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Winter-proof your home finances

Find out how these New Jerseyans have taken the worry out of winter

Created date

January 16th, 2015
Bob Bell will move to Lantern Hill from Watchung, N.J. He originally lived in Berkeley Heights. “I’m really looking forward to having things to do during the day and not having to drive to everything,” he says.
Bob Bell will move to Lantern Hill from Watchung,

For Cal and June Carver, winter isn’t the most wonderful time of year anymore. They’re tired of maintaining their house in Short Hills, the yard, and the expenses that come along with it all. But that won’t be the case for long. The Carvers have joined the priority list and reserved a home at Lantern Hill, an Erickson Living community being built in New Providence, N.J.

Lantern Hill will open in fall 2015, just in time for its first residents to escape another winter of unexpected expenses, snow shoveling, and isolation.

Predictable expenses

What do Cal and June dislike most about winter? “Lots of snowplowing,” they say, echoing each other. But they also dislike unexpected expenses and see that as a major benefit to moving to Lantern Hill.

“One of the things that appeals to us is the fact that you’ll be able to predict what your expenses are each month, at least a year ahead of time,” Cal says. “You might have some maintenance problem that comes up—a new furnace where we’re living now—that won’t be the situation in the future [at Lantern Hill].”

Lantern Hills’ predictable monthly service fee includes all home maintenance, professional landscaping, 24/7 security, weekly housekeeping services, utilities, a flexible meal plan, and use of all amenities like the indoor pool and fitness center. In winter, this includes snow clearing services and even transportation to and from local destinations. 

Westfield residents John and Josephine Jacobson are looking forward to winters in their new Lantern Hill home. “It will be very nice not to have to worry about having our driveway and sidewalks shoveled out,” says Josephine. 

And, she says, “Knowing that the costs are predictable every month will be a great comfort to us.”

Repairs, maintenance included

For Bob Bell, predictable monthly expenses translate to more affordable living. 

“When I move to Lantern Hill, the expense will be about the same as my house, except I don’t have the insurances and the $10,000 bills to fix this and that. So it really will be cheaper for me to live [at Lantern Hill] than where I do now,” he says.

Bob says the monthly service fee will be a much more convenient way to pay bills, too—just one check a month for all major expenses. 

Bob will move from a ten-room house in Watchung, where he cares for one and a half acres of woods. “I have a lot of leaves and grass to cut and a lot of driveway to clean,” he says. 

“I have to hire most every major thing to get done around the house,” he adds, like grass cutting, for example. When he moves to Lantern Hill, he’ll no longer have those expenses. They will be included in his monthly service package along with weekly housekeeping—another plus. 

Property tax relief

Another huge expense these New Jerseyans are looking forward to shedding is their property tax bill. New Jersey and neighboring New York claim the top two property tax rates in the nation.

In 2013, New Jersey averaged more than $8,000 per household compared to a national average of just $1,000.

At Lantern Hill, the monthly service package also includes each apartment home’s portion of property tax, which is divided among all residents based on apartment size and days of occupancy. This way, the tax is spread out over the entire year instead of four large quarterly payments. And because residents are choosing a more manageable living space, their bill will be significantly smaller in most cases than if they still lived in a large house. 

“Our residents will be paying property taxes only on their apartment home, but they can take advantage of all the amenities at Lantern Hill, like the fitness center, indoor pool, restaurants, and activity rooms,” says Sales Counselor Kathy Banks.   

For Cal and June Carver, that’s a major advantage to life at Lantern Hill. “Being able to project your finances ahead as to just exactly what they’re going to be at least from a year-to-year basis—I think that’s helpful to most people,” says Cal.