London Ontario Real Estate News Blog

by Team Forster - homesinlondonontario.ca

May 21, 2019

Curb Appeal Matters: 5 Tips to Keep Yours Current

Curb Appeal Matters: 7 Tips to Keep Yours Current

If you are considering selling your house or just want to keep up appearances, curb appeal should be one of the first projects to consider.

Many people form an opinion of a home quickly, and the front exterior is the first glimpse they will have into yours. Making a good first impression by keeping your property well kept and updated is a simple and affordable way to ensure a quick sale. 

1. Gardens

We may not all have a  green thumb, however, a well-kept garden is sure to add aesthetic appeal to any property. 

Gardens don’t have to take a lot of time or money. Low maintenance shrubs and plants can look nice and add to value to your home. Simply by keeping your garden weeded and tidy will greatly benefit the overall appeal. 

If you are truly unable to maintain a garden, hiring a landscaping company to design and maintain one for you might be well worth the cost. 

2. Driveway

Having a clean and crack free laneway goes a long way when trying to update the exterior look of your house. 

There are options such as paving stones or concrete that will facelift your property quickly. Though costly, it is an investment that can change the overall first impression. 

If redoing your laneway is not in the budget, ensuring that it is free of clutter and weeds will definitely improve the look. 

A more cost-effective option is to have the driveway resurfaced. A simple process that can be done by the homeowner or a number of different companies. 

3. Front Door & Windows

The front door and front windows are an important part of the overall look of your house. 

Having a new door and windows will drastically improve the appeal and will also help with utility costs as most new ones are energy efficient. 

If you are wanting to spice up the look of your property, repainting the front door has become a popular trend. Brighten up your door with a pop of colour will create a unique look and add interesting detail to your property. With a can of paint and a little time, you can easily change things up. 

4. Take care of your lawn

This might seem like an obvious tip, however, having a poorly kept lawn can quickly decrease the appeal of your property. 

Regular watering, mowing, and weeding is a simple and affordable way to ensure your home has excellent curb appeal. 

A beautiful house can be quickly be overlooked if the grass is dead or unkept, so with a little bit of effort on the homeowners part, one can ensure that is not the case. 

5. Light it up!

A great way to showcase your home is through outdoor lights. Whether spotlights or solar garden lights, drawing attention to the features you want to be noticed will help overlook certain areas you don’t.

A lit up pathway is a great feature for aesthetics and also safety at night. Timed lights can also provide a deterrent for unwanted guests, animal or human. 

It's easy to get creative and add a unique touch to your home with a lighting system. There are endless options and a number of companies that can install such systems for you. 

Being aware of your property’s first impression, especially when considering selling, is something every homeowner should do. It doesn’t take much time or money to add simple updates. Offering a welcoming entrance to your home will pay off with buyers and guests alike.

Posted in Buying
May 14, 2019

5 Reasons Your House Is Not Selling

5 Reasons your house is not selling

So you’ve listed your house. You are full of excitement at the potential offers and the chance to move. A week goes by and nothing. Then a month, maybe two or three more. What’s going on? Why is your house not selling? Well, it may be one of these 5 reasons. 

1. Overpriced

Whether you’ve decided to sell with or without an agent, the number one reason your house isn’t selling is due to price. The best remedy is to consult with a knowledgeable realtor that can give you an accurate and realistic sale price. 

Comparing with other houses that are for sale or recently sold in your neighbourhood will give you a precise idea if your home is listed for an appropriate amount. 

If your house has been sitting on the market for over a month, it would be a good idea to reevaluate the listing price and consider modifying it. 

2. Not properly prepped

Having a show ready home can be the difference between a quick sale and a house that will be sitting on the market for a while. 

Consult with a professional stager to assist in preparing your home. Decluttering your home is one of the easiest and quickest ways to get it ready for showings. Also, it will be a clean and neutral canvas for photographers. 

Potential buyers need to be able to envision themselves living in the space, so personal items such as family pictures would be better off packed away.

Having too much furniture or clutter can also make the rooms feel small and crowded and for some, it will be difficult to look past. 

