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.