London Ontario Real Estate News Blog

by Team Forster - homesinlondonontario.ca

Jan. 7, 2019

10 Steps To Buying A Home In Canada

10 Steps To Buying A Home In Canada

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Whether you are new to owning a home or it’s your second, third, or fourth home, buying a home is an exciting time. Yet, it can take a lot of effort and a lot of time. It can leave some people feeling overwhelmed.

Don’t panic. We’ve got you covered! These 10 steps can help you navigate the sometimes chaotic road of buying a home in Canada.

1. Do Your Research Is it a good time to buy a home?

Is the market in a good state for it? Where do you want to live? How much does a home cost these days? Do a bit of research first. It can prepare you and set you up for what to expect.

2. Plan Your Budget What can you afford?

The average person goes with a 20% down payment when buying a home. Consider this and what is within your budget.

3. Explore Your Mortgage Options

If you don’t have a 20% down payment, it isn’t the end of the world. Some people go with as little as 5%. If you do go with less than 20%, you will likely have to get mortgage insurance, so keep this in mind!

And shop around for your mortgage options. Find the best pre-approved mortgage for you and your life.

4. Find a Real Estate Agent

They can help you scout out potential homes with your budget and needs in mind. Plus, they can guide you through the entire process of buying a home.

5. Start House Hunting!

But… Before you set out, consider making a list of priorities. What do you want in your house? Do you have certain criteria? Making a checklist can help you narrow down your choices.

6. Put in an Offer

Found a home you like? Place your offer. Your real estate agent will then take your offer to the sellers. They will either accept, reject, or provide a counter-offer.

And once accepted...

7. Get a Home Inspection

A home inspection can cost anywhere from $200-500. But it’s worth it. If there are any major problems you weren’t aware of, a home inspection will find ‘em!

If problems do arise, you can re-negotiate with the buyer.

8. Seal the Deal

Finalize your mortgage approval. Go over all the necessary documentation with your agent or lawyer. You’re almost there!

9. Start Planning Your Move

The time is near. If you need to hire a moving company, start looking now. Begin thinking about utilities and internet plans. Get yourself ready to make your move go as smooth as possible.

10. It’s Your Move-in Day!

Congratulations! It’s time for you to move into your new home. Your closing day signifies when you become legally in possession of your home. You can move the day of or any day thereafter.

Need help scouting out your new home? Team Forester can help you! Our experienced and trusted real estate agents can guide you through the process. We can narrow down your search and help you make the right choice based off of your budget and needs.

Posted in Buying
Jan. 3, 2019

[Guest Blog] 5 Benefits Of Landscape Lighting

Landscape Lighting Banner

Most homeowners take pride in their property and home. And landscape lighting illuminates your hard work. It displays your beautiful garden, BBQ and patio spot, and flourishing lawn or walkway for all to see. It also makes your yard a safer place to be after dark. It adds warmth, welcome, and security to your outdoor space. 

Still not convinced? Here are 5 more benefits of landscape lighting:

1. It Makes Your Property Look Good

Landscape lighting highlights the features on your property. It lights up your walkway, planters, and more. With the right set-up, your yard will look it’s best - even in the dark. 

It also makes features of your home more prominent. That unique doorway or architectural design will come alive with the appropriate outdoor lighting. In other words, it amps up your curb appeal and makes your home standout from the rest. 

2. It Lights Up Your Outdoor Living Space

Do you never use your patio at night? You might find it’s too dark. You can’t see anything. So, the party always ends up inside. But with landscape lighting, you can enjoy many summer nights out by the BBQ or in your garden. Unwind after a long or stressful day with a beverage on your patio - without the fear of being left in the dark. 

3. It Amps Up Your Home Value

Landscape Lighting Banner

Landscape lighting increases your property value - plain and simple. In fact, 41% of homebuyers look for landscape lighting when scouting out potential homes. Further, if you go to sell your home, it can highlight your yard and display the desirable features. Consider getting moonlight effect lighting for lights that aren’t too bright but give a settle warmth and illumination to your outdoor space. 

