by Patrick YoungIt is no secret that having a home is one of the most significant investments in one’s life. Whether you’re selling a home or buying a home, you need to be sure you are
The Right Fit: How to Find an Accessible Home
Dated: June 8 2020
When you have a disability, the world can wear you down. Everywhere from grocery stores to doctor’s offices have the potential to be a stark reminder that the world wasn’t made with you in mind. That’s why it’s so important to have a home that’s safe, easy, and comfortable to get around in. You deserve a respite in a space that’s made for your needs.
When you’re house hunting, however, finding this space can feel fairly elusive. The average home doesn’t have accommodations in place for mobility aids or accessibility. However, that doesn’t mean you can’t get your perfect home. It just might take a little strategy and out-of-the-box thinking. Here are a few tips to help make your accessible home search go smoothly:
Budget for Changes
If you only consider homes that are already accessible, you’ll narrow your market considerably. The more open you are to making changes to a property, the better chance you’ll have of finding something that can work. After all, nearly any home can be renovated. As long as the bones of the house are functional, keep it on your radar. Construction as well as smart home features can go a long way toward making your home perfect for you.
However, don’t forget to factor these updates into your budget. Renovations can get pricey – for example, remodeling one or more rooms can range in cost between $55,560 and $125,947 in the Long Beach area. Remember that any house you want to upgrade will need to be priced accordingly. You may be able to negotiate the price down after an offer, but the seller has no obligation to meet these negotiations, and they could pull out of the deal. Generally, you should only make a move on a property you can afford including the full price of potential changes.
During your search, there are certain home elements that you should focus on. For example, if you struggle with stairs, single-level homes are the best choice. You can modify a two-story home with lifts or elevators, but it’s much easier (and far less expensive) to simply start with a house you can access all of easily.
The size of doors and hallways should be considered as well. Although you can widen doorways, one that’s already wide enough for a mobility device or wheelchair makes life a lot easier on you. Widening hallways is a bigger, more expensive undertaking. Not only will it be a pretty substantial renovation, but it will also shift the layout of all the adjacent rooms. This might not be a big deal for you, but you also need to keep your resale value in mind. If widening a hallway substantially shrinks rooms nearby, you might set yourself up for trouble come selling time.
Get the Right Team
Finally, dive into your house search with the best possible team on your side. One of the best tools you can have in your home search is a competent real estate agent. Search for one that is not only versed in buying and selling homes in your area, but that has also worked with people with disabilities before. This way you know they’ll have the right outlook and eye for detail that you’ll need to judge whether or not a house is a good fit.
It’s also worth trying to work with a lender who has experience with accessible home buying. This way you can get a full understanding of whether or not your mortgage can also cover renovations, and you’ll know exactly what your lender can offer you. If you’re not sure where to find people with this kind of experience, reach out to local disability services. They should be able to point you toward professionals who have a proven record.
Buying a home is a tricky process, and you may have to work extra hard to find the right fit with a disability. Stay the course, and be patient – it’s important to make sure you’ve found the right fit. By keeping your search focused and being an advocate for yourself, you can find a home that suits your needs perfectly.
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