London Ontario Real Estate News Blog

by Team Forster - homesinlondonontario.ca

Nov. 14, 2018

Guest Blog: Tradition meets modern innovation: New Urbanism

Tradition meets modern innovation: New Urbanism

The New Urbanism movement has been around since the 1980s however is has seen significant growth in the past few years. Why has interest shifted? Awareness for one. As new generations, which are much more eco-conscious, are becoming first-time homeowners they are looking at ways to lessen their impact on the environment.

The New Urbanism movement promotes the return to the traditional town, where you can walk everywhere and leave your car at home. The layout of these towns is thoroughly thought out; homes, commercial space, and parks are all in walking distances from each other usually in a grid formation. The goal of such a design is primarily to improve the quality of life of the community as a whole from a social, environmental and personal standpoint.

In order to further the positive impact on the environment, architects and builders in the movement seek eco-friendly building materials. Although vinyl siding was long overlooked in the environmental category, green builders are taking a second look due in part to its little to no waste in manufacturing. They also take into consideration the efficiency in transporting this lightweight material, the less weight the truck carries equals less fuel consumption, less emissions. Let’s not forget that at the end of its life vinyl siding can also be recycled where areas permit.  Find out more about Kaycan’s commitment to the environment here.

When selecting materials for New Urbanism towns another factor to consider is maintenance. Low maintenance building products are highly sought after as they will require little upkeep, therefore, improving the quality of life of the community by freeing up their time. Kaycan offers peace of mind by providing a limited lifetime warranty on its products as well as a 25-year fade resistant warranty on its deep, rich colors.

This brings to light the biggest change in vinyl siding: color! They used to say vinyl siding was 50 shades of beige, well no more! Due to technological advances, Kaycan offers a vast array of colors which architects and designers can easily mix and match with a variety of materials to add visual interest to commercial and residential buildings.

Another element to consider is the energy efficiency insulated siding can offer. Kaycan’s Richmond Ultra Collection can, in conjunction with other materials on the house, increase the overall R Value of the building.  Consuming less energy will not only reduce your energy bill, but it will also help reduce the carbon footprint.

As eco-consciousness keeps increasing and the work/life balance keeps shifting, we are sure to see New Urbanism towns pop up across the country and we are proud to offer a sustainable as well as an eco-friendly product to help propel such a great endeavor.

The original article can be found at https://www.kaycan.com/tradition-meets-modern-innovation-new-urbanism/

 

Posted in News
Oct. 1, 2018

New Homes For Sale In Kilworth Heights West - A New Community In Kilworth, Ontario

Homes For Sale In Kilworth Heights West Banner

There is a new neighbourhood in Kilworth that is being built that combines the best of the country, the river, ponds, a Provincial Park, hiking trails and open spaces with the proximity of lifestyle, education, shopping, world-class medical and a thriving arts and business community at your doorstep.

That neighbourhood is Kilworth Heights West

About Kilworth

Homes-For-Sale-In-Kilworth-Heights-West-Area

Seek out sanctuary in the peaceful community of Killworth, just to the outskirts of populous London Ontario. Kilworth is just to the east of the Thames river, and a short drive from London, making it an ideal place to call home as a commuter.

It’s a unique little strip of homes that don’t fall into the typical pattern of housing communities that you’ll see today. Instead, the area is a mix of more unique homes, some small and many large.

There are some old stone historical buildings that give the area character, and a collection of stunning modern homes that are impossible to ignore. Kilworth is a beautiful location that feels like an upper-class rural. There are wide open green spaces with plenty of trees and beautiful views.

Shopping and Entertainment in Kilworth

Though Kilworth is a small area that doesn’t have much shopping of its own, there are nearby resources that you can use to get what you need without traveling into London. Shop at one of the two small commercial plazas, or head to Oakridge and hit up the many different stores in that area.

For exercise and entertainment, head to the Community Wellness Centre in Komoka and skate on the NHL-sized rink, or use the many different fitness machines. There are classes available here, as well as a full gymnasium. There’s a library in this location, and different multi-purpose rooms that can be rented out for meetings, parties or whatever you need them for.

Enjoy Top Quality Golfing

Homes for Sale In Kilworth Heights West Golfing

Kilworth is close by to some truly excellent golfing opportunities. Settling down in the area will put you nearby to places like The Oaks, Fire Rock, Hickory Ridge and Oxbow Glen.

These are well-regarded golf courses so you’ll always have plenty of options to choose from and a good place to go to work on your driving form and to blow off steam after a long week of work.

Spend Time at the Park

Komoka Provincial Park is just 2 km away from Kilworth and is a lovely place to enjoy hiking, walking and exploring in nature. A mix of meadows, forests, and river, this park is a true beauty and a gem that all residents of Kilworth can enjoy throughout the year.

Enjoy Shopping and Entertainment in Nearby London

Homes for sale in Kilworth Heights West London Ontario

London Ontario is just 8km from Kilworth, making it a short-range destination for all your entertainment. Whether you want to take in some shopping, head to a local nightclub, dine in a gourmet restaurant or to take in one of the many shows, this city of nearly 400,000 people is a fun place to visit.

Kilworth is a lovely place to call home, but it’s going to be especially desirable to those that work in London or like spending lots of time in the city. It’s a relaxed place to live, it’s quiet and has some of the nicest homes in the area. Look at the variety of single-family home listings in the area, or some of the alternative listings.

For more information on Kilworth & New homes for sale in Kilworth Heights West, contact us today!

 

View all the homes for sale in Kilworth, Ontario >>>

Call or Text Team Forster 519-851-2844 for more information about living in Kilworth, Ontario!

Posted in Buying
Sept. 28, 2018

Guest Blog: Renting Vs. Buying: Which is better?

when to rent

Owning a home might be a dream for many. Some say not only is this a sure fire way to increase your wealth, but it's also the mark of success. While the latter two might be true, the question lingers. Should I buy a home or rent an apartment? The concrete answer is that it depends on your current living situation.