4. Landscape Lighting Offers More Security

Lighting makes a safe space for your guests, family, and friends. It allows them to see steps or stones easier - potential hazards that could pose problems in the dark. The lights can further guide them along walkways to prevent slips and falls. 

Outdoor lightings is also a great way to discourage property crime or burglary. It limits shadows and dark spots for the cover of intruders - making you feel safe and more comfortable in your own home. In this instance, there are also automatic timers available for most lighting systems so that even if you aren’t home, your lights come on at dark either way.

5. It Creates Another Option for Outdoor Decor

Landscape Lighting Pool

The lighting itself can serve as decor - enhancing your property’s natural beauty. It can add a unique feature to your yard. And there are a variety of lighting options to choose from. As aforementioned, moonlighting is a popular option. Statement lights can also accentuate specific parts of your property - such as that colourful flower bed or tall-standing tree. Mood lighting around your porch or patio also adds something to be desired. It creates a beautiful ambience that you’ll want to spend time in. Solar lighting is another trend that is gaining speed in the outdoor lighting community. There are no wires and no fuss. They also come in a variety of shapes, sizes, and designs. 

Consider outdoor lighting options for your property today. Make your yard come alive. And start making use of your beautiful outdoor space after dark. 

Trevor Lively is the president of Blue Jay Irrigation. Blue Jay specializes in landscape lighting in London, Ontario

Resources:

https://rasevic.com/benefits-landscape-lighting-garden-lights/

https://www.vernondaniel.com/4-key-benefits-of-functional-outdoor-lighting/ 

Posted in News
Dec. 31, 2018

The Top 10 Best Restaurants in St. Thomas, Ontairo

 

St. Thomas, Ontario is a quaint and picturesque city located north to beautiful Lake Erie and south from bigger city London. Well-known for its rich railway history, this small and charming region has a variety of culinary endeavors to offer to residents and visitors alike.

 

The Best Restaurants in St Thomas Ontario

Many of the city’s restaurants have been staples in St. Thomas for decades. From Thai cuisine to ice cream, here are the 10 best restaurants in St. Thomas that you won’t want to miss.

 

Le Cafe Siam

Le Cafe Siam

What is it? Open for over a decade, Le Cafe Siam cooks up authentic Thai cuisine - even claiming to be the best in the Southern Ontario region. It’s located in the downtown hub and does not disappoint.

Why go? If you’re on the hunt for authentic and delicious Thai food, look no further. Le Cafe Siam is considered the best in town - with customers boasting that it’s “the best thai food” they’ve ever had. Family owned and operated, the staff take pride in their food and their service. Try the yellow curry, pad thai, dumplings, or mango salad. They even offer up vegan options. 

Price? The place is reasonably priced. In other words, you won’t exactly break the bank here. 

Best dish? The green curry and pad thai are fan favourites at this delightful spot.

New Sarum Diner

New Sarum Diner

What is it? New Sarum Diner is the oldest diner in Elgin County. Technically located right outside of St. Thomas, they serve up every food you’d expect at a diner - including root beer floats and an assortment of finger foods.

Why go? The diner is home to their famous family style chicken. Plus, this place has been around since 1943. They are doing something right!

Price? Many reviews cite the pricing as reasonable. It’s a great place to take the whole family - chances are you’ll be able to find something the kids will like.

Best dish? Try their famous family style chicken! They even boast about it on the front-page of their website. 

Shaws Ice Cream

Shaw’s Ice Cream

What is it? The name says it all. Shaw’s Ice Cream is the best place to grab a cone or a banana split in St. Thomas. As of 2018, the ice cream parlour celebrated their 70th anniversary.. 

Why go? If you’re looking for high-quality ice cream, this place is it. They claim to use top ingredients, including 100% Canadian Cream. You can’t get more local than that.

