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Lighten their load

When downsizing, Oak Crest residents have nothing to lose, everything to gain

Created date

August 4th, 2016
Oak Crest residents can spend less time worrying about house upkeep and maintenance expenses and more time thinking about vacations and leisure activities.

Oak Crest residents can spend less time worrying about house upkeep and maintenance expenses and more time thinking about vacations and leisure activities.

If you are a fan of HGTV, then you’re probably aware of the tiny house movement that’s growing across America. People around the country are opting to live larger in smaller spaces. 

So what’s driving the downsizing trend?

For one, smaller homes come with a smaller price tag. They also cost less to heat and cool. Smaller spaces are less time consuming to clean and typically less expensive when routine maintenance, like replacing a roof, is needed. And the less square footage you have, the less you pay on property taxes. 

But tiny houses aren’t the only option if you are looking to simplify your life. Hundreds of seniors have discovered a maintenance-free alternative to living in an oversized house. Oak Crest, an Erickson Living community in Parkville, Md., lets you spend less time worrying about what will break next and more time doing what you love. 

“People are discovering they would rather spend their time golfing, traveling, or with their grandkids than cleaning a big house or mowing the lawn,” says Melisa Batac, sales counselor at Oak Crest. 

Maintenance-free living

Carol and Bruce Birkhead sold their four-bedroom house in Fallston and moved into a two-bedroom, two-bath apartment home at Oak Crest in 2015.  

“We love our apartment! It overlooks the trees and the nature trail,” says Bruce. “My wife doesn’t have as much to clean, and she can do the laundry without hauling things from one end of the house to the other. 

“The house was too big for the both of us,” he adds. “We used one of the four bedrooms as an office and the other two sat empty. We lived in the family room and the kitchen. But we were still paying for electricity and to heat and cool the whole house.” 

Oak Crest offers more than 20 different floor plans ranging from one-bedroom to spacious two-bedroom designs—all of them maintenance-free. 

Monthly and quarterly bills like electric, property taxes, water, cable, Wi-Fi, and the cost of the apartment home are all bundled into each household’s monthly service package, allowing residents to write one check each month. 

“Oak Crest gave us a sheet to fill out that lists all of your monthly house expenses like your cable, electricity, heating—everything you pay to live in your house on a monthly basis,” says Bruce. “After comparing what it would cost to live here with what we were spending in our home, I felt confident that this was the right thing to do financially.” 

Upside to downsizing

Doris Neff and Mike Sullivan had already downsized to a condo prior to moving to Oak Crest in June 2015. Doris was attracted to the peace of mind Oak Crest provides. 

“I have two sons, and I wanted to be someplace that I would enjoy and not be a burden to my kids,” says Doris. “I lived in Perry Hall, and my condo was 23 years old. I was responsible for fixing everything, and the fees kept going up. We came to a luncheon here at Oak Crest, and the first thing we noticed was how beautiful the campus is. We were sure this was where we wanted to be.” 

Doris and Mike chose a one bedroom with den floor plan. 

“Our apartment is very comparable to the condo we were in,” says Doris. “All of our furniture fit. We didn’t have to get rid of anything. And we have more than just the apartment, we have the whole community. We use the gym. We go to the restaurants. We attend concerts. We are very active here.” 

Residents Shirley and Wes Bartenfelder say the only thing they traded when they moved from their Harford County home to Oak Crest was where they lay down their head at the end of each day. 

“We didn’t give up anything about our lifestyle to move here,” says Shirley. “We just got rid of the material things. But that’s just stuff. We still live our same life and do the same things, but now we don’t worry about anything.”   

Shirley and Wes customized their new home by having one wall of their kitchen partially removed to create a space for a breakfast bar. They also selected wood floors, cherry cabinets, and granite countertops. 

Wes says moving to Oak Crest turned out to be the best decision they could have made.

“I don’t think of this place as our apartment,” says Wes. “I think of it as our home.”