Why Renting Makes Sense

There are many benefits when you rent an apartment or even a home. In almost all cases, the landlord is the one responsible for all repairs. So if your air conditioning unit ceases to work or the plumbing backs up, you won't have to bear the costs. Repairs can be costly. And avoiding having to replace air conditioning parts can be expensive.

There are also financial reasons as well. Local governments usually apply some sort of tax on your homestead. You will be required to pay this tax when you are the homeowner each and every year. However, when you rent, you won't be responsible for any taxes. You simply pay the rent each and every month.

Many assume that the value of housing goes up each year. That is simply not true. If you buy at the top of a market or in a bad neighborhood, you may find yourself in a poor predicament. Let's imagine that you did exactly that. Now you may own more on your home than it's worth. Or even worse, you might not be able to sell your home at all. And you surely don't want to give it away at bottom of the market prices.

In addition, the seller (that's you) of the home usually has to pay the full commission on the transaction. Maybe you just wished you chose to rent. We haven't even mentioned the downpayment that homeowners are usually responsible for.

So yes, renting can and does make sense for many. Just because you rent, doesn't mean you are a second-class citizen. Enjoy the freedom of being able to come and go as you like.

when to buy

Why Buying a Home Makes Sense

Just as renting might make sense, purchasing a home has its own benefits. Over time the price of a home usually does increase. If you plan accordingly and purchase in a good neighborhood with well sought ought schools, you can wager that the value of your home will increase. Yes it make not go up the first or the second year, but if you stay long enough, you will be able to reap the increase in value that homeownership often does bring.

When you rent a place, you are actually paying a fee that is included in your rent. The landlord isn't in the business of breaking even. Let's assume that you own your home outright, and don't own the lender any money. Then in essence, you're almost living for free. At this point, your only debt is the property tax (if applicable).

Also owning a home does bring a certain satisfaction. Although you might not be able to measure this in dollars and cents, it does have an intangible value that renting just cannot compete with. The house is yours, nobody can tell you to leave, or terminate your lease. Just remember that owning a home usually is best for those who have a stable career and/or the wealth to take care of unpredictable matters.

When Renting is a No-Brainer

Of course, there are examples when renting just makes plain sense. Under these circumstances, it would behoove you to rent.

  • Your employment outlook is not stable
  • Your going to be moving to a different city in the near future.
  • You don't have enough money for a down payment.

Andrew Reichek is a real estate broker and is an agent for Rentkidz. This apartment locating company helps renters locating rental property for tenants.

Posted in News
Sept. 27, 2018

Finding the Best High School for your Child in St. Thomas, Ontario

Finding the Best High School for your Child in St. Thomas, Ontario Banner

St. Thomas Ontario is known for its beautiful scenery, lovely parks, and ample outdoor recreational activities, but for families moving to the area its schools are a key concern.

Fortunately, there are four different local high schools, and each of them has something special to offer residents of the area. If you’re bringing your children to the St. Thomas area you’ll have to choose from the four different schools to make sure that your child gets the best education possible.

That’s why we’ve put together an overview of each of the schools, and we highlight the differences of each one to help you make the best possible decision when it comes time to enroll your child. 

School Overviews

Before comparing the schools, here’s an overview to give you an idea of what each of the different high schools is really about. Read through each of them to get more comfortable with what’s offered in the St. Thomas area.  

Arthur Voaden Secondary School

Finding the Best High School for your Child in St. Thomas, Ontario Arthur Voaden

Arthur Voaden is a trade-heavy high school and is mostly dedicated to students that want to become proficient in a trade before graduating.

The school offers access to a full automotive department, a food-services facility and a manufacturing facility to train students at. By coming to this high school students can become proficient at working in any of those sectors and improve their chances of being hired for those specific trades.

Arthur Voaden is also known for having a solid set of art programmes, and the school works closely with outside companies to help train students for work after school is complete. 

St. Joseph’s Catholic High School

Finding the Best High School for your Child in St. Thomas, Ontario St. Joes

St. Joseph’s Catholic High School is a widely-known school throughout the St. Thomas area. It accepts about 900 students each year and maintains a uniform policy that is designed to help foster equality between the students.

The school offers excellent sports teams, including football and hockey as well as many other programs. One standout feature of this high school is all its specialised programmes that are designed to teach special skills besides for the core subjects that need to be learned during high school.

Students have a chance to learn more about health and wellness, agriculture, hospitality or arts and culture depending on the program that they choose. 

Central Elgin Collegiate Institute

Finding the Best High School for your Child in St. Thomas, Ontario Central Elgin

Central Elgin is one of the most academically focused public high schools throughout the St. Thomas area.

The school maintains a population of about 750 students and is known for having high quality academic programs, music programs, and sport offerings.

The school features a special Enrichment program for advanced students that want to be challenged even more in academic subjects. It’s also known for having a powerful math team, and strong athletic programs including stand out men’s basketball and volleyball teams, as well as tennis and women’s soccer. 

Parkside Collegiate Institute

Finding the Best High School for your Child in St. Thomas, Ontario Parkside

Parkside Collegiate Institute is the largest of all the high schools in St. Thomas and is the most diverse of the four schools.

This highs school offers solid academic programs, good music and art programs and a huge list of supported sports teams. Parkside is known for having top quality facilities and is one of the few schools in the area that offer French immersion programs to help students get ready for French-speaking jobs in parts of Canada such as Quebec.

Parkside is a rich academic experience for everyone that attends the school, and it’s designed to appeal to everyone in one way or another. 

Finding the Right School for Your Child

Each of the different high schools has something special to offer, and they all help to make up a diverse and beneficial set of academic programs, but it’s up to you to figure out where your child should attend. That’s why we’re taking the time to help differentiate the schools from one another, and highlight what the main purpose is of each of the different schools.