Price? This place is budget-friendly, and recommended by all the locals to stop at for dessert or a mid-afternoon snack. 

Best dish? Everything and anything. Customer’s rave about the variety of flavors and desserts. You can get sundaes, cones, and pies. 

Bella Jacks

Bella Jack’s

What is it? Located in the heart of St. Thomas, Bella Jack’s serves up a variety of authentic Mexican plates. From enchiladas, tacos, nachos, and quesadillas, you are guaranteed to leave this top-rated St. Thomas restaurant full and satisfied.

Why go? The restaurant uses local and fresh products for all their dishes. The friendly atmosphere offers the perfect place to catch-up with old friends or take the family out for a big meal.

Price? The food is moderately priced. You won’t go overboard, but it’s not considered a budget-friendly option either. But you do get great food for a relatively great price. 

Best dish? Go for the chimichangas and chilled margaritas! 

Country Charm Cafe

Country Charm Cafe

What is it? The Country Charm Cafe is a cozy family owned and operated restaurant along Wellington Street, St Thomas. 

Why go? They strive to serve up a home-cooked feel with all their food - using only the best fresh and seasonal products that St. Thomas and the Elgin County has to offer. They are only open until 2 pm each day, providing customers with breakfast and lunch options.

Price? Like a lot of places in St. Thomas, the Country Charm Cafe is reasonably priced. However, come ready with cash - they don’t accept credit cards or debit, but do have an ATM on site for your convenience.

Best dish? The peameal bacon is a must-have addition to any meal. 

Asuka Japanese Cuisine

Asuka Japanese Cuisine

What is it? Again, the name says it all! If you love sushi or any other Japanese dishes, this is the place to go in St. Thomas. You get nothing but the best.

Why go? Previous customers boast about how fresh the sushi is and the vast selection that the restaurant has on the menu. If you love Japanese food, you’ll want to visit this stop more than once. 

Price? Very affordable - especially compared to other sushi places in nearby London.

Best dish? Individuals rave about the sushi in all kinds and sizes. 

Legends Tavern

Legends Tavern

What is it? Located in the hub of St. Thomas, Legends Tavern is the ideal spot to check out the latest sports games and events. They opened in 1998. Since then, the owners and staff have been committed to high-quality service and eats. 

Why go? It’s the classic pub and sports bar menu. And the best place around to catch the next hockey, football, or softball game. The atmosphere says it all. 

Price? It’s affordable and within the norm for most pubs and tavern places. You’ll likely spend an average of $20-30 dollars for a meal plus a beer.

Best dish? The tavern claims fame for their wings, their homemade burgers, and their hand-cut pork chop dinner. Take your pick!

St Thomas Roadhouse Bar & Grill

St Thomas Roadhouse Bar & Grill

What is it? If you want fast and quick pub-style food, the St. Thomas Roadhouse has a menu that will fill all your wildest desires. It’s a great place to watch an event on TV, bring the whole family, or just kickback and relax. They even offer options to host events here. That next big surprise party you’re planning? The Roadhouse could be your spot. 

Why go? The prime rib, potato soup, burgers, and more are highly praised by past and present customers. The service is also said to be friendly and quick.

Price? It’s perfect if you want to eat out on a budget - especially with weekly and nightly specials, such as Wednesday’s ½ price apps and wings.

Best dish? You can’t go wrong with the prime ribs or burgers. 

Rail City Bistro

Rail City Bistro

What is it? Rail City Bistro is one of the newer restaurants in St. Thomas. Opening in 2016, the place takes pride in dishing up fresh and homemade cuisine which uniquely features regions from across the globe. Every weekend, the restaurant offers a different menu (alongside their regular menu) as an opportunity for guests to try bites from around the world. 

Why go? If you’ve ever wanted to dip your toes - or, er your taste buds - in a variety of international cuisine without actually paying a hefty flight price, here’s your chance. Check out what the Rail City Bistro has on the menu this coming weekend.

