Let’s Talk Real Estate

Season 1 – Episode 01 | January 30, 2020


Anna Olcese
Welcome to Let’s Talk Real Estate. I’m your host, Anna Olcese, serial entrepreneur, passionate marketer and partner at Segway Group at Keller Williams Realty, Gainesville. On the podcast, you will find valuable information about all things real estate, plus some fun stories told by a variety of guests. So, if you like what you hear, then subscribe and invite any friends who you think may get some value from listening.

So, why a podcast? Well, we saw a void and we’re filling it. Plain and simple. There’s no comprehensive and fun information about Gainesville area and specifically about the Gainesville area real estate market, anywhere as far as we could find. So, I work with a lot of employers who have trouble recruiting good talents to Gainesville, because people from other parts of the country just don’t know what Gainesville is like. And if recruits actually agree to come in for interviews, I’m always asked like, “What’s the market like here?” I need a place to kind of direct them to before they get here.

In addition to that, actually my team works with buyers and sellers in a variety of sectors in addition to relocation, so like luxury properties, farms and land, investments, and of course, first-time and repeat home buyers and sellers. So, this podcast is created to make all of that information easily accessible to everyone who’s considering buying or selling in this North Central Florida area. We’re going to do our best to keep it light hearted, fun and easy to listen to. 

Alright, so you’re probably wondering, who am I? How am I qualified to even do a podcast about real estate? I grew up in Miami, so I’m a big-city person who has been transplanted to Gainesville, that is definitely not Miami. I found Gainesville because I went to the University of Florida. My husband (then boyfriend) was here. I changed my major to come over here. I told my parents I was done with Miami, came up to Gainesville. And… and so my husband and I actually both graduated on the same day from the University of Florida. Immediately went to Atlanta for our careers, because I told him there was no way I was going to stay in Gainesville, definitely not in 1996. It was just a small town and I wanted to get out and I figured, “We could always come back.” And indeed, we were lured back by the company that my husband still works for. We came back at the end of 1998, which again, was still a very different environment here in Gainesville. 

I had worked in the tech industry in Atlanta, and I thought, “What is there in Gainesville for me?” Gainesville still had dial up back then. So, I was just, you know, overwhelmed and a trailing spouse. It’s always very difficult to move here with someone who already has a job and you’re looking for one. So, I looked through the classifieds because we had newspapers back then, and I found a great job as Shands working in marketing and Public Relations there. I finally found a tech company that I went to work with, and that was fantastic. I had my daughter and I went out on my own and freelanced and had my own company. And I also went to work as an editor for a couple of magazines here, and eventually went back and decided I want to be a part of real estate. It’s something I had always wanted to do.

So, I finally took the leap and became a realtor. It’s always been a passion of mine. And now, Gainesville is become a passion of mine. So, what a great way to combine the 2 together and tell you about the things that I absolutely love. Relocation in particular is something that I… it’s just so dear to my heart. Because again, my story I was a trailing spouse. I know what it’s like to be in a variety of roles, and I want to help people find their role in Gainesville. 

So, I always ask people like, “Why Gainesville? Why do you like Gainesville? Why? What’s so great about living here when we don’t have mountains, we don’t have an ocean?” And everybody just says it’s the people. Someone once told me it’s easy to live here. And that’s just so true, it’s easy to live here. And once you’re here, I say, “Once you get into my car, and I give you a tour, you’ll want to live here. And so far actually, it’s worked out pretty well.” So, yeah, this is just a great town to live in. 

Now… now why? You know, who are these people that live here? And I think one of the great things about Gainesville actually is that it is multicultural. We don’t have one solid group from one place. We’ve got people from India, and all over Asia, and we’ve got people from every different race and religion and everything. So, it’s really funny because it’s kind of like this little dot in the middle of the South that a lot of people don’t expect. And when people come here from other parts of the country, they’re a little bit wary of that, not knowing what to expect when they get here. And then when they see that everybody welcomes them with open arms, and I don’t care what where you’re from, but you’re welcome here. And that’s… that’s just the beauty of this town. 

And… and with that comes the fact that a lot of these people are affiliated with the university, even though Gainesville is so much more than the University of Florida. I mean, we’re blessed to have the University of Florida here, but it goes way beyond that. With a college town though, you do get a certain level of intellect. And a lot of really smart people here and so many resources as a result of it. And we’ve got… so we’ve got the university and all the things that are attached to the university. We’ve got the giant medical center, and I say, “If you… if you can’t be cured here, you may not be able to be cured anywhere, because it is amazing the resources that we have and specialists from around the world.”

