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Birmingham, Al 35203

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Tag: h2 real estate

Welcome to Birmingham!

            We’re so excited you decided on Birmingham for your new home. This city we love has so much to offer from food to the great outdoors. We know it’s not easy being in a new city so we’ve pulled together a guide of our favorite local spots. Enjoy!


Highlands Bar & Grill

Recently named “Most Outstanding Restaurant in America,” this is an iconic Birmingham spot. Don’t forget to try the award winning coconut cake while you’re there!

Chez FonFon

Another charming Frank Stitt spot. Slightly more relaxed atmosphere and excellent French inspired cuisine.

Hot and Hot Fish Club

Classic Birmingham. We recommend sitting at the chef’s table for the full experience.

Jack Browns

Although Birmingham has some outstanding burgers, Jack Browns is arguably one of the best. The extensive beer offering, secret sauce and outrageous burger selections (try one with mac and cheese or peanut butter) make this spot unlike any other.

Fancy’s on 5th

Another great spot to grab an out-of-the-ordinary burger, or oysters. Fancy’s often has live music on the patio and a creative cocktail menu that never disappoints.

El Barrio

The best Mexican food in town. Try their seasonal guacamole and margarita for a real taste of something different!

Bamboo on 2nd

Right across the street from El Barrio, downtown. You won’t find more delicious sushi!

The Essential

This charming new spot on Morris Ave is known for their homemade pop tarts but don’t miss out on their lunch and dinner menus!


Dine on the casual side, formal side or al fresco. Bottega is a classic Highland Park spot with a little something for everyone.


A unique dinning experience – don’t let the airstream and low key atmosphere fool you, this food is no joke




The Bham beer scene is pretty strong. Head to Good People before a Barons game, take your dog to Avondale or try out the new Back Forty. Did we mention Trim Tab, Cahaba, Ghost Train and Red Hills? Explore multiple stops in one afternoon when you book a Pedal Tour.

The Collins Bar

Let these mixologists create the cocktail you never knew existed and play a few board games while you wait. This is a great spot to grab a drink after work.

The Atomic

Take a time machine back to the 1960’s at this downtown bar. You can even choose a costume off the costume menu. It’s a unique cocktail experience to say the least.

Brat Brot

Birmingham’s first German biergarten. The indoor/outdoor space is uniquely charming and offers bocce and fire pits. Enjoy both German and local beers as well as German food selections.


It might not look like much but you’ll feel right at home with the friendly and knowledgeable staff. Don’t forget to play a round of Yahtzi for a chance to win some cash!

Marble Ring/Zeldas

Birmingham’s 1920’s speakeasy experience. Enter through a phone booth in Hot Diggity Dog’s and enjoy a throwback to the flapper era. Now you can enjoy a glitter themed dance floor out on the patio at Zeldas!

Moon shine

This rooftop bar can be found at the top of The Elyton Hotel. Comfortable seating and great view make this is laid back spot to catch up with friends.


Coming soon to Morris Ave, we can’t wait to try out this Mezcal speakeasy! A first for Birmingham!

Music & Entertainment

Iron City

This restaurant and event space doubles as a concert venue and when they’re not hosting live music, they’re offering family friendly events, sports viewing parties and more.


Coffee shop, bar, concert venue and all around entertainment center thanks to their selection of board and video games. There’s constantly something fun going on here.

Alabama Theatre

This Birmingham landmark offers plays, concerts, and even movie nights! Catch a different Christmas movie every night of the week during December!

Lyric Theatre

The oldest theatre in Birmingham has been restored and is used for concerts, ballets and entertainment of all kinds!


Rufner Mountain

Get some fresh air and hike the beautiful trails of this nature preserve. You can also enjoy family and community events a couple times a month at the nature center.

Railroad Park

This 8-block green space in the heart of the city is a great place to spend time outdoors. Enjoy free exercise classes, summer concerts and ice skating in the winter.

Vulcan Trail

This two mile trail has been recently expanded and leads straight to The Vulcan and Vulcan museum.

