Monday, February 17, 2020 / by Chris Carozza
What to Look for When Buying an Accessible Home
By: Patrick Young
By: Patrick Young
An accessible home can be many things, but above all else, it should be safe and comfortable. If you’re looking for an accessible house, there are several important things to keep in mind, such as how much space you need and what your specific physical needs are. You’ll also want to think about your future needs; for example, is this a home that you want to age-in-place in? If so, it should have things such as low thresholds and countertops, no stairs, and bathroom modifications that will help you stay safe no matter what your abilities are. So, here are a few tips on what to look for when you’re in the market for an accessible home.
Do Some Research First
If you’re a first-time homebuyer, it’s essential to do a little research to find out how to get pre-approved for a loan, which type of loan is best for your needs, and what your credit score is. These factors can play a role when seeking out home assistance programs that will help you pay for modifications, and they’ll also determine how much you will ultimately spend and how much of a down payment you’ll need. Some states offer home loans for first-time buyers that don’t require a down payment at all, but you’ll need to meet certain requirements. During this time, Redfin notes that you’ll also need to gather all the necessary paperwork, create a budget, and find an experienced real estate agent who can help you find the perfect home.
Look for an Accessible Bathroom
An accessible bathroom has many features, including a shower that’s easy to get in and out of — perhaps one that is stepless so that a wheelchair or other medical equipment will easily fit inside. It will also have many safety additions, such as a grab bar near the toilet and one in the shower. Many sellers will make upgrades to this area of the home before putting it on the market because they want a quick sale, but keep in mind that even if the bathroom is older, there are simple things you can do yourself to make it safe and comfortable. Adding non-slip rubber mats and extra lighting, for example, are two great budget-friendly ways to modify a bathroom.
Check the Doorways
The doorways in a home should be wide enough to comfortably fit a wheelchair or other large equipment. Some older homes weren’t built with those dimensions in mind, but you can get an experienced contractor to correct this problem. You’ll also want to pay attention to swinging doors, taking note of the direction open and whether they’ll need to be changed around.
Replacing doorknobs with levers or handles can also make a home more accessible. For seniors or individuals with disabilities, knobs can often be difficult to grasp, but replacing the hardware around the house can make a huge difference. So, talk to the seller to find out whether they would be willing to make those changes for you; sometimes, the price of a smaller upgrade can be rolled into the final cost of the home.
Easy Access to Entries and Exits
From a security and safety standpoint, it’s essential to ensure you have access to points of entry around the home. If you or a loved one require a wheelchair or other large piece of equipment, you’ll need doorways with low or zero thresholds and ramps to help you navigate sets of outdoor steps. You can also find small ramps specifically designed to cover bumpy thresholds.
Buying an accessible home can help you and your loved ones stay comfortable and happy for years to come, so come prepared. Knowing what to look for will allow you to jumpstart the process so you can start the process as soon as possible and settle into your dream home.