Last December, Team Diva sponsored the NEXT Fest NW kickoff party for Velocity Dance Center. This really was one of the most fun events we have hosted and was full to the brim with incredible pieces by up-and-coming performance artists.
Although all of the performances were top notch, one of our favorites of the evening was most certainly the Warrior Princesses, led by Maya Soto. For those of you that were there, you will remember these girls took out all the stops, dancing beautifully in frilly white gowns and dripping in fake blood. One of the girls even performed with a broken foot – talk about warrior princess!
Well lucky for us, this performance at NEXT Fest was only a sneak peek at the full piece, Gathering Bones. The full piece will be debuting at Velocity for one weekend only in May, so the time has come to start snatching up tickets while they are still available. The performances aim to trace through stories of “powerful and wild women” that span history. We really think that this is going to be one of the best performances of the year from what we saw in the preview at NEXT Fest. If you want to be a part of the wild regality that are the warrior princesses, make sure you get your tickets at Brown Paper Tickets for the show on May 18-19. You’ll be bound to run into some of the Diva Team!
We are also pleased to announce that Maya Soto and her girls will be performing some rendition of the princesses at the Diva Wedding in September. Keep on the lookout here for more details as we prepare for the big day!
Diva Kim Celebrating Diva Dweller’s Closing at Tommy Gun
As the sun begins to peek out from behind the clouds and stick around a little longer, it’s time fo us to venture out and re-discover some of our favorite hood hangouts. Capitol Hill has always been a Diva favorite, which is why we spend so much time up here at Diva HQ.The wide array of people, places, and things to see and do makes Capitol Hill the best of the best when it comes to hoods. But even within this great hood, there are so many little micro-hoods that each hold their own distinct characters and offer up some of the best little tidbits in Seattle. Here are some of our favorite micro-hoods in Capitol Hill:
The Olive Way Corridor:
People tend to underestimate Olive Way, thinking the only thing down here is the big ol’ Gaybucks. But people forget that there are so many other sweet treats down here including some of our all time favorite Diva posse favorites, like the peeps at Vino Verite, the cocktails at Tommy Gun, and the caffeine bumps at Analog Coffee. Not to mention that Diva HQ sits right in between all of these wonderful sites and has in incredible view of the Space Needle – so come walk down and stop in to say hello!
This awesome little intersection of the three Bellevues is home to a host of awesome little places that have all really hit it big in the past few years. Head over to BBB to check out the original Top Pot Donuts and indulge in everyone’s favorite morning snack. If you’re more of an evening person, you can always stop in at the original Sun Liquor Distillery. At Sun Liquor, they have some of the best craft cocktail bartenders that we have ever encountered – so get on over and have a French 75 or a Gin Fizz before a night out.
The 15th Ave Drag:
The micro-hood centered around 15th Ave is one of the most diverse spots in all of Capitol Hill. Do you want a morning pick-me-up? Head on over to Remedy Teas to check out their huge selection of delectable drinks. Want to meet someone for one of the best brunches in all of Seattle. Check out Coastal Kitchen and their monthly rotating specialties and the newly renovated bar. Need a housewarming gift for an old friend? Check out Shop Agora for the perfect bottle of wine or gourmet olive oils. Do you just want to enjoy the outdoors on a sunny spring day? Take a stroll through Volunteer Park, one of the all-around best parks for an afternoon picnic. You can find anything you like on 15th.
Pike & Pine:
Despite our general feeling that this lovely little micro-hood has been invaded with Belltownians and Bellevue-ites, it still has a ton of street cred because it is home to some of the coolest places around. For those of you who love to lead the fun, quirky, and attractive lifestyle, shopping at places like our favorites Retail Therapy and Retrofit Home is a must. For those of you who enjoy a fancy, but unique meal, you’ve got to check out Poquito’s Mexican Food or Momiji Sushi. Pike & Pine even has places for the performers in all of us, complete with Balagan Theater showcasing great theater and Atomic Cosmetics offering the very best non-toxic makeups in the entire city (a favorite of our resident Divas, DonnaTella Howe, Jinkx Monsoon, Robbie Turner, and Miss Kitty Baby).