Trade-Focused Children

Finding the Best High School for your Child in St. Thomas, Ontario Trade Focused

If you have a child that’s more concerned with taking up a trade, or that you believe would excel in a trade rather than going on to something like post-secondary school, there are high-schools that are best for them.

Arthur Voaden is the most trade-focused of all the high schools and will give a trade-focused child the best opportunities after graduation. If Arthur Voaden isn’t an option St. Joseph’s is the next best option thanks to its specialised learning programs that it offers. 

Academic-Focused Children

Finding the Best High School for your Child in St. Thomas, Ontario Academic Focused

If your child is academically focused above all else, the two standout schools for them to attend in the St. Thomas area are Central Elgin Collegiate Institute and Parkside Collegiate Institute.

Central Elgin has a very strong advanced study program for the academically gifted, and the school does an excellent job preparing students to attend post-secondary schools. Parkside is another quality school for students that want to put serious emphasis on their academics.

It doesn’t offer as many courses specifically tailored to the academically gifted, but the school does offer an excellent course selection, a solid French immersion program, and lots of extracurricular opportunities that make it worth attending if academics are the most important. 

Athletic Children

Finding the Best High School for your Child in St. Thomas, Ontario Athletic Focused

Athletic children that want a chance to excel in different sports have a lot of different options to work with in the St. Thomas area. Arthur Voaden is known for offering an excellent football program and has a former CFL player as its coach.

St. Thomas has an excellent hockey team as well as a comprehensive training program for hockey players and is an excellent school to attend if you want to improve at the game. Central Elgin has excellent men’s basketball, volleyball and wrestling teams.

It’s known for having skilled men’s and women’s tennis teams, and has a powerful women’s soccer team as well. Parkside has the best blend of sport’s teams overall, and offers children the biggest pool of options to choose from, which makes them perfect for the athlete that hasn’t specialised at anything yet. 

Music or Art Focused Children

Finding the Best High School for your Child in St. Thomas, Ontario Music and Art

Arthur Voaden, Central Elgin and Parkside all offer solid music and art programmes. Children that want to focus on these areas should use what each of those schools offers besides their music and art programs to help them decide where to go. If your child wants to focus on art, music and trades, Arthur Voaden is the place to attend.

If they want to focus on academics as well as art and music, Central Elgin is the best location. If your student wants the most diverse extracurricular activity options, while getting a well-rounded experience with solid art and music programs, Parkside is the best option worth considering. 

Between the four different high schools in St. Thomas there are a lot of options and perks to consider. If you’re planning on moving to St. Thomas, make sure you go through all these considerations with your child to help them pick out the best school for their specific needs. 

For more information check out the following blogs:

Living in St. Thomas, Ontario

The Best Neighbourhoods in St. Thomas, Ontario

Team Forster lives and works in Southern Ontario and knows each city, development, and neighbourhood extremely well. In a competitive market in an extremely popular and rapidly expanding city like St. Thomas, you need a seasoned negotiator and highly attentive real estate agent by your side. 

 

 

View all the homes for sale in St. Thomas, Ontario >>>

Call or Text Team Forster 519-851-2844 for more information about living in St. Thomas, Ontario!

Posted in St. Thomas Ontario
Sept. 10, 2018

The Best Neighborhoods In St. Thomas, Ontario

The Best Neighborhoods St. Thomas Ontario

Finding the right neighbourhood to meet your needs is always one of the most important steps when purchasing a home.

There are so many great developments in St. Thomas that are perfectly suited to particular preferences, budget, or lifestyle.

Nearby schools, commute time to work, local activities, and sense of community are all extremely important things to take into account when making a decision about which particular neighbourhood in St. Thomas is the best candidate for you personally.

The following list is a great summary of some of the best neighbourhoods St. Thomas, Ontario has to offer. It outlines schools, local events, access to shopping, family activities, entertainment, and much, much more.

With our help, you can find the ideal home for your budget and lifestyle – which will allow you to get the most out of living in St. Thomas.

Harvest Run

Harvest Run St Thomas Ontario

This new development is located in the southeast part of St. Thomas and has a single family detached homes with both two and three bedroom options available.

Prices usually range from $395,000 to $495,000 depending on the square footage of the home. The area is within walking distance to many community amenities such as schools, parks, baseball diamonds, walking trails, and more. Harvest Run provides residents with stunning views and wonderful landscaping that features many mature trees. 

It also offers close and convenient access to the 401 making downtown London only a short trip away from your front door.

View houses for sale in St. Thomas

Orchard Park South

Orchard Park South St. Thomas Ontario

The community of Orchard Park South is nestled away in southeast St. Thomas and has plenty of green space.

Only minutes away from the beautiful countryside, Orchard Park South is also extremely close to many big city amenities - it truly offers residents the best of both worlds. There are a ton of other unique characteristics about this particular area of the city that make it one of the most desirable locations for potential homebuyers.

There is a brand new school minutes away, as well as a baseball diamond, secondary school, and numerous walking trails. It offers a perfect mixture of peace and tranquility with a close proximity to the heart of downtown St. Thomas. Like Harvest Run, Orchard Park South is also just minutes from the 401 - which means downtown London is only a quick trip away. 

Homes in Orchard Park South are either one storey, two storey, or split level. Properties that are one storey range from $350,000 to $450,000 while two storey homes typically sell for between $400,000 and $545,000. Finally, split level homes usually are listed between $320,000 and $425,000. Square footage for all three types of builds varies between 1,470 and 2,350.

View houses for sale in St. Thomas Ontario

Shaw Valley

Shaw Valley St Thomas Ontario

Located on the edge of a gorgeous ravine, Shaw Valley has a definite rural feel despite being only minutes away (via Sunset Drive) from all of the things that St. Thomas has to offer.

