and told him he had to plaster the details of the non-permitted work all over the MLS listing, get professional plumber and electrician to sign off on the work, and even demolish some of the work done. He was so worried about the time and expense of going through Regional, but would have saved a lot had he done it from the start! For more about how to pull your own or requirements, here is that website www.PPRBD.org. Happy Home Improvement!! 

The moral of the story... the blog... is that while our local Building Department is a big machine, they have been very helpful in many cases and even friendly. I'm sure it's a stressful job, and I strongly believe the safety of the homes in our county is of utmost concern. 

Update of Rules

Sidenote - As of July 2011 Carbon Monoxide detectors are REQUIRED! We cannot sell homes without them. If you open any permit, expect the inspectors to check that your CO detectors are up to code (1 within 15 feet of every sleeping area/bedroom). 

Recent Backlog of permits waiting for approval

Oh, one more thing... because of catastrophic storms in 2016, roof permits are off the charts (something like 20,000 open currently), so we cannot get them closed before sale transactions in most cases. Trust that they are working their way down the list, be patient. 

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