Posted by Benjamin Ehinger on Wednesday, December 4, 2013 at 7:15 PMBy Benjamin Ehinger / December 4, 2013Comment
Notice something different?
This past month, I have been receiving a lot of comments lately about the way I look. I now have a beard! But why? In this video, I talk about some of the reasons why I might be doing this. Keep in mind, this occurred during the month of November. Have you ever heard of Movember? Check it out!
For more information contact us today at 608-234-1523.
Posted by Benjamin Ehinger on Monday, August 26, 2013 at 7:14 PMBy Benjamin Ehinger / August 26, 2013Comment
Local Madison real estate agent Josh Lavik has been featured on the hit television program House Hunters on HGTV. Come see his latest episode as he struggles to find a home for his own family.
Madison, Wisconsin, real estate agent, Josh, is used to demanding clients. But he didn't expect house hunting with his own wife, Jenna, to be his such a challenge. Jenna cares more about the size and design features, while Josh is focused on being in a location where he can ride his bike to work. Josh may have no trouble finding the right home for other people, but will this agent come through with the perfect place for his family to live in?
Come join us at the viewing party at The Brink Lounge https://www.thebrinklounge.com/ September 17, 2013 at 8 pm, Show starts promptly at 9 pm 701 E. Washington Ave, Madison, WI 53703 Appetizers provided
For more information contact us today at 608-234-1523.
Posted by Benjamin Ehinger on Friday, May 31, 2013 at 7:03 PMBy Benjamin Ehinger / May 31, 2013Comment
Every year in May or June, students across the country reach a culminating point in their lives. This point arrives after years of reading, writing, thinking, and other projects. Of course I'm talking about the apex of an educational journey known as graduation day. As someone who values education and learning, I'm proud to have achieved a significant milestone in my life by obtaining my Masters in Business Administration (MBA) degree from the University of Wisconsin. This has been a life goal of mine for quite some time.
I began the MBA program for a variety of reasons. Mostly, I feel that I wanted to go down this path because of the skills I could learn, friendships that I could make, and confidence that it would give me in my career. My quest was always to become the very best kind of person that I could possibly be and reach my greatest potential.
Inevitably, upon a momentous day such as graduation, one might ask, "what's next"? That's a great question that I continue to ask almost daily. I began my real estate sales business in 2005 and feel blessed to have achieved the level I'm at today. I recall some words from Dean Francois Ortalo-Magne on our graduation day. He suggested that we look at, "what makes you angry?" Huh? Angry? Really? How does being angry help anything? Okay, I'm listening. The things that make you angry and cause you to get passionate about making changes will be the things that really make a difference. A school teacher might get angry that there are not enough resources in their district and then is motivated to raise more funds. A researcher might be angry that there's no cure for a disease and then they are motivated to put in extra hours. In the real estate business, I am angry when Realtors don't put forth the effort to really help their...
Posted by Benjamin Ehinger on Monday, December 31, 2012 at 9:17 PMBy Benjamin Ehinger / December 31, 2012Comment
As many people do this time of year, I have reflected back on the past year of 2012. It's been an interesting and good year as the housing market and overall economy continue to improve. When I think back to my highlights for the past year, here's what comes to mind.
Kids are awesome! My first son, Tyler, was born in October of 2011. As you can imagine, my life was forever changed when this cute little kid entered our world. I'm continually amazed at how much he has grown and how quickly he has changed. And his smile is super awesome! Luckily many of my good friends also have new kids and I look forward to seeing them grow together.
A new truck. As an added benefit for being one of my clients, you will now have access to a free moving truck when you buy, sell, or invest in real estate using my services. The comments I have received from many of my friends, family, and clients is, "that's a great idea." I think so too.
House Hunters on HGTV. Earlier this year I had the opportunity to be filmed with my clients Darren and Megan, for an upcoming episode of House Hunters. I thought this was a unique opportunity and I look forward to seeing the final "cut" episode sometime in early 2013.
A new house. Typically I'm out helping other people buy and sell houses. This year, it was my own turn as Jenna and I decided that it was time for a new (larger) home. Like many similar couples, Jenna and I had different wish list items for our new home that weren't always 100% compatible given our budget constraints. Luckily we found a good fit and we're unpacking this week. Yikes! It's a lot more work than I remember.