The community is growing fast - building began just behind Kettle Creek ravine and offers residents affordable spacious homes along with wide-open streets and sidewalks.

Homes are peaceful, quiet, and give owners a lovely reprieve from all the stressors sometimes associated with living in a large modern city. However, Shaw Valley is also only minutes away from London and Port Stanley, so residents are extremely close to many major entertainment, shopping, and fine dining options. 

Homeowners in this community also enjoy direct access to the Elgin Trail, which is a 26 kilometer hiking area that also has lake access, biking, and is open year round. 

Shaw Valley is also the perfect neighbourhood for young families, as it is extremely close to many educational facilities such as John Wise Public School, Milestone Children’s Center, Parkside Collegiate, and St. Joseph’s Catholic School. There is also a newly constructed daycare center minutes away, as well as a six-acre public park.

The current average price of a single-family home in Shaw Valley is about $475,000. This means that the average property in this neighbourhood is slightly higher than the rest of St. Thomas, likely due to its close proximity to the Shaw Valley Country Club and Kettle Creek.

View houses for sale in St. Thomas Ontario

Miller’s Pond

Millers Pond St Thomas Ontario

Miller’s Pond is a brand new development that is located in southern St. Thomas.

This neighbourhood is extremely close to Lake Margaret Trail, which offers residents breathtaking views of Caples Creek along with an ideal spot to hike and picnic. It is also extremely close to the Doug Tarry Complex, which is hands down the best set of baseball diamonds in the entire area.

Pinafore Park, arguably the most popular place for outdoor activities in St. Thomas, is also just minutes away.

The entire neighbourhood is built using the “Energy Star Standard”, which means that all homes are at least 10% more efficient than homes built to code and achieve a 20% improvement on average.

Miller’s Pond also has a massive water feature at the entrance to the neighbourhood, which is extremely eye-catching and makes the entire area stand out. There are also many great schools in this community, including Fanshawe College. Residents also have easy access to the Saint Thomas Elgin General Hospital. 

Detached Single Family Homes in Miller’s Pond start at $388,000 and run all the way up to $550,000 - as with most other homes, pricing depends on square footage and whether the property has one or two storeys. 

View houses for sale in St. Thomas Ontario

The Ridge

The Ridge St Thomas Ontario

This community is a brand new development that offers single family homes and a luxurious countryside lifestyle at an affordable price.

All of the properties in this neighbourhood are EnergyStar custom built homes and are located in a gorgeous wooded area that provides residents with easy access to walking and bike trails. The 401 is less than five minutes away, which means downtown London is only a quick car trip from your doorstep. With houses ranging from $400,000 all the way up to $700,000, The Ridge has something for everyone!

View houses for sale in St. Thomas Ontario

Freeman Lane

Freeman Lane St Thomas Ontario

One of the most popular areas in the northwestern sector of St. Thomas, Freeman Lane offers residents spacious homes with generous lot sizes.

It is also one of the more expensive neighbourhoods in the city, as the average single family home in this area costs around $550,000. Located just off of the St. Thomas Expressway, Freeman Lane is only seconds away from Lynhurst Community Park.

It is also just a short drive away from Cowan Park, one of the biggest outdoor soccer facilities in all of St. Thomas. Other neighbourhood amenities include access to several fantastic public schools and various smaller shopping centres.

Waterworks Park, which is ranked inside the Top 5 attractions in all of St. Thomas (#4) is only a 5-10 minute drive away. Established in the early 1900’s, the park was the first publicly owned park in the greater St. Thomas area. The area has a wonderful mixture of vibrant plants and flowers along with several family-friendly attractions like a splash park, playground, picnic area, and walking/skiing trails. Open year round, Waterworks Park is also home to many unique bird species such as the Kingfisher, Blue Heron, Osprey, Red-Tailed Hawk, and American Kestrel. 

View houses for sale in St. Thomas Ontario

 

Team Forster lives and works in Southern Ontario and knows each city, development, and neighbourhood extremely well. In a competitive market in an extremely popular and rapidly expanding city like St. Thomas, you need a seasoned negotiator and highly attentive real estate agent by your side. 

Do you think one of these neighbourhoods in St. Thomas, Ontario could have the home of your dreams? Contact Team Forster today to book house viewings and to receive more information about the area.

 

View all the homes for sale in St. Thomas, Ontario >>>

Call or Text Team Forster 519-851-2844 for more information about living in St. Thomas, Ontario!

Posted in St. Thomas Ontario
Sept. 7, 2018

The Best Guide To Living In St. Thomas, Ontario

The Best Guide To Living In St. Thomas Ontario

Located in Southern Ontario just north of Lake Erie, St. Thomas is a vibrant city that is home to just over 40,000 residents.

Widely known as the “Railway Capital of Canada”, St. Thomas was founded in 1881 and was the location of several important railways in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Since its inception, 26 railways have passed through the area since the first one was completed in 1856.

The railway also played a big role in arguably St. Thomas’s most infamous event ever - the tragic death of Jumbo the Elephant in a locomotive crash in 1885.

Jumbo The Elephant St. Thomas Ontario

Following the gradual decline of the railway industry, much of the economic success of St. Thomas was centered around the rapidly expanding automobile industry.

Today, the city continues to grow and evolve as many new companies and industries have flocked to Elgin County.

Located just over two hours away from downtown Toronto, there are countless activities and attractions for both tourists and residents to enjoy. The city has managed to maintain plenty of coziness and charm while also providing countless amenities usually found in larger urban areas - entertainment, arts, shopping, hiking, food - the list goes on and on.

It also has a recently upgraded Hospital that now includes new emergency care facilities, surgical and operating room facilities, and mental health facilities.

Named by MoneySense Magazine as one of the “Best Places To Live In Canada” in 2018, the current median combined income of the average St. Thomas household is just over $70,000 per year.

