A little bit about Robin

I was born in raised in Alabama and am proud of my Southern roots. I love to write and share life experiences, thoughts, and crafty ideas about interesting things past and present. Welcome to my neck of the woods. Sit down and swing a while.

Saturday, July 6, 2013

Affordable living. Does it exist for the regular folks where I want to be in Birmingham?

I am always trying to keep my finger on the pulse of the rental property in Birmingham City. We live and own a Fox Hall unit in Mountain Brook, we love our community, pay the taxes, paid the $8000.00 assessment for our unit a few years back, pay the condo dues, use the pool, and give one of our full paychecks a month to our mortgage. We did not get out before the market fell. We got stuck for a minute. We remind ourselves all the time we are fortunate to have a roof over our heads in a safe neighborhood, but for a price. We are quickly out growing our neighbors and our 900 square footage. I felt like we can get more than Fox Hall outside of Mountain Brook and maybe for equal or less. This couple is somewhere between just the two of us and the thoughts of starting a family one day. We are looking into renting out our unit in Mountain Brook and renting a house with two bathrooms and a yard. Michael and I have shared a bathroom for 6 years and it is time for moving room. What I am finding is that we cannot afford rent outside of Mountain Brook where we are close to breaking even. It is true the closer you are to Mountain Brook the higher the price, but there is a house in Mountaindale(The neighborhood behind McElwain Baptist) renting for almost $2000 a month that says “perfect for a family.” It is a really nice small house with all the amenities. It made me sad because we cannot afford that. Why not just live or rent in Mountain Brook for $2500? I would assume a young family wanting to live near Mountain Brook would want to be near a good school system and if their kids were not old enough for school close to $2000 in rent for that area is too much in my opinion. Well not reasonable for this family. Something I am also reminded of everyday living in this fortunate area. We live a simple life that we are proud of and do the best we can. We have endured a lot and every Sunday morning we drive the streets of Birmingham from Crestline Park to Crestwood, Avondale then onto Forest Park and back... looking for that $1000- $1200 a month gem. Houses with everything we need are around $1500 in Crestwood, Crestline Park, and Forest Park, even parts of Avondale. Folks like, my brother, who live in Palo Alto would laugh and think these prices are a steal. We are lucky prices are lower in the South, but so our salaries when you are a writer and in education. When I was in Huntsville last week visiting my parents I saw nicer and bigger homes for sale and rent in equal or greater neighborhoods for reasonable living prices, good schools and safe neighborhoods. So what gives Birmingham? I love your Vulcan ways, your magic city, your arts and music, your over the mountain, your pale ale nightlife, your Barons and your sweet southern English inspired streets hanging with jasmine. I love my job and my friends here. Where is my $1200 a month rental so we can stay close in town with three bedrooms, two-baths, a yard and a porch for rent? Preferably one that does not look like the children of the corn might pop out at any moment. I am guessing it does not exist for my limited desired areas. I do not want to complain. I just am asking the question, am I asking too much for too little? Looking on the bright side, hoping to find a compromise one day!


Carla Jean said...

Man, it's crazy. I pay WAY less in rent than the houses you're talking about (mine is $900 for a 2/1), but my house is also about the same size as your condo! The only difference is the yard (which I consider a hassle--which is why my roommate is in charge of yard work). I can't believe how much people will pay to be NEAR Mountain Brook.

Porch Swing Girl said...

Carla Jean, you have a deal!!!!! We are looking for bigger and unfortunately between here and downtown people expect there to be roommates so they charge more because they can. No love. We are going to have to settle for less when we are ready.