House Hunting For Accessibility Tips For Disabled Homebuyers
By Kurt Real Estate Nov 23, 2019
House Hunting for Accessibility: Tips for Disabled Homebuyers
When we’re in the market for a new home, we all have certain things we want in a home. When you have a disability, your must-haves list can become deal-breakers, as accessibility is a top priority. This can make finding a new home a daunting task. Keep in mind that more homes these days boast open floorplans, or those that do not can often be modified to fit your needs. If you’ve been putting off the house hunting adventure, here are several tips to make finding your accessible home a little easier.
Communicate With Your Realtor
Searching for homes takes a lot more work and determination than you think, so your best bet is to work with a realtor who can be with you every step of the way. A realtor can explain the process in layman’s terms, as well as point out unnoticed features or potential faults. Your realtor understands your accessibility needs, and can, therefore, be on the lookout for homes with modification potential. The key is to communicate effectively with your realtor, including what you want in a home. For example, if your disability impacts your mobility, then it is best to look at one-story homes. Be clear with your wants and needs to ensure your agent only shows homes you are truly interested in buying.
Modifications Will Be Needed
It doesn’t matter how many homes you look at, finding one that meets all your accessibility needs is impossible unless the previous owner had your exact disability. When looking at homes, it is important that you consider their potential as a result of home modifications. Think about your activities of daily living from a functional point of view. Abilities.comsuggests task analysis, in which you “break down any specific activity into its separate and required components to perform that activity.” In doing so you can determine what modifications are needed, and you can tailor the solution to benefit all household members in an efficient, affordable, and aesthetically pleasing way. Once you find a home you like, you might find it beneficial to have a disability contractor walk through the home and determine the feasibility of the modifications you want to make. Locate one in your area using this online search tool.
Create Your Budget Carefully
Before your realtor can begin the home search, they need to know your budget. In order to come up with your budget, you’ll need to factor in your credit score, mortgage payment, and down payment. Your credit score will impact not only the size of the home loan you qualify for, but the interest rate as well. As for the mortgage payment, the general rule is that it shouldn’t be more than 28 percent of your gross monthly income. You’ll need to save room in your budget to make modifications as well. The overall amount depends on the changes you’ll be making. For example, according to Contractor Culture, installing grab bars will cost you about $240 for three bars, but lowering cabinets and appliances for ease of use and wheelchair accessibility could run you up to $15,000.
Don’t Forget About Pre-Move Tasks
Finalizing a home purchase may seem like it would be the final step, but there are still a few more things to do first. One of the first things you should prioritize prior to a move is changing the locks. Key copies could be floating around anywhere, whether it’s with previous owners or repairman, so having a fresh set of locks can give you peace of mind. Changing the locks is simple – just search for nearby locksmiths online. If you’ll be making any large modifications or even minor maintenance such as painting, try to get those things done first before bringing in the moving boxes. Speaking of moving boxes, you’ll want to get a bead on a moving company that fits your needs sooner rather than later. It helps to get estimates prior to your closing date to get an idea of what the costs will be and how soon the pros can fit you in. Lastly, consider having a deep clean before the big move. It’s much easier to settle into a spic and span home.
Finding an accessible home is possible if you work with the right realtor and communicate your needs. Understand that modifications will likely be necessary (and need to be factored into your budget), and be aware of pre-move expenses such as changing the locks, maintenance, and movers. Take your time settling in, and before you know it the move will soon be a thing of the past.
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