Lowry Real Estate 101: Meet Derek and Gloria Camunez

Derek Camunez and his mother Gloria Camunez.

Lowry is fortunate to have several prominent real estate agents that keep us posted on current sales in Lowry as well as on how the metro housing market is selling. One mother-son duo has been here in Lowry from the start due to Derek Camunez’s foresight. He says, “I just knew the Lowry neighborhood would be the perfect place to live, work, and play—as it was touted from the start.” He should know as he served on the Lowry Redevelopment Authority (LRA) developing our Lowry.

But his life started earlier in California where he was born in Hollywood. His mother says, “I think he was born with real estate on his mind. Even as a child, he played with Legos building houses and bigger buildings and then trying to sell them to friends and family!”

When his father was offered a job and a chance to relocate to Colorado, the family moved to Arvada. Gloria obtained her real estate license and officially started a lifelong love of selling houses. Several years later, Derek followed suit and obtained his real estate license while attending the University of Colorado at Boulder where he majored in English. “I always liked writing, and it served as a nice balance while I was also selling real estate.” He used that talent to win a poetry contest last year sponsored by the Lowry Foundation on what makes a community. “It was fun to be creative again,” he quips.

Meanwhile Gloria launched into real estate in the Arvada area, and Derek soon followed. He laughs about his early days in the business saying, “I even wore the gold Century 21 company jacket.” After working several years with a variety of agencies, the mother-and-son team decided to partner up and open their own brokerage business in northwest Denver and focused on local as well as international real estate.

At this time in the ‘80s when HUD was foreclosing on properties in great numbers, they hired agents to list and sell properties on their behalf.  Derek had a portfolio of more than 500 properties that he was managing and marketing for HUD. “Mom and I found it wasn’t easy selling those properties. On more than one occasion, I came across squatters living in units, dead animals in the appliances, and even had a gun or two pointed in my direction. Mom and I had to visit each property every two weeks, and we became quite adept at being ready for any situation.”

Derek says, “We decided to purchase our RE/MAX franchise because we wanted a forward-thinking company with a brand name. We also wanted our clients to know the power of the brand, and that it could help them fulfill their real estate needs.”  RE/MAX was the first brokerage to offer its agents 100% commission plans and hire women on its sales team. Gloria, bi-lingual, added to the many services they were able to provide clients. “And Lowry,” she adds,” seemed like the perfect location of open our new brokerage – RE/MAX Avenues.”

What Gloria calls “his super vision,” worked in 1999 with Lowry. They opened their office in the Lowry Town Center in 2000 and have been a fixture ever since. With Lowry under construction, Derek was offered a mayoral appointment as a Director to the Board of the Lowry Redevelopment Authority (LRA). Derek has had a hand in every aspect of Lowry through his work with the LRA. This is something he is extremely proud of and something we are all enjoying now.

 So how does a real estate company survive in a market with so many realtors? “Well,” Derek says, “the average person knows six to eight agents. But there’s plenty of business for everyone. And the industry is always re-creating itself. Business is driven by the market, technology and imagination. During COVID when agents were working from home, the industry had some of its best years to date. People will always need a place to call home, and we make that happen for them.”

In discussing real estate, Gloria comments that “old school is out. Today’s realtors are using more and varied techniques of selling. On the flip side, there’s something we call the HGTV Syndrome where clients think they can paint and redecorate in an hour, receive multiple offers, sell and close in a day and be in a new property by week’s end. Typically that’s not the case.” Derek says, “What realtors is more education and a higher bar of entry. Classes are offered to keep them up to date on tax laws, 1031 exchanges, sales and ethics.

He has served as the President of the Denver Board of Realtors as well as the Chair of Professional Standards Committee for the state association. Currently he serves as the President of the Lowry Business Alliance (LBA) as well as a director on the Lowry Foundation Board. He’s also a founding Director of Knock Knock Angels Colorado, a group that takes donations of furniture and kitchen supplies and then places them with individuals that are transitioning out of homelessness.

He was named Broker Manager of the Year by the Denver Metro Association of Realtors, is a REMAX Hall of Fame Award recipient and holds numerous service awards. He and Gloria are also involved with the Hispanic, African American and Asian Real Estate Association of America. Gloria also served as the chapter President for the Nation Association of Hispanic Real Estate Professionals, as well as being named one of the most influential women in business here in Colorado

In their free time, Gloria and Derek who both live in Lowry, love visiting the many local businesses here and travelling locally with numerous staycations. Their new office currently is in Hangar Two in the restaurant district (across from Café Mercato). Their office is welcoming and easily services Lowry’s community as well as the Denver area.

Working together with their agents, they make RE/MAX Avenues the successful office it is and a key component in making the Lowry community such a  wonderful  place to call home – for all of us. Well done, team!