Monday, November 24, 2014

5 Little Known, but Huge Resources for Gainesville Business Owners

Over the past year or two, I have to say that I am very impressed with the level of commitment that has been exerted by the City of Gainesville and their business community, along with the help of the Gainesville Chamber of Commerce, to affectuate change and foster innovation in the community. It is truly inspiring, contagious and a true testament to the fine leadership that has been established in our city.  There have been some exciting initiatives set in motion that will dictate a culture of success for this city for at least the next 50 years and I'm excited to be a part of this great community.  In my day-to-day interactions with key leaders in the business community, I have come across some valuable, value added resources that would benefit a great deal of entrepreneurs, but get very little advertising or publicity.  So in an effort to share them and get the word out, I've compiled them into this blogpost and here they are:
Urban redevelopment is a coordinated effort to enhance our community's assets while constantly improving the cityscape.
The CRA has moved forward with a variety of projects; some of which (such as historic rehabilitations, streetscape improvements and fa├žade enhancements) enrich existing elements within a redevelopment area.  Other CRA projects will provide exciting new features such as gateway fixtures, public art, high density residential, mixed use, and commercial developments.
The Tech Toybox helps individuals and businesses turn ideas into working models and teach people how to rapidly make proof-of-concept demonstrations of ideas. With both engineering and science, they make early prototypes and perform research and development projects.
Tech Toybox has a wide range of experience and has developed everything from flat panel displays to infrared devices, to medical device prototypes, and all forms of electronics. They are eager to help anybody who wishes to create early stage prototypes.
Manufacturing Equipment Sales Tax Exemption
Governor Rick Scott recently enacted Florida HB 7007 to create a sales tax exemption for industrial machinery and equipment purchased by manufacturers. As of April of this year, purchases of industrial machinery and equipment used by an eligible manufacturing business at a fixed location in Florida to manufacture, process, compound, or produce for sale items of tangible personal property will be exempt from sales tax. An "eligible manufacturing business" is a business that primarily engages in business activities within the industries classified under manufacturing NAICS (North American Industry Classification System) codes 31, 32, and 33 at the location where the industrial machinery and equipment are located. Eligible types of manufacturing establishments include, but are not limited to food, apparel, wood, paper, printing, chemical, pharmaceutical, plastic, rubber, metal, transportation, and furniture.
The Gainesville Chapter of the SCORE organization provides free and confidential business counseling tailored to meet the needs of small business and their personal objectives. They also offer a series of workshops (some are free of charge, and some require a modest fee) for both start-up entrepreneurs and small business owners already in operation.
Blue Oven Kitchens is a not-for-profit, commercial kitchen incubator serving North Central Florida. Its mission is to foster a whole-system approach to the sustainable growth of the North Central Florida food system. They provide and promote foodways, foodshed, food economics, and food safety research and education; and we incubate low-income and disadvantaged food entrepreneurs.

Monday, November 3, 2014

I've Moved to Front Street | 4 Steps to Making Quality Decisions

BREAKING NEWS: sometimes in life you're faced with making decisions that can dramatically change your future on either side of the coin. Not that you're in a bad position where you are, but one that better aligns with your passion and personal vision for yourself. While I was in a great position with my Coldwell Banker family, on a great team, with a great company with timeless relationships being forged, I knew that my heart aligned a bit differently with some core interests. I've been very grateful to have some wonderful opportunities present themselves to me which are easy to graciously pass on because they don't  necessarily align with my core, personal vision and values. But this one came along and I had to consider it because it actually did. So I am pleased to announce that I've made the move to pursue my real estate career further, but from the commercial side and I'm doing it with Front Street Commercial Real Estate Group ( I just wanted to publicly thank my wife, my trusted advisors, and definitely the Coldwell Banker family for their unconditional support in this tough decision. This  decision also prompted me to share some keys to making quality decisions and here they are:

1. Pray: I'm not sure who you worship, but I am a strong believer in my faith in God. I also acknowledge that there has to be a power higher than me that has divine insight and wisdom beyond my ability. Have a conversation with your higher power because he knows the thoughts and plans that are ahead of you and if you seek him first, you will find them.