Price? For a bistro, it is very reasonably priced. You won’t pay over $20 - before taxes - for most dishes.

Best dish? Anything with a side of mashed potatoes is raved about by customers. The ribs and burgers are a sure-bet for a great eat as well according to a variety of recent reviews.

Harrys Charcoal Broiled

Harry’s Charcoal Broiled

What is it? Harry’s Charcoal Broiled is the best fast food option in St. Thomas. On a budget? Or in a rush? This is your quick stop to a delicious and satisfying meal. 

Why go? The burgers and fries are excellent. Plus, the place offers gluten-free options. 

Price? Great - especially if you’re on a budget!

Best dish? The burgers and fries take the top spot at this joint.

Posted in St. Thomas Ontario
Dec. 12, 2018

The Top 30 Best Restaurants in London, Ontario

 

The city of London serves up some of the best meals around. With a variety of cuisines and dining spots, you have an abundance of options and dishes to choose from. 

The Best Restaurants in London Ontario

Ready to dig in? Here are the 20 best restaurants in London, Ontario:

 

David’s Bistro

David’s Bistro

What is it? Rated #1 on TripAdvisor in London, people rave about this place. It has a European and a-la-carte style approach to food that doesn’t disappoint. 

Why go? The food is incredible. The service is warm, friendly, and attentive. You have a great selection of wine and no matter what you order, you are likely going to love it.

Price? Depending on what you get, this place can gear toward the more expensive side. But is it worth it? Absolutely. 

Best dish? It’s hard to determine the exact best dish. We recommend going for dinner and definitely ordering a glass or 2 of wine with your meal.

Waldo’s on King

Waldo’s on King

What is it? Waldo’s on King has a variety of options - including vegetarian entrees. They offer a relaxed and friendly atmosphere. If you’re visiting or living in London, this is definitely a restaurant you’ll want to check out.

Why go? The cook hand-picked his team - guaranteeing only the best. The restaurant also conveniently offers underground parking, which means during the cold winter months, you’re covered.

Price? It’s a bit more on the expensive end of the spectrum - especially if you’re heading here for dinner. If you get wine and apps, prepare to spend around $50 or more. 

Best dish? The grilled calamari, perch, and chocolate mousse are raved about by many previous customers. Try ‘em out!

Plant Matter Kitchen

Plant Matter Kitchen

What is it? Plant Matter is an organic and vegan restaurant. It’s safe to say that you’ll feel good about eating here. 

Why go? The cooks at this restaurant make every meal without artificial ingredients. That means that there are zero chemicals and zero additives in your food - along with next to no processing. It’s just plain and simple delicious and all-natural foods! Previous customers also rave about how tasty all the food is at Plant Matter Kitchen.

Price? It’s reasonably priced - perhaps not for the budget-friendly restaurant adventurer. 

Best dish? The vegan mac and cheese hits the mark. Plus, you won’t even know that it’s vegan.

Tamarine by Quynh Nhi

Tamarine by Quynh Nhi

What is it? Tamarine by Quynh Nhi is a Vietnamese and Thai restaurant in the middle of big-town London.

Why go? It’s location in downtown London makes it the perfect spot to start or savour your night out on the town. It’s the ideal restaurant to order a variety of plates and share with your friends or family. It’s also a local favourite - so why not find out what all the hype is about?

Price? It’s a little more expensive than other Vietnamese and Thai restaurants - with average dish ranging between $14-17.

Best dish? The tamari and ginger chicken are highly recommended. (You also can’t go wrong with Pad Thai.)

Tuscanos Pizzeria & Bistro

Tuscanos Pizzeria & Bistro

What is it? Located on Oxford St. E, Tuscanos Pizzeria and Bistro serves up Italian favourites, such as pizza, pasta, and more.

Why go? It’s the spot in London to head to if you’re looking for authentic Italian food. It’s a busy place, so it’s best to make reservations before heading out.