3. In poor condition

You may not want to put a lot of money into your home as you are preparing to move, however, small upgrades and fixing some problem areas will go a long way, and can even help with getting top dollar for your house. 

Ensuring buyers won’t have to worry about sinking a ton of money into the house right after purchase will be an asset to most. 

If your house is need of major overhauling, having a list price that reflects the amount of work necessary is imperative for a timely sale. 

4. Poorly advertised

Nowadays, buyers have come to expect a certain level of online advertising when it comes to homes for sale. 

The first glimpse many will have into your home will be through pictures and videos found online. 

People are busier than ever, and instead of going from open house to open house, they will narrow their search by checking out pictures first. 

Having professional pictures that showcase your home in the best light possible can be the difference between looking at your house in person or not. 

If you are working with a real estate agent, they will include the pictures or videos as part of the advertising done for your home. If you are listing independently, consider hiring a professional, who is familiar with real estate photography, as the cost will be well worth it. 

5. Your realtor is not a good fit

Choosing a real estate agent to assist you in the sale of your home can be a crucial decision and ultimately affect the timeliness of your sale. 

Do your research. If you have a difficult sell on your hands, or a specialty type of property, ie. farm, part commercial or a fixer-upper, it would be prudent to find an agent that is well versed in these types of transactions. 

Yes, we all have an uncle that used to be a realtor, however, don’t feel obligated to use anyone specifically if it doesn’t best fit your needs. 

Word of mouth and online reviews will greatly assist you in your search for the perfect fit, so don’t be afraid to ask around. 

If you are currently using an agent and noticing that they don’t have enough time to dedicate to your transaction, or aren’t using the proper resources to aid in your sale, don’t hesitate to approach them and discuss these issues. 

If necessary, it is also possible to switch agents pending the terms and conditions of your listing contract. 

At the end of the day, doing what is best for you and your family, as well as getting your house sold quickly, is what is important. 

Addressing any one of these issues will quickly boost the saleability of your home, and instead of watching the days go by, you will be able to go through offers and sell your house in no time!

 

Posted in News
May 7, 2019

Ready To Buy A Home? Consider These 10 Steps First

Ready To Buy A Home? Consider These 10 Steps First

It’s time! You are ready to buy a house and as you eagerly scroll online and notice every for sale sign out there you’re dreaming of decorating, renovating and moving in. However, before those dreams become a reality there are a few steps to complete. 

1. Figure out what you can afford. 

Going over your finances is an imperative first step in the home buying process. Having a realistic budget will save you time and money as you venture into the real estate market. 

Nobody wants to find their dream house just to be told they just can’t afford it, so to avoid disappointment, it is a good idea to crunch some numbers first. 

2. Mortgage Pre-Approval.

What you think you can afford and what the bank thinks you can afford might be two completely different numbers. Meeting with a mortgage broker or bank representative will allow you to have a tangible price point to work with. 

They will give you a clear picture of your financial health and an amount that you would be able to borrow for your purchase. 

They will also be able to give you details on monthly mortgage payments, cost of borrowing, etc.

3. Research your new home. 

Pre-approval in hand, you are ready to look at some options. Have you determined what you are looking for in a new house? Do you want property? A certain number of bedrooms or bathrooms? 

These questions are a good way to narrow down your search and ensure that your next house meets you and your family’s needs. 

4. Meet with a Realtor. 

You are at the point when you can start going to houses and taking a look. Having a knowledgeable realtor assist you in the purchase is crucial.

Realtors know the ins and outs of the market, how to negotiate offers and what to look out for when purchasing.

Being a buyer you do not pay commission (exceptions apply), so why not use such a valuable resource when making such a valuable purchase? 

5. Make an offer. 

You’ve found the house! It’s the one! Now comes the offer and negotiations. Your real estate agent will put together the paperwork and submit it to the sellers realtor, or the seller directly. 

An exciting and nerve wracking time as you wait to hear if your offer has been accepted. 

It is very common to have counter-offers and at times competing offers, however, you are in good hands and your agent will be keeping you updated. 

6. Meeting conditions. 

Accepted! The call you were waiting for. Many offers are submitted with conditions such as financing, home inspection and insurance. 

