How to choose your next home with confidence

Businessman Alan Haveson shares his decision-making process

Created date

November 29th, 2019
Jon Bramnick (left), who is minority leader of the New Jersey General Assembly, a comedian, and a trial lawyer, visits with Lantern Hill resident Alan Haveson (far right) and Sales Director Dan Millender (center), while signing a copy of his book.

Jon Bramnick (left), who is minority leader of the New Jersey General Assembly, a comedian, and a trial lawyer, visits with Lantern Hill resident Alan Haveson (far right) and Sales Director Dan Millender (center), while signing a copy of his book.

For a businessman like Alan Haveson, making the decision to move to a maintenance-free community was like any other business decision. He weighed the pros and cons, the finances, and the emotional aspects of making a move. 

After much deliberation, many on-site visits, and several discussions with his financial advisor, he and his wife Betsy moved to Lantern Hill, an Erickson Living community in New Providence, N.J., in March 2017. 

“For us it was a very easy decision” he says. “Once I found out what I would have to pay, how the payments worked, how the monthly service fee worked, what I would get, and what I would no longer have to deal with, and I sat down and looked at the numbers, I was sold on [Lantern Hill's] value.” 

Decision-making 101

But many people don’t have the experience of running a manufacturing company and making decisions like that day in and day out. So what did Alan do to make his decision with such confidence?

First, he listed all his current living costs, including monthly expenses and short- and long-term maintenance.

Then, he sat down with his financial advisors and the sales team from Lantern Hill to discuss how those living expenses would play out should he and Betsy decide to move.

What he discovered was that nearly all monthly living costs are covered within each family’s monthly service fee. One check each month covers apartment home maintenance, light weekly housekeeping, property taxes, heating and air-conditioning, trash and recycling collection at your door, a dining plan, basic cable TV, phone, internet, regularly scheduled transportation, 24-hour security and emergency response services, plus access to a wealth of campus amenities.

A convenient monthly service fee is just one part of Lantern Hill’s financial structure. The other, a 90% refundable entrance fee, ensures their nest egg will return to them or their heirs. (Full details can be found in the Residence and Care Agreement.) 

Less maintenance, more independence

“After I understood the finances would be okay, it was just a matter of an emotional decision,” Alan says. For him and Betsy, all the emotions pointed toward moving somewhere that offered continuing care on site. 

“We had taken care of both sets of parents and realized that we did not want to put our children in the same position we were. Chances are they would have risen to the occasion, but I’m not sure my wife and I would have been comfortable with that. We’re rather independent,” he adds. 

From independent living to assisted living, nursing care, sub-acute rehabilitation, respite care, and memory care, a continuing care retirement community like Lantern Hill gives people assurance they’ll only have to move once should their health needs change—unlike a single family house, townhouse, or 55-plus community, where continuing care isn’t available on site.

“The number of activities and opportunities for doing things has enabled us to keep the lifestyle we want, with benefits, and has taken away 90% of the angst of living on our own,” Alan says. He no longer has to worry himself with home maintenance, lawn care, or shoveling snow. 

In fact, he doesn’t even have to worry about what he’s going to eat today or tomorrow, and Betsy doesn’t have to think about cooking or cleaning up. They enjoy main meals together or with friends at Lantern Hill’s restaurants. 

“For me as a buyer, it’s an easy sell if I’m sure I’m going to get my value. My decision needs to be whether I think the cost is reasonable for what I’m getting,” Alan says. “Here, I have everything. The meals are good. The people are great. I have the swimming pool, the gym, the movies, the library, and the location of this community is beautiful.” 

What he doesn’t have is the burden of home maintenance. “You get to a certain point when standing on a ladder is not safe. You have backaches, a host of issues,” he says. “Here you don’t have to do the things you no longer enjoy doing.”

Instead, he and Betsy are out enjoying life to the fullest. 

“The social aspects of what this type of living offers far outweigh the experience of living in one’s house alone and with stairs and with whatever else you have to deal with,” Alan notes. “At this point in my life, I’ve had all the stress. At Lantern Hill, I don’t have any living stress now. It’s a nice way to live.”