How Home-buyers Looking for an Accessible House Can Better Frame Their Search

From guest writer: Patrick Young

Whether you have a disability, someone in your family does, or you will be caring for someone with mobility issues in the future, there are plenty of reasons why you may need an accessible home. Finding the right home for your needs right now could mean all the difference in determining the quality and quantity of your independent years. Here are some vital tips to remember when you’re searching for that perfect home.

The Perfect Home Probably Doesn’t Exist

This is a hard truth, but a truth nonetheless: More than likely, you’re not going to find a home that meets every single one of your needs. The sooner you realize this, the better off you’ll be. Homes can be modified, so your task is to find the home that best aligns with your accessibility needs, not the one that perfectly adheres to them.

Features You May Want to Consider

Having said that, some homes are much better than others when it comes to what you want as a starting point. Every disability is different, but here are some features and qualities of a potential new home that you may want to consider:

  • Is everything you need accessible on one level? In other words, can you cook, sleep, and use the bathroom without tackling stairs?
  • How wide are the doorways and hallways? Will they fit a wheelchair comfortably? Widening projects are doable, but some might require structural changes.
  • Is there at least one entry to the home that has zero stairs?
  • How much upkeep does the yard require?
  • How close is the home to points of interest and necessity (family members, grocery store, church, park, pharmacy, etc.)?
  • How accessible are the kitchen cabinets, drawers, and appliances? Would it be a relatively easy fix to make them more accessible? You don’t need to stress too much about the appliances, as a thorough online search will help you find the right types of new and accessible appliances to fit your life.

Work Your Modification Costs Into Your Homebuying Budget

If you can afford a $200,000 home and you find a home that costs $200,000 but will need some modifications, then you simply cannot afford that home. It’s important that you make a complete list of every single accessibility modification you’ll need to make to any prospective home and factor that into the cost. Start by checking out a mod cost estimator.

Let the Internet Make House Hunting Easier

Physical house hunting — scheduling in-person showings and spending long Saturdays at open houses — can be taxing, both mentally and physically. However, with apps and other online services that offer everything from photos to videos and virtual tours, you can comfortably hunt from your couch. This will help prevent the dreaded house hunting burnout.

Remember to Study Up on Your Rights and Aid Options

Unfortunately, it has to be addressed: You need to know your rights as a disabled homebuyer. The Fair Housing Act protects you from discrimination in the buying, selling, negotiating, and loan process. Hopefully, you won’t have to exert this knowledge, but it’s best to study up.

There is also assistance to be had — both private and governmental — depending on your income and disability status. You can receive special loans and even grants for home modifications and more if you know where to look.

An accessible home can be your ticket to a happier, healthier life. Finding the right home can seem stressful and overly challenging, but if you can stay under-budget and find a home that meets a majority of your clearly defined needs, you can tweak it to be the perfect fit. House hunting can be arduous, but taking the extra time to make sure you find the right home is well worth it in the long run.

Photo by Gustavo Zambelli on Unsplash



Where Americans Moved to in 2018

In 2018, Americans were on the move. According to Updater’s annual moving destinations report, Americans moved to cities in every corner of the United States. From Seattle to Denver to Tampa and New York, Americans took advantage of the many diverse cities the U.S. has to offer.

Updater’s moving destinations report is based on aggregated moving trends determined by analyzing 2,000,000 anonymous household moves that took place between Jan. 1 and Aug. 31, 2018. Check out this visual representation of the top 15 most moved to cities in 2018.

read the full post: 

Buyers Are Looking for Your Home!

Where is the Housing Market Headed in 2019?

Read the 2019 forecast from Lennox Scott here: 

How to Know If You’re Ready To Buy A House

9 Steps to Buying Your First Home

You’ve made the decision: You’re ready to buy a house and experience all the joys and trials of homeownership. But now what? Buying a home is a complicated endeavor that many first-time buyers know little about. These nine steps walk you through the basic process of buying your first home and into the wonderful world of homeownership.