Now that you have an accepted offer you will submit that to your mortgage broker or bank and they will process for a mortgage approval. 

In the meantime, you or your realtor will arrange for a home inspection and confirmation of home insurance as both may be required for mortgage purposes. 

7. Lawyer up!

Conditions have been waived and you now have a firm and binding contract. 

Stretch those hands out, because the next step is meeting with a lawyer and signing all the paperwork that comes along with your purchase. A lawyer will go over all the details of your purchase, mortgage and title insurance information. 

Once you’ve signed, they will coordinate all documents with the vendor’s lawyer and arrange for keys to be available for pick up on the closing date. 

8. Get a move(r) on it. 

It’s packing time! Though it feels like a long process, your moving day will be here before you know it! Arranging for movers will aid in a smooth and effortless closing day. 

It is a good idea to remember that keys may not be available until later in the day so to not waste time or money, coordinate the best time with your realtor and lawyer. 

9. Final walk through. 

You are so close! The closing day is around the corner and you have mentally moved into your new house already!

However, before your deal can close you will want to take a final walk through of the house to ensure everything is the way you are expecting it to be. Your agent will schedule a time and accompany you as you confirm that the details of the agreement of purchase and sale have been complied with. 

10. The Big Day!

It’s moving day! You made it! To ensure the day goes off without a hitch your realtor, lawyer and mortgage company will work simultaneously to close your deal. 

As you are busy preparing for closing, make sure to be readily available for any last minute questions, concerns or document signing. 

Though it may seem daunting to buy a new home, with the help of knowledgeable professionals, your purchase and move should be a time of excitement! 

Team Forster is part of a fully accredited real estate brokerage regulated by the Real Estate Council of Ontario (RECO). We adhere to the Real Estate and Business Brokers Act, 2002, government guidelines and statutes, and a strict code of ethics.

We know the London, St. Thomas, and surrounding communities and their real estate markets. Let Team Forster guide you through the buying process so you can find a home you cherish. Our team of real estate professionals lives and work in the area and we know real estate.

Not seeing a home that meets your needs?

  Contact Us   519-851-2844

 

 

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

Call or Text Team Forster 519-851-2844 for more information about moving to London, Ontario!

Posted in Buying
March 21, 2019

Why You will Love Living in Lucan Ontario | Moving to Lucan? | The Guide (2019)

This definitive guide to living in Lucan, Ontario is packed full of relevant information about this unique town. Incorporated in January 1999 by combining the Village of Lucan with Biddulph Township, this charming and rapidly-growing town recently celebrated its 20th birthday.

Living in Lucan Ontario

Whether you’re interested in moving to Lucan or are just planning a quick getaway, this guide provides you with a quick yet comprehensive overview of the geography, history, and one-of-a-kind attractions you’ll find tucked away in this modest southwestern Ontario town.

Houses for Sale in Lucan Ontario

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Where is Lucan Ontario?

In this chapter, we’ll answer some of your biggest questions about Lucan’s location, geography, and proximity to other popular destinations.

Lucan is nestled between Lake Erie and Lake Huron in southwestern Ontario, just a hop, skip, and a jump (or about 22 kilometers) north of London and about 209 kilometers east of Detroit, Michigan. This close proximity to bustling cities gives Lucan the best of both worlds, providing a rural, small-town feel just a short drive away from all the amenities London has to offer.

Where is Lucan Ontario

Lucan’s close proximity to two large freshwater lakes has created especially fertile soil, and many local properties are used as farmland. Fishing is another popular (and lucrative) industry in Lucan.

In the next few chapters, we’ll provide a broad overview of the demographics and population of Lucan, Ontario, as well as some of the most popular restaurants, sites, and things to do in Lucan.

Lucan Ontario Population

If you're thinking of moving to Lucan, you may want to know a bit more about the other residents who call this town home.

As of the 2016 census, there were slightly under 5,000 people living in Lucan (4,700 to be exact). The population is almost equally split between men and women, with approximately 2,360 males and 2,335 females living in Lucan in 2016. 