Price? For Italian food, it’s reasonably priced. It isn’t too expensive, but not exactly where you would go if you’re on a budget.

Best dish? The stuffed mushrooms are highly praised.

The Church Key Bistro Pub

The Church Key Bistro Pub

What is it? This restaurant is located in a heritage building across from the Grand Theatre in London. It’s kind of like a high-end pub. You can expect all the same pub favourites, but with a little bit more class.

Why go? It’s the perfect spot for brunch, lunch, dinner, friends, and even business meetings. The food and service are said to be top-notch.

Price? It’s reasonably priced for the delicious food you get. Although, we don’t recommend this place if you’re looking to save on eating out.

Best dish? Go for brunch. Or if you head to this spot for lunch or dinner, consider the lamb curry dish.

Thaifoon Restaurant

Thaifoon Restaurant

What is it? Thaifoon is another Thai restaurant located in the heart of London. The place offers an intimate and contemporary setting where you can relax and catch up with old friends during an evening out.

Why go? The food is delicious. And the service is excellent. The subtle lighting also sets an earthy tone throughout the venue.

Price? It’s a little more on the pricey side so prepare to spend a bit more for each dish.

Best dish? The peanut pasta and spring rolls are boasted about by many former customers.

Fionn MacCool's

Fionn MacCool’s

What is it? Located on Wellington, this Irish pub comes with a cool name and a friendly atmosphere.

Why go? The pub claims good food and good company. Many reviewers state that the customer service went above and beyond. 

Price? It’s completely affordable and a great spot to check out after work or to catch up with friends.

Best dish? Try their steak and mushroom pie - especially if you’ve got an appetite!

Abruzzi

Abruzzi

What is it? Abruzzi is a more upscale Italian restaurant. The owners and team place a huge emphasis on using local and in-season food items.

Why go? If you love Italian and are looking for something with a little more class, Abruzzi is the place for you. It’s in a great location downtown with a cozy atmosphere and great service.

Price? Abruzzi is a more high-end place, making it a bit more expensive than other restaurant venues.

Best dish? Order a dish with gnocci. It’s worth it!

Pasto’s Grill

Pasto’s Grill

What is it? Pasto’s Grill is considered by many Londoners to be a hidden gem. All dishes are inspired by Italian recipes and culture. 

Why go? The service, atmosphere, and food are perfection - and for a reasonable price!

Price? Affordable!

Best dish? Eat up any of their pasta dishes. Start off your meal with their delicious pear salad.

The Tasting Room

The Tasting Room

What is it? The Tasting Room is a traditional wine bar with plenty of good eats. Located in downtown London, it’s close to all the action.

Why go? The location is extremely convenient. It also comes strongly recommended by past customers. It’s warm, casual with a touch of upscale and high-end ambience. 

Price? It’s reasonably priced. Not too expensive, but definitely not on the cheap side either.

Best dish? Start off with the customer favourite, artichoke dip, and go from there!

zen’Za Pizzeria

zen’Za Pizzeria

What is it? zen’Za Pizzeria is exactly what it says - it’s your local pizzeria! With a prime downtown location, you can order vegan and non-vegan options here.

Why go? Want good pizza and a good atmosphere? zen’Za Pizzeria has it all! They also have a ton of options so you’ll have plenty to pick and choose from.

Price? It’s affordable and reasonably priced.

Best dish? The vegan pizza is great! But really any pizza with your own selection of toppings hits the spot.

Blu Duby

Blu Duby

What is it? Inspired by international dishes, Blu Duby offers London a casual and elegant venue to sit down for a good meal and good company.

Why go? This is another restaurant where the location is key. It’s nearby to the Grand Theatre, Centennial Hall, and the Convention Centre. The atmosphere also hits the mark - offering a comfortable place to grab a meal before a show. 

Price? It’s a little more on the pricey end. 

Best dish? Try their risotto. Or ask your waiter for their recommendations.

