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!

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

What in the World is Your Home Worth?? | July is Home Valuation Month

So I read a recent article stating that pending home sales surged 6.1% in May which represents the largest such gain since 2010. This remarkable note prompted me to make July The Month of Home Valuation. All month long I'm offering my time (for $FREE.99 of course) to put together a Comparative Market Analysis report for anyone who's interested in finding out how much your home is worth in today's market. You may find that now is a good time to cash in on your current home use your sudden cash flow to upgrade, downsize, place some money in a college fund or IRA, or use your new found wealth to meet some other financial goal.

For those not necessarily selling, but still interested in pricing a home, here are the BIG 3 components:

This is the dollar value that the seller should be reasonably asking for given current market conditions.  Things that should be taken into consideration include factors such as recently sold properties.  These should, preferably, be within the last 6-12 months.  This way, you're taking advantage of the most recent market trends.  These comparative sales should also be be similar in size (land, home square footage, number of rooms, etc.) and amenities (i.e., fences, pools, etc.)  There are certain intangible factors that have to be considered as well such as location, surroundings, view from the property and more.  One of the single, biggest factors, of course, is the location.

The value of the market is subject to the prospective buyer and can differ from transaction to transaction. Locational amenities such as highly-rated schools nearby, access to public transportation, or distance to a certain employer, can place a higher or lower premium on certain properties to prospective buyers.  Value can also be determined by a certain area's inventory.  Low supply of homes, with high demand for  them, will drive the market price up.  The inverse of this relationship is also true: high supply of homes available, with low demand, will drive price downward.

The cost basis is determined by the land, materials and improvements that have been purchased and utilized.  In a lot of cases, there is an inelastic value created when the cost of improvements is incurred.  Thus, value is not necessarily a direct derivative of cost.  More value can be created by spending money to make certain improvements.  The value is a subjective property that is usually determined by the buyer's preferences and interests.

Now, sites like Zillow and Trulia have made superior attempts to value homes all over the nation, which are pretty decent.. But how can you fully trust a company based in Arizona with a computer algorithm against an agent in your local market who lives, works and studies in your locale?  That's why I'm offering this service all month long… and thereafter I'm sure lol.  Feel free to e-mail me to take advantage of this offer.

Thank you so very much for you continued support.  Please feel free to contact me with any questions pertaining to this or any other real estate related topics at (352) 246-8706 or at  You can also visit my website at and be sure to 'LIKE' my Facebook page today. And remember, when it comes to real estate, THINK HURST 1ST!

Monday, June 23, 2014

My Personal Gainesville Restaurant Week | MUST EATS!

In honor of the Annual Gainesville Restaurant Week that has so graciously been put on each year by the Gainesville Chamber of Commerce, I have decided to highlight my personal, favorite restaurants in the area.  Now, none of these are featured restaurants on this years official tour, but make no mistake about it, they are OFFICIAL IN TASTE and need to be frequented. My wife and I are self-proclaimed "foodies".  We are contacted by many in our circles and are considered  reliable and consultative specialists when it comes to food and restaurant recommendations.  I would venture to say that, between us, there isn't one restaurant door that has gone unopened in Gainesville and the surrounding areas so I have a pretty qualified opinion on most places.  We enjoy dating and family time in a good restaurant, mostly the ones that are least advertised and underground favorites. So whether you're looking for a date spot, a catered event, or a brief meeting location, these eating sanctuaries will be right up your alley!

1511 NW 2nd Street
Nestled near the Duck Pond area of Gainesville, this quaint restaurant is ideal for quiet conversation, a
small little getaway, and, of course, a great meal.  Now, me being from the densely-populated, urban demographic of the Chicagoland area of Illinois, I have never come in contact with a buffalo, let alone ever tasted one.  But let it be known, Civilization has an undeniably great and hearty Water Buffalo burger.  I would liken it most closely to an Angus beef burger, but with a more robust and rich flavor.  It's sure to capture your taste buds and leave you full; especially on the king of buns, the kaiser roll.  This is just one of the many organic, international treats on their menu. And, for the health conscious, Civilization is greatly vegan-friendly.  Civilization is definitely a natural food lover's spot and a free-feeling ambiance to take advantage of in Gainesville.

