Category: Ben Lee Properties’ News

07
Mar

Memorial Day Giveaway

Hi Friends of Ben Lee Properties,

Are you ready for another Ben Lee Properties Giveaway?

I sure hope so. This time I’m giving away a $100 Amazon giftcard to the most creative entry.

I’m sure you’re already wondering how to enter… I’ll tell you the two quick steps right now!

1. Take a picture of yourself holding any issue of our Cheviot Hills or Beverlywood newsletter.
2. Send the picture to me via email at Ben@benLeeProperties.com or share it on Facebook and tag Ben Lee Properties or Instagram @BenLeeProperties. The contest starts now and will continue through the end of the Memorial Day weekend.

AND THAT’S IT!

The more creative the picture, the better. The lucky winner will receive a $100 Amazon giftcard!

We’ll be deciding on the winner the first week of June, but hurry because June will be here before you know it!

(All entries must be submitted by Midnight on May 28th PST; Winner must live in the Los Angeles area.)

02
Dec

‘Tis the Season

What a month it has been. It feels like the world has been turned upside down since the elections. No matter how you voted, it’s plain to see that the country is divided and this leaves me wondering what can be done about it. Unfortunately, I don’t have easy answers which is also somewhat troubling. I am someone who likes having action plans and goals and linear paths towards achievement. Indecision and lack of direction are two states of consciousness that don’t sit well with me. So, when I see protests on the news or hate crimes creeping out of the shadows, my first instinct is to wonder: what can I do to help my fellow Americans? How do I get involved to assuage the anger?

But then, selfishly, my second thought quickly follows and that is to feel grateful that I live in this community I share with you. Maybe it’s naïve to believe, but it feels like Cheviot Hills, Rancho Park, Beverlywood and West Los Angeles exist in its own bubble, immune to many of the troubles facing the bigger, more volatile, sometimes scarier world. We have great schools, jobs, opportunities, a thriving economy, open minded and educated people of all races and religions, all stuck in traffic on the same congested freeways.

My mind drifts back again to the issues at large because that cozy, safe feeling of security; me being grateful living ‘here’ instead of ‘there’ doesn’t really help much toward healing the rest of the country.

Perhaps the upcoming holiday season will help lighten the mood and soften the edges a bit. Families lucky enough to find support in one another will ideally come together and eat and laugh and find unity. Hopefully elders will influence the youngsters to take an active role in the kind of world in which they want to live. Ideally, we will mesh as a fractured nation and realize that our diversity is one crucial part of what makes our country great. We’ll recognize that our shared hope for a positive future can bond us together, not tear us apart.

The holiday season always inspires me to appreciate what I usually take for granted by helping those who may not be as fortunate. I recognize that there are others who might not have it as great as we do and so I try to give something back, to hopefully make someone’s day a bit brighter. But just as important as doing something for others, it’s just as critical to do something nice for yourself, too. As parents, spouses and professionals, we’re often caught devoting the majority of our energy to the wants and needs of others. I’m just as guilty of this as anyone and truthfully, it’s exhausting. So, each December I try to make an effort to recharge my batteries a bit. Work usually slows down and I can often find moments of quiet to take a break and mentally prepare for what will likely be a busy year ahead.

2016 wasn’t an easy one for my family. We lost my mom after a long and painful illness and though it’s been seven months, we’re still mourning her loss each day. But, on the bright side, we experienced our fair share of delight this year, too. My wife and I take great pride in our boys becoming thoughtful members of society and dignified young men. We were also thrilled to welcome a new nephew into our family… a baby who illuminates our lives with joy every time he is near.

Perhaps a parallel can be made regarding the current state of affairs in our country. Like with most things, there is some bad but also good, too. So how do we navigate going forward? Maybe by coming together as best as we are able; by being kind and patient and open to one another’s ideas; by listening to each other; by finding the good in our friends, neighbors, family members and even strangers; by standing up for what we believe are the moral truths that make our community and country great; by doing our part to be positive members of society.