2. Consult with Wise Counsel: In life, everyone should surround themselves with a personal board of directors. A group of individuals that you can call to help you analyze key life decisions and present different points of view based on what they know about you and their insight into your life, coupled with their life experiences and expertise. This mastermind group of people should consist of Pastors or other spiritual leaders, industry experts pertinent to your career field, life-long friends (with a grain of salt), and, most importantly, your spouse.  Your spouse is usually the one most intimately acquainted with you and also has some "skin in the game" when it comes to the outcome of your decisions.  They are gifts from God.. LISTEN TO THEM! And also, let me emphasize the word, "WISE" in wise counsel. Be careful in who you allow to speak into your life.

3. Research the Facts: Become an expert on all facts, figures and data relating to your decision -- both quantitative and qualitative. From this data, establish a list of pros and cons as it relates to both sides of the decision to be made.  This may also be applicable to establishing a SWOT Analysis -- an analysis of your Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats.  Your Strengths: things that you personally possess that would add value to a given entity; Your Weaknesses: the converse of your strengths; Opportunities: outside influences and potential future transactions that may take place that you can take advantage of given your strengths; Threats: outside influences and future transactions that may be hurdles and blockages to your success given your weaknesses.

4. Pray Again: Your faith in God should be the first and last voice in your journey.  Once you've initiated the process with prayer, and have done steps two and three, you should shut off the voices, silence the noise and listen for that still, small voice of wisdom.  Get into a place of silence whether it's an office, a quiet place in nature, a coffee shop, wherever it is that you can be in tuned with just you and your higher power and reach a place of peace with your decision.  Some would call this, "going with your gut."

Once your decision is made, do not waiver and go into a state of "paralysis by analysis." Be very quick and decisive in making the decision and corresponding plan of action. Do away with all reminders of the "way it was" and things that would remind you of the past.  It's very important that you are fully invested in the new decision and have laser focus on your action plans to experience swift success.

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Buyers Market Ending? | Chris Doering Exclusive Interview

Throughout 2014, we've seen mortgage rates stay and have a cup of coffee around the low 4% range.  However, with the fed looking to raise mortgage rates in the near future, your cost to borrow funds for home purchases may be in jeopardy of rising.

A majority of economists have come to the consensus that the average 30-year fixed-rate mortgage could reach 5% by mid-2015, The New York Times reports. On Friday, Freddie Mac reported the 30-year fixed-rate mortgage averaging 4.2 %. This is largely attributable to the Federal Reserve’s plan to withdraw from buying mortgage-backed securities. 

Economists suggest that while a 5% mortgage rate is still historically low, such an increase still has the potential of reducing buying power in a home purchase. For example: According to some estimates, a 1 percent increase in interest rates can raise a monthly mortgage payment on a typical home by more than $700 in pricier parts of the country. Of course that type of increase is very loosely applicable to the Gainesville market. 

But even in the case of rate hikes up to 7%, the analysis found that homes remain affordable overall. From 1985 to 2000, home owners’ housing costs—including the principal and interest on a median-priced home—accounted for 22% of a home owners’ median household income. However, for comparison, today’s households are spending about 15 % of their median income on a median-priced home.

For further details, check out this recent article from the NY Times:

When Mortgage Rates Rise

Mortgage rates have remained relatively low this year, and little changed, despite previous predictions of an inevitable rise. Borrowers, though, may be wondering how much longer this environment can last.

At this point, waiting for the rise in interest rates “is a little bit like ‘Waiting for Godot,’ ” said Stan Humphries, the chief economist for Zillow, an online real estate information service, referring jokingly to the Samuel Beckett play named for a character who never shows up. 

Mr. Humphries and other economists are now predicting that the average 30-year fixed-rate mortgage will hit 5 percent by the middle of next year, partly as a result of the Federal Reserve’s planned withdrawal from buying mortgage-backed securities. Last week, the 30-year national average was 4.28 percent, according to, a publisher of loan information.

