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Old 01-21-2019, 05:51 PM
 
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My husband and I are looking at a possible relocation to Toledo from Portland, OR. We have a 5 and 7 year old and want to find a great school and community for our family. We are used to living in the city with easy access to shops, restaurants, and activities. We also love to hike and get outdoors.

We love the older homes in Ottawa Hills. I'm wondering if anyone has experience with the schools and community in Ottawa Hills that they could share? We are also looking at Perrysburg and perhaps Maumee. Would also love to hear thoughts on those schools and communities as well.

Thanks in advance!
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Old 01-23-2019, 04:49 AM
 
Location: Toledo, OH
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Welcome to the area!

Someone else can tell you about the schools and community in these places as I've never lived in either. Perrysburg and Maumee are both suburbs but both have little historic downtown's if you're looking for that kind of vibe/lifestyle.

Ottawa Hills is probably the nicest and most expensive town in Northwest Ohio. Its it's own town, even though it's completely surrounded by the city of Toledo, proper. Has it's own school district, police, city hall, etc. It doesnt have a traditional downtown or business district like that though. Its pretty much just residential...but some of the major shopping areas of Toledo are adjacent to Ottawa Hills, such as the Franklin Park Mall, and Westgate area.

Hiking really isnt a big thing around here. Northwest Ohio is mostly flat and farmland. The Toledo Metroparks (park system ran by the county) are really nice though and some are quite large (bigger than some state parks, Oak Openings Metropark, the largest is like 5000 acres) and offer all kinds of wildlife and plantlife and tons of trails and such. Lake Erie is the big outdoor draw in this part of the state. Boating, fishing, wineries, the islands, Cedar Point, etc are all big around here.

I notice you say you lived in the city in Portland....do you have any interest in the actual city of Toledo? In no way does it have anything close to what Portland has to offer but theres a lot of cool things here if you explore.
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Old 01-24-2019, 12:35 PM
 
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Thank you for the information! The Metroparks sound like something our family would really enjoy! Despite going to college in Michigan, I've never actually been to Ohio. We are looking forward to exploring a new area.

I think we would definitely be open to a home in actual Toledo. Do you have a recommendation of a neighborhood or neighborhoods that might be good? We really like the idea of more outside space than our current small city lot, but also know that we are used to being in a city.
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Old 01-24-2019, 01:26 PM
 
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I have lived in this area my entire life (53 years) and if I were moving to the actual city of Toledo, I would choose either Old Orchard, a beautiful neighborhood adjacent to Ottawa Hills filled with stately 1920s style homes and lovely tree lined streets, or the River Road corridor adjacent to Maumee, an area that runs parallel to the river and has a lot of attractive, older homes.

We live in SE Michigan now, about 20 miles north of the state line, but if we were to move back to the Toledo Metro area my personal choice would be one of the historic neighborhoods adjacent to downtown Perrysburg or Maumee. Perrysburg schools are probably the second best in the area behind Ottawa Hills, which is one of the top 2-3 districts in the state and hard to beat. Sylvania schools are fairly comparable to Perrysburg but I don't know...Sylvania just doesn't have that cozy, historic, small town feel that I love about old Perrysburg and Maumee.

Ottawa Hills is for the most part an enclave for the wealthier people in the area, physicians, lawyers, CEOs, etc. but Perrysburg also has some very wealthy areas and estates along the river that rival it in that way. Both the city of Perrysburg and the village of Ottawa Hills also have some fairly common neighborhoods that aren't that expensive. If you are used to Portland real estate prices, you are in for a treat. $500,000 here will buy you a large, gorgeous, new home with all the bells and whistles or a large, gorgeous, historic home filled with charm and possibly with a panoramic view of the river. No views in Ottawa Hills, really, although it is more rolling and tree-filled than your average neighborhood in this area.

