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Old 05-14-2011, 11:48 PM
 
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Hello Birmingham;

We are currently leaving in Dubai and planning to move back to B'ham around first of July. We have 4yrs.old and 13 yrs old boys. We have been searching for schools and houses for last month or so. So far we think about Mountain Brook, Home-wood or Vestavia areas. Now I said that, we just found out there are no school buses around those areas??? We like to find a kids friendly, family oriented but no so big neighbor hood and close to both Elementary and High School if I have to drive them to school. Is there any other options for areas you can give us other then those three?? Houses are older and smaller in M.Brook and HOme-wood areas and not much land or back yard or even garage. That is why we thought of Vestavia as an other choice??? And if we can get some information's about the other school options that will be great also. Our budget is around 600k or little bit more. Thank you all for your help. Can't wait to hear all your suggestions. Have a great weekend.

YLoftus
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Old 05-15-2011, 01:51 PM
 
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So, you want a neighborhood that has new housing with lots of land, but with tighter neighborhoods and where the schools are all close to where you live?
These are inherently contradictory. You need a priority. Do you want to be able to live close to all of the schools in a smaller neighborhood, or do you want spread out neighborhoods with large house lots?
As for the schools, you've chosen the 3 best districts in the area. Hoover is also decently rated. I recently saw that Trussvile to the north also has a decently rated district. Check out zillow.com and greatschools.org to figure out which places have housing and schools distances you prefer. Each of these towns has different areas, some of which are more concentrated with older housing stock and some of which are more spread out with newer, larger houses.
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Old 05-15-2011, 10:16 PM
 
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Hi again;

Well house doesn't need to be new. We found some houses in M.Brook built in 40's but has been updated so nicely which is okay. We like to be close to schools and have some back yard for a pool to build later on. I just didn't want to be in the neighbor hood like Brook Highland and Grey Stone areas. Some what smaller will be better, but at the end schools are more imported to us. Thank you for your input. We are checking zillow very often and some other great sites and I did use great schools.org also. This is a great site to get some inside informations from families. Thank you all again.
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Old 05-16-2011, 03:22 AM
 
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The Birmingham area in general doesn't seem to prioritize the convenience of putting a school system all within walking distance of a single location. Its rather annoying. Maybe Vestavia would work for you. Some parts in the south parts of Homewood as well.
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Old 05-16-2011, 08:19 AM
 
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With a budget of $600K, I think Homewood would be an ideal location for your family. It's probably the best community in terms of easy access to schools, particularly in the Edgewood/Hollywood area. Depending on the location of your house, both the elementary and middle schools are within easy walking distance.
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Old 05-16-2011, 08:31 AM
 
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And then for some strange reason they decided to build the high school down by Lakeshore.
Also, the lots in that area tend to be the smaller ones.
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Old 05-18-2011, 06:04 AM
 
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Thank you all for replies, it is a huge help.
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Old 05-18-2011, 09:25 AM
 
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Why not consider Hoover?
We're in a very similar situation as yours, moving to Birmingham in July from NY.
We are also concerned of that the three school districts have no school bus.
Hoover is too big, that means you may see a diversified student body, some are good, and some are not as good as you expect.
Maybe we should do more research about the schools
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Old 05-18-2011, 09:32 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bluebeard View Post
And then for some strange reason they decided to build the high school down by Lakeshore.
Also, the lots in that area tend to be the smaller ones.
True. But once the kids get to high school, then issues such as carpooling, etc., get a lot easier to solve.

I understand your point about smaller lots, but my theory is that big lots = more spread-out neighborhoods = less walkability.
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Old 05-18-2011, 09:51 AM
 
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Originally Posted by cpg35223 View Post
True. But once the kids get to high school, then issues such as carpooling, etc., get a lot easier to solve.

I understand your point about smaller lots, but my theory is that big lots = more spread-out neighborhoods = less walkability.
I think I mixed up 2 different points in the same comment. I agree with what you said. I've never seen the obsession with big lots until I came here and I still don't really get it.

As for high school, its true that its easier to find a car-based way to school at that age, but although I grew up in a suburb, it was practically New York compared to the sparseness of all but the oldest of neighborhoods here. Small lots with actual sidewalks and bike lanes=easier to walk around and safer= family friendly. Until recently many of what people consider suburbs here I would have considered getting towards rural. They may be suburbs in that the people still work and commute to more central areas, but the development style is built as if they need as much space to have a small farm. Or they have these cookie cutter developments off the side of a small highway or large road. Which to me is the worst of both world==> no connection to a surrounding community and convenience, yet little nature.
So to me, only central Homewood fulfills my idea of a "family-friendly suburb". And then they built the high school out in sparse area. I don't care if its LEEDS certified, it fails in my book since they built it so you are expected to drive to it. But as a whole, I like Homewood a lot. Great schools, both socio-economically and genuinely diverse (arguably more genuinely diverse than most places in California and NY), nice neighborhoods with cute old bungalows, and still pretty close to work (=more time at home). I see myself likely moving there for the schools eventually.
Even if I sent my kid to Birmingham schools, s/he's have to cross green springs by 65 to get to school. I've ridden my bike on green springs and I'm definitely not having comfortable with that.
Interestingly, I checked out other districts after this thread, and Vestavia Hills actually has a single area where you can access K-12 in the same small area. I wouldn't want to live in the type of housing they have nearby, and I wouldn't be surprised if the roads weren't safe for kids to walk on, but at least the schools are located in a central nucleus.

Hoover doesn't have anything much of what I'd actually call a "neighborhood". Random plops of houses and communties here and there. I've also heard the schools system is very clique-y, but that's through word of mouth, so I don't know.

Last edited by bluebeard; 05-18-2011 at 10:12 AM..
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