Current property tax rates for the residential area sit at 1.5332%.

View houses for sale in St. Thomas Ontario

St. Thomas also has easy access to many major transportation routes in the area, including the 401.

The city itself is also located in relatively close proximity to 5 US-Canada border crossings including two that are less than 200 KM away. With an average summer temperature of about 25 degrees Celsius and an average winter temperature of 2 degrees Celsius,

St. Thomas is considered part of the Carolinian Zone - ideal for long growing seasons and a big part of the reason why it is home to more flora and fauna than anywhere else in Canada.

The following blog is a great guide that highlights some of the best attractions, landmarks, and events that St. Thomas has to offer.

It outlines a wide range of different activities and should have something for everyone to enjoy. Whether you are planning your next night out, organizing a day trip with a friend, or just trying to get some great ideas for ways to spend quality time with the people you love in a great atmosphere, this guide is for you.

With our help, you can learn the ins and outs of St. Thomas while also figuring out how to get the most out of living in such a vibrant and fun city.

View houses for sale in St. Thomas Ontario

Cultural Activities

St. Thomas offers residents a ton of great local cultural activities including art galleries, museums, and live theatre.

One of the biggest draws is the Elgin Military Museum, which is located on the west side of the city.

The museum is home to stories and artifacts from many major wars ranging from 1812 to modern day Afghanistan.

Another heavily trafficked museum Elgin County Railway Museum - it features a ton of interesting displays that honour the rich history of the railroad in the greater St. Thomas area.

St. Thomas Elgin Public Art Centre

There is also a fantastic art gallery located in St. Thomas - it is one of the highest ranked city attractions on both Google and TripAdvisor.

The St. Thomas Elgin Public Art Centre (STEPAC) features a wonderful blend of art and local culture.

The Centre contains various exhibitions, showcases, and runs educational tours daily. It gives local artists a place to showcase their work and for members of the general public to take a wide variety of various art classes and workshops - including painting, drawing, and history.

STEPAC also offers a wide variety of summer camps that kids love.

Finally, St. Thomas is also home to the Elgin Theatre Guild, which is located on historic Princess Avenue. The Guild puts on many popular events in the community including live theatre and various concerts.

View houses for sale in St. Thomas Ontario

Recreational Facilities

St. Thomas has an abundance of riches when it comes to indoor and outdoor recreational facilities. Many of the outdoor facilities are open year round, including Pinafore Park, Waterworks Park, and the TransCanada Hiking Trail.

Pinafore Park is perhaps the most well known and features 90 sprawling acres of jaw-dropping natural beauty.

It provides easy access to everything that a nature-lover could want: spacious gardens, walking trails, a bird aviary, a wildlife sanctuary, and a picnic area.

It also has plenty to offer families as well, since the park also has a playground, several concessions, a bandshell, and even a splash park.

Waterworks Park also has an impressive splash park, along with many other amenities including lush gardens and cross-country ski trails. There is certainly no shortage of indoor facilities either.

The Joe Thornton Community Centre contains twin ice rinks, an indoor walking/running track, and a multi-purpose gymnasium.

The local YMCA just received an impressive $2 million dollar upgrade and offers members access to a fully-renovated gymnasium and impressive pool area.

St. Thomas is also home to many critically-acclaimed 18 hole golf courses. There are a wide variety of public and private options available depending on personal preferences and budget.

Some excellent private courses include the St. Thomas Golf & Country Club, which offers a world-class playing AND social experience, Redtail Golf Club, and Kettle Creek Golf & Country Club.

The public courses in the St. Thomas region are great as well, especially Iron Creek Country Club, The Bluffs Golf Club, and Belmont Golf Club.

St. Thomas also has something to offer for dog lovers, as the city operates two separate off-leash areas for canines and their companions. The Lions Club Dog Park is located just off of Main Street while the Kettle Creek Dog Park - which opened in 2014 - is located just north of town.

View houses for sale in St. Thomas Ontario

Education

There are many wonderful schools located in the greater St. Thomas / Elgin County area.

Public options within the city limits include Arthur Voaden Secondary School, Central Elgin Collegiate Institute, and Parkside Collegiate Institute. St. Joseph’s High School is the Catholic High School.

St. Thomas Community Christian School and Faith Christian Academy are independent Christian Elementary Schools that offer classes to students from K-6.

Algoma University, which was founded in 1965 and is based out of Sault Ste. Marie, also has a campus located in St. Thomas.

Attractions and Annual Events

One of the most recognizable landmarks in all of St. Thomas is the 38-ton monument featuring Jumbo the Elephant.

Originally built in 1985, this lifesize replica of the “King Of The Elephants” was commissioned to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the tragedy.

Apart from the statue and an old railway car, there is also a massive plaque that retells the entire story of that fateful night in September over 125 years ago.

Railway City Brewing Co. is another one of the top attractions in the greater St. Thomas area. It’s facilities are open seven days a week - the company runs fun, informative tours of their brewery and provides guests with samples and insights into their brewing process for a wide variety of different beers.

St. Thomas is also home to a wide variety of spectacular annual events.

View houses for sale in St. Thomas Ontario

Although the dates often fluctuate from year to year, mainstays in the local community include the Arts Crawl, Canada Day Fireworks, Light The Night, Great Lakes International Airshow, Iron Horse Festival, Santa Claus Parade, and much, much more.

The Iron Horse Festival is especially noteworthy, as it brings residents together each August to celebrate the rich history of the railway industry in the area.

The Festival hosts many musicians and various street performers over a span of 4-5 days. It is currently trying to raise funds to save the old railway station, which was originally built in 1872.

In the winter, Light The Night is also a hugely popular event, as Pinafore Park plays host to a month-long winter celebration that features thousands of holiday lights and finishes with a massive New Year’s Celebration and firework display.