Zyp Bikes

The easiest and most affordable way to get around the downtown area. You can rent a Zyp bike at one location and return it to another.

Rotary Trail

A nod to Birmingham’s history, this is a great place in the city to take a stroll!

2016 in Review: Why Realtors Still Matter

why realtors still matter

As we wind up 2016, we’ll be focusing our final posts on lessons the past year has taught us, about our city and, in this case, our industry. Check back Wednesday and Saturday afternoon for our roundups on the state of our Birmingham real estate.

why realtors still matter

In an age of digital everything–including house hunts–it’s tempting to think the realtor is obsolete. There are all sorts of automated settings you can program, after all, that send you an alert when a property matching your specifications hits the market. But there end up being two big arguments for why realtors still matter:

  1. Mass market sites don’t know everything, and
  2. Buying or selling property is a full-time job.

Consider the time you can wile away browsing your favorite real estate aggregating site. You’ll plug in the things you really need–like that extra powder room–and try different combinations of things you like to see what’s available. Or, as a seller, your bare-bones selling points versus the current competition. And that’s all before you start touring homes or planning your essential pre-listing upgrades.

Now imagine you’ve put in all that time, and you’re still not getting a complete picture. Because that’s the reality you’re facing. “Realtors are able to pull accurate information from the Multiple Listing Service that your typical buyer does not have access to,” explains our own Lynlee Real Hughes. “I think Zillow is great for just looking at pictures of homes and all, but it is just not accurate information.”

And even if it were, it still couldn’t factor in the many nuances of place that make one location more desirable than the next. The ones that tell you not just what’s there but what soon will be. “I think the biggest advantage that comes with having a realtor is market knowledge,” Lynlee says. Realtors can give you a better sense of an area’s lifestyle, including how it varies a bit by street.

Then there’s the negotiation process, where minute details matter. How accurate is the pricing? What’s coming on the market soon? Those things help hone in on (and communicate) a fair price. (If you’ve ever watched the beginning of HGTV’s Property Brothers, you’ve seen this in action.)

It’s fair to worry about the price tag associated with a realtor’s services, but it’s worth looking at the broader picture. “I feel that agents end up saving their clients a lot of money in the grand scheme of things,” Hughes says. And that goes for both buying and selling.

Are there people who can quickly and successfully DIY a property transaction? Absolutely. But they also tend to be the ardent DIY types with flexible schedules. Not total unicorns, in other words, but not most of us.

Need help with your Birmingham real estate? Give our team a shout.

Our Birmingham Thanksgiving List

our birmingham thanksgiving list - rotary trail

our birmingham thanksgiving list - rotary trail

As we gear up for Thanksgiving tomorrow, we wanted to take a moment and express our thanks to you: as readers and clients and fellow Birmingham cheerleaders. We’re grateful to be part of it all, from our downtown office and our community developments at Abbey Road and the Gladstone, to helping our clients find their own perfect home. It’s a privilege to serve this city.

It’s an exciting time in Birmingham, watching major developments come to fruition downtown and dreaming about the next ones. Avondale is becoming much more than an entertainment destination with MAKEbhm and booming office spaces. Woodlawn’s mixed-income development continues. And this time next year, we’ll likely be giving our heartiest thanks for the Pizitz food hall, while stocking up on last-minute Thanksgiving supplies at the downtown Publix.

But for now, here are 3 things we’re thankful for in 2016:

The Lyric Theatre:

From empty and run down to full house with opera boxes, this long-forgotten beauty is finally coming into her own. She’s even hosted her first wedding, for two downtown residents who accepted a long engagement as they waited out the restoration work, according to AL.com. Keep an eye out for the first season of holiday events, including the Blind Boys of Alabama Christmas Show.

Rotary Trail:

This high-design green space isn’t simply another park option for downtown residents. It’s good real estate, turning what AL.com called “a submerged eyesore” into a true destination. And like Railroad Park, it’s become a very photogenic symbol of Birmingham revival. Both residents and Instagrammers can agree that it’s a visible success.