Between Ottawa Hills and Perrysburg, OH is wealthier overall but is more of a residential enclave within the city as Tobias pointed out, so to shop or dine you must venture outside the village, whereas Perrysburg feels more like that all American small town with sidewalks and a cute downtown with shops and restaurants. Perrysburg also has a very nice "lifestyle center", Levis Commons, and a Costco on one side of town and on the other edge of town pretty much all of the major big box stores and many chain restaurants.

Last edited by canudigit; 01-24-2019 at 01:35 PM..
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Old 01-24-2019, 02:41 PM
 
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Along the idea of grand historic homes within city limits, Westmoreland is worth a look. It's a fairly small area so it's often overlooked.
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Old 01-25-2019, 04:05 AM
 
Location: Toledo, OH
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Originally Posted by Katie3883 View Post
Thank you for the information! The Metroparks sound like something our family would really enjoy! Despite going to college in Michigan, I've never actually been to Ohio. We are looking forward to exploring a new area.

I think we would definitely be open to a home in actual Toledo. Do you have a recommendation of a neighborhood or neighborhoods that might be good? We really like the idea of more outside space than our current small city lot, but also know that we are used to being in a city.
Well I would start off with a few key questions.

- What is your budget? You're going to find Toledo a lot more affordable than Portland. This is the rust belt after all. A typical newer big suburban home will run you like 250 to 450k depending on the size and location. The most expensive huge sprawling mansions around here are only like 1 to 3 mil tops I would say. A cool loft downtown, close to everything...250-350k. And you can find modest homes in a completely safe neighborhood for 100k, all day long.

- What style(s) of house do you prefer? Toledo's an old city so we have pretty much everything. Brand new build, suburban homes, Big old historic stately mansions and charming craftsman style homes, mid century ranches, and everything in between.

- What type of neighborhood do you prefer? Style of houses (as I just mentioned). Expected and/or desired neighborhood amenities, businesses, etc. Do you need or prefer the immediate proximity and access to the places you like, walkability, etc or do you want to be away from the hustle and bustle. A major reality to living in a city like Toledo is needing to be cognizant of crime and safety. Some people can live amongst chaos. Others wouldn't last a minute. That said, theres plenty of safe, nice neighborhoods here, within the city limits of Toledo.

- What's your desire for your children's education? As others have mentioned, the suburban school districts are the better schools...something that's generally true anywhere in America. Toledo Public is a struggling district....but pretty much all of the buildings are fairly new and modern so it's not all bad. The entire north end of the city, from Sylvania to the lake, is a separate district, Washington Local Schools, even though its within the City of Toledo. It's not quite on par with the suburban districts but is definitely much better off than TPS. If you choose to live in Toledo, but arent keen on the public schools, we have several major catholic/christian schools....as well as the non-religous Maumee Valley Country Day School, and TPS's Toledo School of Art which is highly rated compared to the normal schools.

- What kind of commute to work do you expect? It's kind of a well known rule of thumb around here that anyone else here can attest to.....that you can pretty much get anywhere within the main metropolitan area of Toledo in about 20 mins. Traffic is fairly moderate compared to a lot of other cities which is good. We are always plagued with road construction though which can hold you up.

The more you can elaborate on what you're interested in and looking for....the more we can offer suggestions.

I feel like a real estate agent, but I swear I'm not.
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Old 01-26-2019, 06:14 PM
 
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Thank you again everyone for the suggestions. It's given us a lot to think about. As Tobias C suggested, here is a bit more information.

- I think we would like to stay under $500,000, but this is also somewhat dependent on property taxes. From my limited searches on Zillow, it seems like property taxes are all over the board. Are houses reassessed at every sale? Here in Oregon, they are only reassessed after a major remodel.

- Our current home was built in 1923, and we are definitely drawn to older homes or homes with some character. We want at least 2500sf not including the basement. We want to live somewhere that feels like an actual neighborhood, but don't want the houses right on top of each other. With two small children, safety is a priority. In our current neighborhood, small petty property crime is not uncommon. Anything more than this wouldn't feel safe to us.


