Taking it easy

Oak Crest attracts Harford County residents ready for a worry-free home

Created date

June 21st, 2019
Don and Barbara Conley moved to Oak Crest from  Harford County in search of a worry-free lifestyle.

Don and Barbara Conley moved to Oak Crest from Harford County in search of a worry-free lifestyle.

Barbara and Don Conley lived in Harford County, Md., for 52 years, but they now happily call Baltimore County home. Last August, the pragmatic couple decided they would rather take it easy than take care of a five-bedroom house and an acre of land. So they traded in their oversized house for a maintenance-free apartment home at Oak Crest, an Erickson Living community in Parkville.

“We had a little over an acre and did all the work around the house ourselves. It was a real chore,” says Don. “There was a hedge that I had to climb up on a ladder to trim. We had a big vegetable garden. I tilled and worked that garden and harvested the crops and canned 40 quarts of tomatoes a year.”

The Conleys considered other retirement communities in Harford County but decided Oak Crest offered everything they wanted, including a continuum of care and a financial setup that gave them peace of mind. 

“We have five kids. Two are local, one lives in San Diego, one in Florida, and one is in Ocean City, Md. We didn’t want to be a burden to our children,” says Don, a retired engineer who served in the Naval Air Reserve. “We like that no matter what happens in the future, here at Oak Crest we are taken care of, and the entrance fee is refundable, which was important to us.” (Oak Crest’s Residence and Care Agreement has all the details.)

Familiarity factor

The Conleys aren’t alone. In 2018, 17% of new Oak Crest community members moved from Harford County. Location and familiarity factor into Oak Crest’s appeal, says Associate Director of Sales Dan Plakatoris. 

“We’re located just 20 minutes from Harford County,” says Plakatoris. “In fact, we are currently the closest continuing care retirement community to Harford County. So you’re still close enough to dine at your favorite restaurants, shop at your favorite stores, and attend your same church.” 

Familiarity was a motivating factor in Plakatoris’ mother’s move from Bel Air to Oak Crest in 2015. 

“My mom would visit friends here for lunch and to play bridge,” says Plakatoris. “Eventually, she decided she was ready to enjoy Oak Crest’s lifestyle for herself. Four years ago, she sold her condo and moved to the community.”

The Conleys had a similar experience. 

“We have several friends who lived here,” says Don. “Once we visited, we knew this was the place we wanted to be.” 

Initially, the Conleys had their heart set on a one-bedroom with den floor plan. But once they discovered the wait for that apartment style would likely be a year or more, they adjusted their plans and selected a two-bedroom, two-bath apartment instead.

“We are happy it turned out the way it did,” says Don. “We have a corner apartment with lots of windows, and we use the second bedroom as an office. We love it!”

When it came to selling their Fallston house, a strong seller’s market was in their favor. 

“Our move was a piece of cake,” says Don. “We put our house up for sale, and it was sold the first day. As a matter of fact, they gave us $5,000 more than we asked for.” 

The Conleys’ experience is not unique. Redfin, a national real estate brokerage, reports that, in March 2019, home sales in Harford County were up 72% compared to the same month last year. Homes in the same area also sold 12 days faster, an average of 37 days on market, compared to 49 days on market nationwide. 

‘The friendliest place’

Although change can often be challenging, the friendliness of the Oak Crest community made the couple feel right at home. 

“Oak Crest is the friendliest place we’ve ever seen,” says Don. “You can’t walk anywhere on campus or past anyone where they don’t say ‘hi’ and speak to you. 

“We also love the fact that no matter where we go in the community, everything is under one roof. The chapel is just a hop, skip, and a jump from our apartment. We are also close to the Quarry Grille. The food is great! We enjoy going to dinner and not having to cook. Oak Crest is really a first-class operation. We feel like we are living in luxury.”