Aaron Rea, Firefighter, Auburn City Fire Department
Many people think a firefighter makes enough money to afford to buy or rent a home here, but it all depends on what fire department you work for and how long you’ve been there. The average firefighter normally doesn’t make a lot of money working for most fire departments in Placer County. With that said, the Auburn City Fire Department pay is fair—it’s okay. But firefighters in places like Newcastle or Penryn make less than us.
I would probably be fairly comfortable to find a house for around $250K, but you can’t easily find a house for that price in Placer County and, if you do, then it needs tons of work which requires a lot more money on top of the purchase price to make it livable. I know of one local firefighter who was in that situation—he could only find an old, probably 1950s, house but he had to do major work in order to bring it up to code.
I currently live in Auburn and I rent a house with two roommates. I have a brother who is an electrician in the county—he makes more than I do—and he can’t afford to live in Placer County. He ended finding a home in another county because it’s less expensive there. I have a friend that did the same thing. I really would like to stay here fairly close to Auburn and live near where I work—particularly because of the work I do—and I was born and raised in Auburn. I’ve been looking pretty seriously at houses for the past year—I don’t need a huge house—but anything available is far too expensive.