While 5 percent is still low by historical standards, an increase of that size can reduce buying power more than borrowers may think. According to Zillow, a 1 percent rise in interest rates could raise monthly mortgage payments on a typical home next year by more than $700 in pricier parts of the country. Zillow compared the effect of a rate increase to 5.1 percent from 4.1 percent for a 30-year mortgage in 35 metropolitan areas. Figuring in the expected increases in home values over the next year, Zillow found that monthly payments would rise by as little as $65 in the St. Louis area and as much as $710 in the San Jose/Silicon Valley region.

In the New York metropolitan area, which includes Northern New Jersey,Long Island and Westchester, monthly payments would rise by about $200.

While a rise in rates of even 50 basis points can have a substantial effect on demand, Mr. Humphries noted that for the country as a whole, homes are still relatively affordable. From 1985 to 2000, paying the principal and interest on a median-priced home ate up about 22 percent of median household income, he said. Now, people are spending about 15 percent of median income for the median-priced home.

“So even when rates go to 7 percent, it will still be affordable” in most areas, Mr. Humphries said.

Los Angeles and the Bay Area are glaring exceptions, as home prices there are demanding 40 percent of household income.

A lack of inventory in mid- to lower-priced homes may pose more of a problem for first-time buyers. Research by Redfin, a national real estate brokerage, shows a sharp decline in home listings below $375,000 compared with 2011.

Looking at properties listed in July, Redfin found 28 percent fewer homes priced under $375,000 than in July 2011, and 50 percent fewer priced at $130,000 or less. Above $375,000, inventory was up by 16 percent.

In August, the number of listings over all declined by an unseasonably high 9 percent compared with July, signaling that it is unlikely “we are going to see a big push in affordable inventory anytime soon,” said Nela Richardson, Redfin’s chief economist.

On the plus side for buyers, the market could become less competitive. The National Association of Realtors reported on Monday that purchases by investors and all-cash buyers fell sharply in August.

“Many markets are not going to see the same multiple-bid environment that we saw even earlier this year,” Ms. Richardson said. “It will be easier to win the home of your dreams than it was a few months ago.”

First-time buyers need not feel rushed, she said, noting that low rates are likely to stay low “for a few more months. It’s O.K. to be patient and to look.”

Contact Jason Hurst Today!

Friday, September 19, 2014

A Quiet Battle Making Noise in Gainesville | New Home Valuation Tool Unleashed!

I wanted to touch on one of the hotter topics that is affecting our beloved Gainesville Community.  This topic has left a number of individuals, particularly on the eastern half of Alachua County, somewhat divided, and rightfully so.  There is a movement that is gaining traction, with support and opposition, that could shape the next 50 years of Alachua County's growth and development.  I recently have gotten involved in the discussions over this heated topic.  While I will not disclose my position on this topic through this medium, nor will I encourage you to choose either side of the discussion, I do think that it's only fitting for you to be "in the know" of what is at hand since it will affect you and your families for years to come.  The movement is called Envision Alachua and at the center of it's plan is huge landowner by the name of Plum Creek.


When Alachua County government asked Plum Creek what its plans were for 65,000 acres of land in eastern Alachua County, the company responded with Envision Alachua—a community-based planning process that has spanned, to date, over three years and collected feedback from more than 1,700 area residents. A community vision of what could be achieved on these Plum Creek lands emerged from Envision Alachua. In December of 2013, to move forward on this vision, Plum Creek submitted the Envision Alachua Sector Plan (EASP) to local officials for review. The EASP includes a request to amend the Alachua County Comprehensive Plan to set aside an additional 29,325 acres—resulting in a total of more than 52,190 acres—for conservation, agriculture and open space. The EASP also provides the much needed land to support employment-oriented, mixed-use development (EOMU), which can accommodate 30,000 jobs in eastern Alachua County over the next 50 years.

