What to Look for in An Accessible Home
Updated: Aug 17, 2022
When you are ready to begin your search on a home that will grow with you or accommodate physical disabilities, research is key. Here are a few things to look for in your next property, whether you are currently living with a disability or need a home where you can age in place.
No two homes are alike, and the features you need are unique to you. Most accessible homes cater to physical and visual disabilities. This might mean that you look for a home that already includes or can easily have a wheelchair ramp added onto it.
Inside, pay close attention to areas you frequent, such as the kitchen or bathroom. You may find a house that you love that needs a bit of tweaking, such as better lighting, ramps, and widened doorways and hallways. You’ll need to factor in these modifications into your home-buying budget.
Affordability is one of the most important aspects of any home search. If you are on a limited income, you’ll need to pay careful attention to not just the city where you wish to live, but also the neighborhood. If you follow market trends, you’ll soon get an idea of the most affordable areas. Make sure you connect with a reputable realtor who can help you find a suitable home at a price you can afford.
For those who wish to age in place or need a home to accommodate certain disabilities, universal design is a smart choice. These are homes that are typically one-story and are built with the needs of everyone in mind. A universal design home will likely feature an open floor plan, wider doorways, non-slip flooring throughout, and ample space in the bathrooms.
If you find a home that has good bones and can be converted to universal design, work with a trusted contractor who can help you come up with the ideal modifications to make your new home match up with your accessibility needs.
When you have a disability, where you live matters. Look for a home in an area where you feel safe and provides you access to things like public transportation and emergency medical care.
If you’re in love with a neighborhood but still apprehensive about what it feels like to live there, consider staying a few nights in an accessible vacation rental to get the lay of the land. Ideally, find a place within a few blocks of where you’re hoping to lay down roots.
For added safety, you can add a security system once you move in for extra peace of mind. DIY options make them easy to install, and you can get alerts sent right to your smartphone.
Buying a home is a full-time job, especially when you are a person with a disability or a senior looking for a home to age in place. If you stick to the basics — features, affordability, layout, and local amenities — you will be able to better refine your search and weed out properties that don’t work for your family or future.
Brittany Fisher has spent more than 20 years as a CPA. She runs her own site, Financiallywell.info where she shares her knowledge about taxes, personal finance and general financial literacy hoping to help anyone who may benefit from it.