While it’s impossible to come up with a complete breakdown of what living in St. Thomas is all about, this guide is certainly a good starting point to work from. There is certainly no shortage of unique experiences to have in St. Thomas as the city has a wonderful mixture of attractions, events, natural areas, and entertainment options.

A Drone Point Of View Of St. Thomas

Team Forster lives and works in the great St. Thomas area and knows each neighbourhood extremely well. In a competitive market in an extremely popular city, you need a seasoned negotiator and highly attentive real estate agent by your side.

Do you think St. Thomas, Ontario could have the home of your dreams? Contact Team Forster today to book house viewings and to receive more information about this fantastic area.

 

View all the homes for sale in St. Thomas, Ontario >>>

Call or Text Team Forster 519-851-2844 for more information about living in St. Thomas, Ontario!

Posted in St. Thomas Ontario
Sept. 4, 2018

Top 10 Things To Do In St. Thomas, Ontario

There are many reasons why St. Thomas is such a fantastic community to live in. Known as the “Railway Capital of Canada”, it was founded in 1881 and is currently home to over 40,000 residents.

It is constantly growing and evolving, which means there are countless exciting activities to do and fabulous sights to see. St. Thomas also has plenty of charm and a cozy feel - you don’t have to travel that far from your own front door to find something new to try. Whatever your particular interests are, St. Thomas has a lot to offer – entertainment, sports, arts, shopping, sightseeing, hiking, culture, food – the list goes on and on.

The following list is a great summary of some of the best landmarks or events that St. Thomas has to offer. It outlines a wide range of different attractions and should have something for everyone to enjoy. This guide should help plan your next night out, organize a day trip with a friend, or just spend quality time with the people you love in a great atmosphere. With our help, you can find the perfect activity for your personal preferences and lifestyle – and get the most out of life in a vibrant and fun city.

Work Up A Sweat At The Joe Thornton Community Centre

Named after longtime NHL all-star and Olympic Gold Medalist Joe “Jumbo” Thornton, this community centre is one of the biggest attractions in St. Thomas.

Featuring twin professional-sized ice rinks, including one with stadium seating and a 3,500 patron capacity, it offers residents a place to enjoy local hockey and to participate in community skates. Of course, this world-class facility also has many other impressive features. T

here is a multi-purpose gymnasium for basketball, volleyball, and other court sports with plenty of bleach seating for spectators. There is also an indoor walking/running track and special event rooms that can be booked for groups of 150-400 people.

Soak Up Sunshine At The Douglas J. Tarry Sports Complex

Without a doubt, the Douglas J. Tarry Sports Complex is one of the finest baseball tournament facilities in all of Ontario.

With five full-size baseball diamonds - each with professional lighting for night games - residents and guests alike can enjoy countless innings of fun in a comfortable, modern environment.

There is also a playground, fieldhouse, fabulous food services, and a spacious park/picnic area.

Explore Pinafore Park

Always a huge hit with St. Thomas residents, Pinafore Park features 90 sprawling acres of jaw-dropping natural beauty.

Located just minutes away from the heart of the city, it provides easy access to everything that a nature-lover could want: spacious gardens, walking trails, a bird aviary, a wildlife sanctuary, and a picnic area.

It also has plenty to offer families as well, since the park also has a playground, several concessions, a bandshell, and even a splash park. It’s truly a diverse park that accommodates the various tastes/needs of both longtime residents and tourists.

Open 12 months a year, the park also has baseball facilities (Emslie Field) that are open during the summer months and several cross-country skiing trails that open once the snow flies. Several rental pavilions are also available for weddings, reunions, and other large-scale events.

Hit The Links At A Local Golf Course

St. Thomas is home to many fantastic 18 hole golf courses that each offer a unique playing experience.

There are also a wide array of public and private options available depending on what particular course best suits your specific needs and budget.

Some excellent private courses include the St. Thomas Golf & Country Club, which offers a world-class playing AND social experience, Redtail Golf Club, and Kettle Creek Golf & Country Club.

The public courses are fantastic as well, especially Iron Creek Country Club, The Bluffs Golf Club, and Belmont Golf Club.

Adventure on the TransCanada Hiking Trail

St. Thomas and the rest of Elgin County is also home to a large stretch of the world’s largest recreational trail.

Exploring the TransCanada Hiking Trail is a great way to spend time enjoying the outdoors, whether it’s for an afternoon or several weeks.

A map and extremely useful guide to the section of the trail that runs through St. Thomas is available at various locations around the community. There is also a pavilion that offers route planning and other services in Jonas Street Park.

Take The Family To The YMCA Complex

St. Thomas has a wonderful YMCA complex that has received numerous upgrades over the past decade or so.

It features a full-service community recreation and fitness centre that includes a junior Olympic Indoor Pool and an impressive therapy pool.

The fitness area also received a huge influx of new equipment and better training areas as part of the $2 million series of renovations that took place in 2010. It also has a recently upgraded childcare centre (newborn-9 years) that is included in membership dues.

Stop By The St. Thomas Elgin Public Art Centre

One of the highest ranked St. Thomas attractions according to Google, the St. Thomas Elgin Public Art Centre (STEPAC) features a wonderful blend of art and local culture.

The Centre contains various exhibitions, showcases, and runs educational tours daily. It gives local artists a place to showcase their work and for members of the general public to take a wide variety of various art classes and workshops - including painting, drawing, and history.

STEPAC also offers a wide variety of summer camps that kids love. With a rotating schedule and plenty of new works being displayed year round, it is also a place that can be enjoyed again and again.

Visit Jumbo The Elephant

One of the most recognizable landmarks in all of St. Thomas, the memorial for Jumbo The Elephant is always heavily trafficked.

The memorial features a lifesize replica of Jumbo, “King Of The Elephants”, a circus elephant who was tragically struck and killed by a locomotive in 1885.