Fancy’s on Fifth:

We all know that Birmingham is a food town at heart, and we’d be remiss if we didn’t single out at least one great culinary development. That’s a hard task in a city with new restaurants like Sky Castle Gastro Lounge and Saigon Noodle House. But we went with our guts, which love great burgers, and they’ve fallen hard for the Blue Collar Burger at Fancy’s on Fifth.

Emily and Lee’s Historic Hybrid in Highland Park

highland park clients emily and lee

We love the way our blog space helps us showcase Birmingham’s great and varied neighborhoods. We think it’s an invaluable tool to help our clients settle on the right location. But sometimes it’s helpful to hear about other people’s decisions, too. Our client spotlight series takes you behind the scenes of local real estate searches to help you find your own idea of home.

highland park clients emily and lee

Emily and Lee spend a lot of time in downtown Birmingham. It’s where they work. And with the thriving entertainment scene, it’s also where they like to hang out. They wanted to stay close by with their home purchase but still get some space. Working with friend Betsy Reamer, our very own H2 realtor, they quickly zeroed in on two neighborhoods: Highland Park and Forest Park.

Part of what drew them to those neighborhoods was the idea of a home with character. They wanted the details you only find in older homes, but not the full project load of an emerging neighborhood fixer upper. The parks are historic neighborhoods that started regaining popularity decades ago — check out our post on Forest Park’s history — so they tend to offer the right mix of charming details and modern updates.

After a whirlwind tour of five homes in a single day, Emily and Lee decided that the last one Betsy showed them was the one they truly loved. They closed on their new home in April.

Their home has Highland Park’s signature historic accents plus the modern amenities that feel like home today. It has a deep front porch, tons of natural light, plus a fireplace and window seat in the master bedroom. Thick trim and gorgeous old hardwoods abound, and the entryway opens into the living room through a wide, columned doorway. Slate floors and white kitchen cabinets feel appropriate to both the home’s age and its modern stainless steel appliances.

Now Emily and Lee spend their days alternating between the vibrant energy downtown and the quiet, tree-lined streets of their Highland Park neighborhood. We’d already dubbed this neighborhood “the suburb for people who aren’t suburban,” and these active professionals are the perfect fit.


Check out more photos of Emily and Lee’s home on our Facebook page, and check out our first client spotlight post with the Loft District’s Clay Loveless.

Smith Lake by H2: Lookout for the Views

hawk's nest watchtower

If you’ve spent any time at our Silverock Cove community on Smith Lake, you know how we feel about the nature. It’s one of the key reasons to escape the city for a little lake living, after all, so we work hard to preserve it. We love finding inspired ways to build around it so our communities feel less like a lakeside suburb and more like a lakefront escape.

All of which sounds great until you buy a property — like our Hawk’s Nest community — that’s already largely cleared. The challenge then is to take advantage of open space without losing lakeside charm.

Working with our friends at Nequette Architecture & Design — design geniuses, those folks — we came up with a plan to turn a bare field into a community amenity. Our solution? Create a generous common lawn, add an eye-catching crescent of a pool, punctuate it with a watchtower.

Covered in stone and topped with an open-air platform, the Hawk’s Nest watchtower is a functional emblem of the community. It takes advantage of the community center to give residents the one thing lakefront living almost never can: sweeping, panoramic views.

We’ve tried to create a balance between personal escape and community spirit. Lake fronts and private docks give you space to get away; our pool and lawn areas give you a place to connect. They’re nice amenities for a lakeside community, offered here with a singular style.

If Silverock Cove’s sprawling trail network reminds us of a luxury summer camp, Hawk’s Nest feels like a family compound. Situated on a single peninsula around a circle of road, it’s designed to be a completely different experience from our other Smith Lake development. Not better; not worse. Just a thoroughly alternative option.

You go to Smith Lake for the quiet, naturalist atmosphere, for homes that are close to the land. But what our communities can add — either with lakeside trails at Silverock or our inventive little lookout at Hawk’s Nest — is a wide lake view.