The Top
30 N Main Street
This is, hands down, my favorite restaurant in Gainesville.  With me being a city boy, I am always on a
quest for venues, activities and restaurants that most closely resemble the food, culture and ambiance of "the big city" and, if only for a few hours, remind me of the urban, city culture.  THIS IS IT! Located right on Main street near the precise center of Gainesville (University and Main) it is always a bustling and tasty option.  But you may want to allow for a long wait time because it's always full… and well worth the wait.  If you go, and I highly recommend you do, you absolutely cannot leave with out at least ordering the corn nuggets.  I don't know how they make them, but they are similar to chicken nuggets but with a burst of seasoned cream corn, flavored just right to leave you wanting another bite each time.  You truly can't go wrong with anything on the menu, though.  A MUST EAT!

Southern Charm
  • 1714 SE Hawthorne Road
What good is it to live in the South and not have a viable option for "good ol' home cookin'".  I, too, enjoy southern cooking, but my biggest hang ups, most times, are that the food is heavy, in most cases, unhealthy, and usually cooked with a bunch of grease.  This makes it hard to justify eating these meals regulary and preserving my sexy LOL!  However, Southern Charm, qualifies for the best of both worlds. Nestled in the heart of east Gainesville, with a decor of an upscale, blues shack, Southern Charm is the brainchild of the same people that brought you the tasty goodness of Reggae Shack.  There are a number of guilt-free and creative dishes that they have fused together with names and tastes that we have come to enjoy such as Shrimp and Grits, Chicken and Waffles, Succotash, Okra, collard greens, apple turnovers and more!  I highly recommend the Shrimp and Waffles followed by the Apple turnovers with ice cream.

The Jones B-Side
203 SW 2nd Avenue
This upbeat, eclectic joint has moved it's home from it's East Gainesville location to one centered downtown in the party district of Gainesville. This is another new-aged, organic and naturally-raised food restaurant and it is DELICIOUS! And, for my personal taste, you can usually catch them playing some underground and old school hip-hop beats from A Tribe Called Quest, The Roots, Mos Def and the like. For someone like myself that just plain LOVES food, but needed to find a balance that I don't revert back to the 5'6", 200 pound frame of my former self, I have struggled to find delicious, gluten-free and/or organic alternatives to desserts that would rival my all-time favorite sweets.  But I have found some at The Jones. Let me recommend the vegan chocolate cake, the pecan bar, the chocolate chip brownie and the gluten-free chocolate chip pecan cookie.

Satchel's Pizza
1800 NE 23rd Avenue
Nestled on the Eastside of Gainesville, this iconic pizza restaurant resembles the home base of Scooby-Doo, Shaggy and their crew and it's by design.  The decor includes old 1960's games, paraphernalia, and even vehicles, in which you can dine, that resemble Scooby's mystery machine.  This theme and creative measures taken are what make Satchel's so unique and set apart from any other pizza place you will visit in the WORLD.  And it only helps that their jumbo pizzas with a wide array of toppings and flavors are mouth-watering and euphorically delicious… Come to think of it, I've often questioned whether their pizzas are baked with some other artifacts made popular in the 1960's era (please see Snoop Dogg.)  Two important things to be aware of when eating at this Gainesville Landmark: (1) allow for much wait time because it's always packed.. rightfully so, and (2) Be sure to bring cash! They're one of the few businesses that still operate on a cash basis in 2014.

The Hyppo
214 SE 2nd Avenue
I would have never thought you could find so much value in a popsicle.  But these aren't your everyday push-pops or Rocket pops.  The Hyppo is a boutique popsicle shop that prides themselves on an extremely unique offering of gourmet popsicles made with authentically real (not from concentrate either) ingredients.  They were birthed in St. Augustine, Florida and brought their coastal exclusivity and popularity to downtown Gainesville.  Their unique flavors such as Guava Hibiscus, Pineapple Cilantro, and Mango Habanero make this not just a great symphony of flavors, but an unparalleled experience… And they are DAAAAARN GOOD!!!  My favorite is the creamy, dreamy Key Lime Pie flavored pop.

