Tribune Print Share Text

A hop, skip, and a jump

Couple discovers maintenance-free living just a block from their New Providence home

Created date

February 20th, 2017
Bob and Vi Smith chose a Hathaway-style apartment home at Lantern Hill.

Bob and Vi Smith chose a Hathaway-style apartment home at Lantern Hill.

Union County, N.J., residents have been waiting a long time for a maintenance-free continuing care community like Lantern Hill. So much so that nearly 50% of the Erickson Living community’s residents moved from within the county. 

Bob and Vi Smith moved from an even shorter distance; their old house is just a block away. “As a matter of fact,” says Bob, “we have some trees behind us, and we can see our house from our apartment home.”

Bob and Vi started considering a move to Lantern Hill in 2014 when they learned it would be built. They joined the priority list—a waiting list—early on, which gave them ample time to explore apartment options, downsize, and prepare to list their house. 

Discovery period

As priority list members, they were able to attend exclusive events, such as downsizing workshops, meet-and-greet luncheons, and presentations about what life would be like at their new home.

With the community under construction at the time, Bob says those events were vital to their comfort level and confidence in moving and choosing the apartment style that best fit their lifestyle and budget. 

“Of course, now, people have a great advantage because it is built, and it is very impressive,” he says.

Bob and Vi chose a Hathaway-style apartment home. The spacious floor plan features two bedrooms, a den, and a balcony along with a full kitchen and open living area. 

Although they moved from a relatively large house, they say the Hathaway is quite roomy. Their son occasionally visits from Newtown, Pa., and stays in the second bedroom, and Bob uses the den as his office. 

Valuable advice

While they anticipated downsizing to be quite the chore, Bob and Vi took advice from Personal Moving Consultant Jennifer Kohan of Erickson Realty and Moving Services. 

Each Erickson Living community has its own local personal moving consultant who provides complimentary coordination of all realty and moving needs, including downsizing, home staging, packing, and selection of a real estate professional.

Kohan recommended a real estate agent who worked with the Smiths to set a list price they felt comfortable with. “We had an idea of our list price. It turned out our idea and her idea were pretty close,” says Bob. 

With the list price set, their agent arranged and paid for a stager to get their house show-ready inside and out.

They removed wall-to-wall carpeting to reveal hardwood floors, which they had refinished. They seeded and aerated the yard. And they decluttered each room by removing personal items and keeping countertops clean and clear. 

“Fortunately,” says Bob, “we didn’t have a tremendous amount of work to do. Our real estate agent gave us tips on things about our house that could be changed. She was very attentive.” 

Package deal

At Kohan’s recommendation, they took advantage of a pre-listing home inspection, which alerted them to any big-ticket items that might have needed to be addressed. “It was a good idea because then I knew what to expect, and it was a way to avoid any conflict with the people we sold the house to,” Bob says.

“A lot of deals fall through at the point of the home inspection. Our goal is to minimize or eliminate those stumbling blocks to ease the stress of selling and moving, and also keep everyone on schedule,” Kohan says. 

The pre-listing home inspection can include a structural engineer’s report, a wood-destroying insect report, and an underground storage tank sweep of the property. Kohan has selected local, reputable inspectors and vendors for the program that offer Lantern Hill reservists discounted pricing on their services. 

People who use an Erickson Living-preferred real estate agent receive a reimbursement for all costs of those home inspectors upon moving to Lantern Hill.

When all was said and done, Bob and Vi listed their house in spring 2016, and sold it within three weeks. They moved as soon as the community opened in June.

Delivering on a promise

Having moved from the area along with many other retirees from Union County, Bob and Vi say they already had some built-in groups of friends. But they’ve enjoyed forming new relationships as well.

“We’ve made several new friends that we have dinner with. Of course, our old friends we see frequently because we’ve known them for a long time,” says Bob.

also attended musical performances, movies, and lectures, all presented on campus for the convenience of Lantern Hill community members.

Among the amenities, they also appreciate the everyday comforts. “We’re very happy with the dining, the food choices, and the friendly attitude of the servers,” says Vi. “The people have been very helpful and gracious.”

While they put their trust in Erickson Living and the Lantern Hill sales team to deliver the highest quality community, now that they’ve made Lantern Hill their home, Bob and Vi couldn’t be more satisfied. 

“The place really is very beautiful,” says Bob.