Plum Creek is one of the largest private landowners in the nation with approximately seven million acres of timberlands in the United States. Our core business is timber, and in Florida, we own 418,000 acres in 21 counties. Nearly 95,000 acres of those lands are permanently conserved. In Alachua County, Plum Creek is the largest private landowner with 65,000 acres, and about 24,000 acres are permanently conserved. Plum Creek believes giving back to our communities is not only responsible, but the right thing to do. Across the country and in Alachua County, the Plum Creek Foundation gives away thousands of dollars in grant funds to support nonprofit organizations that improve our citizens’ quality of life.

The Envision Alachua Goal for the Economy
To create economic development opportunities that support and enhance the innovation economy, provide job opportunities and services at all economic levels and ensure a robust and
sustainable economy.

  • Accommodate 30,000 potential jobs over 50 years in eastern Alachua County, where the employment need is the greatest.
  • Attract advanced manufacturing and agricultural related jobs, many of which require only a high school diploma or some specific training, overcoming jobs competition that residents face with college students.
  • Assist to increase the tax base, and allow for the services and recreation opportunities close by that support a vibrant community.
  • Enable Alachua County, the University of Florida and Santa Fe College and the region to compete in the state, national and global economies.
Well I hope this provided enough of an overview of the plan to pique your interest to learn more about the topic and delve further in to the details, pros and cons of the plan.  Either way, this discussion will affect generations of Alachua County citizens for years to come whether it happens or not… so GET INVOLVED!

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

*INVESTOR SPECIAL* New Millennium Home Available Now! - Tenant Occupied (Newberry, Florida)


28917 SW 30th Avenue, Newberry, FL 32669 
JUST LISTED!! Most likely, best suited for an investor, but can be made into a great home as well. Lease is flexible. Very cozy home on a 5 acre parcel of land. Built just before the turn of the millennium, this quaint, 3 BR, 2 Bath home is sure to impress. It includes a formal dining and living room, beautiful living annex, master bathroom with jacuzzi style tub and more! It has an A/C unit that is one-year old with energy efficient curtains installed. Outside come with a workshop with electricity, two carports for a regular car and an RV and/or boat. It is currently tenant occupied and the tenant can either stay to make it a rental or move to make this your new home!! (MLS# 355743)

Contact me for more information or to schedule a viewing.  When it comes to real estate, Think Hurst 1st!

Sunday, August 17, 2014

How to Pet Proof your Home - An interview with Veterinarian, Dr.Jessica Robertson

Being a pet owner is truly a joy and privilege. My wife and I are the proud owners of a 4 year old boxer named Manni. And, I tell ya, if it wasn't for having a set of hind legs, I quite honestly don't think you can tell him that he isn't human. I'm always amazed by the intelligence of domestic animals and their ability to assimilate to human culture. However, as domestic as they may acts at times, the truth remains that they are still animals and that they require a whole set of separate rules and details to be able to coexist with their human counterparts.

In this exclusive interview, I had the privilege to sit down with veterinarian, Dr. Jessica Robertson. Dr. Robertson owns Robertson Animal Hosptial, a full service animal care hospital in Gainesville, Florida. She is also a proud alum of the University of Florida School of Veterinary Medicine. Dr. Jessica shares her expert opinion on pet care and making our homes more conducive to pets in this brief, informative interview that I'm certain you will enjoy. Take a look:


If you have any questions about this interview or any other real estate related topic, feel free to contact me at any time! And remember, when it comes to real estate, Think Hurst 1st!

Sunday, August 3, 2014

Beyond Real Estate: Success is a Daily Routine (Keys to a Purposeful Day w/ John Maxwell)

With so many life commitments like family, school, work, community organizations, travel, personal goals … (Breathe) …. home repairs, sporting events, family reunions, eating with friends and, I'm quite sure I'm missing some, it seems like 24 hours in a day can be laughable at times.  Oh, and not to mention, you have this little thing called "success" always lingering over your head… but no pressure.

Now, there's many ways that people will tell you as to how to define "success", but one aspect of the word that we can reach a consensus on is this, success does not happen on accident.  It is the result of purposeful planning and execution.  And a lifetime of success, first starts with a day-to-day routine for success.