House Hunters...again! After I finished filming for my first episode of house hunters, I was chatting with one of the producers and they said that I was great to work with, and to keep them in mind again...
Posted by Benjamin Ehinger on Thursday, October 11, 2012 at 7:25 PMBy Benjamin Ehinger / October 11, 2012Comment
The last couple of weeks I had the opportunity to be involved in filming for an upcoming episode of House Hunters on HGTV (http://www.hgtv.com/shows/full-episodes). Here's a few behind the scenes photos that I took.
Stay tuned for more House Hunters in Madison. The episode will likely air in the next 2-3 months.
Posted by Benjamin Ehinger on Thursday, October 4, 2012 at 8:13 PMBy Benjamin Ehinger / October 4, 2012Comment
“Highest Overall Satisfaction For Home Buyers and Home Sellers Among National Full Service Real Estate Firms”
Keller Williams received the highest numerical score among full service real estate firms for home buyers and home sellers in the proprietary J.D. Power and Associates 2012 Home Buyer/Seller StudySM. Study based on 2,994 total evaluations measuring five firms and measures opinions of individuals who bought or sold a home between March 2011 and April 2012. Proprietary study results are based on experiences and perceptions of consumers surveyed March-May 2012. Your experiences may vary. Visit jdpower.com
Posted by Benjamin Ehinger on Tuesday, July 3, 2012 at 6:50 PMBy Benjamin Ehinger / July 3, 2012Comment
Free Moving Truck - Another Great Reason to Have Josh Lavik as Your Realtor In an effort to add more value to my clients, I bought a moving truck! That's right, if you buy, sell, or invest using the services of Josh Lavik & Associates at Keller Williams Realty, then you can USE THIS TRUCK FOR FREE!
One more great reason to choose Josh Lavik and his team as your real estate agent in the Madison area. We look forward to working with you.
Posted by Benjamin Ehinger on Tuesday, February 21, 2012 at 6:09 PMBy Benjamin Ehinger / February 21, 2012Comment
One of my core values, as a top Realtor in Madison Wisconsin, is Community. I love my community and choose to make it a better place to live by taking an active role in local community organizations. One thing that's common among top real estate agents is that they have a very large network of people that they stay in contact with on a regular basis. Years ago I chose to be take a more proactive approach to joining various groups on Madison to be a more involved citizen and better connect more home buyers and home sellers.
One organization that I joined several years ago was Madison MAGNET. Founded in 2004 as a group to unite talented young professionals from Madison and its surrounding areas. They focus on five development areas: Community Involvement, Entrepreneurialism, Professional Development, Public Policy, and Social and Cultural areas. I have served as a committee chairperson and board member.
The Cystic Fibrosis Foundation is near to my heart because of a close friend who had Cystic Fibrosis. I have helped this organization with a variety of fundraising and awareness events. Most notable was working with a close friend on a rock climbing event that raised nearly $24,000.
Downtown Madison Inc is a very powerful and motivated organization where I have met numerous interesting people. Their membership helps to grow and enhance downtown Madison to be a thriving economic engine that enhances quality of live for businesses, residents, and visitors. As one that lives and works downtown, this is an organization that really means a lot to me.
The Greater Madison Chamber of Commerce is a group of over 1400 individuals that I have connected with over the years to make great friendships and learn more about the business community in Madison.
In my undergraduate days at Lawrence University, I joined Beta Theta...
Posted by Benjamin Ehinger on Friday, November 11, 2011 at 5:44 PMBy Benjamin Ehinger / November 11, 2011Comment
There are a handful of times in life with big time game changing events. You know, the one's that have a tremendous impact on everything else. Going to college, starting a new job, moving to a new town, getting married, and buying a new home. This past week, I had the wonderful opportunity to have one of those big time events. My wife and I became parents as our new son Tyler joined the world on October 5th.
Our lives will be forever changed as we enter this new chapter of life.
What a blessing!
I know this blog is primarily related to real estate matters in the Madison area, but I had to share this big event in my life. Here's my best attempt to relate directly to real estate: when families grow, your housing needs may change and that's when I can help.
