Searching for an Accessible Home of Your Dreams?

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Real Estate

Searching for your perfect place to live can be challenging, especially when accessibility is your primary concern. The percentage of accessible homes on the market is slim at best, so many house hunters elect to “settle.” Rather than settling for less-than-best, here’s how to ensure you land the accessible abode you’re dreaming about.

Start with Structure

The easiest way for you to achieve your goal is to purchase a home that meets your general structural requirements and then make modifications to improve accessibility. Modifications can be large or small, depending on your budget and/or needs, and we’ll talk about that in a minute. First, let’s think about what sort of structure would be most helpful to you. 

Since stairs are a concern for many people, at the top of your list might be properties with minimal or no stairs. A one-story structure is usually optimal, and an open floor plan also boosts navigability, especially if you normally use assistive equipment. A zero-step entryway is ideal in most situations, although a ramp is a common and inexpensive accessibility solution.

Changing for the Better

Once you find a home with the structure you desire, you can start contemplating what sort of changes might be in order. For instance, an accessible bathroom is often a top priority. As Better Homes and Gardens explains, appropriate changes might include a barrier-free design, widening the doorway, multiple showerheads, and a zero-threshold shower. Grab bars and a shower bench are also frequently on the list of must-haves, as well as lower light switches and a seated dressing area. 

As for whole-home adjustments, some inexpensive installs to consider include things like offset hinges to widen doors, lever-style faucet and door handles, and an accessible kitchen island. A qualified handyman can tackle virtually every task on your list, from your bathroom upgrades to installing offset hinges. According to Bob Vila, most independent handyman services run from $60 to $70 hourly to around $125 hourly for a handyman who works for a company.

Don’t forget tech solutions as well. You can have fully adjustable kitchen countertops that keep you cooking up a storm, and there is smart home technology that eases everything from vacuuming to adjusting your home’s temperature. Height-adjustable kitchens start at $8,000, and No Boundaries Advisors says to expect smart home installations to cost around $1,000.

You’ll need to include the cost of accessibility modifications in your home-buying budget (Columbia homes sales have averaged $257,000). To learn more about home prices in your area and the buying process in general, make sure you consult with an experienced realtor in the area like Rochelle Romines. 

Paying for Changes

You may wonder how you’ll foot the bill for all these home changes. There are special loans available to those needing accessibility modifications, as well as programs designed to help with everything from specific changes to help with your down payment. Both loans and grants depend on your personal circumstances and the institution’s requirements, so do some investigating. 

Managing Moving Day

Finding your dream home, configuring a game plan, and deciding how to pay for it all are obviously keys to success. However, moving day itself is stressful, expensive, and labor-intense, so give some thought as to how to make that transition comfortable as well. 

One way to ease through this process is to combine strategies in the form of a hybrid move. This type of move allows you to save over hiring movers for the whole shebang, but it greatly reduces your workload. What is involved? A moving coordinator will arrange for a semi-trailer or container to be delivered to your current address, they will send professional loaders to fill it with your belongings, and then the container or trailer will be picked up and delivered to your new home. Then, a professional service will unload it for you. It’s easy to see how this type of move lightens both your hassle and expense. 

The hunt for your accessible home should be a joy. Start with the structure and contemplate what changes will make it ideal. Research your funding options, and plan a pleasant moving day. You’ll soon be settling into that accessible abode you’ve always dreamed about!


I hope this did not cause any confusion but if you have questions, just let me know.


Thank you!


Best,
Patrick Young

Links to more information:

percentage - https://www.apartmentlist.com/rentonomics/how-accessible-is-the-housing-market/
stairs -  https://accessibilitymatters.ca/accessibility-and-stairs-do-not-mix-well/
ramp - https://www.amazon.com/Best-Sellers-Health-Personal-Care-Wheelchair-Ramps/zgbs/hpc/702622011
appropriate change - https://www.bhg.com/bathroom/remodeling/planning/wheelchair-accessible-bathroom/
$60 to $70 - https://www.bobvila.com/articles/handyman-costs/
smart home technology - https://www.reviews.com/home/security-systems/fully-accessible-guide-to-smart-home-tech/
$8,000 - https://www.newmobility.com/2016/10/four-wheelchair-accessible-kitchens/
$1,000 - https://www.nbcpa.us/2018/10/smart-home-technology-worth-incorporating-next-build/
averaged $257,000 - https://www.redfin.com/city/4308/TN/Columbia/housing-market
Rochelle Romines - https://rromines.kw.com/
special loans - https://www.loan.com/home-loans/hud-home-improvement-loans-for-disabled-persons.html
programs - https://www.phfa.org/programs/accesshomemod.aspx