-A strong public school district is probably the most important thing to us. We currently live in a struggling school district and are done with large class sizes, outdated buildings, and constant cuts.

-Keeping the commute to downtown Toledo under 30 minutes would be great.

Thanks again for the input and suggestions!
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Old 01-27-2019, 11:36 AM
 
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Ohio will be a great move for you. $500K will get you a big house in this area, though property taxes are likely to be higher than you are used to...those pay for our good schools. Ottawa Hills property taxes are quite high (id guess on a 500K house, it would be 15K/year), less in Perrysburg and Maumee. You can get anywhere in the metro in under 30 minutes except for right around 5-6PM. You'll have better access to metroparks in Perrysburg and Maumee, though those places are not as diverse, more conservative than other parts of the area. Crime is generally very low except in the neighborhoods just surrounding downtown (legacy of segregation). There is natural beauty in the area's Metroparks, it just won't smack you over the head like Oregon does. Good luck with your move.

This wouldnt be right for you, but we just moved into a 6500ft2 mansion in the Old West End, a stunning historical home, renovated over the last 40 years, we paid about $55/ft2 - 350K, and our property taxes are about $5K/year. Public schools in the area are mostly African-American, and most white folks dont send their own kids there. Again, ugly legacy of segregation. However, we love the diversity of the neighborhood, very LGBT friendly, and lots of interesting people in the OWE. There is some property crime here - things stolen from porches and cars, but the violent crime is usually drug related and hidden from view.
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Old 01-28-2019, 05:15 AM
 
Location: Toledo, OH
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Originally Posted by dodeca View Post
Ohio will be a great move for you. $500K will get you a big house in this area, though property taxes are likely to be higher than you are used to...those pay for our good schools. Ottawa Hills property taxes are quite high (id guess on a 500K house, it would be 15K/year), less in Perrysburg and Maumee. You can get anywhere in the metro in under 30 minutes except for right around 5-6PM. You'll have better access to metroparks in Perrysburg and Maumee, though those places are not as diverse, more conservative than other parts of the area. Crime is generally very low except in the neighborhoods just surrounding downtown (legacy of segregation). There is natural beauty in the area's Metroparks, it just won't smack you over the head like Oregon does. Good luck with your move.

This wouldnt be right for you, but we just moved into a 6500ft2 mansion in the Old West End, a stunning historical home, renovated over the last 40 years, we paid about $55/ft2 - 350K, and our property taxes are about $5K/year. Public schools in the area are mostly African-American, and most white folks dont send their own kids there. Again, ugly legacy of segregation. However, we love the diversity of the neighborhood, very LGBT friendly, and lots of interesting people in the OWE. There is some property crime here - things stolen from porches and cars, but the violent crime is usually drug related and hidden from view.
Agree with all of this completely.
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Old 01-28-2019, 07:08 AM
 
Location: Toledo, OH
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So, basically in agreement with Dodeca, 500k will buy you ANY 2500 sqft (average good size house) you could possibly want.

Dodeca raised a good subject of the actual culture of where you're living. I dont know if that's a key thing for you or not but I'll add a dash of that in my commentary.

The most obvious choice to me...from what you said you like....is Perrysburg, specifically in the historic downtown area. Perrysburg has homes from basically every era from the Civil War era to brand spankin new houses on the fringe of the city. Looking around downtown, theres actually plenty of old houses that are out of your price range....I see some cool old houses currently on the market for like 650 - 750k and that's because they are perfectly remodeled, have plenty of space, and are obviously in Perrysburg. You can definitely find better deals on cool old houses though if you just keep your eyes peeled.

Perrysburg is definitely more on the conservative side as a community but nothing out of the ordinary. Living downtown, you can easily walk down to Louisiana Ave (essentially their Main St) where theres several restaurants/bars/cafes, several boutique shops, and a grocery store as well. They have their farmers market downtown and also have festivals down there as well. Theres also Levis Commons, a lifestyle center, outdoor mall type of place, on the south end of town off Rt. 25 which has lots of good restaurants and shopping. And for any basic shopping needs you have all the typical national big box stores and chain restaurants out Rt. 23. Safety wouldnt be a concern whatsoever here. Schools are some of the best in the area. Getting to downtown Toledo is as simple as just making your way over to I-75 and running that all the way up to Downtown.