Doing all of that may be the closest I come to an action plan and no one said the path to unity would be linear or even easy. But I am willing to work toward the goal of achieving a sense of peace and harmony during the holidays, in the new year and the months beyond. I hope the rest of the country can work towards this, too.

From my family to yours, I wish you and your loved ones the happiest and healthiest of holiday seasons.

17
Nov

A Season of Thanksgiving

Every November, it’s my first instinct to write about why I’m thankful. Seems to be a pretty solid theme since Thanksgiving is right around the corner and it’s nice to take a moment and reflect on what makes me feel grateful for this life I lead.

Some years are harder to do this than others. I feel more inclined to be sad this holiday season given this will be the first time we are facing all these family get togethers without my mother present. I can’t even imagine these holidays without her here and yet, I also know that she would not want me squandering time at family parties, occasions she cherished above all else, by being only sad. I know she’d much rather see all of us celebrating everything she did to make our holidays special in the first place. The beautiful tables she set; the incredible dishes she made; the bawdy jokes she told. The secret look she’d give when a relative’s pot luck contribution wasn’t quite up to snuff; the slightly passive aggressive tips she’d offer in the midst of me carving the bird; the crispiest bits of skin or moistest pieces of meat she’d sneak away to the boys, wondering aloud to no one in particular after she already helped herself to a bite: ‘have you ever had anything more delicious in your whole life?’

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I may always be sad that she’s no longer with us at Thanksgiving, but I am grateful for the memories she left behind. In my heart, I know she’s somewhere happy and proud that the traditions she held so dear will continue even though she’s gone. For that, her enduring love and legacy, I am grateful.

Another reason I give thanks this year is it’ll be the first Thanksgiving for my new baby nephew. Barely five months old, he won’t taste anything, understand anything or remember anything but just knowing that he’s there with his family, from his three cousins who adore him to his 98 year old great grandmother who always gets the first kiss, is reason enough to rejoice.

ben-lee-properties-a-season-of-thanksgiving-2I’m thankful for my work. It was a good year to be a residential realtor. There were some tough transactions, without a doubt. To put it into perspective, there were some times I wondered if going back to the relentless hours of being a lawyer might be a calmer and mellower existence. But, at the end of the day, I feel very fortunate to do what I do. I am happy when I get the highest sales for my sellers and the best bargains for my buyers. I like having my finger on the pulse of our neighborhood, knowing what’s going on, what’s coming up and how it relates to the global economy at large. You can learn a lot about what is happening in the country based on a neighborhood’s current economical growth and I find that aspect of the business quite fascinating.

Finally, I’m extremely grateful for my family. My wife and three sons are everything to me. They are the motivating factor for setting that alarm clock way too early, for taking those after-business-hours urgent phone calls, for answering all the emergency texts that come in. When life feels toughest, I look to them to remember why I work so hard and feel thankful that what I do helps provide us with the lucky life that we lead. We aren’t hungry, we aren’t homeless, we are generally pretty happy, we are loved. When it’s all said and done, what more could any of us want?

So, at the brink of a holiday that asks us to reflect and acknowledge reasons to be thankful, even in a year that could easily be dismissed as one that (for my family) was very sad, I look to my loved ones and know that I’m blessed. Each day that I can wake up with a roof over my head and two healthy feet on the ground, is a day I am grateful for. From my family to yours, I wish you a very Happy Thanksgiving!

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26
Feb

March Raffle: Enter to Win!

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Back by popular demand, Ben Lee Properties presents your chance to win a $50 dollar gift certificate to a local business!

This month, in honor of neighborhood baseball starting up again, we are raffling off a $50 gift certificate to everyone’s favorite post-game wrap up burger joint: Islands! Enjoy fifty dollars worth of all that fine food served with a festive Hawaiian flair.

To enter, simply email me: ben@benleeproperties.com and write ‘ISLANDS’ in the subject line. In the body of the email, let us know the best way to reach you. That’s it! We’ll pick a winner at random at the end of the month. And here’s a hint if you really want that competitive edge: You can double your chances to win by liking Ben Lee Properties on Facebook.