Thank you so very much for you continued support.  Please feel free to contact me with any questions pertaining to this or any other real estate related topics at (352) 246-8706 or at  You can also visit my website at  And remember, when it comes to real estate, THINK HURST 1ST!

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Home Alone | 10 Ways to Protect Your Home While on Vacation

I know we all wish we had a blonde-haired, eight year old kid, with the intellect of a Harvard grad student to conveniently "forget" at home to protect the fort while we're on vacation; much like McCauley Culkin in the hit 90's movie, Home Alone.  But let's face it, though his antics made that one of our all-time favorite movies (well, at least one of mine anyway), it couldn't be further from a realistic tactic.  Home burglary while you're off on your summer and holiday vacations is a very real risk and you have to be prepared.  Here are 10 very practical ways to protect your home and valuable assets while you're enjoying your vacation time.

1. Ask a Friend to Help - commission a family member or close friend of the family to periodically stop by your house to patrol the inside of the house, the perimeter or even collect important mail, packages delivered in your absence, or bring the trashcans in/out for the neighborhood trash day. If you're going on a vacation to a point of interest that they've never been, you may even want to bribe them with a special gift from that point of interest upon your return. I typically find that bags of Garrett's Popcorn do the trick when I take trips home to Chicago.

2. Don't Broadcast Your Vacation Plans on Social Media - it's nice to share your life with others via social media, but your life shared with the wrong hands could spell trouble; particularly if you're broadcasting your vacation plans. Take pictures of your vacation and save them until you return before you create the album on social media to share with your friends. (Don't worry... I'm guilty of this one, too.)

3. Completely Unplug Appliances - utility companies and energy conservation organizations agree that even though your appliances may be completely turned off, they still use energy even if they're still plugged. However, you may want to reconsider unplugging the refrigerator. Otherwise, you may end up with some award-winning science fair projects upon your return.

4. Notify the Police - believe it or not, your neighborhood police men take interest in stopping potential theft in your particular home. Contact local law enforcement to put them on watch and they will periodically patrol yor neighborhood for suspicious activity... And let's hope they're not the Joe Pesci type as seen in the movie, Home Alone. 

5. Install Motion Activated/Timed Lights - consider installing lights that are triggered by motions within a certain proximity to your house, door, or the like. Or, you can install lights that are programmed to activate at a certain time. Both of these options will confuse a potential thief as to whether or not a home is inhabited, or it will at least make them think twice about their attempt to rob the place.

6. Leave a Light or Two on Inside - Leave a low beam light, or two, on such as a small lamp, oven light or ceiling fan light. This will also confuse a break in plot when it gets dark outside.  It may be a small expense on the GRU utility bill, but it's a small price to pay in comparison to replacing items stolen in the event of a break in. 

7. Pause Mail Delivery - Contact the USPS online or by dropping by your local branch and request that they hold your mail. You can provide them with the specific dates of your vacation and the mail will resume upon your return along with all the mail that was slated to be delievered while you were gone.

8. Remove your Hidden Spare Key - I know you usually leave a spare key under the mat, above the door frame, under an outdoor pot or other removable fixture outside. You may even leave it in the garage somewhere. However, none of these places are safe when you're out of town because experienced thieves know where your spare is too. Consider removing the spare key while you're gone.

9. Have Lawn Freshly Cut and Hedges Clipped - I'm sure you have a regularly scheduled time for lawn and shrub maitnenance. However, you'll want to make sure you cut your grass and manicure that greenery just before you leave (or schedule your maintenance crew to pay a visit while you're away.) Uncut grass and shrubs are dead giveaways for thieves to signal that no one is home. Or, it can be a dead giveaway of a lazy homeowner as well.