19th Ave – more than fancy craftsmen and liberal Catholics
19th Ave is a hidden gem in Capitol Hill – not quite as bustling as all of the other micro-hoods we’ve mentioned, but it has just as much to offer. If you want to make the trip up to explore, we recommend making an evening of it. Grab a caffeine injection at Fuel Coffee or Vios Café. After a pick-me-up, go for the catch of the day at Kingfish Cafe, a renowned Southern comfort restaurant here in Seattle. Finally, following dinner, go see a show with the Washington Ensemble Theater, one of our favorite theater companies ever. 19th Ave will keep you busy and entertained at anytime of the day.
She did it! Our hometown Diva and dear friend, Jinkx Monsoon, has made it to the Final Three of RuPaul’s Drag Race, Season 5! Now it’s our time to make sure Mama Ru makes the right decision and sends Jinkxy home with the crown and the title of America’s Next Drag Superstar!
We met Jinkx in 2009 at the holiday show at the Bacon Strip, known for it’s irreverent and campy take on the traditional pageant-y drag show. Since that moment, we knew she was the epitome of star quality and pure talent. Not only was she able to convince you that she actually is a woman, but she can make you ache from laughter, shake it out on the dance floor, and bust out some powerful vocals worthy of the stage – a true quadruple threat. Since we met her, Jinkx has only become more and more talented. She has been a performer at our very first Divas Take the Hill, been the hostest of Le Faux at Julia’s on Broadway, and starred in a ton of local shows like RENT and Hedwig and the Angry Inch. She was even named Seattle’s Best Performer by the Stranger in 2011. And now she’s selling out her infamous Vaudevillians show in the Big Apple over and over again! This girl is a true Diva to the core.
Because we know how incredible Jinkx is, it has been absolute torture watching her get bullied by so many of the catty pageant queens on the show. But just as can be expected, Jinkx showed what it truly means to be a classy lady, taking it all in stride, adapting to meet the challenges, and staying true to herself. She has really succeeded in showing the world who Jinkx Monsoon is and why she deserves to be America’s Next Drag Superstar!
Now it’s out turn to make sure that she takes home the crown. Get on every social media platform that you know of and make sure RuPaul knows that the world wants Jinkx Monsoon! We here in Seattle are rooting for you Jinkx!
Last week I was sending a referral to two of my fav gals in the Tacoma area – Anne Jones and Marguerite Giguere. We were chatting via Facebook about our individual markets. Fascinating! The topic of “Are we in a bubble?” came up and it was interesting to see the gals’ perspectives.
Below is the blow by power gal blow of our various real estate lands via Facebook. WORTH THE READ!
Anne: I would so love a day to hang with you gals – maybe we will have to come up for lunch when the market cools off…lol.
Totally! I’m telling our condo folks to sell now because of the number of apartment buildings being built that there is a very real possibility of one them becoming a new condo development. Rumor has it that we should see our very first new high rise condo development in Belltown. That is the first to be built in over seven years!!!
think we have a lot of pent up activity (people on the sidelines these past few years waiting for bottom)and then some genuinely smart folks who see this is a golden opportunity for affordability. When that stream runs out – and interest rates rise – some of this chaos will settle. Great point about construction – Chavi.
The Seattle Divas are proud to announce our dear friend Roy as an official Team Diva Member. Roy will be heading up the Rental and eventual property management division of Team Diva Real Estate. In the next couple of months Roy will be getting his real estate license, blogging about all of the new Capitol Hill apartments, and generally doing what he does best – having fun. For now he will be assisting us Divas by hunting for those scarce affordable rentals and helping our Diva Dwellers who need to rent their homes. Welcome!
Many of you know Roy as Chez Diva’s artist in residence. We have been very lucky to have Roy’s artist studio, Screen Door Press, on the lower level of Chez Diva. For fun Roy sees a lot of local bands, drinks good beer, and knows a mean Old Fashion cocktail when he sees it. Roy also keeps the DivaHQ a-hummin’ with good videos and fine music.