Thuan Kieu

Thuan Kieu

What is it? Thuan Kieu is a family-friendly Vietnamese restaurant located off of Highbury Avenue. 

Why go? Established in 1996, it’s a great place to bring the family for a delicious Vietnamese meal. Family run and owned, the food is superb.

Price? The food is reasonably priced - not too expensive which is perfect for a family outing.

Best dish? Pho is a staple at Thuan Kieu. If you’re unsure what to order, pho is the perfect go-to.

The Works

The Works

What is it? The Works is a renowned burger place, with many locations across Ontario.

Why go? You get all kinds and every kind of burger imaginable. Some combinations you wouldn’t normally try - but then, you might be surprised by how great they taste together. Located right on King Street, The Works in London is in a prime spot for the city’s busy nightlife. 

Price? It’s totally affordable! 

Best dish? Their Smokey Mountain burger is a fan favourite. However, don’t be scared to branch out and try something new!

The Black Trumpet

The Black Trumpet

What is it? The Black Trumpet offers up cocktails and international cuisine. 

Why go? It has a welcoming ambience and friendly atmosphere. With a beautiful garden, the venue can seat up to 60 guests. And the restaurant itself offers variety - claiming that there is something for everyone.

Price? The Black Trumpet is on the expensive end of the price spectrum. But you do get what you pay for!

Best dish? The beef tenderloin comes highly recommended by previous customers at this one-of-a-kind spot.

The Keg Steakhouse & Bar

The Keg Steakhouse & Bar

What is it? The Keg Steakhouse & Bar is another restaurant with locations across the province. It’s the ultimate steakhouse.

Why go? If you want a great steak and a friendly atmosphere, this is your place to go. You can’t go wrong with the meat cooked up at The Keg Steakhouse.

Price? It’s affordable and if you’re on a budget, you have options here!

Best dish? Try out their prime rib.

Garlic’s of London

Garlic’s of London

What is it? Garlic’s of London is located on Richmond Street in London. It’s considered a more romantic dining spot with Italian and Canadian entrees.

Why go? The food is excellent. The service is friendly and attentive. But if you plan on going on a Friday or Saturday, you should book a reservation. It can get crowded and the wait times can get long.

Price? The food is a bit more expensive than other Italian and Canadian cuisine places in and around London.

Best dish? Previous customers recommend the garlic soup or duck.

Mai’s Cafe & Bistro

Mai’s Cafe & Bistro

What is it? Mai’s Cafe & Bistro cooks up tasty and exquisite Thai dishes. Customers boast about the authenticity of the Thai food, with many stating that they will definitely be back.

Why go? The restaurant is locally owned and the restaurant owners have over 10 years experience in the restaurant industry. It’s a cozy little nook worth checking out.

Price? This cafe and bistro are affordable. You’ll feel like you’ve got your money’s worth.

Best dish? Try their green curry or cashew chicken.

Shmokey’s BBQ

Shmokey’s BBQ

What is it? If you’re looking for slow-cooked meats and BBQ’d delights, Shmokey’s BBQ serves it all. 

Why go? They have homemade sauces and many locals rave that it’s the best BBQ place around. All the flavors and the incredible atmosphere make for one heck of a restaurant experience.

Price? You will pay for your BBQ - all that meat costs a little bit more than the usual.

Best dish? Give a brisket dish a try. You won’t regret it.

Sweet Onion Bistro

Sweet Onion Bistro

What is it? Located in Wortley Village, this restaurant offers a mix of European and American cuisine, with Greek nights galore.

Why go? Greek night is worth checking out. You definitely get the value for your food here. Plus, you get a variety of options so you’ll definitely find something you’ll enjoy.

Price? It’s reasonably priced. 

Best dish? The lamb burger is highly rated.

The Italian House Pizzeria

The Italian House Pizzeria

What is it? Located right on Dundas Street, The Italian House Pizzeria serves up some of the best pizza around. 