Posted by Benjamin Ehinger on Thursday, May 19, 2011 at 5:48 PMBy Benjamin Ehinger / May 19, 2011Comment
One of my favorite things about living in Madison is biking around town. There's an abundance of bike paths, bike boulevards, bike shops, and all around biking goodness. Since I live close to my office, I often bike to work.Sometimes I even meet up with friends to go bike around Lake Monona or out to the Capitol City trail. On those nicer days I even bike into school for my MBA classes. When I'm feeling like trail riding, I even go mountain biking at CamRock park. Sometimes my wife teases me because I have three bikes, but clearly they are all needed in a place like Madison that encourages people to ride their bicycle.
Bike to Work Week
Coming up the week of June 6-11 is Bike to Work Week, put on by the Wisconsin Bike Federation. To kick things off in Madison will be the annual Ride the Drive event on June 5th. "RIDE THE DRIVE is FREE, open-to-the-public, family event, and a whole new way to experience our great city. For this event, we close down the streets to cars and open it up to bikers, walkers, roller bladers, and those out to share in the experience and fun atmosphere. The streets are temporarily closed to cars, but open to people."
If you don't own a bike, there's even a few options to use one. TREK was generous enough to donate $1 Million to start a bicycle sharing program called B-Cycle. This program has been successful in Denver and Boulder. Madison will be rolling out 35 stations and 350 bikes in 2011. For those close to Budget Bicycle shop, you can even get a free "Red Bike" to use by simply placing a deposit.
Clients Buy Houses Along Bike Path
This year I have had a few clients that also find biking to be important. One such couple, works at Trek and wanted to live near downtown Madison. We found a perfect little...
Posted by Benjamin Ehinger on Wednesday, April 13, 2011 at 6:14 PMBy Benjamin Ehinger / April 13, 2011Comment
A few months ago I reflected upon my real estate business and thought a lot about how I could bring more focus to my career as a Realtor. One thing that I did is hone in on my most important core values, one of which is community. As a top realtor in the Madison area, I felt strongly that having deep ties to the community would be one way to really help my clients. When I joined Keller Williams Realty I found great alignment of both my personal core value of community and the core values of the company. One way that we are focusing on the community is an annual event titled RED Day.
RED Day (Renew, Energize and Donate) is an initiative dedicated to celebrating Keller Williams Realty’s year-round commitment to improving our local communities. Each year, on the second Thursday in May, tens of thousands of associates from across the United States and Canada participate in a wide range of projects, devoting their time to renewing and energizing aspects of the neighborhoods in which they serve.
This year for RED Day, our office will be helping The Road Home.
"The Road Home Dane County (formerly known as IHN) serves homeless families with children in collaboration with local faith communities and organizations. We are committed to the empowerment and long-term success of children and families, to serving each family with dignity and respect and to achieving results in helping families improve their lives. We welcome the entire community, in all its diversity, to participate in the pursuit of safe, affordable housing for all."
Similarly, my church does an event title Love Madison and that will take place on May 1st, 2011. Again, this is an opportunity to love where you live and give back to the community in...
Posted by Benjamin Ehinger on Monday, February 28, 2011 at 6:38 PMBy Benjamin Ehinger / February 28, 2011Comment
This past week I had the opportunity to attend Keller Williams annual convention titled Family Reunion. I was amazed at the experience with over 8,000 of the best agents in our company coming together for this event. As an agent I learned a number of tips and techniques to improve my own personal business, but also found application to my own personal life.
CEO Mark Willis shared in his annual State of the Company address to more than 8,000 convention attendees that, since the real estate market’s sharp downturn in 2005, the company has grown 30 percent in agents, 40 percent in market centers, 21 percent in closed units and 11 percent in closed GCI.
“Keller Williams agents have outpaced the market in every way, through productivity and profit share. As a company, we are better off now than we were before the shift–and we have our associates to thank for that," said Willis.
The growth of the company can be attributed to the growth of its agents. Agent productivity continued to rise with units closed up 6 percent from December 2009 to 2010, while comparably, the NAR membership as a whole went down in closed units 4.8 percent. Overall the company’s associates saw productivity year on year percentage increases across the board in listings taken (up 13 percent), contracts closed volume (up 9 percent) and contracts closed units (6 percent).