Mahalo and good luck!

12
Nov

I’m Going To Be On The News! Tune in to KCBS 2 Tomorrow at 5 PM P/T.

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I was excited to get a call the other day asking if I would be willing to be interviewed on the local news (KCBS 2, channel 2 at 5 pm) this Friday night. The topic, I was told, would be real estate and I would be used as a resident expert to answer a variety of real estate related questions. I quickly agreed to being interviewed and am still excited to be on TV, but feeling a little bit nervous, as well.  I can talk about real estate until I’m blue in the face but when it comes to creating great sound bites that only a television producer could truly appreciate, I may be slightly out of practice.

It may come as a bit of a surprise, but this is not the first time I’ve ventured into the spotlight of show business.  My wife used to work in television entertainment journalism, specifically Hard Copy and Extra as well as a few shows in between.  I think the first (and last) time she let me come with her to a shoot was many years ago when we were dating. She had to cover a party at the Playboy Mansion so she said I could pretend to be one of the crew just so that I could have the experience of being at this most famous (and infamous!) residence. She handed me a boom mic and told me to hold it high and look natural.  Everywhere I turned there was another half naked model wandering around. It was impossible to look natural in the midst of all that unnatural scenery!  And I guess I didn’t do a very good job holding the microphone high enough, either. Apparently much of the footage was deemed unusable due to the fact that the boom mic I was holding kept dipping into the shot. Clearly, I was distracted by my surroundings- a rookie mistake.

Since then, I’ve been on television a few  times. I appeared on HGTV’s “Selling LA,” where I showed clients a property that they were interested in buying. I also was interviewed for a segment on CBS national news about the real estate bubble.   So, while I’m honored to be considered an expert in the field and feel special that I got asked to share my expertise with all those tuning in, I’m not even the only member of my family who’s due to appear on TV this week. My middle son Spencer and his choir (the West LA Children’s Choir, directed by my mother-in-law) will be on the Jimmy Kimmel Show on the 17th backing up the band Walk the Moon singing their new single.

But despite my wealth of television experience and various exposure to the field (pun intended, Playboy bunnies), this appearance on Friday will be the first time I’ve been in an actual studio, speaking extemporaneously in a 3-5 minute segment, interviewed by news anchors in the second largest market in America. I’m not sure how best to prepare or even what I’m going to wear. I just hope I know all the answers to the viewers’ questions and I sound like I know what I’m talking about.

I also hope that after all this build-up, I don’t end up on the cutting room floor but sometimes, as they say, that’s show biz.  And as long as I’m already hoping for stuff, I really hope that the person holding the boom mic on set knows more about getting good sound quality than I did!

So, please wish me GOOD luck this Friday the 13th and set your recorders for KCBS 2 (that’s channel 2 in Los Angeles) from 5-6pm. I hope I answer all your real estate questions well!

07
May

The Ben Lee Team Has A New Addition!

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Casey Lang: The Latest Ben Lee Team Member
Even though I was really excited to be ranked #10 internationally last year, I still find myself spending an inordinate amount of time contemplating how I can still take my business to the next level. One of the areas I kept turning over in my head was technology.  I think the MTV generation (mine) just missed getting in on the ground floor of learning all the ins and outs of the internet and how best to utilize it to maximize business and marketing. It’s almost as though if you can remember a time before the internet existed and you aren’t naturally a computer whiz, you’re basically just the old dog trying to learn new tricks.
I’m happy to say that I’ve added a new member to the Ben Lee Properties team to usher my local real estate practice onto the global superhighway. A native of Sydney, Australia, Casey Lang, our new Digital Marketing Specialist, brings to the team years of experience in both marketing and real estate. She’s an expert in search engine optimization and knows everything there is to know about all things internet. She’ll shoot videos of all of my listings and put them up on the web for everyone from people in town or their friends in France to take virtual tours. She’ll also help run all the social media pages and keep getting the brand out there so when people consider selling or buying properties, they’ll remember the Ben Lee Properties team and all the great people that are a part of that.
So, welcome, Casey! #gladtohaveyouonboard

Why not follow us on Facebook to get all of the latest news and tips for LA residents and homeowners.