Our Team: Whit Winford

whit winford


We’ve all heard the tales of chance meetings that change your life, and that’s the way Whit Winford found his way to us. Though, admittedly, “change your life” might be putting it grandly. Still, chance meetings can lead to construction conversation among some like-minded men. And if you’re Whit Winford, they can kick off a satisfying career.

Whit Winford, our construction project manager, grew up in the construction business. He’s no stranger to the challenges of articulating grand architecture in common building materials. But like the rest of our spry, young team, he was looking for growth. The chance to build not just homes but a career. So when he met Carter Hughes — who, with his brother, Scott, co-founded H2 — at a friend’s dinner party, what he heard about H2 piqued his interest. Whit was drawn in by “the variety of residential, multi-family, and light commercial work, combined with this young but quickly growing company,” he said. “After a more formal interview with Carter and Scott I knew H2 was the place for me, and here I am!”

Whit’s average day involves splitting time between our downtown Loft District office and a current job site. He loves driving through gorgeous neighborhoods like Forest Park and seeing the architectural detail come alive. With his construction background, Whit appreciates a well-executed design.

In the space of a day he’ll work with our field superintendents, with subcontractors, suppliers, building inspectors, and home buyers. “It takes a collaborative effort of people from all different walks of life in order to build any project, and the ability to work with all of them is one of the things I enjoy most about my job,” he said.

Whit also loves being able to see his job well done in a finished home, an attitude you’ll find throughout the H2 team. Whether helping someone transform a bare lot into a charming home or finalize the lease on a new apartment, we’re in the business of helping folks find home base. It’s a task we take great pride in. Home isn’t just the place you sleep, after all, but the base unit of an entire community. Like Whit, albeit less literally, building’s in our blood.

Mesa Verde: An Original Rental in Glen Iris

mesa verde


Let’s say you love Glen Iris’s greenery and historic homes, its relative affordability and proximity to downtown. You imagine your own charming bungalow there, but you’re not ready for home ownership. You want the feel of a Glen Iris home with the ease of an apartment. You want to live at Mesa Verde.

We fell in love with this property because it allowed us to create a truly different rental option. The bungalow feel of its structure carries through to the interiors, which offer surprisingly intact original features.

Older properties are complicated, after all. For every bit of historical charm – hardwoods, cast iron tubs – there tends to be an equal burden of decay. Without the right updates, they never quite feel clean. There’s a dinginess you don’t notice in photographs but that you definitely don’t want to live with.

Too many updates, though, and the button-cute exterior encases a space that looks like any other. You want a place that’s endured a few decades and wears them well, with some subtle upgrades that make it feel at home in the present.

Mesa Verde’s petite porches and glass paned front doors give way to an open plan living space. Recessed lighting bathes shaker-style kitchen cabinets and stainless steel appliances. A ceiling fan anchors the living space and keeps it comfy through long Alabama summers. Hardwood floors have been here since the property was built, polished up without erasing the patina of age.

Outside, you’ll love the tree-lined sidewalks and the beauty of historic Glen Iris Park a mere block away. Small dogs are welcome in these pet-friendly units, and keeping them happy has never been easier than with neighboring George Ward Park’s dog runs. Enjoy the warmth of a very residential neighborhood with city vistas reminding you that the action is never far away.

Our Team: Matt Neal, Broker

matt neal


When we first introduced Matt Neal, he was a realtor and HOA manager excited about building his future at H2. Now with an extra 60 hours of education under his belt, he’s Matt Neal, real estate broker. You could say he’s earned a kind of master’s degree, and he’s already putting it to work.

The added educational component for broker licensure “focuses on problem solving, decision making, and analysis,” Matt says. It’s a level of analysis Matt really groves on, describing himself as “a behind-the-scenes problem solver.” He’s using those skills to develop an even deeper understanding of our city’s niche markets so our clients enter deals with a complete picture of their property’s value.

