Oakleigh Garden District | Midtown Mobile, AL

Oakleigh! One of Mobile's premier historic neighborhoods. Featuring great food, a beautiful park and impressive architecture from the 1820's to the 1940's!

Oakleigh Garden District is one of eight, beautiful historic districts in Downtown and Midtown Mobile. The historic districts are defined by the mature oak trees, sidewalk lined streets and large front porches on most of the impressive homes. If you are looking for true charm and a community feel then Midtown may be the place for you! These communities are the heart of Mobile and most events take place right in the middle of them! From fun runs to concerts, outdoor movies and fun days in the parks for kids you can find it in Midtown!

Oakleigh is a great community for those that love activity. From orchestras in the park, to walking to Sunday Brunch, Oakleigh has a lot to do. In addition, Oakleigh is just a few blocks from Downtown and all that Downtown Mobile has to offer. Oakleigh Garden District is bordered by Government Street and runs to Texas Street. The East and West boundary streets are Ann Street and Broad Street. You can find homes of all price ranges in Oakleigh. From fixer uppers that need extensive rehabbing to move in ready estates overlooking the square!

Great Food & Fun in Oakleigh

Callaghans, Kitchen on George and Creme and Sugar

Leave the car and walk in Oakleigh! Callaghan’s Irish Social Club, Kitchen on George, Creme & Sugar and more.

Oakleigh Garden District is renowned for it’s food! If your looking for both food and entertainment, Callaghan’s is the place for you! Live bands and open air entertainment is the way to go with a great burger in hand and beer on tap! The party lasts all day for lunch and dinner. Pull over somewhere and grab a spot to park and come join the fun or if your a local just walk right over. Callaghan’s is located on Marine Street. During Mardi Gras and St. Patrick’s Day be prepared block parties start early and can stop traffic for the rest of the day!

If you are looking for something a little more elegant check out Kitchen on George! Kitchen on George has an excellent menu and is located in Oakleigh. It is open for lunch and dinner with brunch on Sunday’s! Come try the Seafood Étouffée. Kitchen on George also has an excellent bar for a refined late night drink.

The last spot I will mention here is Creme and Sugar. Creme and Sugar is Oakleigh’s own coffee house! Neighborhood locals walk here for everything from bagels, soups and coffees! Creme and Sugar has a small parking lot, so if your not a local and want to take a stroll around with a nice coffee it is a great place to start your walk.

For links click the corresponding name to each! Enjoy!

Callaghan’s Irish Social Club | Kitchen on George | Creme & Sugar

Finding a GREAT deal in Oakleigh

What to look for, and where to look

Financing for historic homes, dealing with remodels and understanding values

Historic homes are basically art that you get to live in but, they do come with some challenges in today’s world. Financing has become more and more challenging since the market dropped in 2008. With that being said, if you are using an FHA loan the home must be able to qualify based on the current condition when it’s appraised.

  • Utilities must be on, including electric or gas to heat hot water
  • No broken glass, trip hazards or safety concerns
  • Bedroom windows must open
  • No rotten wood, or chipping/peeling paint

These same conditions also apply to the VA loan program. During the appraisal process the appraiser will check these items, and this is a separate check than the home inspection that is your own personal property. If the appraiser has to come back out to check on mandated repairs, he can charge as much as $200 per time! Ouch! Conventional loans vary based on the bank and underwriter who is writing the loan, but are generally more lenient than VA or FHA.

Understanding the Architectural Review Board

I hear so much misinformation regarding what owning and updating a historic home involves. I have heard agents and contractors give completely wrong information on how remodeling a historic home works. The biggest misconception that I hear people say is “If it doesn’t have a historic badge, you can do what you want.’ That is completely wrong!

I will eventually write a blog on this subject but for now, know that every home in a historic neighborhood of Mobile is protected by the Architectural Review Board. The ARB is a group of citizens that vote on exterior improvements of your property. This could be something as simple as the exterior paint color or as complicated as an addition onto your home. The interior is NOT controlled or regulated by the ARB and would go thru permitting the same as any other home. Some homes are less protected than others if they have been built in the last few decades.

Those properties are considered noncontributing properties. While changes still have to go thru the ARB for those homes, in general they are more agreeable to major changes on those properties. Getting ARB approval for a true historic home can be as simple as stopping by their office and filing an application with a very small fee or it could be as complex as a meeting with the board to show blue prints and drawings.

Just message or call me if you need more info on this process. I would be happy to be an additional resource. Also click the link below to go directly to their website.

Architectural Review Board

Understanding Midtown and Oakleigh Values

Values can be incredibly confusing in Oakleigh. In just a few blocks, prices can vary drastically. If looking at a map with sold prices of properties, you can immediately tell as soon as you exit Oakleigh prices drop sometimes as much as 50-100%. For some, this is a great opportunity to buy homes to fix up and occupy or rent out. But for some, it can be incredibly confusing. Of course, as a Realtor I am happy to help with understanding Midtown prices and have a lot of experience in the area. I have bought, renovated and assisted with the renovations of plenty of homes in Midtown and Oakleigh including some over 5,000 square feet.

The biggest setback can come from people who are out of state and buy in areas three to four blocks away from Oakleigh and can’t comprehend the price drop. Oakleigh prices typically vary based on location, style and condition. Homes located close to Washington Square or one of the in demand spots like Callaghan’s go for more. As you get further from the park and closer to the outskirts, prices will decrease. This has gotten less obvious as the borders of Oakleigh get more and more renovated and become nicer on a yearly basis. As far as home style, front porches are in demand especially homes with expansive second floor porches. Naturally, condition speaks for itself as better property condition will always sell for more.

If you need help in Oakleigh or any of Midtown or Mobile just contact me, Rameh Khazen. I am always happy to be of service!