Why go? For a cozy and late-night vibe, this pizzeria doesn’t disappoint. The pizza is highly recommended and raved about by new and old patrons.

Price? Reasonable.

Best dish? Any kind of pizza!

Unique Food Attitudes

Unique Food Attitudes

What is it? At Unique Food Attitudes, get ready for the ultimate polish food experience. Located on 697 Dundas, it’s perfect for a little pre-theatre grub.

Why go? They have perogies and stuffed cabbage rolls - food items that are hard to find anywhere else. 

Price? Although not entirely budget-friendly, it’s reasonably priced for one of the only polish places around.

Best dish? Hands down - get the cabbage rolls.

Mandarin Restaurant

Mandarin Restaurant

What is it? Mandarin offers Asian foods in all varieties. It’s the perfect place to get your full. With a full-blown buffet, you won’t go hungry here.

Why go? Simply: choices. The buffet has endless options. You’ll be full before you get a chance to try them all. And don’t be surprised if your eyes are bigger than your stomach.

Price? It’s perfect if you’re on a budget. You’ll get more than enough food for the buffet price.

Best dish? The sushi and crab legs!

Addis Ababa

Addis Ababa

What is it? Addis Ababa serves up Ethiopian cuisine that’s worth checking out. If you’ve never tried African food, this is a great start.

Why go? It’s something different. While there are plenty of Italian restaurants in London, there aren’t as many Ethiopian cuisine spots. And the food is superb.

Price? Reasonable.

Best dish? Go for the combination platter. You’ll get a little bit of everything.

The Springs

The Springs

What is it? The Springs restaurant provides a bistro-style menu often mixed with live music and a fair-sized patio.

Why go? It’s surprisingly good! Frequently underrated, this little gem has great service and tasty eats. 

Price? More on the expensive side.

Best dish? Order the venison dish. 

Visit Website - The Springs

 

Vietnam Restaurant

Vietnam Restaurant

What is it? Exactly as the name says - it’s a Vietnamese restaurant located on Dundas Street. 

Why go? Regular customers boast that they’ve never been disappointed. They further expand on the great prices and great food. It can’t bebe beaten

Price? Affordable, and absolutely budget-friendly.

Best dish? Try their chow mein and spring rolls.

 

Dolcetto

Dolcetto

What is it? Dolcetto is another Italian favourite in London. 

Why go? The service and warm atmosphere offer something different at this Italian cuisine spot. Some customers have even claimed that they serve better food than they’ve had in Italy.

Price? Reasonable.

Best dish? Any pasta dish.

 

The Early Bird

The Early Bird

What is it? Located in the busy downtown area, The Early Bird offers up a delicious breakfast and lunch. They focus on using local and fresh ingredients - giving their customers nothing but the best.

Why go? They do breakfast well. And the pricing is completely affordable. They are also open until 8 pm Thursday through to Saturday. 

Price? Affordable.

Best dish? Try their chicken and waffles.

Idlewyld Inn Restaurant

Idlewyld Inn Restaurant

What is it? The Idlewyld Inn Restaurant is located in the charming Idlewyld Inn. The Inn itself is styled after a Victorian Mansion, and the dining follows this classy vibe. The menu is mainly contemporary with a well-stocked wine list for all different kinds of wine lovers. 

Why go? The beauty surrounding you while you eat speaks for itself. The ambience, the food, and the service all play a part in making this an incredible and memorable dining experience.

Price? More expensive.

Best dish? Go for brunch. If you attend the Inn for lunch or dinner, try the seared halibut.

Posted in News
Dec. 7, 2018

10 Steps To Building Your Dream Home

Are you looking to build the home of your dreams but don't know where to start? Check out this infographic from our trusted home builder, Forever Homes.

10 Steps To Building Your Dream Home

 

10 Steps To Building Your Dream Home, courtesy of Forever Homes Inc

 

Posted in News
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

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