08
Apr

Boys of Summer

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Looking at my boys is like looking in a mirror so there’s no doubt they are my genetic offspring, however, sometimes their interests are so different than mine, it’s easy to wonder how we can actually be related. When I was the age of my eldest, all I cared about was seeing bands. I wasn’t too into sports (that came later when I discovered water polo in high school) but when it came to seeing concerts, I was a boy obsessed. My father took me to my first arena show in 1987: Pink Floyd at the LA Sports Arena and I loved every second of it. Seeing all the fans, sharing in the excitement of watching idols take the stage, hearing those first guitar notes and witnessing the amazing light shows Pink Floyd was famous for. Feeling those voices float above each of the thousands of people who were all experiencing it together.

After that fateful evening, I made it my mission to get tickets for all the great shows that came to town. The Rolling Stones and the Who were two of my favorites but sometimes it was even more fun to go to the secret shows: like Stone Temple Pilots at the Viper Room or catching Jane’s Addiction at the Roxy, so close to the stage you could practically reach out and touch them. Seeing shows was my everything.

This is not to say that my boys don’t appreciate music. They’re trying and still learning. When I drive them around town, they listen to and seem to enjoy much of the classic rock I was raised on so I’m hopeful they’ll at least get a balance to all the Top 40 (junk ?) and Broadway stuff my wife subjects

them to. What flabbergasts yet comforts me is the same razor focus I applied to seeing rock shows is now presenting itself in our son, Mason. He absolutely shares that same intensity I channeled into getting tickets but instead of heading to see a band at the Fabulous Forum or Rose Bowl, Mason’s tickets are to cheer for his idols: the boys in blue at Dodger Stadium.

Attempting to get seats this year for Opening Day at Dodger’s Stadium reminded me of all those stressful times back in the 90s, wracking my brain over how to see Nirvana. Mason loves the Dodgers just as much as I loved Kurt Cobain so I understood his need to get there no matter what. We thought of everyone we knew who could help and pored over the various online ticket sites looking for deals. We analyzed seat locations (he’s as specific with where he prefers to sit as I once was), calculated risk of truancy and did everything short of sleeping out on the sidewalk overnight and getting a wristband at the local Ticketmaster.

In the end, we hit the homerun and managed to snag some tickets and, just like my father did for me many years ago, I have made my son’s dream come true. Whether the Dodgers win or lose on April 6, I know that the memories my son has from that Opening Day will last a lifetime. Seeing all the fans, sharing in the excitement of watching his idols take the stage/mound/outfield. Hearing that first crack of the bat and witnessing the amazing camaraderie his beloved Dodgers are famous for. Catching a foul ball would certainly be nice, too.

I might not understand his preference of seeing baseball over bands and maybe passions skip generations. One thing is for sure, though: I’m happy when I can indulge my son’s enthusiasm and even happier relishing the times I can share with him. Speaking of relish… another Dodger Dog, please!

06
Apr

Ben Lee Properties Update 04/06/2015

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You know that house I had on the market for $1,199,000 in Beverlywood on Cisco? Well, all it took was one rainy open house and 14 offers later (most of which above asking), we are in escrow. The point being: the inventory for homes in this price range is particularly low so if you have been on the fence about selling, right now happens to be a superb time to take the plunge.

This weekend I invite you to check out a modern home in Mar Vista that was just reduced. As always, if you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to call.

Best, Ben

P.S. If you haven’t checked out my monthly newsletter yet, please do by Clicking Here!  The newsletter highlights the events in Cheviot and Beverlywood and I also feature a raffle in which I give away gift certificates to local businesses. This month I am offering a $50 gift certificate to the fabulous Children’s Book World and it’s not too late to enter. You can sign up on my website Click Here!