Beyond just being a really amazing artist, Roy is very adept at getting the job done for many of our friends and peers. In Roy’s past he managed an apartment building. More recently he is the super sleuth of good rental deals. In fact our recent Rental DYI blog post is based on Roy’s recent adventures finding himself a new apartment in Queen Anne. Let’s just say Roy knows how to win!
Team Diva is always here if you would like to chat about renting your Diva Dwelling or how to find a place in Seattle on your own. But Roy is now officially available to help you through the process at any point. He will do the hunt, nab that deal, and working with the Divas, he will review your rental contract to make sure there is nothing weird in the paperwork. The Diva’s rental services are perfect for those who are relocating to Seattle or are just to busy to go through the process themselves.
This month, Team Diva Real Estate is featured in the “ASK” section of a fabulous new Seattle-based design magazine, Gray. We were approached a couple of months ago by the mag’s editor-in-chief and mutual friend, Rachel Gallaher, about being the resident real estate experts for a spot in the Spring issue. We met Rachel through our Diva Dweller friends Austin and Sergey quite some time ago. Rachel is adorable and a true Diva, so when she approached about answering a few real estate questions for the new mag, we were ecstatic. It was super fun and we are in love with this new publication.
Gray Magazine itself is absolutely beautiful – it’s pure design dork and house porn junkie material. Started near the beginning of last year, this magazine is definitely making a scene. It showcases design through architecture, landscape, interior design, industrial design, décor, and entertainment with a uniquely Pacific Northwest perspective. All we have to say is it’s about time someone started focusing on what the PNW has to offer in terms of delectable design awesomeness – so thanks Gray!
In this issue if Gray, we were asked some of the Do’s and Dont’s of real estate, both for buyers and sellers. Here’s what we said:
Tips for Buyers:
Finding and Agent: “Look for someone who is experienced, has a lot of energy, seems like someone you would like to hang out with, and is willing to be awesome on your behalf.”
What to Look for in a Home: Looking for a house is a very personal experience. Make sure to find one that makes you feel excited, one you could see yourself living in for a long time. Find that one house that inspires you to want to put time into it planting a garden, building a new deck…having fun!
Making an Offer: According to the Divas, today’s market is hot, hot, hot! Make sure to have your financing in order and understand what your are buying. As a little bonus, they suggest sending a nice letter about what a great homeowner you will be.
Best Prep for Moving In: Don’t forget the dog! (It’s a lesson the divas learned the hard way.)
Tips for Sellers:
Finding an Agent: “The bottom line is that you need an agent who is built for the new market. That means they know what the Interwebs are, and they know how to market your home using fabulous photography and social media. Homes are selling, but the homes that are selling for top dollar are expertly marketed by the next generation of real estate pros.”
Rooms and Areas to Focus On: Get your house in order before people come to take a peek. Focus on the front yard, kitchen, and master bedroom. If the kitchen isn’t visually appealing, potential buyers might get the impression that the home will need more work than they would like.
Floors and Walls: “Divas love loud paint colors,” they say, but what many of us forget is that your home’s wall colors might not reproduce well online. Don’t be blah-beige. Be fun, just think through how well it is going to photograph for real estate sites.
Want to read the full issue? Check it Issue No. 9 in the digital magazine section of the Gray website.
Referrals from their best friend, family, co-workers, these are still very important to the next gen client. They want those referrals but they also want proof you are as awesome as their pals say you are.
We got a great call from lovely folks looking for an agent to help them buy their first house. We got together. It all went very well, we had tea, we chit chatted. When we were ready to go they told us they would be interviewing other agents – which was not surprised. But – they mentioned one of their referrals was from their best friends. When Chavi and I left and pretty much thought – oh well – this going to be really tough beating out a best friend referral. Especially since the person that referred us was a mortgage person that they were also interviewing.
So A week later we got the call from the buyers and they had chosen to work with us. I have to be honest I was a little surprised so I asked the gal why they choose us. She said –well everyone we interviewed was great, we really liked them all and it was en extremely hard decision. But when we went to the web to find them – they were nowhere on the web and you were every where. And – they said – We trust the web!
Basically they want to Cyber Stalk and you better be stalkable as a real estate agent.
So – where are they going to get this proof?