Improve Your Credit Score

The higher your credit score, the better the mortgage rate you’ll be offered. Check your FICO score and strategize how you can increase it before applying for a mortgage. A score of 760 or higher secures you the best mortgage rates, while 620 is about the lowest conventional lenders will accept. FHA loans are available to buyers with scores as low as 580.

Save Up

Mortgages allow buyers to spread out the costs of homeownership over many years, but there are still a lot of upfront costs when buying a home. In addition to a down payment of 3.5 percent to 20 percent, depending on your intended loan type, you’ll need to save money for closing costs (2 to 5 percent of a home’s purchase price) and a home repair emergency fund.

Determine What You Can Afford

The rule of thumb is to spend no more than 35 percent of your pre-tax income on housing, including your mortgage payment, property taxes, insurance, HOA payment, and other expenses. However, that rule doesn’t take all your household expenses into account, like existing debt payments and child care. To avoid buying a house you can’t afford, follow Money Under 30’s advice and spend no more than 25 percent of your after-tax income on housing.

Research Your Mortgage Options

Increasing your credit score isn’t the only thing you can do to secure a good mortgage rate. According to Consumers Advocate, different lenders may offer different mortgage rates, so it’s wise to shop around. Know which type of mortgage you’re looking for before meeting with lenders. Lenders vary in the programs they offer; if you’re buying with poor credit or a low down payment and plan to use a government-backed loan like an FHA, VA, or USDA loan, you’ll need to find lenders that offer those products.

Get Preapproved for a Mortgage

Mortgage preapproval shows agents and sellers that you’re a serious buyer. In fact, Lending Tree warns that some agents won’t show you a home without preapproval. When you get preapproved for a mortgage, a lender examines your finances to determine exactly how much they’re willing to lend you. Avoid being swayed into buying a more expensive home by a mortgage approval that’s higher than your budget. Only you know the full picture of your finances, not your lender, so make sure you plan carefully.

Decide What You Want in a Home

Now that you know your budget and are certain you can get a mortgage, it’s time to start thinking about what you want in a home. Look at several online listings to see what type of home you can afford within your budget and desired geographical area. Then, list the features that are most important to you, starting with unchangeable characteristics like location, neighborhood, lot size, and square footage.

Hire a Real Estate Agent

A great real estate agent makes all the difference, especially for first-time homebuyers. The right agent understands what you’re looking for, finds homes that fit the bill, and negotiates to get you the best possible price.

Shop for a Home

Attending open houses, scheduling viewings, scouring online listings — these are the things people picture when they think about buying a house, but in reality, it’s a small portion of the home buying process. Nonetheless, it’s an emotional undertaking. Stick to your list and your budget, and keep communication open with your spouse and agent. HGTV offers additional tips to make your house hunt go smoothly.

Make an Offer

When you find a home you love, you’re ready to make an offer! However, don’t get ahead of yourself; formulating an offer is a nuanced process, and you’ll need to work with your realtor to determine the right offer price and negotiate the terms of sale.

Buying your first home is a major step, and you want to do it right. Before you start sketching out your dream home, read up on the homebuying process. When you head into homeownership as an informed consumer, you can make a choice that’s good for you and your financial future.


Image via Unsplash

Existing Home Sales Slowed by a Lack of Listings

  • Existing home sales are currently at an annual pace of 5.22 million, which is up 1.4% over last month. This reverses the six-month trend of dips in sales every month.
  • The inventory of existing homes is still below the 6-month supply needed for a normal market and is now at a 4.3-month supply.
  • NAR’s Chief Economist, Lawrence Yun, had this to say: “After six consecutive months of decline, buyers are finally stepping back into the housing market. As more inventory enters the market and we head into the winter season, home price growth has begun to slow more meaningfully. This allows for much more manageable, less frenzied buying conditions.”

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Home Prices Are Up 6.49% Across the Country [INFOGRAPHIC]