Tribune Print Share Text

Home free at Charlestown

An affordable alternative for those tired of the headaches, high costs of home ownership

Created date

May 12th, 2016
Charlestown’s all-season pool

Charlestown’s all-season pool is just one of many amenities at this popular community in Catonsville, Md.

While nearly 80% of Americans age 65 and older own their homes, an increasing number, 30% (4.4 million people), are still paying on their mortgage, according to the latest report from the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. For retirees on a fixed budget, a monthly mortgage payment, along with rising property taxes, maintenance, and utilities, can be a challenge. 

Whether you are still paying on your mortgage or own your house outright, there’s no denying owning a home is expensive. 

The average homeowner’s insurance premium across the United States in 2012 (the most recent complete annual data available) was $1,034, according to the National Association of Insurance Commissioners. shows the average cost in Maryland just under that at $824 annually.

Although Maryland’s property taxes are among the lowest nationally at an average of 1.04%, Maryland homeowners typically pay more than homeowners in other states due to high property values. For example, a $350,000 home in Howard County, Md., at the current tax rate of 1.183%, would cost $4,141 annually in property taxes. 

Don’t forget to factor in 1% to 4% of your home’s value for house repairs and routine maintenance. lists the average hot water heater installation at $890, and depending on the size of the unit, a new heat pump could run between $4,000 and $5,000. And then there’s routine maintenance like lawn care and trash and snow removal.

Affordable alternative

Some 2,300 Marylanders have found an alternative to the headaches and high costs associated with home ownership. Residents of Charlestown, an Erickson Living community in Catonsville, enjoy the independence associated with home ownership without any of the worries. 

Erickson Living communities like Charlestown allow you to remove the uncertainty of real estate from your financial portfolio and replace it with a refundable entrance deposit that is safe and secure. Unlike the value of your house, which may go up or down, Charlestown’s refundable entrance deposit is guaranteed. 

You can also bank on predictable monthly expenses versus the ever-increasing energy and repair bills you face now in your house.

Charlestown’s financial structure is fairly simple. A refundable entrance deposit secures your apartment home and protects your nest egg, while a monthly service fee covers your living expenses. So instead of juggling a stack of bills each month, you write just one check. 

No surprises

“The monthly service package is such a relief,” says Don Grove, director of sales at Charlestown. “The package is so inclusive, it provides for everything folks need on a daily basis. As opposed to paying an electric bill, a water bill, cable bill, and mortgage—these services are all wrapped into an affordable monthly service package. In addition, the package is set at an annual rate so our residents do not encounter unexpected costs in their monthly budget.” 

The comprehensive monthly service package replaces the dozens of expenses you incur in your house every month, including the gas and electric bill. In addition to heat and electricity, the monthly service package at Charlestown includes property taxes, home and seasonal maintenance such as snow removal and furnace/heat pump inspections and air conditioning, all major repairs and appliance replacement, 24-hour security, a flexible meal plan, and cable television. 

Not only do Charlestown residents enjoy planning their budgets with confidence each month, but they also have access to a wide variety of amenities and services you likely won’t find in your home, including an all-season swimming pool, fitness center, putting green, bocce courts, as well as more than 300 different clubs, classes, and volunteer possibilities. 

Charlestown offers well over 100 floor plan sizes and styles, resulting in a wide range of affordable entrance deposits and monthly service packages from which to choose. 

“I often encounter people who have heard about the lifestyle and amenities Charlestown offers, and they assume it’s something they can’t easily afford. So they continue to stick it out in their house,” says Grove. “I encourage you to sit down and review the options we have to offer. Typically, folks find it is more affordable than what they thought and includes much more than they expected. The wide variety of restaurants, access to numerous amenities and activities, and Charlestown’s financial security are often a big surprise."