In addition to its equal gender division, Lucan also has a fairly even age distribution among its residents. Around a quarter of the population (or 1,200 people) are age 19 or younger, while another 1,165 residents are between 20 and 39, 1,300 are between 40 and 59, and 900 are over age 60. Most Lucan residents speak English as a first language, and nearly everyone in Lucan is a native-born Canadian.

Lucan Ontario Real Estate

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Lucan Ontario is Rich in History

While Lucan may sometimes seem like a quiet farm town, it has a truly revolutionary—and, at times, controversial—history.

Nearly 200 years ago, in 1829, Lucan became a refuge for fleeing African-Americans from the Cincinnati area, around 500 kilometers south. Although these refugees weren't slaves when they left the U.S., they were being threatened by riots, police overreach, and employment discrimination in their home state of Ohio, and found in Lucan a safe haven from the persecution they had endured. 

Almost 40 years later, this route from Cincinnati to Lucan became part of the Underground Railroad, helping ferry U.S. slaves to freedom in Canada. By this time, Lucan had also become home to hundreds of Irish immigrants fleeing the potato famine, many of whom have descendants still living in the area.

Lucan Ontario Museum

In more recent history, Lucan was the recipient of nearly 70 inches of snow over a 4-day period in 2010 in what meteorologists quickly termed "Snowmageddon." But while this volume of snowfall would be enough to cripple even the most well-prepared northern cities, Lucan's officials and residents took this precipitation in stride and with good humor. Snow is a fact of life during Lucan's winter months, but town officials are adept at maintaining clear roads even when precipitation is heavy.

Best Restaurants in Lucan Ontario

Whether you're a meat-lover or a vegan; are watching your weight or ready to indulge; or are interested in an exotic dish or in the mood for a down-home meal, there's a restaurant to fit your tastes in Lucan. Restaurants in Lucan Ontario run the gamut in both price and variety.

For Thai food lovers, Thai Pad is a top-ranked restaurant in the heart of downtown Lucan that consistently earns rave reviews from locals and visitors alike. Thai Pad has vegetarian and vegan options, along with eye-catching sushi arrangements and sumptuous desserts. 

Lucan Ontario Restaurants

The North Star Restaurant offers traditional Canadian and American fare at reasonable prices in a cozy but modern atmosphere. Like Thai Pad, the North Star has plenty of options for non-meat eaters. And the Main Street Diner is another traditional Canadian hotspot that offers diners an incredible value for their money.

Top 5 Restaurants in Lucan Ontario

Things to do in Lucan Ontario

There's no shortage of entertainment in Lucan, whether your interests tend more toward history and art museums or motorcycle rallies. 

Lucan Baconfest is an annual festival that brings motorcycle fans and bacon lovers together each July. Offering live music, bacon-themed merchandise, a motorcycle show, and a kids zone complete with bouncy castles, Baconfest has plenty of fun for the whole family. 

Lucan Ontario Baconfest

Visit https://www.lucanbaconfest.ca/ for more details!

The Lucan Community Memorial Centre operates as hockey central all year long; you can watch both amateurs and future professionals practice their moves on the ice or tool around the rink yourself. 

For Lucan Ontario history buffs, the Lucan Area Heritage and Donnelly Museum, located downtown, offers a rare peek into Canada's first mass murder—the Donnelly feud—complete with grave markers and historic outbuildings. And for a more family-friendly experience, Apple Land Station in nearby Thorndale offers apple picking, hayrides, and other fun summer and fall activities.

Once fall has given way to winter, you won't want to miss Lucan's Santa Claus Parade, where nearly the whole town gathers downtown to welcome St. Nick and his merry crew. 

Homes for Sale in Lucan Ontario

View Homes for Sale in Lucan Ontario >>>

Towns, Sites, and Sights Worth Seeing Near Lucan Ontario

Lucan's Main Street is a can't-miss mix of gift shops and antique stores. Treat yourself to a leisurely stroll down the street to search for one-of-a-kind finds and classic Canadian artifacts—or just enjoy window shopping while admiring Main Street's classic architecture.

Lucan Ontario Shopping

Nature lovers living in Lucan Ontario can venture just a few miles west to the rocky shores of Lake Huron at Pinery Provincial Park. Enjoy woods, beaches, and the sense of peace that can come from gazing onto a vast expanse of still water. And if you'd like to venture even further from the beaten path, head southeast to Long Point National Wildlife Area on Lake Erie to truly feel at one with nature.