For instance, Matt says “Avondale is the obvious choice” for the city neighborhood with the most activity, but he believes Woodlawn is an area to watch. “My friends over at Woodlawn Cycle Cafe and Open Shop Woodlawn have been great catalysts for change in Woodlawn, and several more businesses have plans to move into the neighborhood as well.”

Downtown’s loft district continues to make headlines and for good reason, since Matt believes there’s enough demand to support the “huge influx of residential projects downtown.” But he also sees “a big untapped market” in properties for sale, especially in the $150,000-200,000 range.

Matt’s a great example of our boutique approach to Birmingham real estate, which focuses not just on current value but on future potential. Your home isn’t just a personal investment, after all, but a way of buying into a neighborhood. We think you should know what you’re getting.

Bham Events: The H2 Downtown Loft Tour



Ever wondered what it’s like to live downtown? You know there’s the convenience of walking to the office or to grab a quick coffee, sure, but would the space really feel like home? And how do folks fit an entire home’s worth of living in a single loft space? This weekend is your chance to find out. Join us tomorrow — Saturday, April 30 — for our Downtown Loft Tour and its look at Loft District living.

From the constant surprise of new things, to the forward-thinking business spaces you read about, to the homes amidst it all, we’ve put together a collection of spaces that offers something for everyone. Really. All the way from modern industrial lines to craftsman-inspired carpentry. If you aren’t already in love with the neighborhood, you soon will be. And with our limited-run hard hat tours of new construction, you’ll even see how the neighborhood’s next great buildings are coming together.

The tour is a little like walking through a magazine feature, bringing you inside the ways people live and work here. There’s the unique magic of our skylight view or the citywide perspective from the Lewis Communications roof deck. There are gorgeously weathered hardwood floors and industrial windows that only open in the center. There are balconies that look out on El Barrio, and actual lofted bedrooms, and the ways people live within them.

There’s something about it here that you simply have to experience. The way the light feels from an upper floor or the reality of how close your favorite watering holes really are. Seeing Zyp bikes in action and feeling truly part of a resurrecting city. Your ticket fees even help keep the resurrection going, since all the day’s proceeds support REV Birmingham.

If you’ve ever wondered what it would be like to live downtown, this is the time to find out. Find all the details and grab your tickets here.


Bham Events: YP Socials

Image via YPBirmingham


Networking events can feel like a chore, a necessary evil in the name of building professional connections. But Young Professionals of Birmingham has a different proposal for your professional development. In their effort to help folks “get out, get social,” they hold cocktail gatherings at some of Birmingham’s hottest places. Places you’d willingly hang out anyway, now with a handy productivity excuse. So check out YPBirmingham board member Brailyn Hardy’s advice below for optimizing your experience, then join us tonight at 5:30 at Lakeview’s Sky Castle Gastro Lounge for the March social.


Feeling shy? Remember you’re there with a shared purpose.

“Everyone who attends our socials is there looking to meet new people, so don’t hesitate to put yourself out there and introduce yourself to someone new,” Hardy says. “We select venues that provide a light-hearted, open, inclusive, and low-pressure environment to make networking a little more casual.”


Wear your expertise like a badge (literally).

Hardy suggests YP-ers take advantage of event name tags that include your industry affiliation. “When you arrive at the door you have the opportunity to select a name tag that specifies your field, so it’s easier to determine which people are in the same or opposite professions in hopes to make new connections and contacts,” she says.


Arrive early for full event perks.

“Sky Castle will be providing small bites to give attendees a taste of what to expect on from their Southern Progressive menu,” Hardy says, “ including the official Sky Castle Burger, Lakeview Chick chicken sandwiches, Korean and Honey Bourbon BBQ Wings, and Hummus.” But be one of the first 150 YPBirmingham members through the door, and you’ll get a free drink ticket as well, she adds. There’s also a free drink waiting for 150 new members.


H2 Real Estate specializes in helping young professionals live in Birmingham, from choosing physical homes to finding communities. That’s why we’re also proud sponsors of YPBirmingham. Say hello tonight — we’d love to meet you — and be sure to follow our series of YP Tips.