Online, Videos and the Yelp!, Zillow, Google+ and of course your own Website – but that is another blog post.
Testimonials | Let Your Clients Speak on Your Behalf
This video is from our dear friend Mark Gibson. Originally it was outtakes of conversations with his clients. But think about it one video – 30 seconds – 5 reviews! Let your clients speak for you. Let them tell the world that – YOU ARE AWESOME!
Yelp! What – Yelp is a Social Network like Facebook and Twitter?
Now most of us don’t think if Yelp! this way but – Yelp! Is a Social Network! Like Facebook or LinkedIn. It is an interactive user driven site focused on one thing – rating businesses. In this case, YOU!
Team Diva was really lucky. We had friends who used Yelp and were elite Yelpers (thanks Rassamee). We use it to find everything from gay bars in Waikiki to gift shops in Ballard. For those of us who really want to live and shop local Yelp is our passion. We were one of the first Real Estate professionals on Yelp and within no time we had 5 reviews. From there it just kept on blossoming to the point where we counted 40% of our business coming from Yelp!. Crazy but we love our Yelpers!
Why Yelp Works?
Yelp reviews rank high in web search results if you are searching on an iPad or iPhone.
People trust the reviews they read on Yelp. Why? Basically you cannot fake a review on Yelp.
To Yelp or Not To Yelp!
Because Yelp is user driven it must speak to your demographic to work for you. In other words are you using Yelp? Are the folks who you work with using Yelp?
Your clients and sphere need to be Users not Voyers!
If your sphere is active on Yelp then it could be the perfect place for you.
Do you have friends on Yelp and are you connecting, Yelping and Sharing?
The Best Way to Make Yelp! Work For You
Provide Superstar Quality Service every time to anyone and everyone who contacts you. The joy of being on on Yelp is that active
Yelper want to leave you a review. But – they will just as easily shred you as sing your praises if you do not do a great job for them!
Never SEND DIRECT LINKS TO YOUR CLIENT TO WRITE A REVIEW! If the folks at Yelp even think you asked for that review – it will be gone! Once a review is hidden – that’s it. It will still add to your review count and influence your star rating but folks will have to dig for it to read it.
And try to remember that Yelp will hide your best client’s review if they are not a Yelper but keep a review of someone who was not represented by youbecause they did not like the way you handled a situation. Our friend Matt received a very nasty review from a top Yelper that was not his client but was buying his seller’s house. Obviously Matt’s responsibility was to do the very best job for his seller and provide the duties of full disclosure to the buyer. Well this buyer did not like anyone in the process and left everyone a nasty review. The seller’s review was hidden but nasty review was kept.
Zillow | Reviews Where the Buyers and Sellers Go for House Info!
TERRY’S ZILLOW SUCCESS: If the Next Gen Client isn’t going to find you on Yelp! – they get on Zillow. Thousands of Buyers and sellers are searching Zillow constantly for housing information – if you are on there – they will find you.
Terry’s Super Success Story On Zillow Let’s talk about Terry Miller from Coldwell Banker Bain. Terry is a Zillow success story. She has 65 reviews and a 5 star rating on Zillow. Terry has been in business for years. She understands that people find her in a variety of different methods. But she also knows that she needs a place for people to find her and leaver her a review. Zillow is part of the overall strategy that she has to maintain contact with her existing clients, create brand ambassadors, and makes sure she is connecting with her next wave of business.It is all part of a plan.
How does Terry get so many excellent reviews? It’s simple – She asks for them!!!! Once her clients have received their keys and they closing gift – Terry asks them to leave her a review on Zillow if they were happy with her service. Not only can you ask everyone that works with you to leave you a review in Zillow – You make it easy and send them the link. So easy! Terry also explains that a positive review is important for her future business. Why? Because reviews matter to the next gen client.
Google+ | The Paul Kaplan Group Rules Palm Springs + Google+
In business – there is always the next big thing – A New Frontier. That new frontier is Google +. Above is Paul Kaplan’s from Palm Springs Google + page. We just had the pleasure of meeting Paul and his team in March. He is kick butt on the web. If you Google Palm Springs Real Estate – his site is the first Realtor site you see. He is employing every tool out there including Google +.