If you're a fan of the Bard, nearby Stratford offers an immersive Shakespeare experience, with world-class theatre productions of Shakespeare's classics during Stratford Festival's running season each summer. The gorgeous Shakespearean Gardens include all the botanicals mentioned in Shakespeare's many written works, while Lake Victoria offers the opportunity to spot and interact with majestic mute swans and other urban wildlife. 

As you can see, living in Lucan Ontario means residing in a vibrant, peaceful town that offers plenty of amenities while maintaining a serious commitment to a laid-back pace of life. No matter your hobbies, interests, or budget, there's something for you waiting in Lucan.

Lucan Ontario MLS Listings

View Lucan Ontario Listings >>>

Posted in Lucan Ontario
March 13, 2019

Should you continue renting or take the plunge into home ownership?

Renting VS Owning

Are you beginning to wonder if you should continue renting or if you should finally take the plunge into homeownership? It’s a tough decision. And the truth is that there is not a really straightforward answer.

But you can ask yourself a few questions before making the big decision.

So, let’s end this internal debate once and for all. Here are the top 5 questions you should ask yourself and evaluate before diving headfirst into homeownership:

1. Why do you want to buy?

Are you doing it because people expect you to buy a home? Are you doing it to please others? Is this the obvious ‘next step’? Or does it actually fit your financial plan in the long-term? Does it seem like a good investment for you?

Essentially, it comes down to finances. What are your short-term versus your long-term goals? Sit down and carefully map these out. You want to make a smart financial decision. If the investment makes sense and it fits in with your short and long-term goals, it may be time to make that plunge!

2. Do you want homeownership to be part of your lifestyle?

The financial aspects may match up, but does it suit your personal lifestyle goals? Assess all factors equally. They’ll matter when it comes to your happiness down the road.

3. Do you have a steady job and is your income predictable and reliable?

If you aren’t sure if you’ll still have your job in 5 years, it’s probably a good idea not to buy. Make sure the financial security is there before you commit to buying.

4. Do you have the money saved and a budget for your down payment and mortgage payments?

This comes back to your financial situation. Make sure to assess where you are with all your current accounts carefully. Do you have savings that can cover the down payment? What about the monthly mortgage payments? What about monthly bills and utilities? Did you make room in your budget for new furniture or appliances for your new home?

5. Currently, what are you paying for rent? How does this compare to your mortgage payments?

If your mortgage and monthly bill payments equate to a similar amount to your rent and other monthly bill payments, it may prove to be a worthwhile investment. Again, map out your finances. Compare and assess your current situation versus the cost of homeownership.

You may also want to take into consideration the pros and cons:

What are the advantages of renting?

With renting, you may save more every month after all monthly payments are made.

Rent is flexible. If you want to buy, you want to commit to at least 5 years in the same house.

On-time rental payments build credit.

Your landlord takes care of all repair costs and problems.

What are the advantages of homeownership?

You get tax deductions. You can deduct mortgage interest and property taxes.

You get to decorate and make the space yours.

You decide on maintenance and upkeep costs or efficiency.

You build equity and may cash out later on your investment (depending on the market, location, and other factors).

Weigh the pros and cons that relate to you and your life. Answer the questions above, and determine if you’re ready! Becoming a homeowner is an exciting time. But you absolutely want to make sure you’re 100% ready before committing to probably the biggest investment you’ll ever make. Take your time. And then, make the best decision you can that suits you, your lifestyle, your budgets, and your needs.

This blog was provided by Chandler Crouch of the Chandler Crouch Realtors team. 

Sources:

https://www.theglobeandmail.com/globe-investor/personal-finance/six-questions-to-ask-before-you-buy-a-home/article4190518/ 

https://www.ajc.com/business/buy-rent-pay-yourself-stay-flexible/OTdWmREaUBqRaVbpZrCiBI/

Posted in Buying
Feb. 25, 2019

30 Best Restaurants in London, Ontario To Try Right Now (2019 Edition)

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 30 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
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. 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