Parkville, Maryland--Barbara and Don Conley lived in Harford County for 52 years, but they happily call Parkville home now.
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, a continuing care retirement community developed and managed by Erickson Living.
"We had a little over an acre and did all the work ourselves. It was a real chore," says Mr. Conley. "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, 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 structure that gave them peace of mind.
"Barbara and I have five children, two are local, one lives in San Diego, one in Florida, and one is in Ocean City, Maryland," says Mr. Conley, 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 deposit is refundable."
The Conleys aren't alone. In 2018, 17% of new residents to Oak Crest moved from Harford County. Location and familiarity factor into the community's appeal, notes Dan Plakatoris, Associate Director of Sales.
"We are located just 20 minutes from Harford County," says Mr. Plakatoris. "In fact, we are currently the nearest continuing care retirement community to Harford County. So, you are still close enough to dine at your favorite restaurants, shop at your preferred stores and attend your same church."
Familiarity was a motivating factor in his mother Janet's move from Bel Air to Oak Crest in 2015.
"My mom would visit friends here for lunch and to play bridge," describes Mr. 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 Mr. Conley. "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 because our apartment is a lot larger than the one we originally wanted," notes Mr. Conley. "We have a corner apartment with plenty of windows, and we use the second bedroom as an office. We love it!"
When it came to selling their home in Fallston, a strong seller's market was in their favor.
"Our move was a piece of cake," recalls Mr. Conley. "We put our house up for sale, and it was sold the first day. As a matter of fact, we received $5,000 more than our list price."
The Conley's 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. Houses in the same area also sold 12 days faster (averaging 37 days on market) compared to 49 days on the market nationwide.
Although change can sometimes be challenging, the pleasantness of the community made the Conleys feel right at home.
"Oak Crest is the friendliest place we've ever seen. You can't walk anywhere on campus or past anyone where they don't say 'hi' and speak to you," says Mr. Conley.
"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," states Mr. Conley. "The food is great! Barbara and I enjoy going to dinner and not having to cook. Oak Crest is really a first-class operation, and we feel like we are living in luxury."
About Oak Crest: Oak Crest, one of 20 continuing care retirement communities developed and managed by Erickson Living®, is situated on a scenic 87-acre campus in Parkville, Maryland. The not-for-profit community of more than 2,100 residents and 1,250 employees is governed by its own board of directors, affiliated with National Senior Campuses, who provide independent financial and operational oversight of Oak Crest. Additional information can be found at OakCrestCommunity.com.