A Guest Post Written by Patrick Young of Able USA
Are you looking for the house of your dreams but concerned an accessibility issue will get in the way of your success? Thankfully, while there isn’t an abundance of accessible homes on the market, there are plenty of homes that can easily be made accessible. Here’s how to find a suitable property and turn it into the home your heart desires.
What You Need in a Home
Certain home designs tend to lend themselves more toward accessibility than others, so start your search by looking for homes with some overall basics. For instance, a one-story home with an open floor plan is generally easier to navigate than a two-story house. Think through what sort of home will support your independence best and allow you to make changes easily. This home accessibility checklist can help you sort possibilities.
To help with the decision-making process, one suggestion is to make a list of your search criteria and rank items in terms of priority. For instance, if you don’t drive, being close to public
transportation might be toward the top of your list, or if you do drive, you might prefer a home with a particularly spacious garage to ease getting in and out of your vehicle. Of course you’ll also want to give careful consideration to what you can afford as well. When calculating home affordability, you’ll need to estimate monthly expenses, annual income, loan terms, and likely mortgage payment.
Great Deals and Deal Breakers
As you view particular properties, there are things beyond the basic bones of a house to consider. You should also examine homes for indications of neglect. You might see signs that a house needs roof repairs, such as missing shingles or peeling paint. Ceilings with water stains can be another good indicator of trouble, or you might notice black streaks or algae on the roof.
Oftentimes, homes with problems are sold as-is, and they might be a bargain if you’re planning to make some changes. You can combine repairs with your renovations, but the key is to ensure the home will be a great deal and not a money pit. Forbes recommends having a home inspection, which can reveal all the issues you could be facing. From there, you can hire a professional contractor to provide estimates for your repairs as well as your renovations.
There are plenty of relatively low-cost renovations to make a home more accessible. As an example, you might find a home that meets most of your criteria but doesn’t have an accessible entryway. Adding a ramp, railings, and widening the doorway are cost-effective and quick solutions to boost accessibility, keeping you coming and going with ease and independence.
There are other simple solutions as well. Both on your exterior doors and throughout the home, round door knobs can be replaced with lever-style handles, and you can do the same with faucet handles in the kitchen and bath.
These smaller jobs can often be accomplished by a handyman, or you or a loved one can DIY them. On the other hand, bigger jobs, such as room renovations, often require a contractor.
Depending on your situation, you might need to make substantial changes to a home’s interior. For instance, many people who use assistive equipment struggle with small, traditional bathrooms, so a larger bathroom is ideal. However, even a small bathroom can often be made comfortable with things like a threshold-free shower, grab bars, and freeing some floor space.
As Easter Seals explains, the kitchen is another room frequently on the slate for accessibility renovations. Lowering countertop height, adding pull-out shelves, and swapping the sink for an accessible design can keep you comfortably cooking up a storm.
Sometimes, houses are generally acceptable but require one or two major changes to improve navigation. Think through your priorities, look at potential homes with a discerning eye, and hire help as you need it. There are plenty of great properties out there, and with a little planning and searching, you’re sure to land your dream home!