by Patrick Young from ableusa.info
Looking for an accessible home when you are living with a disability or health issue can be frustrating and overwhelming, especially if you aren’t sure of how to get started. When I began my search five years ago, I was ill-prepared and only really knew that I needed something to fit my budget; the rest was a learning experience.
Fortunately, finding an accessible home that meets all your needs doesn’t have to be stressful. If you sit down and map out a plan before you get started, you’ll have won half the battle already! Whether you need a living space that gives you plenty of room to maneuver equipment or just one that makes life a little easier, it’s important to write down your must-haves and do some research to get familiar with price ranges in your area.
For some helpful tips on how to get started with your house-hunt, keep reading.
Think About Your Needs
Think about your daily activities and needs; what would make life easier? If you use large pieces of equipment, such as a wheelchair or chairlift, you’ll want open spaces and wide doorways. If you have trouble grasping doorknobs and faucets, a home that already has easy-to-grasp handles and levers will be invaluable to you. Make a list of all the things you need, and make a note of the ones you can’t live without. As a wheelchair user, I knew my home needed to be accessible but finding one was the hard part. Most homes don’t have ramps, and the doorways are the standard width. Rather than focus on what the prospective home lacks, focus on it’s potential through renovations and upgrades.
Do Some Research
Once you know what you need in an accessible home, do some research online to get a feel for prices in your area, and also what other buyers are looking for; there may be upgrades that you haven’t thought of that will make things much easier for your daily activities. Keep in mind that the average price for a home in Fort Worth, Texas, is around $202,000. I found it extremely helpful to work with a realtor who has experience with disabled clients. She knew what my needs were so she was able to show me homes that either had what I was looking for or had the framework and potential to be what I needed.
Look for Perks
A perk in an accessible home is anything you don’t have to install or change yourself. This might include a ramp out front, a step-in shower that will prevent falls, and automated lighting that will make life a little easier for those who have a vision impairment. These might include things that aren’t on your “must-have” list but will help you perform simple actions and chores more easily.
Location Is Everything
As with any house-hunt, location is important. This is one thing I failed to factor into my own search in the beginning and had to rethink, simply because the area with the most accessible options was too far away from everything I needed. My doctor, grocery store, pharmacy, and child’s school are within a close radius, so moving my search to that area helped immensely.
Don’t Skip the Details
It’s imperative to keep in mind that even if you think you’ve found the right house for your needs, there are some details that still need to be addressed. If you don’t drive and use public transportation, is the new house on a bus route that is wheelchair-accessible? Is there plenty of space for you to maneuver through every room? Having wide doorways is essential, but if you can’t move around once you get into the room, they’re not worth as much. Don’t forget to address the possibility to upgrades as well. There were several homes I came across that I loved, but the landscaping slope would have made installing a ramp an extensive and pricey project.
Looking for an accessible home can be a very time-consuming process, so start as early as possible and try to stay patient. Ask for help from friends and family if you start to feel overwhelmed, and remember to take care of yourself during this process. With a good plan, you can find the right home for your needs in no time.