10. Invest in a Good Alarm System - a good alarm system will trigger cops and neighbors in the event of a break in. There are several reasonably-priced services that charge a monthly monitoring fee and also provide monitoring options via your phone through an app. I, personally, use ADT and have been very satisfied with their services. Feel free to contact me if you need me to refer you to a good rep in town.

Thank you so very much for you continued support.  Please feel free to contact me with any questions pertaining to real estate at (352) 246-8706 or at  You can also visit my website at  And remember, when it comes to real estate, THINK HURST 1ST!

Monday, June 9, 2014

FATHER'S DAY GIFT IDEAS | Your Last Minute Gift Guide is Here!

Well, according to most Americans, mothers are very important to us and that's why we tend to acknowledge them first in everything that we do.  When kids approach dad and want something, or want to play outside, his famous, almost universal response is, "Go ask your mother."  When men and women compete in sports, accomplish something major and get interviewed after the game, they famously end the interviews with, "Hi mom!"  The famous scripts on the top of UF Graduation hats, more often than not, read, "Thanks Mom."  Mothers a very integral in spending time cooking for us, getting us to extracurricular events, cleaning behind us, serving as the buffer between us and the wrath of our fathers, and just plain caring human beings.  This is probably why we typically regard the Mother's day holiday so highly and typically treat Father's Day with equal importance of, say, GroundHog's Day.  But let's be honest here, with out the seed and family support of what fathers provide to us, we wouldn't even have families, let alone be able to experience life.  Fathers are the leaders, providers, decision-makers, the warriors for the family … and they should be honored as such.  Some of the pressure and cares of the world are taken upon the shoulders of fathers as to create and keep peace at home so that the wives and children don't ever have to fend for themselves and they can feel protected.  So maybe this year, you can think outside of the annual tie gifting.  I've compiled a list of 30 DIY (Do-it-yourself) gift ideas for the typical Father who takes care of his castle:

Welders always need to use proper protection while they’re working, and there’s no reason they can’t look cool while staying safe. This eye-catching helmet looks fantastic, while providing him with the comfort and added safety measures he needs.

Stripped and rusty screws are a major frustration for the handy man and DIY dad. However, they’re a common enough occurrence, so give Dad the tool he needs in order to handle stubborn screws like a pro.

The Handy Dad book is a thoughtful gift idea from the kids this Father’s Day. Choose from 25 different family-friendly projects that Dad and kids can enjoy together.

Any guy who considers himself to be a handy man or DIY pro needs a high performance rotary tool kit. This one features a high performance motor and adjustable speeds for top performance, precision, and control.

A tub of cleaning putty is an awesome gift for Dad on Father’s Day. He can use it to gently yet effectively clean those tight spaces in electronics, appliances, air vents, fans, watches, and so much more.

If you’re stuck on what to give Dad for Father’s Day, you can’t go wrong with a high quality multi-tool like the Leatherman Wave. With so many uses in one easy-to-carry tool, it’ll quickly become his new favorite item in his kit.

Tiny pieces like nails, washers, and screws are easy to lose in the midst of a DIY home project. A magnetic wristband is a hands-free solution that eliminates the problem completely.

These magnetic LED Light Mines sure look cool, but there’s also incredibly useful as freestanding, 360-degree lights. They’ll stick to magnetic surfaces and the lighting is fully adjustable, creating a convenient and hands-free light source any time and any place he needs it.

Add an unbreakable hatchet to his tool belt or outdoor kit. It’s great for hikers and campers, or anyone who might have a need to chop kindling or small to medium logs and wooden planks.

Instead of the usual, cumbersome extension cords he’s used to, get him this retracting extension cord reel. An impressive 30-foot cord easily pulls out and locks at whatever length his project requires, and it automatically retracts when he’s done. He’ll also love how easily it stores, unlike his typical extension cords.

If Dad already has a good power drill, the next best gift is a great holster for it. This custom drill holster keeps his favorite tool at the ready while he works. It also holds several smaller tools, making every DIY project go a lot smoother.

During the cleaning and polishing stage of any DIY project, there’s usually not much elbow grease left to spare. This rechargeable handheld power scrubber gets the job done with minimal time and effort.

