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5 Things to Keep in Mind as You Search for Safe and Comfortable Accessible Housing
If a member of your family has a mobility impairment that affects his or her ability to walk, stand, or climb a flight of stairs without assistance, you may be looking for accessible homes that make getting around a whole lot easier, safer, and more comfortable. However, a 2011 American Housing Survey found that less than 1 percent of homes were wheelchair accessible during the time of the study, and less than 4 percent were suitable for residents with moderate mobility impairments. About 33 percent of homes could be modified to meet mobility needs.
Due to the limited availability of accessible housing, finding a suitable home for your loved one will take a bit of time and planning on your part. However, hiring a real estate agent to assist you and knowing what to look for in a new home will help to simplify the process. To learn more about the different things you should keep in mind as you search for accessible homes, read on.
You’ll Need a Real Estate Agent
There are many benefits to working with a real estate agent, especially if you’re looking for accessible housing. A good agent will look for accessible or potentially modifiable homes, helping to take some of the weight off your shoulders. If you’re buying a house for the first time, however, a real estate agent can assist you even further as you complete other required tasks like checking your credit score, applying for a mortgage, figuring out how much you can afford to spend on a home purchase, and gathering any paperwork your lender may need.
Know What You’re Looking For
In addition to working with a real estate agent, it’s important to make a list of the things your family will need in a new house, as this will save you time as you search for accessible homes for sale. Depending on you or your loved one’s needs, these must-have features may include:
One-level floor plans
Step-free interiors, including no steps or stairs between rooms
Bathrooms with grab rails
At least one bedroom and bathroom on the entry level
Widened doors and hallways
Certain Homes are Modifiable
If you can’t find a house that meets all your family’s needs, you may be able to modify a home to make it more accessible. For instance, Reviews.com explains that potential modifications may include the installation of a wheelchair ramp, grab bars, curb-free shower, or stair glide — or you may choose to lower the countertops and cabinets, widen the hallways and doorways, and install accessible fixtures throughout the home.
Custom Homes Are an Option
As an alternative to buying a house and modifying it to meet your family’s needs, you may choose to build a custom home, as this will allow you to design an accessible house that features everything your loved one needs to live safely and comfortably. To learn about the steps you must take to build a custom home, contact builders and developers in your area to explore your options. Additionally, many websites can help you to search for local home builders, designers, contractors, and architects who may be able to assist you.
You May Qualify for Financial Assistance
Depending on your situation, you may qualify for financial assistance in buying, modifying, or building a home that meets your family’s needs. With an FHA 203(k) loan, for instance, you can borrow money for buying and modifying a home if you meet credit and down payment requirements. State-specific programs like North Carolina’s Independent Living Rehabilitation Program (IL) are also available, especially if you need to modify a home for accessibility.
While finding an accessible home can be challenging, a variety of options are available to you. Whether you work with a real estate agent to find an accessible home that meets all your needs, build a new custom house, or purchase a potentially modifiable property, you’ll be on your way to finding safe, comfortable, and livable housing for you and your loved ones.