A Guide to House-Hunting If You Need an Accessible Home

Posted on: May 24th, 2022 by Sherrie Stuessy | No Comments

Photo Credit: Pixabay.com

Guest post submitted by Jenny Wise

House-hunting is always a challenge, as you have to find a property that’s both in your price range and meets your unique needs. If you’re differently-abled and require an accessible property, the process can become even more challenging. The key to success is careful planning and flexibility. You may not find the perfect property on the market but you can make updates to ensure it meets your needs. This guide provides a comprehensive overview of the house-hunting process for people who need an accessible home.

Narrow down your location first

Before you start looking for a house, narrow down your location. If you’re willing to relocate, you might scope out some of the most accessible cities in America, such as Chicago, Dallas, or Denver. When narrowing down your location, take a look at average housing prices in the area to get a sense of the market and determine whether you can afford it. For example, if you like Charlotte but find the housing market is out of reach, you might consider nearby Rock Hill, where the median sale price is $285,000.

Know what to look for in an accessible home

Once you’ve narrowed down the location, it’s time to start looking at properties. Before you start viewing, make a list of your needs. There are certain characteristics that make a home accessible, such as wide doorways, zero-stop entrances, shower stalls instead of tubs, and paddle-type handles instead of knob-like handles. Don’t forget to survey the outside of the property as well. For example, a garden that includes a paved terrace and smooth walkways can be a big boon for a person in a wheelchair.

Get your financial paperwork in order and close the deal

Before you make an offer on a house, it’s smart to get your financial paperwork in order first. Organize all essential documents and keep them within reach at all times. Credit Karma provides a guide to the documents you’ll need when applying for a mortgage, such as your tax returns, pay stubs, bank statements, and credit history. 

If you’re having trouble obtaining a mortgage, note that you may be able to benefit from down payment assistance programs for first-time home buyers. There are also special programs in place to help persons on a disability income obtain the loan they need for a house.

Prepare in advance to ensure a stress-free move

Moving can be a stressful process. The further in advance you plan, the less chaotic it will be. Make sure to hire movers well in advance and start packing up at least one month before. Ideally, you will pack up on a room-by-room basis, starting with the rooms you use the least and ending with those you use more frequently. According to Life Storage, other ways to ensure a streamlined move include scheduling utilities in your new home beforehand, downsizing your belongings, and asking friends and family for assistance.

Consider making modifications to your new home to enhance accessibility

If your new home isn’t already 100% accessible, you can make modifications to get it there. Suggestions include installing ramps and railings, adding a walk-in tub or shower, and enhancing lighting. Don’t forget to make exterior modifications as well. For example, you might install ADA-compliant grates in your garden or patio. Popular options include the NDS mini-channel grates, perfect for small spaces, and NDS slim channel grates, which offer a more subtle visual appearance. PRK Williams Building Group can build or remodel your home with accessibility top of mind.

Buying a house can be overwhelming, especially if it’s your first time. Don’t let the stress get to you. Remain patient and follow the strategic approach outlined above. There are many ways to create the perfect accessible home.

To The Rescue provides a variety of services to support disabled individuals and enhance their quality of life. Call 720-851-2100 (CO) or 319-826-6068 (IA) for more information. 

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