Costs of Owning a House vs. a Life Plan Community

If you’re on the fence about the costs of Independent Living at Smith Village, 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 the costs of living at home and joining us at Smith Village are comparable — and that’s not even including other advantages of living at Smith Village.

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. 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.

Unavoidable Expenses

Description Average costs (Yearly)
Property taxes (Beverly Chicago) $5,250

Property taxes (Morgan Park Chicago)
Homeowner’s insurance $1,361
Water/Sewer (Chicago) $480
Electricity/Gas $2,200

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
If your property has landscaping, average costs for

  • Weekly mowing & edging
  • Seasonal fertilizing, aeration & lawn treatment
Snow removal (4 heavy snowfalls) $400


Goods / Service Taxes

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

At 10.25% (most non-restaurant food at 1% &hdash; 6.25%) $1,400

Don’t forget quality of life

Since we’re comparing maintaining a house to Smith Village, 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.

Lifestyle Expenses*

Description Average price (Yearly)
Groceries $6,000
Internet & Basic Cable $1,440
Fitness (gym, classes, personal trainer) $1,800
Entertainment (meals, performances, etc.) $2,600 ($50/week)


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, which can be very expensive.

Cost of Retrofitting a Home for Accessibility*

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

Widen Hallways w/out Structural Changes$1,100

Project Average Cost to Install
Walk-in Tub or Shower $5,000
Ramp Installation at Entrance $1,113
Widen an Entry Door $800
Stair Lift Installation $8,000

* Source:

Major Maintenance and Repair*

The average homeowner sets aside 1%–4% of their home’s value every year for maintenance and repairs. We’ll use 2% for this scenario, which is $5,000/year. Some examples of common household repairs are:

  • Roof Repair / Replacement
  • 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

Smith Village delivers even more!

With your entrance fee (which is up to 80 percent refundable), you’re guaranteed access to all of our award-winning care services: Assisted Living, Memory Support, Skilled Nursing Care and Rehabilitation. — even if you outspend your assets, our Emilie Fund ensures you will be cared for throughout your life continuum.

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 Village. 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 Village.

Every one of the costs listed above is included in your monthly fee at Smith Village. Other than adding some premium channels to your cable, everything is taken 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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