We have tech and biotech. A lot of people don’t realize that we have a huge tech scene here. We even have what I call tech corridor on South West Second Avenue, right near the university. We’ve got the incubator for the University of Florida. We… University of Florida has its own dorm off campus, its tech dorm. And so, if you want to create something, you can create it here. And then in terms of biotech, we have the world’s best biotech incubator. I don’t think that’s like really promoted enough. I think that’s pretty cool. Like all over the world, we’re number 1 here. Here in… it’s in Alachua, in the city of Alachua. But I consider Gainesville Alachua. Alachua High Springs, making… I mean, there’s just it’s greater Gainesville area, it’s Alachua County. 

So, yeah, we have that, you know, at our fingertips. We’ve got visual and performing arts. We have a performing arts center on campus. We have great community theater, I mean, like really great. Like, I go to New York all the time. And I will tell you, I have seen productions here that have rivaled those I’ve seen in New York. And these are amateurs. And if you don’t believe me, just go to one and you’ll see what I mean. And then we’ve got great art exhibits throughout town and great artists. It’s very… it gives us quirky parts of Gainesville, especially downtown. I love the art scene there. And I just love seeing everybody’s creativity from 352 walls, which are murals that are splashed around buildings in town, to just different art galleries, including the Thomas Center. And even a high school here in town has its own art gallery, which I just think is phenomenal. 

So, and then getting on to things like our food scene. We’re not New York. We’re not Boston. We’re not Atlanta. We get that, okay? We don’t have hundreds of great restaurants, but the ones we have are fantastic; the local ones. We’ve got this great farm-to-table movement. There are farms throughout the area that where you can just have this fresh food that’s right from… right from the farm, you can have at the farm. And all these local restaurants also buy from them. And I think that that’s not only a testament to how healthy Gainesville likes to be, but also to the fact that we support each other. And we support our local farmers and local businesses. And I really do appreciate that. Yeah, so that’s another wonderful thing. 

And then that transitions into just the natural beauty of the area. We’ve got… not only do we have all these great farms, we’ve got hiking available and lots of trails and the State Park. We have our springs of… world-famous springs. They’re gorgeous. They’re clear. I don’t think they have alligators. And they’re just great. I mean, they’re just a beautiful place to hang out with a family. And so many people do come here because of that. And we used to be called Tree City. And I don’t know if we’re still called that, but I know that every person who moves here tells me how much they just love the trees. And I think I’ve just become jaded and I don’t notice them. But they are there and they’re just spectacular. They’re right, they’re right.

So, some things that are taking away some the trees is our construction and development. Gainesville is booming, big time. I mean, we are like expanding like ways I’ve never seen. So, when I moved here 20 years ago, okay, no Starbucks, like not even a Starbucks. Again, something I thought I was going to kind of die from from moving from Atlanta. And then within the next few years, we got one, and now we have like 10 or more, whatever. And I don’t think there’s a sign of slowing down on that end. And just the buildings we have.

I mean, what really surprises me and what makes me happy and confident in our growth is that these are out-of-town builders that are coming here. They’re out of town developers. So, it’s not just so much that we have… we’re looking at things through rose colored glasses locally, but people are noticing us nationwide, and probably even internationally. And that gives me confidence that our economy here is going to continue to grow. And I think that’s why people do like to move here, because they see that potential. They see that life here, it’s not just easy to live here, it’s reasonable to live here. We don’t have a State income tax. We don’t have, you know, a lot of things that are kind of burdening some of the other States throughout the country. And not to mention that we have like, gorgeous weather. 

So, yeah, and then beyond Gainesville, we’ve got the city of High Springs, Melrose and Alachua, which now has Tech City is just starting to become kind of another little tech hub. And so, we’ve got this great mix of tech and charming Old-World towns. And so, you can kind of get it all here. And then we’re, of course, close to Orlando, Tampa, Jacksonville, St. Augustine. The West Coast is only 45 minutes away. So, we really… we are the center of the State of Florida. And I think anybody who comes here can really appreciate that. You know, a lot of people say, “Well, there isn’t enough shopping here,” well, why would you want to shop here?  Go to Mall at Millenia. It’s in Orlando, I can tell you all about it. I can tell you all about it in a different podcast. 

So, thanks for joining us. And next time, we can get in a little bit more into more of Gainesville, and more of the things that make it so great, and also give you a little insight as to what it’s like to buy here, sell here and live here. 

Thanks so much for listening today. If you like what you hear and want to learn more about real estate and hear the occasional funny story, then hit that subscribe button right now. And if you know of someone who’d benefit from listening, then tell them to subscribe too, or else they may feel a little left out. For questions, topic suggestions or nice comments, send an email to anna@segwayre.com. We can also connect on Facebook at SegwayRE. Thanks for listening as we bring you a new way of doing real estate.