Jumbo was the star attraction of P.T. Barnum’s “Greatest Show On Earth”, the world’s biggest circus at that time. Jumbo was beloved around the world and always drew huge crowds whenever the circus came to town. His tragic story has long been a part of the identity of the St. Thomas area, and many local companies pay homage to Jumbo in a variety of different ways.

The city commissioned and unveiled the monument in 1985, 100 years to the day that Jumbo was hit by the train. The statue of Jumbo weighs over 38 tons and was designed and constructed by artist Winston Bronnum.

Tour Railway City Brewing Co.

Railway City Brewing Co. is one of the top attractions on both Google and TripAdvisor.

A local craft brewery, Railway City Brewing Co. is open seven days a week and runs fun, informative tours of their facilities that feature samples and insights into the brewing process for a wide variety of different beers.

One of the unique things about this particular brewery is their immense sense of pride in being a company that was founded and operates in St. Thomas - many of their beers and labels feature names or visual tributes to the Railway, Jumbo the Elephant, and other pieces of local history.

Cool Down At Waterworks Park

Established in the early 1900’s, Waterworks Park was the first publicly owned park in the greater St. Thomas area.

The area has a wonderful mixture of vibrant plants and flowers along with several family-friendly attractions like a splash park, playground, picnic area, and walking/skiing trails.

Open year-round, Waterworks Park is also home to many unique bird species such as the Kingfisher, Blue Heron, Osprey, Red-Tailed Hawk, and American Kestrel. Many unique water species are viewable as well (turtles, goldfish, and frogs - just to name a few) thanks to a series of well-designed bridges and walkways.

Bonus: Take Part In Many Unique Annual Events

St. Thomas is also home to a wide variety of spectacular annual events. Although the dates often fluctuate from year to year, mainstays in the local community include the Arts Crawl, Canada Day Fireworks, Light The Night, Great Lakes International Airshow, Iron Horse Festival, Santa Claus Parade, and much, much more.

While it’s impossible to completely break down all of the fantastic events and activities that St.Thomas has to offer, this guide is certainly a good starting point to work from.

There is certainly no shortage of unique experiences to have in St. Thomas. The city certainly has a wonderful mixture of many attractions, events, natural areas, and entertainment options. Team Forster lives and works in the great St. Thomas area and knows each neighbourhood extremely well. In a competitive market in an extremely popular city, you need a seasoned negotiator and highly attentive real estate agent by your side.

Do you think St. Thomas, Ontario could have the home of your dreams? Contact Team Forster today to book house viewings and to receive more information about this incredible city.

Also view the best neighbourhoods in St Thomas 

The Guide to Living in St Thomas Ontario

Best Things to do in London Ontario

 

View all the homes for sale in St. Thomas, Ontario >>>

Call or Text Team Forster 519-851-2844 for more information about living in St. Thomas, Ontario!

Posted in News
Sept. 3, 2018

Guest Blog: Should I sell my home now or wait until the Spring?

Should I sell my home now or wait until Spring

Deciding when the right time to sell your home is a big decision. About this time of year, there are many people who are on the fence and trying decide whether to sell now or if they should wait until the Spring. Here are 5 areas of consideration to review when trying to determine the best time to sell your home.

Often times, studies indicate that homes sell more quickly in the Spring and early Summer. In fact, some studies indicate that the first two weeks of May could be the time period that is best. While homes may sell more quickly during this time frame, it doesn’t mean that you should always wait until spring to sell your home.

There are a host of factors at play and each situation is different and just because homes tend to sell more quickly in the Spring doesn’t necessarily indicate the ideal time period for you to sell your home. Each individual situation is different. If you talk about the pros and cons with a Realtor®, she will listen to you and can help guide you through the best timing for your individual situation. Remember, Realtors® are fiduciaries who have your best interest above theirs. Here are 5 areas to consider when deciding the optimal time to sell your home.

Equity in your home

You have enough equity in your home to cover the associated fees and costs incurred in selling your home. If you don’t have enough equity, you may want to wait until spring or even later unless there are other circumstances.

Less Competition

How quickly are you wanting to sell your home? Generally speaking, homes sell more quickly in the Spring and Early Summer. This is great if you don’t like showing your home, are in a time crunch, or want the process to be as short as possible. However, because fewer homes are on the market in the fall and winter, it means that the competition is less fierce and it may be easier to sell your property during this time frame. This is especially true if you don’t have a large family home to sell.

Serious Buyers

Many people think that there aren’t serious buyers in the off-peak months, but this simply isn’t true. There are serious buyers year-round always looking at homes for a variety of factors. Don’t assume you can only sell your home during the spring and summer months. There are always serious buyers looking for homes year-round.

Focus on You

During the fall and winter months, lenders, appraisers, inspectors, and other professionals related to the real estate transaction are less inundated with work. This means that you will likely receive more attention and focus from everyone and once you have agreed to terms with a buyer, the transaction can actually move more quickly and your file can get more attention. This can help you not only when it comes to selling your home, but also when buying a home.

Local Job Growth and Seasonality

Do you know what is happening in your local market related to job growth? What is the trend in home availability in your local area? If there is a lot of job growth in your area, it could be a great time to sell your home. In some markets, there is seasonality to the job growth based on certain employers or other seasonality items. It is often best to sell when demand is high.

In addition, and perhaps the most important area, to consider when deciding when to sell depends on your readiness. Are you prepared emotionally for a new start? Have you weighed the pros and cons of staying put vs. moving? Do you understand the financial implications and lifestyle changes that are often associated with moving? If you have reviewed these areas and you feel ready, it is time to talk to a REALTOR® and get the process rolling. A licensed and experienced real estate agent will help you get the most value for your home.

 

Eliot L. Ward is a licensed real estate agent and Utah Realtor® with Harvest Park Group in Draper, Utah.

