Costs of owning a house vs. a Life Plan Community

Smith Crossing Villa

If you’re on the fence about the costs of Independent Living at Smith Crossing, it can be helpful to compare it to what you’re spending now. When you add in everything that our community offers, you’ll most likely find that the costs of living at home and joining us at Smith Crossing can be very comparable — and that’s not even including the other advantages of living at the Southwest suburbs premier senior living community.

Do you know much you are really spending living at home?

When many people sit down to figure out how much they’re paying monthly to live at home, they tend to focus first on their mortgage payments. If you’re now free and clear of your mortgage, congratulations! But there’s a lot more to owning a home.

Hint: Your expenses are more than your mortgage payments.

Actually, it’s not the mortgage; it’s the other costs of homeownership that really hit you in the pocketbook. Some are unavoidable – taxes and utilities. Some can take your breath away, like replacing a roof or repairing a foundation. Others are seasonal or sneak up on you, such as landscaping or termite treatments.

Don’t forget quality-of-life.

And since we’re comparing maintaining a house to Smith Crossing, let’s also add in lifestyle expenses – such as meals, entertainment, fitness programs, continuing education and social activities – that don’t cost extra in our Life Plan Community.

Speaking of quality of life, maintaining a house as you get older can be stressful! Chores can be harder to keep up with. Plus, you may not be getting out of the house as much–especially in the winter.

You may also need to retrofit your home for safety and accessibility.

Of the 25 million homeowners who are 65 years and older today, the Joint Center for Housing Studies estimates that 44% have some need for home accessibility features due to disability or difficulty using parts of the home, such as the kitchen or bathroom. We’ll look at some of those retrofits later in this article, which can be very expensive.

Smith Crossing delivers even more!

With your entrance fee (which is up to 90% refundable), you’re guaranteed lifetime access to all of our award-winning care services: Assisted Living, Memory Support, Skilled Nursing Care and Rehabilitation – even if your money runs out down the line.

Let’s do the numbers.

What are the costs of owning a home in the Orland Park area? We’ll look at the average and typical yearly expenses for a home valued at $250,000. Your costs will vary depending on such things as where you live, age, and condition of your home, square footage, and lifestyle.

Unavoidable Expenses

Description Average costs (Yearly)
Property taxes (Orland Park) $5,250
Homeowner’s insurance $1,200
Water/Sewer (Orland Park) $720
Electricity/Gas $2,400
If your home is part of a homeowners association, you’ll have an additional monthly fee

Major Maintenance and Repair*

The rule of thumb is to set aside 1%–4% of your home’s value every year. We’ll put the amount at 2%, which is $5,000/year. Your mileage may vary but some examples are the following:

  • Roof
  • Air Conditioning / Heating
  • Window Repair / Replacement


Major Appliances

A recent survey found that 88% of homeowners who’ve lived in their homes for more than 10 years had to replace or repair one or more major appliances. We’ll assume $425/year (based on $4,250 amortized over 10 years). These could be any of the following:

  • Washer/Dryer
  • Refrigerator
  • Water Heater
  • Sump Pump
  • Range
  • Dishwasher

Seasonal and Regular Maintenance (per year/season)*

Description Price Range (Yearly)
Furnace inspection and maintenance $75 – $450
Central air inspection & service $75 – $200
Gutter cleaning $200

  • Mowing & edging
  • Fertilizing, aeration & lawn treatment
Snow removal $400
Pest control $450
Cleaning supplies $180


Lifestyle Expenses*

Description Average Price (Yearly)
(twice a month @$112/visit)
Groceries $6,300
24/7 emergency alert $600
Home alarm $360
Internet & basic cable $1,750
Landline phone $500
Fitness (gym, classes, personal trainer) $1,800
Entertainment (meals, performances, etc.) $2,600 ($50/week)


Cost of Retrofitting a Home for Accessibility*

All Smith Crossing residences are designed from the ground up for the needs of older adults. Is your home?

Project Average Cost to Install
Walk-in Shower $5,000
Ramp Installation at Entrance $1,113
Widen an Entry Door $800
Stair Lift Installation $8,000
Install Lever Taps on Faucets $220
Widen Hallways w/out Structural Changes $1,100
Widen Hallways with Structural Changes $35,000
Replace 10 Windows $8,000
Remodel Bathroom $14,000

* Source:

Goods / Service Taxes

Don’t forget to factor in Illinois and Cook County sales taxes. They add up!

At 9.25% (most groceries at 2.25%) $1,400


For most of our residents, the monthly costs of owning a home and maintaining their lifestyles turned out to be similar to their monthly fees at Smith Crossing. Of course, you may be spending a bit less now if you’re doing your own housekeeping, repairs and yard work. But is that really how you should be spending your time? It’s time to live the life you’ve earned. You’ll have it all at Smith Crossing.

Every one of the costs listed above is included in your monthly fee at Smith Crossing. Other than adding in premium meals and events, everything is taking care of. All you have to do is relax and enjoy life.

You can determine your own costs of owning a home with this Home Ownership Calculator.

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