This pen is a fantastic gift for handy dads and the DIY-ers in the family. It’s a multi-use writing tool that works under water, on wood, on aluminum, and even on steel. It features a ruler, a magnetic strip, a level, angle gauges, and so much more.

Every guy who does a lot of handy work and DIY home projects knows how nerve-wracking it can be to simply hammer a nail. Save his thumbs and let him relax with a magnetic nail setter. It holds the nail in place, so he doesn’t have to risk hitting his precious fingers.

When it comes to yard work, few things are as frustrating as a tangled hose. Save him from the frustration this Father’s Day by gifting him an automatic hose reel.

If he’s a camper, hiker, outdoorsman, or fixer-upper of any kind, don’t let him leave home without a versatile, heavy duty rescue tool. It has many uses, but it’s light enough to fit in his backpack or tool belt.

Dad will appreciate how versatile this multi-drive wrench proves to be. It’s designed to work on a variety of fasteners. It also includes an LED flashlight for use at night and in dark spaces.

Power tools and handy accessories are a great go-to gift idea for Father’s Day, but don’t forget the importance of a good pair of work gloves. These durable gloves are a perfect fit for even the toughest projects.

Every handy man needs a multi-tool like this one. It’s perfect for those odd jobs around the home, office, and job site.

The Buffer Bit is a unique addition to any dad’s tool kit. Add a buffer pad to a cordless drill for easy cleaning, buffing, shining, and polishing. Dad can use it to gently clean leather, chrome, cars, tools, sinks, and so much more.

When it comes to DIY home projects, guys don’t usually like to leave things up to chance. A laser level tool is a great way to ensure that pictures, fixtures, and shelves are even and level-before drilling any holes in the wall.

No tool kit is complete without a great screw driver. This one has everything he needs in one sleek but sturdy tool.

Lightweight but tough, this zip blade tool is versatile and easy to use. Pick one up for your at-home handy man and DIY pro this Father’s Day.

Serrated blade edges and a titanium coating make this a multipurpose tool for cutting aluminum siding, light sheet metal, heavy wire, and more. This will be his favorite tool for heavy duty projects.

Built specifically to fit the needs of professional truckers, this survival tool is a great gift for handy men and DIY dads. It’s the go-to tool for any situation that requires prying, hacking, pulling, or pounding. It’s also a great item for those who love camping and hiking.

This Father’s Day, turn his iPhone into a truly impressive camera with this extreme lens made specifically for smartphones. The macro lens applies a 10x multiplier to his regular iPhone camera, letting him focus in on those tight spots and long distances when he can’t get in close himself.

A quality tool set is an absolute must-have for any true handyman. Don’t let him settle for anything less than the best. This chrome-vanadium tool set contains all the necessary tools (over 100 of them!), all in a sturdy and well-organized case for fast and easy transport.

Help him protect his hearing on the job while he also stays motivated with his favorite tunes. This durable headset is perfect for dads who often work with loud tools and equipment, whether at home or on the job site.

This survival handbook helps him prepare for such worst-case scenarios as wrestling an alligator, extinguishing a backyard fire, and calming and crying kid. It’s a fun and enlightening Father’s Day gift for handy men and outdoorsmen.

The JobyGorillatorch is the go-everywhere DIY-er’s tool. Its strong, flexible legs let it wrap around just about anything, and a beam of light with adjustable brightness illuminates the work area. It’s one of the best tools for flexible, adjustable, hands-free lighting.


All of these great gift ideas, and more, can be found on the Amazon website while supplies last.  And if you want them delivered in time for the Father's Day holiday, I suggest you order them today!!

Also, please do me a person favor… you can call it your Father's Day gift to me :)  Please visit my new website with a ton of pertinent real estate info.  Please go to the "ABOUT" page and write me an endorsement or testimonial of my resourcefulness, your experience working with me or however you feel led.  Thank you so very much for you continued support.  Please feel free to contact me with any questions pertaining to real estate at (352) 246-8706 or at  And remember, when it comes to real estate, THINK HURST 1st!