How to Find the Perfect Accessible Home for Barrier-Free Living

By Guest Writer: Patrick Young

House-hunting is always a bit of a challenge but finding the perfect home can seem completely impossible when you have a disability. Accessible homes are few and far between, and even if you find a home that is designed for barrier-free living, there is no guarantee that it will meet your unique needs. Each person with a disability faces their own individual challenges. As a result, accessibility can mean something different to everyone. Here are some tips to help you find and modify the perfect one-of-a-kind home for your accessibility needs.

Make Your Own Modifications
According to The League, less than one percent of all homes in the United States are wheelchair accessible, but nearly one-third of all housing is potentially modifiable for people with mobility difficulties. As you start looking for a new home, remember that you can always make upgrades after purchasing a property. This will give you a greater range of options!

One example of an impactful home upgrade is installing wood flooring. Unlike thick carpets that are difficult to navigate in a wheelchair, wood flooring is easy to roll around on. Floors made from hardwoods are very durable and should withstand heavy wheelchair use—and they look beautiful too!

Some other areas of the home where you may want to make modifications include the bathroom, kitchen, and entrance. In the bathroom, you can install a walk-in shower, grab bars, and lowered counter-tops. Your kitchen may benefit from lowered power outlets and a touch-sensitive faucet. Throughout the home, consider widening doorways and adding ramps to entrance ways (adding a wheelchair ramp will likely cost you between $1,000 and $2,800).

Start Your Search Online
When you’re ready to begin looking for a new home, start your search online. This way, you can quickly comb through results on real estate listing sites instead of wasting your time driving around town and visiting homes that lack the features you’re looking for. When using these sites to search for accessible homes, use keywords like “independent living,” “accessible,” or “wheelchair access.” Search for single-story homes with open floor plans and avoid homes that are described as “compact” or “cozy,” since these may be too cramped for your mobility needs.

Work with a Great Real Estate Agent
Searching online is a great way to start the house-hunting process and learn what kinds of homes are available within your price range. At some point, however, you will want to work with a real estate agent. An experienced real estate agent from 5 Star Realty will fully understand the local market and can help you find homes with the features that are important to you!

Know Your Funding Options
Purchasing a disability-friendly home or making accessibility modifications yourself can provoke some financial concerns, especially for seniors living on a fixed retirement income. If you need funding help to buy a home or make upgrades, check out federal resources and nonprofit organizations. For example, you can apply for government grants to make home improvements that you cannot pay for yourself. How Stuff Works recommends contacting your local government office to learn about eligibility requirements and find out how much money is available through different grant programs.

Don’t settle for a house that will make your daily life a frustrating nightmare! Everyone deserves to live in a home where they feel comfortable and independent. While it may take some time to find the perfect property for your needs, moving into an accessible home will make a world of a difference when it comes to your health, happiness, and overall quality of life.

– This article was written by Patrick Young. Check out some of Patrick’s other articles at AbleUSA.

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