Need an Accessible Home? Read This First

Dated: December 31 2020

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When looking to buy an accessible home, you must be prepared. There are several modifications you need to be thinking about, and you have to know how to make your journey easier. Here are some things to consider before you make an offer on your dream home.

Before You Search the Market

When you set out to purchase an accessible home, especially if you’re a first-time buyer, you need to find a dependable real estate agent. The professionals at Deacon Hoover Real Estate Advisors have integrity and experience, and are committed to serving their clients’ home-buying needs.

Know Your Budget

House hunting is best done with a realistic budget in-hand. That way, you don’t waste your time (or your hopes) on properties that are beyond reach. Bankrate explains you’re best off spending no more than 28 percent of your gross monthly income on your housing. If you expect to make some renovations to the property you select, such as installing a ramp or remodeling bathrooms, you’ll want to budget for those concerns as well.

Access Points

Among the things you should consider when you are hunting for properties are the access points. That includes the front entrance and any rear access to the backyard, the garage, or a side patio. Beyond Accessibility notes that a perfect home will have a no-step threshold, allowing anyone to easily enter and exit without the risk of tripping or obstruction for wheelchairs and other mobility aids. On the other hand, you could add a ramp or seamless entrance if you discover a home that is otherwise perfect.

Showers and Tubs

The risks that can come with slipping and falling in the shower or tub are serious, so it stands to reason that an accessible home should offer modifications to prevent these hazards. With that in mind, talk to your real estate agent about finding homes that come with walk-in tubs or no-step showers with benches. A walk-in tub would be particularly beneficial as they have non-slip flooring, seats, and handrails as a standard, rather than as an addition. Even houses that have large enough bathrooms to accommodate a walk-in tub can be considered.

Flooring

Unfortunately, tripping isn’t limited to the bathroom, and Carpet Bonanza Flooring Center explains that the type of flooring a house has can either increase stability or lead to accidents. It's best to avoid materials that are difficult to clean, uncomfortable, or otherwise do not provide the right support. In particular, things like low-pile carpeting might offer the comfort and grip you want, but they can be tiresome to clean and a challenge for walking aids. On the other hand, linoleum is easy to maintain, excellent for wheelchair or walker navigation, and is durable. Think about your personal requirements when considering flooring.

Adapting Stairs

A home with universal design will often have one story since single-level properties make getting around that much easier. This doesn’t mean, however, that you’ll have to restrict your search only to single floor accommodation. Instead, ask your agent about multistory properties if they keep the cost of a stairlift in mind. Of course, the shape of the stairway should be put into consideration, as most lifts are designed for straight passages, rather than curved.

Other Easy Changes

When searching for an accessible environment, take into consideration not only your current needs, but concerns for your future. For instance, you may have no problems opening doors that have knobs today, but things may change over time. Given that, houses that have levers and handles over knobs are an added bonus since they are easier to turn, especially if you have issues with grip or strength. Happily, this is an item you could easily get installed, too.

Universal Details

While only you can determine your personal checklist, there are a few items that all homeowners need to check off when they move, and unfortunately it’s easy for some to fall through the cracks. Make sure your utilities are in place in your new home, and disconnected at the old. Also, update your address with various entities you do business with, your workplace, and if you’re a business owner moving in a new state, remember to update your LLC.

We all should feel at ease and comfortable at home. Without necessary modifications, or if we buy something outside our budgets, we may never get that. Take the time to know what you can afford, decide what to look for, and connect with Deacon Hoover Real Estate Advisors to find the home you deserve.

(This article was a reader submission from Patrick Young. To submit your own blog, email inquires to Adam Daley.)

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