 

 

 

 

Posted in Market Trends
Sept. 1, 2018

Guest Blog: How to Ensure You Are Buying the Perfect Home

How to ensure you are buying the perfect home

House hunting is exhausting - at least in can be. You have your list of priorities. You desperately want that perfect home.You want to get it right. There’s nothing more stressful than realizing you put in an offer on a home you can’t possibly afford or find out that you don’t even want.

But how do you ensure you are buying the perfect home? Here are a few aspects you should consider.

Affordability

You have hopefully set a budget. And stuck to it. But you may want to check in on what other expenses you should be made aware of. How much is the hydro going to cost per month? How much are you going to be paying for water? It might be worthwhile to inquire into what the previous owner paid. Or even, consider doing your own research. Make sure you’re away of taxes and other fees as well.

Purpose

What is the purpose of this place? Is it your forever home? Will you start a family here? Do you plan on renting it out? These are other aspects you should take into consideration. Do you intend to sell in the next 5 years? 10 years? Think about these things now. A house is an investment. Make sure you know what you plan on doing with the place.

Transportation Access

Although people say you shouldn’t take your commute into consideration when buying a home, you really should. This comes down to your day-to-day stressors. If you have no plans on retiring soon, the location and proximity to your work will matter. As they say, time is money.

Further, if you take public transportation - make sure there are accessible stops close by. How long will it take you by bus or train to get to work? Look it up and think it over.

The Proximity of Schools, Hospital, Clinics, & Other Amenities

If you have a family or want to start a family, look around the neighbourhood. Does it work for this? Are there schools close by? What about if you got sick? Is there an easy clinic go-to around? There are also grocery stores, the gym, and other aspects of your life you may want to think about before buying any home. Weight the pros and cons. And look at your list of priorities. What are you willing to compromise? In contrast, what aren’t you?

In addition, we can offer up a few tips to help you through this trying time. If you don’t know much about the housing market, look into hiring a real estate agent or someone that is familiar with the area. They can help you get it right, and will know what you should be thinking about and when. Don’t forget to always get a house inspection. The perfect home does not involve finding out you need to replace the roof less than 6 months in.

Determine what you need and find out if the house offers it or not. It doesn’t haven’t to be complicated, but you do have to be organized! Sit down and gather up lists, research, and get work! It’ll be worth your time in the long run.

David Hakimi is a real estate agent in Erie, Colorado. His team is one of the top real estate teams at Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Innovative Real Estate. 

Posted in Buying
Aug. 17, 2018

Guest Blog - How to Raise the Value of Your Home by Properly Taking Care of Your Lawn

How To Raise The Value Of Your Home By Properly Taking Care Of Your Lawn

If you decide to sell your home, you want to do everything in your power to make it stand out as the best house in the neighborhood. While household upgrades, and proper maintenance within your home is a good place to start, you can only make a great first impression by having a well-maintained lawn out front of your home. That means having a lush green lawn with nicely landscaped features and a close attention to detail. Taking the time to care for your lawn properly won’t just help you make a good first impression, it could be the thing that gets interested buyers into your home and even lead to higher offers and more money for you in the end. Unfortunately maintaining your lawn is a multi-step process and if you aren’t sure how to do it you won’t end up with optimal results. Keep reading to learn exactly what you should be doing to wow buyers with your home’s landscape.

Give Your Lawn a Good Cut

Cut your lawn regularly to give it that manicured look that’s going to wow interested buyers. Take care to cut it at the right height for your lawn variety. This varies depending on grass species, but cutting between 1” and 2” in height is usually a good bet. It’s a good idea to leave grass clippings spread out across your lawn as well, to bring much needed nutrients back to the soil. If you don’t like the look of grass clippings on your lawn, consider composting them and them treating the soil with the compost later on.

Front Yard London Ontario

Aerate Your Grass

Over time your lawn is becoming increasingly compact. This makes it more difficult for water and nutrients to make their way through the grass to the soil where they are needed. That’s why it’s so important to routinely aerate your soil or create small holes that allow nutrients and water to pass through. You can rent a heavy-duty machine to do the task, or invest in a small manual tool if you have a smaller lawn. Make sure that you’re getting a plug-removal aerator, and that you aerate your soil once or twice a year during your lawn’s main growth season. Regular aeration will remove the spongy feel from your lawn and make it healthier and greener.

Water Your Lawn Deeply and Infrequently

One of the most important steps that you should complete on a regular basis is to water your lawn deeply. This creates longer and more effective roots and helps your lawn withstand drought conditions more effectively. The best way to do this is by installing a high-quality sprinkler or irrigation system. With the right system in place on your lawn you can control how much water makes it to your lawn with clinical accuracy. You’ll be able to adjust the total water output each week to make sure you’re developing a beautiful and resilient lawn that’s going to make your home look great no matter what time of year you decide that you want to sell it.

Lawn London Ontario

Don’t Skimp on Edging and Landscaping

To really wow potential buyers with your home’s lawn, consider investing in landscaping and take the time to properly edge your lawn to give it those stunning defined sections that will make it look neat and manicured. Finally, get a landscaping company to your house, or employ landscaping techniques to define your yard with beautiful plants and to give it some features that will make it stand out above the rest.

Follow each of these steps carefully and you should have a landscape that you can be proud of. When you do finally go to sell your home you’ll have more interested buyers, and you’ll likely find a few buyers that are willing to spend a bit more on your house than others in your neighborhood. A beautiful lawn could be just the thing to set your home apart from all the competition!

Trevor Lively, CIC, CLIA, CIT, CCC is the general manager of Blue Jay Irrigation in London, Ontario. Trevor has been working in the irrigation industry for over 19 years. Blue Jay provides sprinkler system installations & maintenance, landscape lighting and more to residential and commercial properties across Ontario. 

Posted in Buying