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How to Find the Right Home when Accessibility is Paramount

2/15/2019



Finding a home that supports your needs means security, independence and comfort.  However, when you require accessibility, house hunting can be challenging.  Here’s how to find the perfect home for ensuring your happiness and quality of life. 

 

Preparing for house hunting

 

Many house hunters tend to put the cart before the horse, and dive into their search before they really know what they want or need.  It’s in your best interest to be aware of your budget before you begin, and have a solid list of required features and priorities.  You might luck into a home that meets all your personal needs and also fits your financial constraints, but as Bob Vila suggests, it’s sometimes necessary to compromise by selecting a property that can be modified to meet your requirements.  In this case, you should make notes about those items which are must-haves right off the bat, what you would prefer to add quickly or at low cost, and which things you can do without long-term.  You also might qualify for grants and programs designed to help homeowners with disabilities. The Red Cross, Department of Veteran Affairs, and Lions Club can all help with funding.

 

Starting strong

 

Along with deciding what you want out of your next property, you should consider what you intend to take with you to your new house.  In anticipation of your next place, go through your home and evaluate your furnishings.  Sometimes, tired or poorly-selected pieces contribute to chronic pain, and you should consider replacements.  Older or unsupportive recliners and sofas can mean achy joints and stiff muscles, and if you notice you’re especially sore after using a particular piece of furniture, it’s a red flag you should part ways with it.  Bedding is an especially common culprit, and most mattresses have a lifespan of seven to 10 years.  If yours is lumpy, saggy or beyond the five-year mark, you should examine it carefully to see if you would be better off with an update.  

 

Broadening options

 

More than ever before, homes are being built and modified to meet the needs of a variety of individuals.  This is in part due to architectural movements like universal design.  Thanks to embracing basic principles of making homes accessible regardless of an occupant’s size, age, or ability, properties that are simple, intuitive, and flexible are increasingly available.  Basically, these homes are meant to embrace all inhabitants, and encourage them to engage in a full and active life.  While there isn’t a huge selection of properties built with these concepts in mind yet, the number is steadily increasing, and you can keep your eyes peeled for homes with such a designation. 

 

Looking for specifics

 

A number of features can signal a property will be more suitable than others.  For instance, accessible homes tend to be low maintenance, offer at least one no-step entryway, and provide all the necessities for comfortable living on the ground floor.  Floor plans should be open, with broad hallways and doorways made wider than in traditional homes.  Door knobs and faucet handles should be lever-style for easier maneuverability, and bathrooms usually have grab bars installed.  Other potential features include non-slip flooring, threshold-free shower stalls, and rocker light switches.  Reviewing a universal design checklist can help with evaluating your needs against what potential properties offer.  Some of the easier additions include adding a wheelchair ramp and installing grab bars

 

Help with navigating the market

 

Once you have a solid idea of what you want in a property, it’s in your best interest to seek out a real estate agent to help with your search.  As U.S. News points out, real estate agents provide expertise in the legalities and nuances of the home-buying process.  They also keep their fingers on the pulse of the housing market, so they are keenly aware when properties become available and what the pros and cons of various options are.  For best results, find someone who you are comfortable with, is active in the location you desire, and communicates regularly. 

 

Locating the perfect property can be challenging, especially when your circumstances are unique.  Know your budget, explore your options and weigh your priorities so you can make informed decisions, and then hire help for the buying process.  

You’ll be in your dream home before you know it!

 

I would like to thank my guest blogger Patrick Young for writing on this important topic. Please forward & share.

 

 

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