While finding an accessible home isn’t as easy as we might like, it isn’t impossible either. There are several ways into the home you’re dreaming about if you employ a few simple strategies. To learn more about accessible homes and where to find them, read on!
First Time Buying a Home?
If you’re a first-time homebuyer, there are a few critical steps you’ll need to take before you begin a serious search for accessible homes. Firstly, it’s important to meet with a lender to undergo a credit check and find out how much you can afford to spend on a home. During this time, you’ll need to provide the lender with proof of income and any other required paperwork, such as your W-2 forms and pay stubs.
Depending on your disability status and household income, Self.inc says you may qualify for mortgage assistance through organizations like the Federal Housing Administration (FHA), U.S. Department of Agriculture and Rural Development, or Fannie Mae. In some situations, you may also qualify for additional assistance if you need to modify the home in the future.
After meeting with a lender, you’ll need to find a real estate agent who has experience working with first-time homebuyers and is also familiar with accessible design. Buying your first home can be quite challenging when you’re in need of accessible housing, but the right real estate agent can take much of the weight off your shoulders.
A well-chosen real estate company like EBG Properties LLC knows the real estate market inside and out, and they can tell you about properties coming on the market that could meet your needs. What’s more, an experienced agent can help you find properties you might not know about, or that you might easily overlook.
Modifications or Building
While you can modify certain parts of a home to make it more accessible—such as widening doorways, installing grab bars where you need them, changing out faucets, revamping an entryway, and lowering countertops or cabinets—other changes are much more difficult and costly to make (disability remodeling averages $9,000 nationally).
Moreover, purchasing a new construction home may be best in some cases—especially if you can’t find what you need in an existing home. Weigh your finances, area properties, and your options carefully, and talk with your real estate agent about whether this might be the right choice in your situation.
Know What You’re Looking for
As you sort your housing priorities, it’s important to familiarize yourself with the different types of amenities and options that are suitable for individuals with physical impairments. For instance:
- Accessible housing typically includes homes with wider doors, lower countertops, barrier-free entryways, and grab bars in the bathrooms.
- Homes with an adaptable design feature include some accessibility features for individuals with physical disabilities, or they can be adapted over time to meet occupant needs.
- Homes with a universal design are usable to all residents, regardless of age or ability.
Next, you’ll need to make a list of the features that are most important to you in a home. For example, a one-level home without stairways may be best for you if you have limited mobility or regularly use a wheelchair to get around. As for flooring, SFGate notes homes with hardwood, laminate, or vinyl are ideal for wheelchair users, but you can always replace the flooring later if necessary.
Once you’ve completed these steps, you’ll be on the road to finding—or building—an accessible home. Make a list of the features you need, look for potentially modifiable properties, and consider new construction. Thanks to your due diligence, you’ll find an accessible home that’s both comfortable and safe for your family’s needs. When you’re ready to start looking at homes, contact Elise Bickel at (724) 996-6683 or visit www.elisebickel.com.
Contributed by Patrick Young, Able USA (www.ableusa.info)