Maumee would be a similar alternative to Perrysburg, just cheaper. Same style of city (suburb)...with a historic downtown area surrounded by old homes. Maumee is safe as well. Closer proximity to Toledo can result in some minor crime every once in a while but nothing noteworthy. Maumees schools probably arent as nice as Perrysburg but are still perfectly fine. Culturally speaking, Maumee seems generally still sorta conservative but a little more mixed, class wise, race wise, etc.

Downtown Sylvania is pretty cool too (somewhere I'm actually looking into moving). Sylvania is also another old suburb with new growth on the periphery. The downtown business district / Main St. is on par with Perrysburgs in my opinion with cool little shops, restaurants, etc. The only difference is the actual geographical area that you would consider "historic downtown Sylvania" isnt nearly as big as Pburg or Maumee so theres not nearly as much to offer as far as older homes for sale.....but they do come up occasionally. Sylvania schools are right up there with Pburg. Sylvania is basically the same culturally as Perrysburg if you ask me. Most of Sylvania is perfectly safe. Theres some areas closer to Toledo that arent as squeaky clean as the majority of the community but still nothing noteworthy. Sylvania has the easiest access to the most shopping as far as the suburbs go as it is close to the Franklin Park Mall and all of the surrounding shopping along Monroe St as well as a lot of businesses off Central Ave.

If you decide to look into Toledo you'll find some more interesting choices but they come with some caveats.

As far as your taste in houses goes, Old Orchard is worth a look. I personally love Old Orchard and lived in the area at one point (albeit in an apartment). Most of the houses are 1920s era so theres lots of charm and character. A lot of university professors and staff live in OO as its adjacent to the University of Toledo. Old Orchard is basically like older part of Ottawa Hills, just continued on into the City of Toledo, so its cheaper. A well renovated big old house here goes for like 180 to 225k or so. You have plenty of shopping and dining options as you're literally right next to Westgate and relative close to Franklin Park Mall as well. The caveats to living here are that you're in Toledo Public Schools. I think the majority of people in the neighborhood send their kids to the private catholic schools (of which several are right in that area). Also while being largely safe....theres sketchier areas not too far away.....so they do see some issues with crime, mostly just property related, occasionally. It's a very organized community though who looks after each other...and due to the proximity of the university and what not.....has a little more liberal of a vibe.

The crown jewel of historic homes in Toledo is the Old West End. The Old West End is just outside of downtown Toledo and was originally where a lot of the wealthiest people in the city lived over a hundred years ago. Some houses are absolutely massive with awesome architecture. Nowadays the neighborhood is a mix of sizes of residents as some houses are still big single family homes, while many others have been converted into apartments. The main attraction in the Old West End is the famous Toledo Museum of Art which is a must visit. This definitely has a cultural influence on the neighborhood which is home to many artists. The neighborhood is easily the most liberal/progressive part of Toledo and is also a popular area to live for LGBT people. Proximity to downtown Toledo means you have lots of restaurants, bars, sports, and entertainment nearby. The area is lacking in daily shopping amenities though which would lead you to having to drive a little bit to get to big stores but that's not a huge deal. Once again, schools are TPS so that's a big consideration and now you're talking the more impoverished and rougher inner city schools. Safety is a consideration as well. The majority of the main historic district of the OWE is relatively safe but basically every adjacent neighborhood is poor, blighted, and high crime....so living there you have to be aware that even though you're street is beautiful and clean and friendly...that theres gangs violence blocks away from your home. In that regard it doesnt strike me as the most logical place to choose to raise children but it's great for young single adults or childless couples....or empty nesters.

I'm definitely thinking Perrysburg checks off most of the boxes for you though.
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