The thing that struck me as most incredible after this event was simply the passion that these people have for the real estate industry. It's inspiring me to really do my best and stick through these tough times in our real estate market.
Posted by Benjamin Ehinger on Tuesday, February 1, 2011 at 8:10 PMBy Benjamin Ehinger / February 1, 2011Comment
Keller Williams Realty is growing! This month I moved my primary office location from the West Side of Madison to Downtown. I'm happy to share a space with a number of other top agents in area, including Jean Armendariz-Kerr, Mark Gladue, Susan Oshman, Jessica Riphenburg, Liz Lauer, Rachel Whaley, and Jim Peetz.
It's a great work environment located right on the capitol square at 1 N Pinckney St, Suite 200, Madison, WI 53703. What I really like is being able to walk to work! Here's a quick video showing our office...
Posted by Benjamin Ehinger on Tuesday, December 14, 2010 at 9:08 PMBy Benjamin Ehinger / December 14, 2010Comment
I love Winter! I know, some people think I'm crazy. There's a lot of people in Wisconsin that don't like winter, but I'm not one of them. I love snow and playing outside during these cold months. Last week I played hockey, next week I'm probably going snowmobiling, and then sometime this winter I'll definitely be snowboarding.
Here's a few photos of our first real snowfall and welcome to winter for 2010 and 2011.
Thanks for reading my blog about Madison real estate and community happenings. Posted by: Josh Lavik - Madison Real Estate Agent. Josh Lavik and Associates is a real estate team within Keller Williams Realty, specializing in Madison real estate primarily in downtown Madison WI and the surrounding Madison area. 608-234-1523
Posted by Benjamin Ehinger on Wednesday, October 6, 2010 at 7:34 PMBy Benjamin Ehinger / October 6, 2010Comment
A few weeks ago I started my MBA at the UW-Madison. I'm in the evening program and intend to still work full-time in real estate, while also obtaining my degree. One of my classes is forcing me to do a lot of thinking right now about my core values and value creation. For any business to succeed it must create value for the customer. Okay, that seems reasonable. Create value.
How do Realtor's create value for the customer? Many Realtor's across the country are being forced to reinvent their business and determine this very issue of value creation. The agents that fail to do this will likely find challenges in a down economy. Here are some of the ways that I add value to home sellers in Madison:
Proper Pricing - Coming up with a good price is extremely important. The price should be high enough not to turn away potential buyers, yet also not too low that you have to, "give it away". As I've said in the past, everyone has a different opinion of price. There's the assessed value, appraised value, buyer's opinion of value, seller's opinion of value, the Realtor opinion of value, and of course your family and friend's opinion. I help seller's sort through all the numbers to come up with the best price.
Packaging - Have you ever noticed different types of packaging for products in a retail store? Packaging a home for sale is similar, in that it matters how the home is presented to potential home buyers. I help home sellers come up with the best way to showcase and stage the home to attract the right buyer.
Marketing - This is the part of exposing the home to the market and really getting the word out that it's for sale. Promoting the home on websites, in print, and everywhere possible. My main goal is to make sure that people know that this home for sale.
Negotiating - Often times selling a home is one of the biggest financial decisions ever. Emotions can run all over the place when dealing...
Posted by Benjamin Ehinger on Wednesday, August 4, 2010 at 7:49 PMBy Benjamin Ehinger / August 4, 2010Comment
Last weekend, Jenna (my wife) and I officially moved into our new home downtown. It felt great to finally be in there. In the spring we put our house on the market and were a little uncertain of it selling. As I've written in the past, this was my opportunity to take my own advice and do the things necessary to sell the property. We did just that and had an accepted offer within 6 weeks. In the meantime, we had not yet picked out a new house and decided to sublet an apartment for the summer. That meant moving twice, yet also gave us time to find what we wanted without feeling rushed.
Last Saturday was the big moving day. We were lucky enough to have awesome friends and family come to help us. If you're considering buying or selling a home, then try to gather up your best friends and family for some good ol' fashioned fun! To say the least, we were very grateful for the help of Marc, Lanette, Peanut, Mike, Kathy, Wendy, and Eric. The day would have been so much more difficult without the generosity of these amazing souls. We started out painting and then continued moving everything into the house.