His Google + site is so great. He has 5 reviews (full disclosures I did leave him a review cause he rocks Palm Springs Real Estate)You can establish a site and get these reviews on your page so easily and you can quickly start getting more and more hits to your site.
Let’s Recap Now: Getting Review & Testimonials on these sites Makes you searchable for the Next Gen Client to find. It builds trust and strengthens your bond with your clients – when you ask for reviews & get reviews you are building your fan base. You are creating Brand Ambassadors for your business. The more folks talk about you the more folks want to know you!
Use the Power of Video and Let your Clients Speak for You!
Next Gen Client – Trusts the Internet
Yelp! – A Key Business Generator if it speaks to your demographic
Zillow – Great Addition to your Online Presence and easy way to build a strong reputation through reviews.
Google+ – The Next Frontier –Be an early adopter and reap the rewards!
Good luck and get out there to be the next generation real estate pro. Less sales “pitch”, fewer fridge magnets and more awesome connections with your peeps or Diva Dwellers as we call them.
Starting this month, Team Diva is kicking off a huge new video series to keep everyone on top of their Diva lifestyles. Keep your eyes peeled for a bunch of videos featuring some of our all-time favorites from all over Seattle, especially in some of the best hoods the city has to offer – Capitol Hill, Ballard, Columbia City, and (the cool mid-century parts of) Magnolia. Diva Kim will be taking to the streets to go spotlight some of the best hood hangouts for food, shopping, and shows, interviewing a whole lot of really incredible Diva favs along the way.
I will be totally honest. I have been trying to write this blog post for the last three weeks. But the DivaHQ has been humming with multiple offers won for buyers, multiple offers secured for our sellers, prepping for Agent Reboot, and so much more. Our office messy and I think our friends think we do not love them anymore. You know the market is back when your doctor states “Oh Real Estate. You must be doing really well right now”. Whereas my entire career in Real Estate folks have been saying “Ohhhh – that’s tough” But hey there is a lot of good news in the market right now and it is about time we saw a market as hot as the one we are experiencing right now.
Now on to the news – PodMents, Hot Markets, Sustained Price Increases, oh and a Drop Off in First Time Home Buyers????
KOMO TV’s Story About the Surge In the PodMent/Microhousing Issues
PodMents and Other Micro Housing Is FINALLY Getting Some Attention:Finally someone is taking notice that the Podment style micro-housing. Basically, MicroHousing fills in affordable housing but sacrifices design review and neighborhood impacts. The Pods do not require Multi-Family permits. Only a simple Single Family Home building permit. Hence as a Diva Dweller you have no idea if you are going to be living next to a family or 20+ families squeezed into 250sf. Personally, we feel that there needs to be a mix of affordable housing and proper design review.The current situation is not sustainable for anyone in Capitol Hill!
Home Prices Expected to Rise at least 3.3 Percent Annually through 2017:The housing recovery is expected to grow at an annualized rate of 0.6 percent through the third quarter of this year, then gain momentum and prices are projected to grow 3.7 percent between the third quarters of 2013 and 2014 until settling down to 3.3 percent annual increases over the next three years according to Fiserv, a financial services technology provider using data from the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA).
Drop-off in first-time homebuyers troubling: Though the housing market is rebounding in many local markets, there is one important segment that is not. Personally I found this story interesting. My gut feeling is that there has been so many incentives for first time home buyers to get into the market that we may have front loaded the market for years to come. It will be interesting to see if this has a dampening effect on the market.
Dear Michael has been a resident Divotee for quite some time now. Having met him at the annual Chez Diva Halloween Bash, we knew he would fit into the posse perfectly. Not long after meeting Michael, we had the pleasure of meeting DonnaTella Howe, Michael’s sexy, sassy, and savvy drag counterpart. Through the years, us Divas have been on adventure after adventure with Michael/DonnaTella in tow, most recently on our big Palm Springs birthday extravaganza. If you’ve been lucky, you may have caught some time with DonnaTella at one of our events, like Divas Take the Hill or NEXT Fest NW. But if you haven’t gotten enough of Michael or Miss DonnaTella (we know we can’t!), check out his Diva Dweller story below.
