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Right-size your life. Pay less.

Cedar Crest residents find relief from mammoth property taxes

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January 24th, 2012

Last year, New Jersey homeowners paid an average of $7,576 in property taxes. Not only do many counties in our Garden State pay 500% to 600% above the national average, last year the state hit us with a 4.1% increase over 2009. And while Gov. Chris Christie signed a new 2% property tax cap last summer, he says we won t see those benefits until August 2012. This month, while you prepare for your February payment, groaning as you take out your checkbook, community members at Cedar Crest, an Erickson Living community in Pompton Plains, aren t giving property taxes a second thought.

Right-sizing and rebates

Most people moving to Cedar Crest are moving from a house where they pay an average of $700 to $1,500 a month in property taxes, says Cedar Crest Sales Director Ray Guarino. Now, they re paying less than half that amount. So how does that steep decrease work? Cedar Crest, a community of various-sized apartment homes within an amenity-filled, village-type environment, divides its property tax amount among all residents based on apartment size and days of occupancy. By simply moving from a large house to a more manageable living space, residents significantly decrease their property tax bill. Additionally, says Michelle Lynch, a Cedar Crest business analyst, The amount they pay decreases slightly each year as more apartments become occupied. Guarino says that most people move to Cedar Crest to escape house and yard maintenance in favor of a one- or two-bedroom apartment home. Moving from a house in New Jersey or even New York, you re generally seeing significant savings, he says. New Jersey and New York, from where most Cedar Crest community members move, claim the top two property tax rates in the nation. Plus, you get to use all of the community s amenities, and you re only paying property taxes on your apartment home, he says. The community has a medical center, pharmacy, fitness and aquatics center, market, four restaurants and a pub, community gardens, classrooms, and a performing arts center, all on-site. In addition to space savings, Cedar Crest residents qualify for most of the New Jersey rebate programs, including the Homestead rebate. Because we are a CCRC (continuing care retirement community) and residents are considered homeowners on their New Jersey tax return, they can qualify for most of the rebate programs, Lynch says.

No more big bills

Aside from reducing their property tax amount, Cedar Crest residents never have to worry about coordinating several monthly or quarterly bills like electric, mortgage, and, yes, property taxes. All costs including property taxes but excluding telephone are bundled in each household s monthly service package. The package also includes one meal a day at any of the community s on-site restaurants and use of all amenities. The monthly service package adds to the level of convenience that we offer, Guarino says. Not only does moving to Cedar Crest simplify your home life by reducing maintenance, it also reduces the amount of time and energy spent on finances. Residents have more time to pursue the things they want to do rather than those they have to do. That s why Cedar Crest has more than 180 clubs, groups, and activities like a walking and hiking club, Bible and Torah study groups, a book club, three volunteer libraries, a pet club, singing and instrument groups, and travel opportunities. The list goes on and on. As Guarino says: At Cedar Crest, people right-size their life, and they pay less too!

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