Some of the key helpers (besides these wonderful people) were our storage POD, trailer, and notebook. When moving we considered putting most of our stuff into a storage unit and decided upon using PODS (portable on demand storage). The POD was a little more expensive than other local storage units, but it was much more convenient than loading and unloading multiple times. Another saving grace was having a trailer to transport things back and forth from our apartment. We did have a few offers from friends to use a pickup truck, but using the trailer was more manageable with my car. The final critical helper was a notebook that we could use to make our checklists of things we needed (to do, to buy, to look for, etc). Using David Allen's philosophy helped us to truly get things done.
The end result of the weekend - we have a fresh coat of paint in the living room, bathroom, and...
Posted by Benjamin Ehinger on Tuesday, July 20, 2010 at 5:42 PMBy Benjamin Ehinger / July 20, 2010Comment
My last blog post discussed some big changes in my life. Well this month, I have another one. I have changed companies. I am no longer a Realtor with the Stark Company. On Monday, I have officially transferred over to Keller Williams Realty.
While Keller Williams may not have been around as long as Stark, it has grown significantly in recent years to over 76,000 associates. In fact, it's now the third largest real estate company in the United States!
I'm excited about my new change to Keller Williams Realty and the options that it brings. Some of the reasons I have switched are the following:
1. ENTREPRENEURIAL - One thing about being a Realtor is that it's a lot like starting your own business venture. Keller Williams embraces change and looks for growth opportunities. That's probably why Entrepreneur magazine recently ranked Keller Williams Realty as the No. 1 real estate franchise
2. #1 TRENDSETTER - Stefan Swanepoel writes about trends in the real estate business. Keller Williams was the #1 Trend setting company for 2009. In a down market, in a down economy, that caught my attention.
3. COMPANY CULTURE - They believe that real estate is a local business driven by individual associates and their presence within the communities.
4. NATIONWIDE CONNECTION - While I have developed relationships with other agents across the country, Keller Williams has a direct connection to people that may be relocating to and from the Madison area.
5. BEST SELLING AUTHOR - Gary Keller and his team continue to put out best selling real estate publications. I read The Millionaire Real Estate Agent back in 2005 when I started and thought it was full of many great ideas.
6. SUPPORT FOR THOSE IN NEED - KW Cares is a 501(c) (3) public charity created to support Keller Williams Realty associates and their immediate families with hardship as a result of a sudden...
Posted by Benjamin Ehinger on Wednesday, June 30, 2010 at 7:19 PMBy Benjamin Ehinger / June 30, 2010Comment
Moving is hard work. I know this because I moved recently and it was a lot of hard work. Last September I got married and combined our two households into a single residence in Stoughton. We lived there for a while and then decided to move into Madison in order to be more centrally located. This seemed like a reasonable thing to do. It was my opportunity to take my own advice that I typically give my clients. Selling one house and moving into another proved to be a little more difficult than I imagined.
As we prepared to sell our home, we did what most people do. We cleaned like mad and fixed up every little thing we possibly could, within reason. Cleaning seemed to be the most difficult with two cats and a dog. Then of course, there was the challenge of dealing with the dog during showings. Our lab puppy is only two years old and loves to jump up on people. Surely, that would have to go out during any showings. Then of course, there's the pricing game. I've heard this most recently when some Realtors say, "it's a beauty contest and a price war in today's market." Last quarter, there were 625 single family sales in Dane county. Obviously, homes are selling, it just depends on which ones. Our goal was to be one of the 40 to 50% of the listings that actually sell. We thought long and hard about price and condition of our home in order to command a reasonable offer. We ended up making a few price adjustments from our first day on the market, but then received an offer within about six weeks of going on the market. Wow, now we had an accepted offer but did not have a new home picked out yet. I thought to myself, "yikes! They want to close in a month." Time to get packing.
Moving to Madison
My wife and I love downtown Madison. In fact, when considering a move, that's pretty much the area we focused on. We wanted to be somewhere close to the capitol, on the near east, or near west sides of Madison. In fact, both of our workplaces...