Name: Michael Jouver
Hood: Capitol Hill
How did you meet the Divas? I met the gals thru my best friend Ricardo and his other half Rocky, just prior to a couple Halloween’s back I think. Time flies when you’re being fabulous! I adore them, such great people to have as friends and then agents!
What type of home did you purchase? Co-op Apartment thing-a-ma-jig haha.
What was your first “OMG” house moment? With the space I bought it would have to be when I first saw the photos on Zillow and instantly loved the color scheme, also thinking that it was reminiscent of somewhere Sylvia O’Stayformore might reside. My first apartment is down the street at Thomas and Bellevue so I used to walk past what is now my front door (or as my best friend has named it ‘the sitcom door’) and never really noticed it.Then poof in my search here it is, it feels like I came full circle. It wasn’t on the level I preferred, being used to balconies and private outdoor spaces, but it works, it’s well lit, I don’t feel like I’m being watched by people passing by and honestly I don’t think people notice the location. That’s certainly proven when I’ve had to direct people to come over for their first time and they don’t seem to see where it’s at, which I then call ‘the door of requirement’ like in Harry Potter. It’s classic and has rooms, plenty of space, wood floors, a real kitchen it’s just the perfect first home. I still just marvel sometimes that I have this places with spaces all over that are all mine and feel so cozy. Plus the marvelous closet that holds my drag performance persona ‘DonnaTella Howe’ – it’s nice to have everything at home.
What is your greatest home extravagance? Oh gosh, hm, I haven’t bought one thing or spent particularly toward something. I guess I would say my couch, but that was a gift – but just having a couch, I love it. I used to live in a studio and having that room and piece now is just wonderful. I sometimes just sleep on my couch because I can. Plus I can have houseguests! I am looking forward to making my own changes down the line.
What is in your junk drawer? Hah, I don’t have one! My old junk drawer is now two plastic organizers that I need to go through. Funny enough I don’t have space for a junk drawer because all of the useable space in my kitchen (where I always have had said drawer) is being used by kitchen materials.
Would you rather:
mow lawn / paint the fence - Although I don’t have to do either in this place, I’ve mowed plenty of lawn space in my day so I’ll go with that. The last one I used to mow was at our first house here in WA and if you looked at it from the upper story the way I mowed it, it would look like Snoopy’s head.
untangle computer cords / sort socks - ah I’ve done both, sort socks, so easy to do while you watch TV or in my case catch up on DVR.
test the smoke detectors / fix squeaky doors- I’ve not had to do either, but WD40 is a marvel, so fix those doors!
plunge the toilet / clean out the refrigerator - of course the fridge, but you know you can’t avoid the other…
clean the gutters / take down holiday decorations - I’ve yet to clean a gutter so I’ll keep to the decorations. I was the decorator at home for my mom. I’ve yet to get into it living on my own, since its really only ever been me, but maybe now that I have a place to entertain…
What is your favorite Hood hangout spot? I love Broadway and I love 15th, both have such great places to pop into for food or what have you. Geez the whole hill really, its booming! Its the the Manhattan of Seattle. Samurai Noodles, Remedy Teas, Bimbos, Hana, Vivace, Sun Liquor Distillery (esp for brunch!). So much to choose from, I still find places I’ve yet to go.
What is your favorite local organization/non-profit? Oh a toss up, Gay City or the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence. Both do such great work keeping the community safe and happy. Gay City I love because they’re just so open and warm and take great care of everyone. The Sisters, I adore and look up to them as a performer and drag persona. I thought they were Mardi Gras nuns when I first met them, so many of them I know in and out of habit and they are just the best people ever.
What do you love the most about your house?Oh gosh well I think I might have summed it up some in the ‘AHA moment’ question. My dishwasher, gas heat, wood floors, the space for my drag closet, the red dual shower headed jetted bathtub, my front door that has a glass storm door which the top half becomes a screen door, all of the color, ROOMS AND SPACE, that it is mine for time to come and everyday I am thankful for it and for the Divas for helping me get there.