Tips for Finding or Creating an Accessible Home
Did you know that roughly 56.7 million people have a disability? When you’re looking for a new home that has the accessibility features you need to be comfortable and independent, you do have options. Keep an open mind, and be prepared to think of creative solutions. Know what to look for in an accessible house and think about the types of modifications you can make to the home to develop the accessibility you need.
First-Time Home Buyers
Are you a first-time home buyer? When searching for your first home, don’t start by looking at house listings. Before looking at homes, you’ll need to check your credit score, gather all the relevant paperwork for your lender, and get pre-approved for your mortgage. After you’ve set your budget for your new home, hire a real estate agent who understands your accessibility needs. Take into consideration any assistance programs that could help you purchase your dream home or help you make modifications to keep your home safe and accessible.
House-Hunting Tips for Accessible Homes
When house hunting for an accessible home, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed. Most homes on the market won’t be fully accessible, and even accessible homes may not be right for your unique accessibility needs. Accessible homes can vary widely in price, so set a budget to narrow your search, and avoid looking at homes that exceed your budget. Give yourself a lot of time when looking for an accessible house; as mentioned, many homes on the market aren’t accessible, and you may need extra time to find the right house. Don’t rush the decision or put yourself in a situation of having to move into the wrong home.
List All Your Accessibility Needs
When looking for an accessible home, make sure you know exactly what you need, and can describe it to a realtor. Make a comprehensive list of your needs, whether it’s things that must be in the home, or that you can modify later. When purchasing a home, think long-term, and consider your future needs as well as your present needs. You don’t want to move again in a few years, so look for a home that can accommodate your changing needs.
Think About the Neighborhood
As you look for your dream home, don’t forget to look beyond the house itself, and consider the neighborhood. Is your city accessible, and can you see yourself easily navigating around the community? Check for cracked pavement, poor parking spaces, or high curbs that can affect your mobility, and think about the nearest grocery store or community center.
Modifying Homes to Make them More Accessible
An accessible home should provide safety and comfort, as well as allow you to easily move from room to room. When searching for an accessible home, be ready to settle for a home that requires a few modifications to suit your specifications. Set aside a renovation budget, and plan to add or change certain parts of the home. For instance, an easy modification is adding an exterior ramp to the front door or modifying exterior thresholds to avoid tripping hazards. The bathroom and the kitchen are probably the least accessible rooms in the home, so consider modifying cabinets and shelves to be more accessible or adding grab bars in the bathroom for added safety and comfort. Add a counter or table in the kitchen you can work at while seated, and remove any carpeting that can decrease mobility or cause a tripping hazard.
If you’re a first-time home buyer looking for an accessible house, make a list of all your needs, set your budget, and work with an experienced real estate agent to find a home that checks as many boxes as possible. Also, don’t rule out houses that need a bit of work. Finally, if you can’t find the perfect accessible house on the market, consider the modifications you can make to create your dream home without going over your budget.