Are you a first-time homebuyer with a disability or a senior looking to move into a new house? If you’ve decided that homeownership is right for you, but you don’t know how to find an accessible home, you might be wondering where to begin. If you’re about to start house hunting, you may be confused about what steps you need to take to find the perfect accessible home. By following these tips, you’ll be able to buy — and modify — the right home for you. 

First Steps

The first steps of your journey to homeownership will involve going over your financial portfolio and credit report, working with a lender to get pre-approved for a mortgage, and deciding how much of your savings you can realistically put towards a down payment. In addition to these important tasks, you should consider which accommodations your future home will likely need and begin budgeting accordingly. If you wish to seek assistance from organizations that help people with disabilities secure appropriate housing, now is the time to reach out. 

Finding a House

By partnering up with a real estate agent who has helped other clients find accessible homes, you can attend promising open houses. Pro Agent Solutions recommends being friendly and personable with the seller’s agent to make a good impression.

You might fall in love with a quaint, older home you see advertised, but this generally isn’t the best choice when you’re looking for an accessible property. You will have an easier time modifying a recently constructed home, and finding space for all of the fixtures and tools you need is simpler in a larger house with an open floor plan. 

Check Systems

Before you make your big move, you need to make sure that all of the essential systems in your home are working properly. For someone with a disability, a maintenance issue can be extremely inconvenient or even dangerous. 

During your home inspection, ensure that there are no minor plumbing leaks and that there are no problems with the water flow from sinks, toilets, or showers. Check on your HVAC system, too; you don’t want to live in a home with poor air quality, which could irritate allergies or exacerbate other medical conditions. Your electrical system should also be thoroughly inspected, as a loss of electricity could render essential medical devices useless. 

Install Wood Flooring

Does your new home have carpeting? Time to tear it up and install wood flooring instead, which is a safer option for people with mobility aids. Cleaning and maintenance are simpler with wood floors, and the fact that wood flooring increases your property value is a nice bonus.

To budget for flooring installation, you’ll need to figure out the cost of furniture removal, subfloor repairs, and flooring disposal first. Next, it’s time to decide on your preferred material. Pine and bamboo are on the cheaper side, while exotic and engineered woods will cost you more. Expect to pay about $2 to $6 per square foot of materials for a traditional hardwood like red oak, while an engineered wood like maple would cost about $10 to $11 per square foot. 

DIY Upgrades

You don’t have to pay contractors for all of your projects! Why not try some DIY upgrades? For instance, a loved one with a tool kit could install grab bars where necessary; according to Interim Healthcare, they will cost between $15 to $30 from your local hardware store.

Looking for more simple projects? Come up with convenient storage solutions for cords and chargers in each room so that you don’t trip. And for a quick fix, you can also utilize a temporary wheelchair ramp at your door before installing a permanent one. 

Finding an accessible home in your local real estate market can be challenging. Chances are, you’ll need to be ready to go forward with several remodeling projects before you move in. But if you’re prepared and informed, there’s nothing standing in the way of finding your dream home.

Guest Contributor: Patrick Young

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