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Diva Dweller Michael (aka DonntaTella Howe) Featured on King 5 News

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Diva Dweller Michael (aka DonntaTella Howe) Featured on King 5 News

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Our fabulous Diva Dweller Michael (also know on Capitol Hill as the current reigning Miss Gay Seattle DonnaTella Howe) made the jump from renter to homeowner/lover this summer after his rent was jacked up by $100. Joe Fryer with King 5 News asked us gals if we knew anyone who transitioned from renter homeowner due to the rising rents in Seattle. We instantly thought about Michael. The best part of the interview is the bright red bathtub and the Drag closet that King 5 News showcased in the footage. You can also see Miss DonnaTella chat about the same tub from her cute summer interview with us gals.

Michael’s experience is very typical of many of our new Diva Dwellers. The rents skyrocket and they find themselves seriously considering home ownership as a very viable and cost effective option. Earlier this fall we featured Michael and a few other of our clients who recently made this transition »


Below is the transcript from the interview:

by JOE FRYER / KING 5 News

Bio | Email | Follow: @joefryer

Posted on November 27, 2012 at 10:56 PM

Updated today at 5:47 AM

 SEATTLE – The increasing cost of renting an apartment in Seattle is prompting more people to consider home ownership.

After renting for seven years, Michael Jouver got sick of increasing rents and decided to buy a place in Capitol Hill this summer.

“Every month I was just watching that $800 to $900 disappear,” he said.  “So now at least I know this is doing somewhere that will benefit me in the future.”

His monthly mortgage payment is only slightly more than what he paid for rent at his last place, yet his new home is two to three times bigger than the studio he used to lease.

Plus, he is earning equity, hopes to get money back on his taxes and finally has his own dishwasher.

“I can see myself staying here for 10 years or more,” Jouver said.

His realtors, Team Diva Real Estate on Capitol Hill, said at least 50 percent of their first-time buyers have decided to purchase because rents were too high.

Apartment construction slowed during the recession, which means demand today is high, but supply is low, prompting higher rents.  In Capitol Hill, the real-estate service Zillow said rents are up about 15 percent in the last year; the median rent in that neighborhood is now $1500.

First Hill saw a 10.7 percent rent hike in the past year, according to Zillow.  Rents are also going up in Queen Anne and South Lake Union.

Jane Hodges, who wrote the book “Rent vs. Buy,” said buying might be a good option for many renters frustrated by high rents, but it is not for everyone.

She does not recommend ownership for people who are not able to put down much money or put a lot of money toward paying down the mortgage, earning equity.  She also only recommends ownership for people who plan to spend some time in the home – perhaps five years or more.

Hodges also reminds potential homebuyers that the costs go well beyond the mortgage.  Maintenance costs – including association dues for condo buildings – can quickly add up.

“I just think a lot of people aren’t aware until they’re already owners what the true expenses can be,” she said.

Jouver, who plans to spend a decade or more in his new home, believes ownership was the perfect choice for him.

“I don’t anticipate there ever being a downfall,” he said.

Chavi Hohm

Chavi Hohm

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