Accessible House Hunting: Tips for Success

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Accessible House Hunting: Tips for Success

Finding a home is a complicated enough process for people without disabilities. For those with, however, it can become a full-on trial. Not only do you have to handle budget concerns and market trends, but you also have to narrow your pool to homes that will be safe and comfortable for you.

We want to make this process a little bit easier for you. The disABLEDperson job boards have helped you find your dream job, and we hope this article helps you to find your dream home. Here are some tips to get you started: 

Considerations for First-Time Homebuyers 

Before we dive into the accessibility aspects of house hunting, we want to take a short moment to address first-time buyers. There are many elements of the home-buying process that can be intimidating on your first go. For example, you should take some time to get a sense of what mortgage is best for you. If you have good credit and a solid down payment, conventional may work: Otherwise, you’ll want to consider your other options. 

It’s also important to know going in that you may make offers on several homes before one is accepted. This is a totally normal part of the home-buying process, especially in a competitive market. It’s hard not to get discouraged, especially when you already have a smaller pool to choose from to begin with. However, with time you’ll be able to find the right house for you. 

Finding the Right Agent 

Your real estate agent can make or break your house search, and this is especially true for people with disabilities. It’s important to find someone who can understand your needs and advocate on your behalf. For example, you need an agent who can ensure that viewings are accessible for you, especially if you’re considering homes that may need accessibility upgrades after purchase. 

There are several ways you can ensure you find an agent who is able to help you on your search. Start by reaching out to your local disability community to see if anyone has any real estate agent recommendations. Interview several agents, and ask them specifically about their experience helping house hunters with disabilities. Finally, make sure you can communicate with them effectively - you’ll spend a lot of time together during your search, and the personality match matters. 

Wants and Needs 

Every home buyer should create a “wants and needs” list to use while touring homes. Yours should include any accessibility features you are - and aren’t - willing to add to the home after purchase. Some things, such as ramps or hold bars, are relatively easy to add. However, structural features such as hallway width can be a huge (and expensive) hassle to change. Other features, like space for a home office, will simply guide your search. 

If you’re not sure what you should put on each list, consider reaching out to a contractor who specializes in accessibility. They can give you a sense of what renovations cost and how much time they take. Moreover, since house design styles fluctuate through the ages, an experienced contractor may even be able to give you some insight as to how likely you are to find accessible homes in a given area or neighborhood. 

Consider Building 

Finally, it may make good sense for you to look into having a custom home built. This is usually a little pricier, and it takes longer, but it’s often worth it for people with disabilities. Depending on the age and architectural style of the neighborhoods you’re considering, it may be nearly impossible to find an accessible home already built. 

Custom building means you don’t have to settle or sacrifice. You can have a home that suits your aesthetic and was built with your needs in mind. Take a look at some accessible home designs and keep this in mind as an option. 

Remember to do your research, stay patient, and keep your needs - and options - in mind. This will make your house hunt easier and less stressful so that, once you find it, you can fully enjoy your perfect home.         

 Photo Credit: Pexels

Written by Jillian Day