These days, more and more people turn to online reviews as their trusted resource for everything from restaurants to movies to even their next home. In fact, research shows that 91% of people regularly or occasionally read online reviews, and 84% trust online reviews as much as a personal recommendation.
What's more, in 2018, the National Association of REALTORS Research Group reported that in 1981, 22% of home buyers read newspaper ads to find a home, and 8% used friends as an information source. In 2018, a whopping 44% looked for properties online first.
"The world we live in today is a digital one, and searching for a home is no different," the report says.
One might assume that refers to young families, but recent national data from Pew Research Center reveals that older Americans are more digitally connected than ever before. Approximately 70% of seniors now use the internet and are on smartphones, tablets, and computers to stay informed, connect with friends and family, shop, make travel plans, and, yes, research their next home.
Lantern Hill, an Erickson Living-managed community in New Providence, N.J., that had a 4.4 out of 5-star Google rating and 21 reviews as of Nov. 15, 2019, reports that many of its prospective residents research online even before scheduling a personal tour.
"Our demographic is quite tech savvy, and they utilize various resources to research us and other living options when they're tired of caring for a house or want peace of mind for the future," says Sales Counselor Kathy Banks.
Reviews like this one from resident Alan Haveson give an insider's look at life at Lantern Hill:
"While nothing is truly perfect, Lantern Hill for we 'mature' folks is just about! To a great extent [it's] like being on a cruise ship that doesn't move. All kinds of activities, a great pool, a great physical fitness center, a staff committed to service with smiles, a great chef, lots of social opportunities with nice people, and a whole lot more. You're safe and secure, and by the way, only one check a month for living expenses. No real estate taxes, no utilities. The apartments, first class and comfortable! The area surroundings, bucolic. Can't ask for much more!"
The reviews also provide insight from outsiders who have visited, like this review from Stephen Thompson:
"We visited my step-grandmother-in-law here, and my takeaway was, 'whoever's running this place loves beauty and has an eye for detail.'"
He goes on to praise the décor, artwork, activities, and cleanliness and ends with saying, "We'll be visiting as often as we can."
"We take each review to heart," says Executive Director Craig Karczmer. "Our staff works hard to create a beautiful, stimulating environment, and we treat Lantern Hill like our own home because it's home to our residents."
Up close and personal
For those ready to step offline and onto campus, Lantern Hill goes above and beyond a typical campus tour.
"We set people up with personalized experiences and lunch with residents who have similar interests. They can truly experience life on campus, partake in activities, things like that. We get to know our prospects well and then tailor their experience for them so they can get a true taste of what life would actually be like if they lived here," says Sales Associate Brenna Connolly.
Connolly encourages anyone interested in a future at Lantern Hill to join the priority list. Joining is simple. Members pay a fully refundable $1,000 deposit and a $150-per-person, nonrefundable application fee. Once this deposit is made, the date is noted as the member's priority list date. Members are encouraged to select a preferred floor plan that, once available, will be offered to them with the right of first refusal based on their joining date.
There is no penalty should the preferred apartment home become available before a prospective resident is ready to move. It is simply offered to the next member on the list, and the priority list status remains the same.
To schedule a personalized visit and learn more about Lantern Hill's priority list, call 1-800-989-4951.