According to leadership expert, John Maxwell, the first step in determining your daily routine is figuring out what really matters to you. Each individual has to define what priorities are central to their goals and beliefs, but Mr. Maxwell shares his personal pledges:

1. Attitude: I will display the right outlook daily.

2. Priorities: I will act on the things most important to me daily.

3. Health: I will follow healthy guidelines daily.

4. Family: I will communicate with and care for my loved ones daily.

5. Thinking: I will practice good thoughts daily.

6. Commitment: I will make and keep proper promises daily.

7. Finances: I will properly manage dollars daily.

8. Faith: I will deepen and live out my faith daily.

9. Relationships: I will initiate and invest in solid relationships daily.

10. Generosity: I will model kindness daily.

11. Values: I will embrace good standards daily.

12. Growth: I will seek improvements daily.

Maxwell goes on to suggest that we should dogmatically follow these daily routines in congruence with these priorities.

Prepare the Night Before

If it’s going to be successful, my day has to start the night before. Before I go to sleep, I do two things. First, I reflect on the day that’s ending. You will never make the most of the day that’s coming until you evaluate the day that has passed. Who did I help? What did I learn? Did I do my best?

Second, I look at the next day to see what I need to accomplish. I know I can’t be at the top of my game every minute of the day. So I look at my schedule and to-do list and decide what will be the main event. Then I make certain I can give my all to that most important thing.

Don’t try to prioritize your whole life. Just prioritize the day. If you can figure out the best possible way to spend four, eight or 12 hours, you can be successful.

Ask the Right Question in the Morning

Because I wake up knowing how I will spend my day, I’m able to hit the ground running. That leaves me with just one question to consider each morning: How can I add value to people today?

Asking this puts me in the right frame of mind as I approach my responsibilities. I want to make a diff erence. If I look for ways to add value to those I encounter, I will likely be satisfied with how I use my day.

Give Your Best

Parts of my day are routinely the same: I prepare at night. I get my mindset right in the morning. I try to carve out time to exercise in the afternoons when I’m at home or in the early mornings when I’m on the road. And I do things to help me grow personally (more on that shortly).

The rest of the day varies. Sometimes I’ll be speaking to live audiences. Other times I’ll be in meetings with leaders of my teams. Or I’ll write. Or I’ll be recording or thinking through future projects.

Whatever the day holds, I try to give my best. Success in life and leadership consists of being good in the moment. If you can be totally present physically, emotionally, mentally a nd spiritually, you b ecome a “100-percenter,” and those people are the ones who rise to the top and make a diff erence.

The best “100-percenter” I ever met was Bill Clinton. I got the opportunity to meet him at the White House during his second term. In our short time together, he focused completely on our conversation and made me feel important.


If you do everything I’ve listed, you w ill be able to add value to people and have a successful day. But how do you sustain that over the long haul? By adding value to yourself every day.

The “Rule of Five”five things that I do every day:

1. Read. I am constantly feeding my mind. I try to read one or two books every week. Some I skim. Others I fully digest. I also listen to podcasts and other audio messages, t he b est of which I h ave transcribed.

2. File. It’s not enough just to read. The No. 1 timewaster for most people is searching for lost items. Whenever I find a good quote or idea, I file it. That way I can retrieve it within seconds or minutes.

3. Write. I help others primarily through books and speeches. That means I need to write continually. Look in my briefcase or on my desk and you’ll find files of material I’m working with to create new lessons and ideas.

4. Think. Perhaps the most valuable thing I do every day is stop doing and just think. I evaluate experiences, weigh opportunities, consider how to help my team and ask God for guidance.

5. Question. Good questions unlock doors and reveal opportunities. I feel so strongly about this that I wrote a book called Good Leaders Ask Great Questions, which will come out in October.

I would consider the words of John Maxwell along with the greats like Napoleon Hill, Robert Kyosaki, and Zig Ziglar.  You can apply these and many other of his several book titles to your career… I know I will be applying these to mine.  If you have a question about this or any real estate related topics, please feel free to contact me at any time.  I also appreciate your referrals.  And always remember, when it comes to real estate, Think Hurst 1st!